A couple of weeks back, my partner Clayton and I took an adventure in Walter the Campervan to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. Frances Murray, her partner Tyler and her two young children Olive and Jude, welcomed us onto their newly established permaculture farm in the Noosa Hinterland region for a look around and a chat about the choice to live a simple life.
This interview was recorded in Franny’s tiny off-grid house, nestled in the living area on comfy arm chairs, surrounded by the sound of birds, in one direction overlooking the tree tops running along their natural creek and in the other direction their vegetable garden.
There is so much we cover in this interview but as I delved into Franny’s untangling journey, these were the highlights for me:
+ Contemplating the inevitability of death as an inspiration for chasing your dreams.
+ Redefining success based on how much joy and love you experience in your day (not by how much money you earn, things you acquire or your job title).
+ Following the inner pull, above all else (even when it means leaving your safe job, moving to a vacant block with two young children, and living without running water, electricity or a home for months at one the hottest times of the year).
Franny shares the real truth of their story, the why behind what they do and powerful insights to get you thinking differently about the way we humans ‘do life’.
After we finished recording this interview, Franny explained to me the costs associated with this style of living and I was shocked to realise how affordable it can be, if done in the right way.
If you’re interested, Franny has generously provided facts and figures of the cost to create and live this kind of lifestyle. You can find this information further down below.
COSTS AND OTHER DETAILS ASSOCIATED WITH FRANNY’S OFF-GRID LIFESTYLE
House Size – 80sqm (in comparison to the ‘average’ Australian build of 243sqm). House features:
+ Off grid 2.2 kw solar system (not connected to the electrical grid at all, so we have batteries for our night-time power and a generator if we have too many rainy days)
+ Wood fired oven
+ Waterless composting toilet
+ Solar hot water system using evacuated tubing technology (no solar panels for hot water, but rather water heated by UV in glass tubes, that naturally rises once hot into a storage system and gravity feeds down to the house)
+ 70,000L of water tank storage
+ The house was designed to incorporate elements of passive solar and high insulation to ensure it is warmer in winter and cooler in summer – no heaters or air-conditioners required. We also went with a white roof, to ensure minimal heat absorption on those steamy summer days.
Savings when transitioning – the exact figures are hard to tell because we were outlaying immediately with build and savings all in one. But lets say approximately six months worth of living expenses allocated as a buffer to give us time to generate incomes in our new community.
Cost of house – $110,000 in total. This included all council approvals / off-grid systems / water tanks – EVERYTHING from bare land to home. This compares to the ‘average’ Australian build cost of $300,000, for a house that is very reliant on the council and government systems and has high ongoing running costs.
Cost of living per year: $40,000 to live comfortably now, with minimal systems and more work external to the home then we would prefer (and therefore high travel / fuel costs / car expenses etc). As we become more self-reliant and our incomes are more home-based, we will be able to live on $30,000 as a family of four.
+ Ignite: Podcasting for Changemakers – doors are now open.
+ Join the Untangled Community Facebook group – a movement of women supporting each other to follow the inner pull, move away from the mundane and embark on a search for something more.
CONNECT WITH FRANNY
Connect with Franny and follow along with her simple-living experiment over on Instagram at @thesimpleexperiment
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