Off grid in the Alpujarras, a land of ancient olive groves, lemons and outdoor living in a stretch of multicultural creativity.
In the summer of 2023 we were gifted a weekend in an off grid yurt in La Alpujarra de Granada. The gesture of kindness followed after the tragic loss of our eldest son Josh who took his own life earlier in the year, he was 21 years old. We needed a break, an escape from what had become a toxic village to us for reasons I won’t go into here. In times like these you really get to know who your friends are.
The weather had not been great for the first weekend the yurt was booked, nor the second after it was postponed so we decided just to go for it [third time lucky], cold and rain didn’t matter, a place to clear our heads, to be in a different place and adjust to now being three instead of four was what we needed.
This would also be the weekend we’d shit in a bucket for the first time, having never used a compost toilet before or slept in a yurt it was something we were looking forward to with a large degree of interest…
The off grid weekend went off a treat, in fact we enjoyed it that much we booked up for a full week a month later. The place just felt right, it was doing us good so to return for a bit longer seemed like the sensible thing to do. Whatever was going to help.
What’s it like sleeping in a yurt?
Well it’s different that’s for sure, being former cave house owners it was always going to be a tall order to experience something radically different beyond the norm but we loved the yurt. You feel well protected and more at one with nature especially given the location. As a round structure with a high central point you get a great feeling of space, our yurt was 6.5m in diameter.
At night you have the sounds of the earth and nature around you, very similar to traditional camping but with more comfort and more structure to it all, you have a secure door and you can also have windows, indoor cooking if required and double bed etc, it’s all very comfortable in the depths of the olive groves and terraces.
There is no doubt that the outdoor living part of it all is cool, it’s why we love overlanding and get out as much as we can. This holiday was perfect for us, cooking and showering outside makes you realise the simplicity of it all even more. As humans we don’t need much and back to basics puts things into perspective.
I love simple, boy do I love simple, the compost toilet worked better than the toilet in our warehouse, the shower worked better too, there was more water pressure and even though the old gas oven looked like it had survived judgment day it worked better than our fancy stainless steel contraption at home. It was all just brilliant.
The outdoor bathroom area was very generous especialy the walk in shower which was massive, the gas boiler was mounted outside and the whole situation just worked from the terraced location and ancient olive trees to the basic services that were in place. The area had something about it and something that got us thinking… We needed to move, of that there was no doubt, could this be a viable option for us, we’d roughed it before [albeit 20 years ago] but could building a lifestyle like this be what we needed?
A means of escape
The week in general was a means of escape for us, other people will have different reasons to get away from it all but no matter what your reason for coming to a place like this the feeling of disconnection is quite obvious from the beginning. There is something about being off grid that releases stress, the daily grind goes away, the bills to pay, latest news, social media and all the noise suddenly becomes unimportant and less loud.
no matter what your reason for coming to a place like this the feeling of disconnection is quite obvious from the beginning
You are surrounded by nature, part of something that feels so much more in line with the real you instead of the 100mph modern day, tech filled world dominated by money and control.
The escape for us may well have helped open a new chapter and while nothing can bring back our son or ease the waves of emotion that hit you every day our experience of living off grid even just for a little while has made us see things differently.
Pinos Del Valle
Pinos Del Valle is a small village which benefits from an elevated postion overlooking Lake Beznar, the views from the village are quite spectacular across the landscape. The village is only a 30 minute drive to Granada and 25km to the Sierra Nevada making it a good central point but still hidden away despite being close to the A44. You can also drive to the coast which is only half an hour away too.
The area is predominantly agricultural and the olive groves span for miles across the nearby hills. It is amoung these olive groves that you can find some real peace and tranquility.
What we took away [apart from lemons]
It’s not hard to understand why people make significant decisions in their life after a loss. We’ve been careful with this, it’s only been four months and if we’d followed through on our immediate thoughts we’d be in a one bedroom flat in the UK now [yeah, seriously].
Visiting a different area and going off grid in the Alpujarras for a week has made us realise that something is changing, something significant and it’s not just about moving away to another area, it’s about changing the approach to absolutely everything and living life so differently that you are introducing something fresh and creating new challenges.
Off grid does not mean less people either, there are numerous projects in the area and over 70+ nationalities too, a far cry from our current corner of Spain in which we have remained too long.
Feelings are obviously still very mixed at the moment but one thing our visit did offer was an example of what we might want to acheive, somewhere off in the distance is something for us, something to work towards and look forward to.
We just need to be solid in making that decision and be as near to 100% sure its right for us.