Tours
Family builds self-sufficient, off-the-grid home and haven’t had to pay bills in over a decade
“Granted, it's not a life for everyone, but it works for us and, as a family, we've never been happier.”
Elijah Chan
08.25.22

What if someone told you that you could live life without ever paying bills?

Would you believe them? What would you imagine that kind of life would be like? Poor and homeless, moving from one cave to another?

A couple living in Canada wanted to dispel these assumptions surrounding city living and consumption in general. And in their experiment, through their homestead, they seek to inspire people to do the same.

Bryce and Misty Murph’Ariens built the Territory of Ultima Thule.

The homestead is a realization of the couple’s dream to detach themselves and lessen their reliance on the systems that drive overconsumption.

On their homestead, they plant their food, grow their food, and harvest their food. The patch of land is a self-sustaining paradise that helped them save costs.

The couple has always wanted to move away from the city.

Bryce and Misty both worked as chefs. They would spend time in a rural cob cottage that was owned by Misty’s grandmother and realized how comfortable it was.

They loved the simple and minimalist lifestyle the cottage entailed and often dreaded going back to the city. Since then, they dreamed of building something similar.

The couple got married and they moved into a lot of their own.

They first started with a 10×10 house made of cob – a mixture of mud, sand, and straw. Then, they divided the land into three main areas – the stables, the food forest, and their home.

They dug a well to serve as their water source and installed solar panels to run their essential gadgets like phones, laptops, and important appliances. They don’t have a car but they have a horse cart and bicycles to help them get to where they’re going.

At one glance, one would think that they’re poor.

But can you really say the same when you don’t have to pay for groceries and utilities? If somehow they outpace the things they grow, the couple also runs side businesses like catering and selling art.

YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives

If they need more space, all they have to do is harvest timber and mix a batch of cob. With their own hands, they can build new rooms to expand the house.

Eventually, their family grew.

It would be easy to assume that a life like this is only possible for one or two people but the Murph’Ariens broke those perceptions too.

YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives

They have two daughters who build and maintain the home with them so they can feel much more independent and empowered – and in exposing them to planting and permaculture, the couple aims to connect their kids to nature.

YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives

Misty homeschools their children with a traditional curriculum but also added in important subjects on sustainability and farming.

The couple also knows that this kind of life is not for everyone.

But that doesn’t mean one should not give it a try.

YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Exploring Alternatives

“Of course, we do have to acquire money, but the focus of our day is finding the most sustainable and fulfilling way to live.” Bryce said to The Daily Mail, “Granted, it’s not a life for everyone, but it works for us and, as a family, we’ve never been happier.”

Learn more about how this family avoided paying bills for over a decade in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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