Woman Moves off the Grid With Her Family – & Their Story Is Captivating
| LAST UPDATE 03/15/2023
It was 2020, and the world had been ambushed by the pandemic known as Covid-19. But after an Atlanta family suddenly cut themselves off from society, they left neighbors baffled. Here is their fascinating story.
Meet Zani & Yeeno
Adapting to the changes presented a challenge to Zani and her family, especially since they had been enjoying life in Atlanta. As everyone was in lockdown, she and her husband, Yeeno, had to adjust to a new reality.
With other families struggling as well, they felt they were in the same boat with similar needs. After all, everyone around the world was in utter mayhem, just in different ways. However, Zani and her family were different, and their Georgia lifestyle was due for a change.
A New Era
As the world faced the first pandemic since 1918, things looked drastically different for this new era. While social isolation was one of the many outcomes, we had access to technology and resources to help us adapt. Through creativity and exploration, people found new hobbies to keep their minds occupied during this time.
It was a chance to use technology in different ways, like online classes or virtual events. For some, it was an opportunity to find mercy deep within themselves as they delved into introspection. Ultimately, it became a way for people to appreciate themselves during challenging moments like a pandemic.
The streets were abandoned during the pandemic, with everybody working at home. This eerie lack of traffic gave a surreal feeling to what was going on — that the world was shutting down. With the economy taking a hit, stocking up with basic necessities seemed like a priority — as if we were preparing for an apocalypse.
Customers would rush out and be left disappointed when things had already been sold out in mere hours, leaving them waiting days for the next delivery. Everywhere this situation was occurring, with no positive signs of it changing anytime soon. Yet, Zani felt differently about it all; there was still hope in her mind.
For Zani, social distancing made more of a positive difference in her life. She was able to stay comfortably within the walls of her home. Although she had a great family spread around her in Atlanta, time at home allowed her to enjoy her own company. During the lockdown, she only ventured out when necessary.
Even when she did step out and about, she welcomed the opportunity for social distancing. It provided Zani with an excuse not to have to go places if needs be. Undoubtedly, these trying times were difficult for most people; however, Zani managed to productively create an enjoyable lifestyle despite it all.
Zani found the perfect balance between her love for horses and her career in nursing. By creating her social media page, she realized that she could combine her passions and live life while getting paid. Despite being unable to dedicate much time to riding horses, being part of the equestrian community helped her stay rooted.
This insight sparked an immense curiosity in her and encouraged her pursuit of alternative paths that could benefit both sides of that coin. After years of dedicated research, she had enough information to take the necessary steps to obtain that dream property, entirely dedicated to taking care of her beloved animals.
The Escape Plan
As the pandemic continued to wreak havoc around the world, Zani was busy concocting ways to escape its cruel grasp. But she was not daunted by the seemingly insurmountable task; she considered every gem of an idea that popped into her mind as a potential route from sorrowful boredom to a seemingly better reality.
"I was stuck in the grind of day-to-day life," she recalled. Zani dreamt of worlds full of freedom, creativity, and optimism with no social distancing, fairly-priced essentials, and no obligations to stare at screens all day long. Luckily for her, she had enough drive to make this a reality...
It was a challenge that Zani was eager to take on - living off-grid. What made this endeavor a promising goal was the combo of skills brought onto the team - from both her and her husband. A master in carpentry and mechanics, Yeeno complemented Zani's natural prowess at navigating through the outdoors.
Having come to a mutual understanding about their grand plan, it was time to work towards making their dreams a reality. Yet, they were aware of the effort it might take to get there, knowing full well that no major attainment comes without dedication and commitment.
Feeling the Pressure
The pandemic had locked Zani and her husband in their home. With puzzles being completed and necessities hard to come by, the world was rapidly changing around them. Knowing she couldn't give up on a lifetime of work and progress, Zani faced a difficult decision - face reality or fight for her dreams.
Taking adventure into her own hands, she decided to make lemonade out of lemons - using technology and online platforms as an opportunity to keep creating the work she loved while not allowing the virus to dictate her life. Zani figured out a way to use it as an impetus for change rather than an obstacle.
It was time to give up the traditional way of life in Atlanta and try something new. Although the mere notion of informing their son of this drastic change was daunting, they found surprising success. Thus, with determination and certainty in hand, the family set off on their newest adventure toward living off-grid.
Alongside collecting funds to pursue this lifestyle, they began to pack up all their belongings with excitement for the unknown that lay ahead. Hopefully, Yeeno's dream of an independent way of living would come true soon - and her efforts would finally be rewarded.
Taking the Road Less Traveled
When Zani first proposed the idea of leaving behind their lives in Atlanta, she was met with support from her family. Her son even agreed to leave his school and say goodbye to his friends. Despite everyone's enthusiasm for the plan, Zani still knew the risk she was taking for herself and her family - and it weighed heavily.
It was a massive undertaking. "Within 3 days, we traded in our car for a truck, bought a travel trailer, stocked up for the apocalypse, and hit the road," Zani recalled. But as soon as they hit the open road, they began searching for a place where they could settle. However, finding available land on the East Coast proved to be very pricey...
Up Next: New Mexico
Yeeno and Zani were looking for somewhere special to start a new life but weren't sure where to begin. Having grown up in New Mexico, Yeeno knew of the breathtaking views that it had to offer, so he suggested they take a trip there. When they arrived, Zani was truly stunned. She thought it was an opportunity not to be missed.
"I thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen," she explained. The pricing of land was very affordable compared to their hometown, meaning that they were able to purchase 20 acres without much thought. "People thought we had lost our minds."
Remembering Their Roots
After going through several rounds of negotiation, Zani and her family succeeded in securing 20 acres of land. Feeling exhilarated by their newfound accomplishment, the family decided to immediately head back to Atlanta in the trailer to discuss what they were going to do with it.
It all happened so quickly that in order to fund this large purchase, they were forced to sell their beloved home. Emotions ran high knowing that they had spent many cherished memories within these walls, but they were hopeful for the future. Zani and her family prepared for whatever was about to come next.
The Start of The End
Zani and her husband had a daunting task - to sell 90% of what they owned to secure the necessary funds. In just a few weeks, they had taken on a seemingly impossible challenge and met it head-on. With emotions of bittersweetness in the air as they hit the road again, neither of them was quite sure what the future held.
Nevertheless, this was something that Zani had dreamt about for a long time, so she was determined to make it work. Although she questioned what could potentially go wrong, she knew there were still more preparations to be made if everything was expected to fall into place - would additional purchases be necessary?
After a successful practice run, Zani and Yeeno decided to take the plunge and go truly off-grid. They sold their house and used the proceeds to purchase all the supplies they need for a fully self-sufficient lifestyle. Imagine – no Internet connection, no grid-dependent utility bills, and no long commutes!
Through the official Off-Grid website that Zani and Yeeno created, they documented their journey. "We had a well dug, bought a carport, then a larger travel trailer to live in full time. We also had a septic system and solar system installed. All of this was accomplished within 3 months of selling the house."
Expanding the Property
Thanks to an ad on Facebook, Zani's 20 acres of land soon increased to 25 acres and proved to be a wise investment. In order to ensure that everything was ready, the trio began setting up their installations. Hard work was applied daily as the completion of tasks accelerated - yet despite this rush, every goal was met with precision.
Although there were downsides to moving so far away from home in terms of convenience - from no local supermarkets to clothing shops - the family was determined to seek out contentment. At the same time, Zani and Yeeno both harbored different thoughts surrounding the decision - had they made a mistake?
For Zani and her husband, making the move to an 'Off-Grid' lifestyle seemed like a perfect solution. "Everything in our Offgrid journey manifested perfectly and easily. We have been blessed not to have any roadblocks or obstructions. The universe has been working in our favor every step of the way," she gushed.
Although the pair expressed satisfaction with how things have panned out, it ultimately came down to a desire for a meaningful change in lifestyle which provided them with stability and fulfillment. They knew leaving behind family and friends wouldn't be easy, but taking this chance gave them an excuse to visit.
The couple was determined to share their off-grid experience with the world in hopes of inspiring others. Thus, they created @offgridhomesteadfam, a platform dedicated exclusively to documenting every step of their move and journey. They posted their journey for everyone to see.
From capturing videos of the land's progress to sharing images of transformation, Zani and Yeeno were enthused and passionate about taking on this project. And their hard work seemed to pay off as the followers kept steadily growing - it was truly an experience like no other that they were enjoying and sharing with their audience.
Contrary to popular belief, living off the grid requires more than just removing oneself from the traditional suburban neighborhoods found in cities. Zani's TikTok explained this lifestyle with more depth by outlining the self-sufficiency needed, as well as what one should expect from such a lifestyle.
It is clear that living in an off-the-grid environment does not have to equate to primitive living or going completely "backwards." On the contrary, it showcases how much control and responsibility can be taken by individuals when creating the foundation for a successful life outside of society's normal parameters.
Zani posed the question, "Why did I move off-grid?" and gave her own answer: to feel comfortable as an anti-social introvert. To illustrate the positives of her newfound home, she displayed visual evidence of the empty field that was located in front of her house.
With this new lifestyle came the challenge of adjusting to it, but thankfully Zani had done extensive research prior and knew exactly what tools and navigation system would be necessary for her to thrive in her new home. Her hard work paid off - and now she is living confidently off the grid.
How Did the Kids Feel?
Zani was already prepared for the responses her social media posts were going to bring. "Quick question, for your son how does schooling work and how does his friendships work? Do you guys have neighbors? I'm just curious," one user asked. She explained that they had explored the country in their RV, making the transition easier.
She went on to detail that he was enrolled in a computer-based school, giving him the freedom of homeschooling and the structure of a conventional education system. Additionally, there were plenty of neighbors with children for him. Since their move, her son has adjusted very well!
The Total Costs
For Zani, the idea of self-sufficiency during the pandemic was not just a way to guarantee resources for her family, but a means of liberation. The endeavor was no small undertaking, yet it turned out that achieving their dream was more affordable than initially anticipated.
As seen in her viral TikTok video, they were able to get everything they would need: a TV Size Carport; $9,000, 2 guest trailers $7,500 each, greenhouse $1,000, 350 foot well for $15,000, solar powered energy $13,000, a septic system for $7,500, main trailer $15,000, barn $7,500, and 25 acres of land, $22,000.
"Middle of Nowhere"
Zani and her family chose to make a bold move that most are not willing to take: trading in their suburban lifestyle for a home off-the-grid. Although it certainly required an upfront investment, the amount was nothing compared to what it would have cost them had they chosen to stay put.
"People thought we had lost our minds," she recalled. "We bought 25 acres in the middle of nowhere for $22,000. Why was it so cheap? Because it's in the middle of nowhere. But before you say it, we are surrounded by water, lakes, rivers, we have a 350-foot well. We're about to start our water catchment."
Rent Free Living
Zani and her family have been hard at work building their self-sufficient dream. They started with a chicken coop, and the farm is steadily growing - lambs and sheep are on their way for meat production. Their homestead is the walipini, an underground geothermal greenhouse where they can grow fruit and vegetables all year round.
It's not just about the freshest produce this family benefits from - there's no electricity bill thanks to the solar array they installed, no water bill thanks to their well, and of course, an endless supply of eggs! All while they don't pay rent or mortgage because they bought the land outright - what a major shift from Atlanta!
Exiting the Matrix
Zani bravely confessed that she used to suffer from anxiety on a daily basis and did not reveal the cause. Though, it was evidently clear to everyone gathered in her land of serenity, seeing how the transition had drastically changed her mindset and energy.
She explained that her anxiety vanished after "we left the matrix and moved to the middle of nowhere and started a homestead." Although it was an exciting idea, she also warned that such an ambitious move should not be taken lightly; it meant having an exit plan and setting a 5-10 year goal for settling in this new environment.
Words of Wisdom
Zani wants to help viewers feel empowered and ready to step away from the grid by sharing tips and guidelines on her TikTok page. Her enthusiasm for living off-grid is apparent, highlighting both the challenges and positive aspects associated with this lifestyle.
She encourages plenty of preparation--such as setting aside a two-month supply of food and water, in addition to starting a personal garden--before taking the plunge entirely. Ultimately, she hopes to show that through education, everyone can make an informed decision as to whether or not taking such a path is right for them.
From engaging in off-grid adventures such as riding ATVs and horses to relaxing in hammocks and jumping on trampolines, the outdoors provide a wealth of activities that take advantage of any weather condition. There is so much to do in the beautiful outdoors.
From her Instagram feed, where all sorts of fun take place, viewers also get to witness exciting homestead transformations, such as growth in greenhouses and RV tours. Whether you're seeking some adventure or just looking to explore the outdoors, make sure to check out their Instagram page!
Work Hard, Play Harder
Zani emphasized that leaving a career as a nurse and transitioning to living off-grid is not a means to extensively relax. Although her family was prepared for this life, the workload never ceases. There is constantly something to do or take care of.
This full-time job of maintaining off-grid living entails various household duties, such as overseeing the septic system and making sure there is food, water, and electricity. With four hours of work per day, which occasionally skyrockets during certain weeks, the whole family collaborates in order to remain efficient and safe.
Unlike other 9-year-olds, Zani's son has already developed habits and skills that are essential for an outdoor lifestyle. He is apt in driving vehicles, understanding the basics of electricity and appliances, and taking care of a greenhouse, setting him up for long-lasting success in the world outside of urban comforts.
Of course, it takes effort from all family members to conserve living standards, but it’s this type of preparation that should not be overlooked. Thanks to his parents' selflessness in teaching these life lessons, Zani’s son looks forward to many more carefree days of childhood in freedom.
The family's journey of living off the grid has made them the target of skeptics. Zani spoke about the stigma: "People seem to think that it means not using technology, having phones or internet. That we are hiding from government, don't pay property taxes, don't need money, and live without any modern amenities."
On the flip side, she also noted how some members of the online community have been more enthusiastic when they heard of their lifestyle choice. Unfortunately, such support was not exclusive, as the family was also accused of deforestation and preventing their son from having a normal upbringing.
Zani and Yeeno's quest to live an off-grid lifestyle has inspired many, as evidenced by the significant growth in their social media following. With over 258K+ followers on TikTok and 151K followers on Instagram, their journey undoubtedly resonates with a large audience.
Making the decision to commit to a life away from modern living is no easy feat, yet Zani and Yeeno have pushed through to create an idyllic homestead. Refusing to let challenges stop them, they've embraced this new way of life by launching the brand offgridhomesteadfam to share advice. We look forward to seeing what comes next!