British Columbia

Our life off the grid: Couple moves from suburbs to remote island

One-time city dweller David Cox has written a book about how he jettisoned his white collar lifestyle in order to live off the grid on Read Island.

"Working in the rat race is overall not satisfying," says author David Cox

Author David Cox gave up his white-collar job for a life off the grid on a remote island (Courtesy of David Cox)

It's a fantasy for many on the West Coast: give up your office job for a life on a quiet island communing with nature.

David Cox lived that fantasy, and he wrote the book on it. Our Life Off the Grid: An Urban Couple Goes Feral will soon be available on paperback — it's currently available as an e-book.

Cox used to live what he calls "the cul-de-sac existence." He lived in the suburbs with two kids and a variety of jobs, trying everything from running a medical clinic, to professional motorcycle racing to a stint as a banker.

"I was bored," said Cox. "I thought the routine of driving in traffic and living to work was unsatisfying."

David Cox's book will soon be available on paperback

David and his wife Sally set off for Read Island, B.C., a remote island that has no roads, no stores and no power.

"It's an incredible challenge when you go off the grid," said Cox. "It was not boring from the get-go."

The Coxes built their house from scratch.

"It's not quite as hippy as I make it sound," he explains.

They shipped in the wood by barge, used power tools and sought the help of how-to books from the library.

Their power comes from solar panels and a wind turbine, their water from a nearby creek. Some of their food comes from the beach and the ocean, where orcas swim a stone's throw from his front porch.

Most importantly for David, he and his wife Sally do all the work — roofing, plumbing, even basic medical care.

"It really makes you feel alive, it makes you feel better, it makes you feel healthier," said David. "I'm way happier."

David said he often comes across people who want to live a life off the grid. His advice?

"My response has always been, well, you should do it," said David. "Because working in the rat race is overall not satisfying."

On mobile? Click here to watch a video of David and Sally Cox on their property on Read Island, B.C.

To listen to the full interview with David Cox, click on the audio labelled: David Cox on living off the grid.