Couple ditch rat race for off-grid yurt powered by human waste and solar panels

A couple has ditched the rat race in favour of a life off grid in the middle of the desert in the US.

Whitney Newkirk, 33 and her husband Trend, 26 moved into a self-sufficient converted yurt, which is powered by recycling their own human waste and solar panels.

The couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, packed up their lives and moved to the desert 2,000 miles away in Joshua National Park, California back in 2020.

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The 2.3-acre patch of land set them back £7,000 and they spent an additional £20,000 on the conversions they’ve documented on social media.

Whitney says she ‘loves people’ but ‘never misses civilisation’.

They’re now almost finished with their project, and they couldn’t be happier with how it has turned out.

She said: “The best way I can describe the feeling of when we finished was I literally felt like I was standing on the top of Mount Everest.”

Since the couple has adopted an off-the-grid lifestyle, they rely on solar panels for electricity.

They also have a home biogas system, using food and even human waste to create gas, which they use to cook using their fryer and stove.

Whitney said: “I never miss civilisation, I love people, but I don't like large crowds. Now we just feel so much more financially free and closer to nature.

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“There are still trials and tribulations as we continue on the build and move on to bringing back a desert ecosystem to the outside.

“But I've never been happier to do it. Our happy times outweigh the bad ones by a million.”

Whitney says the biggest adjustment was rationing their water – although she added that they still shower every day and wash the dishes, but they don’t currently have hot water.

They plan to install hot water in the coming months.

She added: “There was a point where I thought we were crazy, mainly because a heatwave happened when we started our build and affected the desert temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

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“It's very dry, and you dehydrate very quickly. Our travel trailer couldn't keep up with the heat.

“That happened for two months, and we thought we're not going to get this done.”

Whitney and Trent are now focusing on the outside with plans to build their own greenhouse to start cultivating and growing, as areas of the national park are 'green and full of life.'

They believe their move was a good investment as a neighbouring patch of land now costs $65,000 (around £57,000).

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