Mum and Dad left the UK and sold the house to raise a young boy in a DIY cabin in the wilderness of Chile
One father says he and his wife ditched the nine-to-five job and flogged their family home — to raise their young child miles from civilization in an “off-the-grid” cabin in the Chilean wilderness. Stunning aerial photos show the remote cabin surrounded by endless forest that Scott Rawlings built after quitting a 50-hour week as an assistant manager for a quarry company.
The 34-year-old decided to quit his office job in the UK while his wife Scarlett Rawlings, also 33, gave up her role as a supervisor at the restoration shop and the couple moved ‘off the grid’ with son Lucas. The Rawlings have sold their family home in Skipton, North Yorkshire, along with all their furniture and set off on a 7,000-mile journey to remote South American Chile in September 2021.
Once there, Scott bought a £32,000 five-acre piece of woodland 20 minutes from Paredones in O’Higgins and began building their new residence from scratch in May 2022. During the construction process, Scott spent five months living in a tent. While building their £30,000 home, Scarlett and Lucas, who were single at the time, lived with their relatives.
The young family then moved into their 860 square foot cabin in September 2022 to start their new life in the middle of the woods with the nearest town a 20 minute drive away.
Scott, who has one child, says he was inspired to live off the grid after traveling around the world for six years in his early 20s and finding it difficult to return to a working lifestyle in the UK. He used the £50,000 profit from the sale of their house to buy the land and build their new home in Chile, but hopes to start making and selling furniture to earn money to support his family – it still costs £400 a month.
The Rawlings have now been living in their two-bedroom woodland cabin for nearly a year, and Scott says living apart is the best decision he’s ever made. However, since little Lucas may lack “social interaction” for being so distant, Scott says they may choose to take him to daycare if they can afford the fuel.
Scott, from Kippax in Leeds, West Yorkshire, said: “I was contracted to work 38 hours but I worked 50 hours a week and those days were long and hard. In my industry people seemed very depressed and unhappy to be on the job.” He was grinding on me.
“I also found it difficult to get back to a normal lifestyle in the UK after traveling for six years and meeting so many different people. While working in management I was stuck behind a desk and was working with a lot of people who weren’t happy.
“It seemed like a waste of a life. I don’t want to sound rude, but it seemed like a waste of time and a life to me. By the time we paid our mortgage and our bills, we were literally just looking at your payslip thinking what the point is.
“We literally packed our bags, put our dogs Ollie and Samba in the load and left.” It took Scott five months to build their “basic cabin,” which has two bedrooms, a large balcony, and the roof is covered with 10 solar panels and one lithium battery to power their home.
Their shower is located in the woods and is powered by a gravity water tank and a small boiler heated using a gas bottle. The Rawlings have their own chickens, make their own manure, and soon hope to buy pigs and grow their own produce so they can outsource food less.
“The house itself cost about £30,000 with all the solar panels – they were the most expensive part. People think (our house) is so luxurious but it’s so basic,” Scott said.
“For me, the concept of living off the grid does not mean paying for your own utilities and not having pipes, water or electricity in your home. So, for me, I live off the grid.
“We have solar panels to generate electricity and we have a well for water – that’s all. I built the well myself, dug 25 meters into the ground in the forest.
“Then we use a generator to pump water to a tank near our house where we can store 2,000 liters of water and then the water is pumped from this tank to the house. We have no phone connections.
“We’re on the internet and people think it’s not living off the grid, it’s living one’s life. The solar panel system is amazing. We have a fridge, freezer and washing machine and they run amazingly well.
“We obviously have a bit of a struggle when it’s cloudy. Our shower uses water from a tank at the top of our property, is fed by gravity and then has a little boiler with a gas bottle to call the water.
“We also have a small gas bottle for our stove but are hoping to get rid of that soon by getting a solar water tank and a wood-burning oven.” Since switching to an off-grid lifestyle, Scott says the family has a monthly budget of £400, which is spent only on food, gas bottles and petrol, and they then pay £100 a month in land tax.
But with no bills or mortgage to pay, Scott says the family has cut their monthly expenses by about a quarter. “This lifestyle is much cheaper,” Scott said.
“The outgoings on the mortgage and council tax were just £1,500 (in the UK) without food each month. £1,500 plus food (so it would cost) at least two grand a month in the UK easily. We pay £400 a month on Food, fuel and hopefully we can reduce that by 50% next year when we start growing our own stuff.
“It’s definitely at the top of our list to grow and the climate here is great for that.” While living off the grid, Scott has taken an odd hard job to make some money, but he and Scarlett are not currently working a full-time job.
Despite the odd financial worry, Scott says he’ll never look back and encourages others to raise their families off the grid. “That (money) is the main thing that makes or breaks people living this lifestyle,” Scott said.
“The next few months are going to be tough, but trying to make money anywhere remotely is tough. But I would definitely encourage people to live that lifestyle. “It’s not easy. There are always things to do, but there is more to life than the rat race and we are ordinary working class people.
He added: “This is the best thing I have ever done in my life, and if it fails, we will go back to work, but I hope it will succeed.” Raised in nature.
“He is three years old and is not afraid of anything. On the other hand, we are concerned that he may lack social interaction when raised this way.
“He is at the age where he can go to nursery but we are not sure if we can pay for the fuel to get him back there but if we start making money we will send him.”