Couple quit their jobs and sell their home in Yorkshire to raise their toddler in a DIY off-grid cabin in Chile – where their bills are just £400 a month

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  • Reading time:8 min(s) read

  • The Rawlings family claim to only spend £400 a month since the move to Chile  
  • READ MORE: We’ve taken our 11-month-old son to 23 countries 

A couple have quit their jobs and sold their family home to bring their toddler up in a DIY ‘off-grid’ cabin in the wilderness in Chile. 

Scott Rawlings, 34, and his wife Scarlette, 33, sold their North Yorkshire home along with all their furniture and set off on the 7,000-mile journey to a remote part of Chile in South America in September 2021.

Incredible photos show the remote cabin surrounded by endless forest that Scott built after quitting his 50-hour weeks as a quarry firm assistant manager.

The 34-year-old decided to quit his UK office job while his wife Scarlette, left her role as a restoration workshop supervisor and the pair moved ‘off-grid’ with son Lucas, three.

Once there, Scott purchased a £32,000 five-acre plot of forest land 20 minutes from the town Paredones in the O’Higgins region and began to build their new lodgings from scratch in May 2022.

Scott Rawlings (pictured right) ad his wife Scarlette Rawlings (pictured left) left their jobs and sold their home to move to a 'DIY- cabin' in Chile with their son Lucas (pictured middle)

Scott Rawlings (pictured right) ad his wife Scarlette Rawlings (pictured left) left their jobs and sold their home to move to a ‘DIY- cabin’ in Chile with their son Lucas (pictured middle) 

During the building process, Scott spent five months living in a tent while he constructed their £30,000 house while Scarlette and Lucas, who was one at the time, lived with relatives.

The young family then moved into their 860sq ft cabin in September 2022 to begin their new lives in the middle of the forest – with the nearest town a 20-minute drive away.

Father-of-one Scott said that he was inspired to live off-grid after travelling the globe for six years in his early twenties and finding it hard to settle back into the UK working lifestyle.

He used the £50,000 profit from selling 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 – because their living costs still total £400 per month.

The Rawlings family have now been in their two-bedroom forest cabin for almost a year and Scott says living disconnected is the best decision he has ever made.

However, because little Lucas may be lacking in ‘social interaction’ being so remote, Scott says they may opt to take him to nursery if they can afford the fuel.

Scott, from Kippax in Leeds, West Yorkshire, said: ‘I was contracted to work 38 hours, but I was working 50-hour weeks and they were long, hard days.

‘In my industry people seemed so depressed and not happy to be at work and it was grinding on me.

Scott said that he was inspired to live off-grid after travelling the globe for six years in his early twenties and finding it hard to settle back into the UK nine-to-five lifestyle

Scott said that he was inspired to live off-grid after travelling the globe for six years in his early twenties and finding it hard to settle back into the UK nine-to-five lifestyle

Scott built the cabin after quitting his 50-hour weeks as a quarry firm assistant manager in Yorkshire

Scott built the cabin after quitting his 50-hour weeks as a quarry firm assistant manager in Yorkshire 

‘I also found it hard to settle back into a normal lifestyle in the UK after travelling for six years and meeting lots of different people.

‘Being in management I was just stuck behind my desk and I was working with a lot of people that weren’t happy.

‘It seemed like a waste of life. I don’t want to sound rude but it just seemed like a waste of time and life to me.

‘By the time we paid our mortgage and our bills we literally were just looking at your payslip thinking what is the point.

‘We literally packed a suitcase each, and put our dogs Ollie and Samba in cargo and left.’

As little Lucas may be lacking in 'social interaction' being so remote, Scott says they may opt to take him to nursery if they can afford the fuel

As little Lucas may be lacking in ‘social interaction’ being so remote, Scott says they may opt to take him to nursery if they can afford the fuel

The Rawlings have their own chickens and make their own compost and soon hope to buy pigs and grow their own produce so they can reduce their food outsourcing

The Rawlings have their own chickens and make their own compost and soon hope to buy pigs and grow their own produce so they can reduce their food outsourcing

It took Scott five months to build their ‘basic cabin’, which has two bedrooms, a large balcony and the roof is covered in 10 solar panels and one lithium battery to power their home.

Their shower is located in the forest and is powered through a gravity water tank and small boiler that is heated using a gas bottle.

The Rawlings have their own chickens and make their own compost and soon hope to buy pigs and grow their own produce so they can reduce their food outsourcing.

Scott said: ‘The house itself cost about £30,000 with all the solar panels – they were the most expensive part.

‘People think it [our house] is all very fancy but it is very basic.

‘For me the concept of living off-grid is not paying for your utilities and having no mains, water or electrics into your house.

‘So, for me I am living off-grid.

During the building process, Scott spent five months living in a tent as he constructed their £30,000 house

During the building process, Scott spent five months living in a tent as he constructed their £30,000 house 

The Rawlings have solar panels for electricity and  a borehole for water access, which Scott built by himself

The Rawlings have solar panels for electricity and  a borehole for water access, which Scott built by himself

‘We have solar panels for electricity and we have a borehole for water – that’s it basically.

‘I built the bore hole myself and it’s built 25 metres deep into the ground in the forest.

‘We then use a generator to pump water up to a tank near our house which we can store 2,000 litres of water and then water is pumped from this into the house.

‘We don’t have telephone connections.

‘We are on the net and people think this is not living off-grid, but each to their own.

‘The solar panel system is amazing. We have a fridge-freezer and washing machine and it powers these amazingly.

‘We obviously struggle a bit when it’s cloudy though.

‘Our shower uses water from a tank located at the top of our property, fed by gravity and then it has a little boiler with a gas bottle to hear the water up.

‘We also have a little gas bottle for our stove but we hope to soon eliminate these by getting a solar powered water tank and wood fired oven.’

Since converting to the off-the-grid lifestyle, Scott said that the family have a monthly budget of £400, which is spent only on food, gas bottles and petrol and they then pay £100 a month on land tax.

But with no bills or mortgage to pay, Scott says the family have cut their monthly expenditures by almost a quarter.

Scott said: ‘This lifestyle is so much cheaper.

‘The outgoings on just mortgage and council tax was £1,500 [in the UK] without food every month. £1,500 plus food [so it would cost] at least two grand a month in the UK easily.

The family pay £400 a month on food and fuel, but they hope to reduce this by 50% in the next year when they start growing their own things

The family pay £400 a month on food and fuel, but they hope to reduce this by 50% in the next year when they start growing their own things

Despite sometimes worrying about money, Scott has said that he would never look back- and he encourages other to do the same

Despite sometimes worrying about money, Scott has said that he would never look back- and he encourages other to do the same 

Lucas (pictured), three, lived with relatives while the house was being built with his mother Scarlette

Lucas (pictured), three, lived with relatives while the house was being built with his mother Scarlette 

‘We pay £400 a month on food and fuel and we hope to reduce this by 50% in the next year when we start growing our own things.

‘It’s definitely on the top of our list to grow and the climate here is fantastic for that.’

While living off-the-grid Scott has picked up the odd labouring job to make some money, but both he and Scarlette are currently not in full-time employment.

Despite the odd money worry, Scott says he would never look back and encourages others to bring up their family off-the-grid.

Scott said: ‘This [the money] is the main thing that makes and breaks people living this lifestyle.

‘The next few months are going to be hard but trying to make money anywhere remote is hard. But, I would absolutely encourage people to live this lifestyle. 

‘It’s not easy. There are always things to do, but hands down there is more to life than the rat race and we are normal working class people.

‘This is hands down the best thing I have ever done in my life and if it fails we’ll just go back to the grind – but I hope it works out.

‘For me it is amazing raising our child without smartphones or tablets and raising him in nature.

‘He’s three years old and not scared of anything.

‘On the other hand, we are concerned that he might lack social interaction raising him like this.

‘He is at that age where he could go to nursery but we’re unsure if we can afford to pay the fuel to get him there and back but if we do start making money, then we’ll send him.’




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