Whitney Newkirk and husband Trent reveal they’ve created a completely self-sufficient lifestyle
A couple who escaped the hamster wheel to live off-the-grid in the desert of a US national park are now completely self-sufficient – and claim they’re recycling their own human excrement to power their gas stove.
Whitney Newkirk, 33, and her husband Trent, 26, moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, more than 2,000 miles away, to Joshua Tree National Park, California, in August 2020.
They now live in a converted yurt on their piece of land, which costs around $30,000 in total, and have been documenting their off-grid lifestyle on social media.
After two years in the yurt, Whitney said she “never misses civilization,” claiming, “I love people, but I don’t like big crowds.”
After giving up the 9-5 life more than two years ago when Trent lost his job due to the pandemic, the couple traveled through US national parks before settling in California.
Whitney Newkirk, 33, and husband Trent, 26, fled the city to live in a desert. The Wisconsin couple have made a self-sufficient life in Joshua Tree National Park
They now live in a converted yurt on their piece of land, which costs around $30,000 in total, and have been documenting their off-grid lifestyle on social media
Whitney and Trent live with their pets in the converted yurt, which cost $20,000 and took three months to design and plan
Joshua Tree National Park consists of two deserts, the Sonoran and the Mojave.
In March 2021, the couple bought a 2.3-acre piece of land for $8,000 to build their new home.
They also bought a custom-made yurt for $20,000 and invested in a 2,300-gallon water tank to get them started.
The yurt took three months of design and planning. The couple had to drive over 14 hours to pick up the parts from a company in Cottage Grove, Oregon, before spending another three weeks assembling the structure.
It took another year of renovations to turn the yurt into a livable space with a working bathroom and kitchen.
Now that her project is virtually complete, Whitney said she feels like she’s on top of the world.
The couple uses solar energy to power their yurt and have also implemented a biogas system that uses food and even human waste to produce gas
The couple had to drive over 14 hours to pick up the parts from a company in Cottage Grove, Oregon, before spending another three weeks assembling the structure
Whitney and Trent fell in love with Joshua Tree National Park — made up of two deserts, the Sonoran and the Mojave — and in March 2021 bought a 2.3-acre piece of land for $8,000 to make it their new home
“The best way I can describe the feeling when we were done was when I literally felt like I was standing on top of Mount Everest,” she said.
The desert-dwelling duo are off the grid and get their power from solar panels they installed themselves, with the entire system costing $12,000.
They also have a home biogas system that produces gas from food and even human waste, which they use to cook with their fryer and stove.
Whitney said: “I never miss civilisation, I love people but I don’t like big crowds.
“Now we feel so much more free financially and closer to nature.”
They say the trip helped them understand so much more about nature and was incredibly fulfilling.
“There are still trials and tribulations as we continue to build and bring back a desert ecosystem to the outside,” Whitney explained.
“But I’ve never been happier to do it. Our happy times outweigh the bad by a million.”
Whitney (pictured) has been documenting the couple’s off-grid lifestyle on social media. Share how they renovated their yurt
It took a full year of renovations to turn the yurt into a livable space with a working bathroom and kitchen
Trent works from home as a mechanical engineer for a new company, while Whitney manages the couple’s social accounts, where they document their off-grid lifestyles.
Whitney revealed they’ve had to adjust to living with less water – although they can still shower and wash the dishes every day.
“We plan to dig a well, but it’s expensive and quite dangerous to do it alone,” she explained.
Whitney and Trent have many plans for their off-the-grid lifestyle and have toyed with the idea of digging a well
After giving up the 9-5 life more than two years ago when Trent lost his job due to the pandemic, the couple traveled through US national parks before settling in California
The yurt at night in the desert. It gets very cold in the national park at night, so the couple worked at night during the summer heat wave
They plan to install hot water in the coming months as they haven’t needed it all summer due to the desert lifestyle.
A weekly farmer’s market in the nearby town of Joshua Tree allows Whitney and Trent to stock up on fresh and “quality” produce.
Whitney says there’s also a Walmart down the street for any other supplies you might need.
Her hard work wasn’t without setbacks, however, and Whitney said there was a time when she thought it would never happen.
“There was a point where I thought we were crazy,” she said, “mainly because a heat wave hit just as we started our build and dropped the desert temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.”
“It’s very dry and you get dehydrated very quickly. Our caravan couldn’t keep up with the heat.
“It happened for two months and we thought we wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The pair never gave up, sitting in Trent’s truck during the day and building at night when it was colder.
Whitney and Trent are now focusing on the outdoors with plans to build their own greenhouse to start cultivating and growing as the areas of the national park are “green and teeming with life”.
They believe their move was a good investment as a neighboring piece of land now costs $65,000.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-11345399/Whitney-Newkirk-husband-Trent-reveal-created-completely-self-sufficient-lifestyle.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Whitney Newkirk and husband Trent reveal they’ve created a completely self-sufficient lifestyle