Being self-sufficient doesn’t mean you won’t need to get around. If you move to the country you will need to travel to the city from time to time to shop for amenities you can’t grow. Also, if you decide to sell your excess produce at market, or raise livestock, your own transport will come in very handy.
Running a Car
You may find that you still have the money and inclination to run a car in your new, self-sufficient lifestyle. You may have money saved from a pension or savings, or decide to continue to work in some capacity to cover these expenses. A car can be quite expensive to run. It will need taxing, insuring and MOT tests every year, as well as occasional new parts and running costs.
If your vehicle is powered by diesel, you can run it off hydrogenated oil. This is recycled vegetable oil that is dramatically cheaper and greener than regular diesel and petrol fuels. Many local fast food restaurants and take-aways, such as chip shops donate their used vegetable oil to specialised ‘petrol’ stations, where the oil is modified into fuel suitable to run a vehicle from.
The cheapest and greenest method of travel is the bicycle. After the initial cost of a bike, you will not need to pay much more towards the running of it. It will need a new chain between every six months to two years, and new tyres and inner tubes depending on their wear and tear.
Bikes can be very useful. You can attach panniers to the sides of the bike, and a large basket at the front to carry goods to and from your home. Don’t be put off by riding a bike in poor weather such as wind and rain, if you are wearing suitable clothing you will not be troubled by it. And you will warm up quickly.
If you have a good public transport system in your area, you can also get around by bus or by train. Busses and trains can run quite regularly, depending on the area, and will often take you directly where you want to go. To find out more about your local bus and train services, check with your local tourist or transport office, or your local council.
Bikes and public transport are not too useful if you plan on raising livestock or taking goods to sell at market. However, if you are friendly with your neighbours or the local farming community, you can strike a deal with them and get lifts on market days, or when your animals need vetinary attention, visits to the abattoir or just mating with other animals. You may be able to offer a few dozen eggs, vegetables from your garden, cheese, butter, yoghurt or milk in exchange for such lifts, or you may be lucky enough to get them for free.
Getting about needn’t be a problem for the self-sufficient household. Owning and running a motor vehicle is the easiest option for getting around and transporting goods and livestock, however both bicycle and public transport are cheap, green and healthy methods of transport. Neighbours and local farmers may be willing to offer you lifts in exchange for fresh produce.