Sunday, 4 July 2010


The Mesa is an unusual community of four hundred people living in the desert five miles away from the Rio Grande, whose life ‘off the grid’ means existing outside the law, but also not having access to electricity or running water. The community is founded a survivalist attitude towards the modern world – as one resident puts it, “we don’t dial 911, we dial 357 – .357 Magnum”. The group interprets the space they inhabit as the last corner of America which is truly free, and revel in a do-it-yourself approach which sees houses made from mutilated car wrecks and food cooked over log fires. Some of the members served in the military in a previous life, and their reason for living in the Mesa is clearly bred from a disillusionment with the intents of the U.S. government. While most of the community is of sound mind, a few residents testify to the potential to go insane in such an environment.

At just over an hour in length, Off The Grid: Life On The Mesa is essentially a glimpse of the subject rather than an in-depth documentary, but there is still a lot of ground covered. The residents are quite open to explain the source of their emotional struggles, which helps to demystify their reasons for living in such circumstances. The Mesa itself is halfway between a batty micronation and a peaceful, nurturing community, and while it may not seem desirable for living, it does have a loving heart at its centre.

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