Unplugged Nation episode airs Wednesday, Aug. 5 on FYI
OROVILLE – Whether you call it living off the grid or going unplugged, a LA couple got a taste of it in three different locations in Okanogan County for the new television show, Unplugged Nation.
The self-described 20-somethings are Daniel Kayton, a writer and designer and Angela Cross, a musician.
“Unplugged Nation” is a show about families/couples who are currently living in a city, but are curious about moving to an ‘unplugged’ lifestyle – unplugged as in self-sufficient and disconnected from ‘the grid’ (e.g., solar power instead of public utility, private well), according to the couple.
“Off-grid is the more common term, meaning the same thing; I think the network just likes the sound of ‘Unplugged’ more,” said K’ayton
Up until now, the couple has called Los Angeles home. Cross was born and raised in LA and has lived there her whole life. Klayton was born and raised in North Virginia, but has lived in Los Angeles for about eight years.
For their show, episode two of Unplugged Nation, they explored properties in the Okanogan – one property in the Methow Valley, one property in the Aeneas Valley and one property outside of Oroville, up on Ellemeham Mountain Road. The property they did their three-day stay at was the one in the Aeneas Valley, said Klayton.
“I don’t want to give too much away, in terms of the challenges we took on during our four-day stay, but let’s just say we had the chance to meet some of the local ducks of the Aeneas Valley and we were happy to get our hands dirty in the Okanogan soil… and that some of the challenges involved the fact that there are bears in the region,” he said.
Klayton says he writes poetry, nonfiction and philosophy/spirituality-minded stuff, as well as being a graphic and web designer. Cross is a classically-trained musician, jazz performer, singer-songwriter, producer, music teacher
They’ve been together about three years and have both lived in Los Angeles together and lived/traveled around the world together, including journeys to South America, Africa and Europe.
“We’re both arts-focused, yoga-bending, spiritually-minded, sustainability-oriented folk. More than a few people have called up hippies. We like to combine the flower-child mentality with the potency of modern technology – more than a few people have called us ‘modem cowboys’ too, and you can bet that our off-grid house will have satellite internet,” Klayton said.
“We’ve been working for so long on transforming our life to be more connected with nature, and to unplug from the hectic life that we created in Los Angeles, and I’m so happy that we are finally near our goal. I think it’s funny that our off grid adventure begins with filming a reality TV show episode,” said Cross.
“I’ve met some amazing people in our first few months in Okanogan and I’m excited to meet more.” We had the chance to watch the first episode of the series, and think that it’s a pretty neat show. Most homesteaders will probably find it to be basic compared to what they’ve learnt over years and years of experience, but I think that it’s a great introduction to city-folk, on what an off-grid Okanogan lifestyle might look like.”
He adds, “The experience of being on ‘Unplugged Nation’ was a surreal thrill! I didn’t know what to expect going in, but everyone we worked with was so friendly and so much fun, that it was impossible to not have a blast.”
Unplugged Nation, which airs on the FYI channel, starts with meeting the family or couple in their current lifestyle, in their current home city. They are then taken to three properties in a particular area, each property being currently for sale and is already off-grid or could be converted to being off-grid. The show’s host, Jay Gruen, a contemporary homesteader and urban-farming expert, guides the couples around the properties, pointing out all the little off-grid things about it.
Then the couple picks one of those three properties to “test out.” This entails four days and three nights on the property, soaking in the off-grid life in general, as well as taking on different ‘challenges’ that Gruen presents them with. According to Klayton, such challenges might include things like cooking food in a wood-fire oven, building a pen/coop for animals, planting a new garden, etc. A month later they do a recap in which the couple shares their thoughts after the unplugged experience and says whether they still want to move off-grid, or have decided that the city life is more for them. “And if they’ve made an offer or bought any of the properties they saw on the show,” said Klayton.
“We had the chance to watch the first episode of the series, and think that it’s a pretty neat show. Most homesteaders will probably find it to be basic compared to what they’ve learnt over years and years of experience, but I think that it’s a great introduction to city-folk, on what an off-grid Okanogan lifestyle might look like,” she said.
The experience was enough for Cross and Klayton to decide to make the move from LA and buy property on Ellemeham Mountain outside of Oroville.
“Though we’d already been exploring the Okanogan valley for a couple months, the show had me really fall in love with the region. Without a doubt, our nights out in the Aeneas Valley left me wanting more! Although we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time in Oroville itself, I’m excited to get to know more of our new hometown – including the yoga studio, which I was pleasantly surprised to find! For Angela and me, living off-grid is all about a larger journey of connectedness, sustainability, and a life of soulful work and hearty laughter,” Klayton said.