Most of the idealistic hippies who chose the country life in the early 1970s returned to suburbia after a few uncomfortable years. It was too cold in the winter, and the work was too hard. Advances in solar and wind energy may allow for more amenities and make adapting easier, but it's still hard work. Those who fancy a laid-back life in the country may want to take a few tips from the Yuen family before they decide to unplug: - You'll have to embrace nature in all its forms - from the pouring rain and blazing sun, to pesky ants and maddening mosquitoes. - Learn to appreciate that the best food comes from a harmonious relationship with the land. This will help you be grateful for what you have. - You'll have to give up the buzz of the city. There's no nightlife or entertainment - tranquillity is a daily feature. - Be prepared for a lot of walking and inconvenient transport. In remote areas such as Luk Keng, minibuses stop running after 7:30pm. - Be prepared psychologically. You can identify suitable retreats by visiting villages and asking residents if they have farm land for rent. A 7,000 sqft plot costs about $1,000 a year. - Start by selling your produce to friends. Your customer base should grow through word-of-mouth. - To reduce expenses, ask friends to donate used clothes. - For a renewable energy supply, you can install solar panels or wind turbines with the help of specialised contractors, although that will involve greater outlay.