Feb 17, 2013 at 8:09 am #1299372
My idea is to be a nomad for the rest of my life learning about the old ways indigenous peoples lived off(with) the land, following those ways as best as possible both to live leave no trace to it's fullest and because living with the land seems to make the most sense to me. I see my main goal to be learning the how to live with nature and teaching it to those who are willing while being a bit of a philosopher as well.
I will be hiking the AT south this year, hoping to start in march. I have been compiling gear for this trip as well as giving away everything I own that I won't be bringing with me.
I am not sure exactly what I would like in terms of specific feedback so any ideas, thoughts, comments, advice or criticism would be appreciated.Feb 17, 2013 at 8:12 am #1955204
Get the Foxfire series of books and read them. Quite old, but still useful info for someone wanting to live off the land and such.Feb 17, 2013 at 8:15 am #1955207
Read "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer – about a similar experience although it ended badlyFeb 17, 2013 at 8:36 am #1955216
I have not read FoxFire and will look into that as for what I have read that deal with the out doors; Into the wild, darma bums, most of John Brown's books, born to run, walden, the complete book of fire, a walk in the woods, brian(hatchet), The alchemist, siddartha, mutant message down under as well as a couple edible plant books(I haven't read them all but will be taking them with me).
Thanks for the ideas.Feb 17, 2013 at 9:00 am #1955230
I don't think it's really possible to live like the Native people did before European settlement.
The ecosystem has changed, there is not so much game, even way back then people traded resources to get by.
To really get by without modern help you'd need a truly remote place such as Labrador or Yukon… I don't think you could do it alone without firearms and a skidoo and an occasional airdrop.
Just my opinion.Feb 17, 2013 at 9:07 am #1955234
Ken T.BPL Member
Money? Going to need it no matter what these days. How do you plan to be a contributing(finacially) member of society?
You can tell spring is around the corner. We get a thread or two like this every year.
I had dreams of a life such as this too once.Feb 17, 2013 at 9:23 am #1955241
Jake DBPL Member
I assume you mean you are starting IN the south on the AT in march.. otherwise.. not going to happen. most SOBO's start in JuneFeb 17, 2013 at 9:27 am #1955244
Jim ColtenBPL Member
Look into Eustace Conway and an internship at Turtle Island Preserve.
Hmmm, seems like Turtle Island is currently closed due to not meeting building code and health regulations in Watauga County, NC. I don't know if that affects internships or not but is is a relatively recent development and may or may not be a completely done deal.Feb 17, 2013 at 9:33 am #1955249
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
I know this may be inflamatory but I can't help myself. sorry…
Isn't a little disingenious to set out to be a philosopher?
– smacks of a rich preacher.
as I hover over the post button I am thinking about why I think this, and if it even matters- the authenticity of philosophy.
What do you think?Feb 17, 2013 at 9:43 am #1955257
It may not be possible, that is part of why I am doing this. I want to learn more of the skills and put them to practice to see what is possible. As for doing it with out modern help and remote places I am not trying to be a purist, I understand much of what once was wild has now been developed, I am looking to learn those ways and discover through experience if they are in fact obsolete/incompatible with modern culture or if it is only our views/mind set.Feb 17, 2013 at 9:51 am #1955261
@hosaphoneLocale: Boston-ish, MA
So… I think you can make something like this work, but it won't be as romantic as you are picturing. "Living like the Native Americans" is probably unrealistic, for the most part.
#1 problem: you are going to need to make money. Even if you buy a chunk of property and homestead on it, growing a big garden, raising animals, solar/wind/well water, you'll still need at least some amount of income.
I've been looking into this myself for a while. I think the best ways to make this work are either to homestead and live off the grid as cheaply as possible, or live in a van / bike tour. Ideally, if you saved up enough money, you could do both – buy some land to call home base and travel around when you wanted to / had to to make money.
If you can find a way to live extremely cheaply, you can make decent money doing seasonal things and then stretch it out. It's also important to always be saving up money because who knows when you'll get injured and be unable to work.Feb 17, 2013 at 9:55 am #1955267
Don't let the doubters deter you : )
It is possible to have a good experience, even though it won't be like before Caucasians arrived.
Like in the book "Into The Wild". The main character did quite well, even though it ended badly. Even with him, he ate some wild beans that had some bad effect that prevented him from properly digesting food so he starved to death, but there was some bad luck there.Feb 17, 2013 at 10:09 am #1955274
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Someone dreams of breaking away and immediately those who can't or won't or are too afraid to tell you it can't be done.
There are people in this world living a life similar to what you describe.
Yes, some money is needed. But no, chaining yourself to a job for long periods of time isn't the only way to get it.
I was crewing a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands in the mid-nineties and met many people doing just what you dream of, but on boats. Crewing ships to make a little money to hop from place to place. I can think of many people I've met throughout my life that settle down long enough to make a little $$$ and then move on again; by bike, by foot, by ship, by car. Does this life have it's own set of troubles? Sure. But so does the other one.
You either will or you won't.
But it won't be the world that stops you.
I'm more than happy to talk philosophy and roaming with you when I have more time than right now.Feb 17, 2013 at 10:20 am #1955277
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Check out Eric Valli's body of photographic work titled "Off The Grid".
There are others out there living out this very existence.Feb 17, 2013 at 10:37 am #1955287
"Like in the book "Into The Wild". The main character did quite well, even though it ended badly. Even with him, he ate some wild beans that had some bad effect that prevented him from properly digesting food so he starved to death, but there was some bad luck there."
"However, an article in Men's Journal stated that extensive laboratory testing showed there was no toxin present in McCandless's food supplies. Dr. Thomas Clausen, the chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department at UAF said "I tore that plant apart. There were no toxins. No alkaloids. I'd eat it myself." Analysis of the wild sweet peas, given as the cause of Chris’s death in Sean Penn's film, turned up no toxic compounds and there is not a single account in modern medical literature of anyone being poisoned by this species of plant. As one journalist put it: "He didn't find a way out of the bush, couldn't catch enough food to survive, and simply starved to death." However, the possibility of death through the consumption of the mold, which grew on the seeds in the damp bags which McCandless stored them in, was considered a suitable explanation by Krakauer."
Regarding the OP, this may inspire or help you:
It is possible, sure. But living off of wild edibles is difficult. When I was 20 I tried an experiment. I went on a backpacking trip for 3 days without bringing any food, other than an emergency granola bar–which I didn't eat until I was on my way back home on the 4th day. This was in the summer in the woods of PA. I ate a lot what you would expect: raspberries, greens (sorrel, dandelion, cheeses, etc.). But what really got me by was that I brought fishing gear. I ate fish every day for breakfast and dinner, with sunrise and sunset paying off more. Trout, perch, and bass. Okay I did cheat a little bit come to think of it by bringing a small bottle of olive oil, some salt and pepper.
Lucky for me I was around good fishing spots full of fish, or I would have really been hungry. Yet even with eating the wild edibles and fish, I was still quite hungry. I was pretty much hungry all the time, and gathering food and fishing took up most of my time. One night I didn't catch a fish, an okay sized perch, until dusk–and I had been fishing for several hours. It taught me a whole new respect for nomads and primitive man, and humbled me as far as how easy I and most of the rest of the western world had it.
I have given serious consideration to pragmatic homelessness by choice in the past. But this included working part time at some slacker job that was not stressful, like say a record shop or used book store. The plan was to buy a bomber tent, nothing UL–one of those family tents for like 5 people. Set up the tent outside of town in the woods (stealth camping) that was walking distance from public transportation, say a few km from a train station or bus stop. Then just to play it safe, build a shelter on top of the tent to give it extra protection from heavy rain and wind. Nothing fancy, just a sturdy A frame with one of those huge hardware store plastic tarps over a ridge pole.
Next is to buy a gym membership. This gives me access to showers, most importantly, and the gym facilities are just an added bonus.
But I also had a long term plan. The goal was to save up as much money as possible so that I could buy a piece of land after living pragmatically homeless. After I had enough to buy land, then I could move there and build a log cabin and then become a subsistence farmer, totally off the grid.
Then I reconsidered after working out what I thought was a better plan, which was to move out of the US and to Sweden, which is what I did. I now have dual citizenship, and am in grad school, which is free for citizens (as is all public and higher education). I am applying for a doctorate position next week, with the goal of teaching at university level.
In addition to the free education, I also have nearly free (you pay like 20 bucks each visit) health care. My wife and I also got 480 days of paid parental leave for each of our two children. We also get grants from the state for not only being a student, but also for having children. It is also a backpackers dream, not just with the beautiful nature, but also with laws. Water and air are much cleaner, plus there is a law that allows anyone public access to nature. You can read more about that here: http://naturvardsverket.se/en/Enjoying-nature/The-Right-of-Public-Access/
The short of it is that I can backpack and camp nearly anyplace in the wild, and no one can stop me. People's yards are off limit, obviously, but private land owners of wild land are not even allowed to put up fences to stop people from going through it.
Life is pretty sweet over here, and after living here for 7 years now, I have no desire or plans to move back to the USA. My point is that there are other options if you seek to reject dominant culture. You don't just have to become a nomad. But good luck to you and be safe.Feb 17, 2013 at 10:51 am #1955293
Art …BPL Member
First of all … Get off the internet !
I don't think many people of the old ways had availability to web sites where others could offer them suggestions and encouragement.Feb 17, 2013 at 10:53 am #1955294
John S.BPL Member
Why hasn't Bob Gross responded to this thread yet? That is what I want to know.Feb 17, 2013 at 11:00 am #1955297
I'll chime in here with my fellow R2R2Rers, Eugene and Craig, (although they were in better shape for the event):
People do this. I know people who have done this and people who are doing this.
Just because some grumpy guy sitting at a keyboard with lots of titanium pots and beer-can stoves in his closet doesn't think he can do it, doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't give it a try.
Mostly, I know people who do the "100 years ago" version. Steel, some electricity (LED flashlight and/or solar to a battery), cost-effective hunter-gatherer gear (nets catch more fish than a hook, a 12-gauge can harvest any critter). Money is a good thing, not a bad thing to have, so some seasonal job, even substitute teaching, or casual labor is usually done (seasonal jobs and casual labor often present opportunities for showers, learning more skills, and making connections). Either that or there is a disability check or one from Mom each month. Note that this is all in Alaska which has frickin' long, dark, cold winters so knapping flint and brain-tanning moose hides into a teepee isn't nearly as viable as building a log cabin (especially if a chainsaw is within your paradigm). In a Mediterian (sp?) climate, the shelter would be much easier and less critical but the abundant, tasty protein would be rarer and mostly illegal to harvest.
But if you aspire to the "North America of 1000 years ago", (domesticated crops, a few domesticated animals), it is important to consider that those peoples were living in tribes, kingdoms and empires. One person didn't know how to grow crops, tan leather, hunt, fish, use medicinal plants, fight off invaders, and provide philosophical and religious underpinnings of the society – those roles (and many, many more) were shared among 30 or 300 or 3,000,000 people.
Further, if you're going back 20,000 years (no crops, no domesticated animals), you really need to be wandering around in a low-population-density area with good productivity for hunting/gathering. There's a cornfield, a suburb, or a National Park with rules there now.
But, again, I now people who did this 50 years ago because they were homesteading off the gird and off the road system. I known people who do it now because they'd rather run a dog team or putter around their own place than sit in an office from 9 to 5. Many, many more people give it a try and, if they've bitten off more than they chew – more than they were ready for, go back to modern life with some great stories and some experiences that probably changed their outlook on life. Some – often ones who ease into it – find a life that they want to live long term. The ones I know straddle the line of modernity and historic methods, picking and choosing in each arena. And none of them are purists. Nick yourself with an axe and it starts to fester? They don't use ferns and bark with medicinal properties – they get on-line at the library to learn more and show up on our doorstep to ask my MD wife for a script for antibiotics.
If your intention is to be more "primitive" or "natural", I'd suggest you focus instead on "living cheaply". They are both paths to the same place, but by living as cheaply as possible (and putting the unspent money in the bank), you have options to collect the gear, but more so the education and experiences that will enable you to do more. I don't know anyone who does this with a cell phone, power bill, mortgage, or central heating.Feb 17, 2013 at 11:02 am #1955298
Art …BPL Member
every human being is a philosopher.
those who call themselves philosophers are simply human's with too much time on their hands.
I know this because I have too much time on my hands, and once considered myself a philosopher. now I just consider myself a human being.
……….. You only have one life to live, you should live it however you truly want to live it, if you must read at all, read Sarte.Feb 17, 2013 at 11:03 am #1955299
>"Why hasn't Bob Gross responded to this thread yet? That is what I want to know."
Right now, he's probably baking some Indian soap root for 12 hours so he serve it with the trout he caught, like Gollum, with his bare hands.
Unless he's on Whitney, then he's just clobbered a marmot with a granite boulder and will serving it with a side of those rosy-breasted finches.Feb 17, 2013 at 11:08 am #1955301
What we said in the College of Chemistry at Berkeley was,
The Chemical Engineers just want to be Chemists. The Chemists just want to be Physicists. The Physicists just want to be Mathematicians. The Mathematicians just want to be Philosophers. The Philosophers just want to be God.
Unfortunately, however, the pay scale goes the other way.
But give the guy a break. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "The 20-year-old who doesn't want to be a philosopher has no heart. The 40-year-old who doesn't want a cuben pack has no brain."Feb 17, 2013 at 11:43 am #1955313
Bill LawBPL Member
@williamlawLocale: SF Bay Area
There are a lot of folks living along the creeks and under bridges. Some likely got there on purpose, thinking they were setting out to be "nomads." And how exactly is picking leftovers out of a restaurant dumpster not "living with the land?"
Perhaps one person's philosopher is another person's homeless bum? Is it not possible to be a philosopher while still living in a nice house, being gainfully employed, and enjoying a high speed Wifi connection?
I can't help but think that I should be getting "ideas, thoughts, comments, advice, or criticism" from an aspiring philosopher versus providing those things to them. Let me go live the nomadic life for a few months and then I'll get back to you on that.Feb 17, 2013 at 11:50 am #1955317Feb 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm #1955325
Interesting about Krakauer's theory about the sweet pea being poisonous and the doctor's analysis disproving it but maybe it was mold…
Whatever caused his death, he was quite successful for quite a while, in Alaska and previously.
Two lessons – you can live in the wild, but there's riskFeb 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm #1955329
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Not really a philosopher myself, but think we need to start with definitions. Are you thinking of being a thru-hiker or a nomad living off the land? Having worked with parts of a Central Asian nomadic system, actual nomads constantly deal with settled communities over pastures (sometimes resolved over AK-47's). Why? It's tough getting enough calories to eat, even via livestock. Calories will be an issue unless you have money, without relying on others significantly.
With sustenance hunting for meat, there may be game warden problems unless you have a license. Backpacker mag had an article several years back on a lady who subsisted on poaching mostly small game (snare's, net's, etc..) with run-in's with the law, so even a diet of squirrel and assorted rodentia may bring unwanted attention. Probably depends on the state – heck, some graduate assistants at my college would cook road kill. Two sides to that, I guess, but local law needs to be looked at.
So maybe a seasonal job (mostly winter in the northern Hemisphere), or a full-time job while moonlighting a second or even third one (had 1 fulltime plus 2 part-time moonlighting jobs myself at one time). Live off your part-time gig and bank the rest (after taxes) for adventure. Kind of like thru-hiker Francis Tarpon wrote — save money and watch expenses. Maybe learning and eventually teaching survival skills if you are interested in primitive skills? Just generating some more options.
Add: Taking a look at most thru-hikers, the vast majority work and save money by skimping in other areas, …. or find a way to make money writing about their travels, …. or computer work for traveler type backpackers, etc… There's exceptions like the CEO of Whole Foods, sponsored athletes, "trustefarians", etc..
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