Americans today constantly have their eyes locked on screens — their phones, tablets and televisions. Workweeks are getting longer and the retirement age is getting older. There’s an obsession with money and material goods. But a handful of people are rejecting these ways of life. They’re moving away from cities, living off the land and surviving with only the bare necessities. This growing lifestyle trend is explored in Live Free or Die, a new series that follows five individuals living in the country’s backwoods and swamps with few of the trappings of modern society.
To better understand what it takes to become more self-sufficient, we’ve been talking to experienced homesteaders and survivalists over the past few days. Here are the tips, insights and advice they had on the un-domestication of humans, aka reverting back to our wild roots.
What does it take to actually live “off the grid?” With a 13-year-old son in tow, Tammy and her husband moved to Idaho where they lived in an 8′ x 14′ canvas-wall tent for eight and a half months before building a 100 percent solar off-grid homestead – with a foot of snow on the ground! Now they forage for berries, harvest a garden, hunt for meat and cook on an open fire. “Our lifestyle to most would be too much work, but to us the work is rewarding and a dream come true. We live very frugally by choice and make most of what we need,” says Tammy. “We are embracing our dreams!” Read more about the Trayer family’s experience at Trayer Wildness.
Jennifer at Homestead Mania describes re-wilding as the “sweet spot where humans and nature connect.” In her latest blog post, she explains that re-wilding is accessible to everyone. “It’s not just something for extremists who want to eat raccoon and live in a mud hut. It can be incorporated into ordinary, mundane everyday actions, thoughts and emotions. It takes planning and practice and integrity. The steps must be consistent and continue over time.” She even gives us 10 tips for re-wilding our own lives!
Hawaii-based blogger Attainable Sustainable admits she’s got it easier than others when it comes to foraging for food in the wild. “But no matter where you live, if you get out into the wilds you might be surprised at the foraged foods you can add to your dinner table,” she tells us. To prove her point, she asked bloggers in Montana, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado and Pennsylvania to share their harvesting stories. Click over to learn more.
What would happen if a current-world problem became so severe that food wasn’t available at the grocery store, running water wasn’t pumped directly into our homes or gasoline wasn’t available to fuel our cars? Little Mountain Haven sheds light on what she calls “homestead life insurance,” stating in her blog: “It’s important for me to learn basic survival as backup, learn how to live with the land, grow and preserve our own food and most of all teach it to our children. For what are future generations of humans going to do when their iPad stops working?”
Janet at Our One Acre Farm shares her thoughts on self-reliance, technology and sustainability at the global population level and the individual level. “Widespread conversion to a hunter-gatherer existence would probably cause ecological collapse. But I think there is something to be gained from the survivalist trend, beyond the personal rewards to the rugged individual.” She also offers practical survival skills for the average person. Gardening, preserving, fishing and even keeping small livestock are just a few things an urban or suburban dweller could do to become more self-sufficient.
Read more on re-wilding, homesteading and self-sufficiency at each of the blogs above – and don’t forget to tune in to the premiere of Live Free or Die tonight at 10 PM on the National Geographic Channel.