This is our fourth season in the wilderness.
People sometimes ask me for good advice. I seldom have it. The good advice that is.
I think there is some sort of importance in fucking up and learning stuff the hard way.
But because I am also very tired and these four years have been harder than they actually HAD to be… I´d like to share with you two things that I think you should acquire or prepare for if you want to live in the wild, build your own log cabin, become self-sufficient, opt out of the rat race.
We had no money. We had thrown all of our belonging out, we had thrown ourselves and the kids into a car, we drove like crazy. Into the wild. The plan was to build a log cabin but we didn´t really bring any tools. The plan was to plant a garden but we didn´t really bring any seeds. We had no IDEA what we were doing and that entire first year was a year of extreme UN-LEARNING or, to use one of my more extremist words: deprogramming.
It wasn´t so much about the tools as it were about waking up. In the wild.
There were angels though. We were not alone.
However, looking back it would have been nice to know just a little bit. A tiny bit. A fragment.
We were so lost. Oh my god… how lost we were.
We should have brought with us an axe.
To live in the wild you need a good axe. Actually you need two. You need one for splitting wood and you need one for building log cabins.
I am hesitating to give you this link because the sheer awesomeness of these tools will mess with your brain, you will be overwhelmed and you will crave these tools like your life depended on it.
The truth is that it does.
Our life depended on good tools and we didn´t have any. We should have brought with us some serious John Neeman tools.
Also: a chainsaw is good to have. Inexpendable actually. hey, Husquarna you can hire my man as a pr pinup, he´s old and we need the money, smiley)
The second thing is no less important. Maybe it is THE most important thing.
When you go to live in the wild you enter a reality that is in no way organized or adapted to the human existence. You can be a human in the wild and live like an animal (I mean this in a good way) and I know people who live in the wild like this- but as a modern family we had to create SPACE.
Human space. Safe space.
I do not feel we destroy nature or that our presence here is somehow bad or unwanted, as if humans should feel guilt all of the time for just being humans, I can see that we- by creating our human space- are actually contributing to the wildlife.
Bees and insects and birds and flowers thrive in our little biotope. We add value to the forest, to the wildlife.
We should have brought with us a tipi.
We´ve been testing tipis for a local company called tentipi and without this sounding too much like a commercial I´ll just like to say that I wholeheartedly and honestly recommend this product. Because it works. It is easy. It is spacious.
It is a good starting point, a safe haven, a base. And you´ll need exactly that if you go live in the wild.
You´re going to need ONE organized human space to where you can retreat, regroup, plan, sleep and eat.
The value of this can not be overestimated.
This picture is taken within a week of arrival in the forest. We built a tipi ourselves out of rafts and tarp. We spent a lot of time there, around the fire, talking, planning, working through the shock.
It was a nice enough tipi but kind of dangerous with the fire pit and the tarp and it was open, not closed, not contained and not very warm (oh yee cold nights!)
As you may know we had to leave our old place in the forest (and our first attempt at a log cabin). We found another place in the forest. That year we had gotten to know some locals and they gave us two trashed caravans to stay in while building our second log cabin.
This is where we slept
And this is where we cooked
This is my mother in law visiting, adding to the gypsy feeling
This is what it looked like when they left our human space to go fishing
I don´t think you can avoid those feelings. I can´t imagine. Chaos and discomfort is a huge part of leaving the comfort zone and pioneering your own life. But I think it would have been easier on the kids and I think we might have had a little more energy if we had a real tipi in where to put all this chaos and pride.
So allow me to tell you about the tentipi . Also because I get to keep the tipi if I write about it. And I really do want it. As a back up.
That´s the third thing you´ll need when living in the wild: not back up PLANS (rather I think having other options will kill your determination) but back UPS. If you are very dependent on a car you should own two, if you a very dependent on a generator you should own two. Axes, of course, you´ll need a lot of those. All of these things comes with time though. Your first investments should be tools and a tipi. I mean that.
Anyways, it´s real easy to raise, it is done within minutes, which makes it more flexible.
One thing we have learned : everything changes, all the time in the forest (as opposed to in the city where things are supposed to stay the same)
The light. The temperature. The wind. You have to adapt, stay on your feet, huge advantage with this tipi: you can move it. Adapt to ever-changing circumstances (and changing of plans)
Hammer the pegs down
all the way around
This kind of tipi is not build of many rafts instead it has one central pole. So raise the pole.
And there you have it!
(I love how the branches of the trees throws shades on the fabric)
We´ve raised the tipi down by the timbering site. This is our life now. Gypsy, gypsy, steady as she goes, working the timber with excellent tools.
I will allow myself to be really impressed about the this tipi, I don´t care if my recommendation is biased or one-sided because I really would have loved to have this kind of tipi when we got here. It would have made everything so much… better.
Because the tipi comes with a STOVE and a CHIMNEY we would have actually have been able to live in it during wintertimes too. This would have made the time pressure less deadly and the cold easier to bear.
Come in, come in. My oldest son Sebastian is living in the tipi right now. This is how he has chosen to decorate it (he took these pictures too)
Stove and a basket to carry the wood in
A bed and a pillow for the dog
Not shiny furs, no dream catchers or feathers or wooden furniture.
Some things never change I guess, not even teenage boys.
In a wilderness of constant change these four pictures made me smile a lot because this is how it is, you know, to live in the wild: you move so swiftly between extremes: constant change/eternity.
So that´s how it is. This is what I recommend. These are my advices.
Tools and a tipi.
And lots of love.