The Wild Route: Leaving Work and Home for a Forest Life | NBC Left Field

The Wild Route: Leaving Work and Home for a Forest Life | NBC Left Field


I would find myself sitting at my desk, wishing the day was over so I could home. And then I would wish that it was Friday so I could have the weekend off, and I wished my next vacation was coming up, and I realized that I was very literally wishing away my life. Does life ever feel so crazy, so nuts, that you just want to drop your phone into a toilet and retreat to the woods? Confession: I have, and yet I’m still here. But how off the grid can you really go these days? Well, I went to the woods in North Carolina and spent time with some people who’ve left, and are trying to figure it out. As modern people, we’ve evolved to this extent where we’re not capable of feeding ourselves, clothing ourselves, providing our own water, or even getting rid of our own **** and piss. This place is called Wild Roots. I didn’t name it. We don’t have policies, and we don’t have rules. And this is Todd, a former engineer, who’s been living in this community the longest. Even after eleven years, I get a big thrill every time I go to the stream and just take a drink. It just feels good to me. Harvest season is over. There’s hunters that give us meat. We can it. We did a couple hundred quart jars of meat this year. Erica’s my girlfriend, and her eight-year-old daughter, May… What’re you doing? They spend a lot of time here. Smelling it? Then there’s a guy who goes by the name of Whip. Whipporwill! Say what? Awesome. Makes it magical. He’s kind of another refugee from technology like myself. He was working in cybersecurity. There are other things that come with the bear, like, the claws, or special bones that you can use for different kinds of crafts. That’s a bear skull, covered in a huge amount of maggots. Yeah, I can barely even shake them off. Whoa! My God. I can’t keep quiet for that. I miss some aspects of that kind of logical problem-solving, but I feel fully engaged with the problems I deal with here. Then there’s a young woman named Sparrow. Some people come here, say, “Well, if **** hits the fan, we can survive.” I think that’s pretty cool. I’ve also here because I love how it is here. I think it’s really beautiful, this lifestyle. Now, this lifestyle, of living off the grid, as we often call it, might seem like it’s a relatively new phenomenon, especially as we get more technologically involved. After all, just last year, the average American spent eleven hours, basically half a day, in front of a screen. But in fact, humans have been downshifting, or voluntarily living simply, throughout history to refute the norm. Thoreau went to Walden Pond from moral exploration and a rejection of the Industrial Age. Gandhi took his path as a sociopolitical act. And, you’ve got the Epicureans, the Puritans, the Quakers, the hippies… But, what unites all of these people across time is the viewpoint that mainstream culture distracts from what’s most important. Part of my transition is to be embracing an alternative that I feel deeply joyful about. Wednesday, cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning. I really do feel a deep gratitude for for life, you know? For all the trees around and the birds singing… And that the crops grow — I mean the food — it just grows! Money doesn’t grow on trees, but I don’t need it if the chestnuts grow on trees. And what happens when we shift our priorities? Well, two academics found that people who live in a way that prioritizes intrinsic values, like community, relationships, personal growth — are happier than those who focus on extrinsic ones, like money and status and image. Case in point: Todd. It seemed like the more money I’ve had in my life, the less freedom I’ve had. My level of freedom is higher, and I have a lot of joy. Hope for the mass of humanity? I gave that up a long time ago. And I feel like giving up hope is a lot like taking a great big good dump: you just kind of feel clean and done afterwards. Yep. It’s been raining all morning and now the sun’s coming out. There’s a lot of joy in that. You know, it doesn’t matter what Trump’s doing. He can’t take that away from me. We’re not in this bubble, pretending that society doesn’t exist. We’re like hyper-aware that society exists, and we reap the bounty that we can from the scrap yards, the junkyards, from dumpsters. It looks just like Luna. Pretty similar. She’s from a different region, though. I went to town two days ago. It was my first town trip in like a month and a half or something. This is a sheep head. And I see just one person after another person like this: Like I feel like people are becoming robots, you know? I go to town once every week or so. I get online and just sort of check out the ***ed-up state of the world. Then I get myself a latte because I love my lattes. Soy. My mother and father are still alive. And I don’t want to lose contact with these people, so in order to truly escape, I’d have to give up a lot of things that I like. It’s also the fact that as modern people, we have destroyed the ecosystems to an extent that even if we did know how to live off them, there’s just not much left. We can get into this sort of turning the concepts in on themselves, because we’re still completely dependent on, you know, normal industrial society. But I really miss the people. I had good friends. I’m miss, you know, like knowing what my paycheck was gonna be. It was kinda nice knowing I was gonna have a good chunk of change in the next two weeks. And of course, you know, we’re basically wealthy white people living in an area that hasn’t been utterly demolished. You know, being on the fringes, you get away with a lot more than if my skin was darker than it is, or if I wasn’t as well-educated, or if I didn’t have all my teeth, I know that I would be looked at very differently by the police. And I’m gonna try not to use it to anybody else’s disadvantage, except the police. A graduate degree in engineering seems like a speck of **** compared to time to just—instead of sitting in an office, breathing recycled air, and, you know, going clickety clickety click on a computer — being down there, drinking that water and just being free … To me, that feels like a huge accomplishment.

100 thoughts on “The Wild Route: Leaving Work and Home for a Forest Life | NBC Left Field

  • This is people who didn't know what to do with their money so they locked themselves into a box of convenience addictions and then decided money was bad. When it totally can lead you to freedom just the same, and personal growth  and learning how to engage and survive in your natural environment is a choice, regardless.

  • I respect their decisions and if they are truly happy, good for them. But not every job out there chains a person to a cubicle to live out a purposeless life. I joined the military, went to college, found a career I find rewarding, made money, moved to a home in a safe neighborhood with space to raise a family and animals, and I wake up feeling as though I'm making a difference in this world. I hope these people are happy, and they do make good points about the trappings of a world stuck on cell phones….but are any of them actually doing anything in their lives to help anyone but themselves? they are living off the grid and patting themselves on the back for being hermits. Seems egocentric to me, and although I respect their decisions, I'm not sure that behavior deserves a pat on the back. While they are blowing their own horn about giving the finger to the government, many other citizens are working hard, paying taxes, and engaging in charity. I'm not condemning them. But they aren't societal heroes.

  • They're only showing thw work shed and not the main living quarters.

    Thoreau went to Walden for a short amount of time, he didn't move out to the woods. But whatever floats their boat

  • Bless you all, when my daughter graduates high school here in Placerville I will be joining you in spirit and the walk here in Northern California. I am scared and elated all at once of the prospect of living off the land and living by myself alone in the wilderness.

  • Two problems I have for this type of like are boredom and cold. I don't like boredom and I don't like cold, and I think there would be some of that going on. Also, I think it would be kind of rude for the adults not to allow those kids to go to school. I hope that's not the case.

  • It's looks like a dream until someone gets sick or gets a tooth ache or something goes terribly wrong like breaking a bone. And he's drinking from that stream but does he know what's in that water like diseases and microbes that can eventually kill you.

  • What’s with the cruddy faces and filth? You have a creek. Take a bath! P.S. What do you do when your teeth start to rot?

  • They are dirty …I see nothing beauty in theirs lives like animals.,.in fact they destroyed the beautiful nature with theirs dirty stuff

  • I’d like to find a way to keep modern conveniences even when the lights go out. Analog lasts. But can we be still be clean and healthy please ? There’s no good reason to be grimy even in the woods

  • the irony is some people HAVE to live this way and they can quit any time and go back to their "rat race"…. BIG difference.

  • I gotta get the hell out of here away from society & get on with my life. There really is no way of fixing societies problems cause they will never change.

  • It was the British that staunched the world and countinue to do so. I say Death to the Queen and that inbread discusting empire.. no wonder Diania wanted OUT.

  • Have cancer and would love to experience this before my time comes. I was born in the woods of South Eastern Kentucky with only my brothers to play with. After a life in urban America I’m ready to live it again!

  • Hi my name is. Paula Please till me How. To Do this I am all alone in this but I can not find away to do this all I have to my name is A Disability check I have fibromyalgia I need to grow my food good food I was told clean air as I can breath can some one help me please They say reach out and you can get help but it has ben 3 years I can do a lot of things I can do anything one person can do the only thing I need to do is take brake in between work cause pain can get bad but after 20min I can go again I work hard and I do not stop till my work is done I take med for pain I want so bad to get off of them and live a clean life but I can not do this on lese I am out in the woods some were thank you please just till me how I can do this God Bless you all well some here me.

  • You can live a clean, healthy and awesome life in woods with a community. Those people should unite and use tools too. God bless

  • No it doesnt matter what trump is doing brother. Trump is not trying to take this way of life from you. I am a black smith and a hunter. I agree with a lot of your views.

  • Problem with this: Its just another privelege for a few. The earth cant sustain 9 billion People living of the Land like this, chopping down trees to build homes and hunting bears to make tools. Like they said, theres not enough intact ecosystems left, especially not for this huge amount of people. If you truly care for this Planet/Nature/People, you will do your best to live the Change of our society. Technology is not salvation. But it's an Opportunity, we decide how to use it. Look up Gaia, first 3D Printed House out of Mud and Straw. Cost of Materials: 400$. Look Up Wili Smithis TED talk on reforestate the rainforest. Look up the Movie Tomorrow. Realise that there are thousands of people in this world working towards a more just and sustainable future. We can't go back to the past, but we can create a more meaningful future. This is a valid alternativ to live a life more fulfilling, less stressful and more positive. There's no garuantee that we succeed, the future is unwritten. Be part, writing a new story for mankind. Don't isolate yourself in a bubble, society is not gonna stop to exist, just because you look away. Destruction of the rainforrest and depletion of all natural ressources is not gonna vanish just because you close your eyes towards it. Face reality. And if you don't like what you see, act on it!

  • Huh? Why inject comments about Trump and racism? What does that propaganda have to do with living off grid…Nothing! NBC = NEVER BELIEVE this CRAP

  • The average American spent more then $800 on their phone too! It only takes $10,000 to build your own 800 Sqft cabin, $5,000 for the .5 acre land and then $?? for inspectors if you need that sort of thing where you live….

  • Cities are just fancy prisons .. people will tell you all the time that they can't leave .. some do escape tho! 😉

  • Wow…. just wow. Who is better than us? These guy motherfucker!! These guys. Jesus Christ fuck off seriously stick all that self-righteousness right back up your ass goddamnit I need to shower after that. Best part was after all that escaping to wilderness etc. etc. he’s still a pussy and still drinks soy

  • Yeah.. Call 911 when there's an emergency! Try maintaining order when you get neighbours.

    People cannot manage ones own families and people who want to live like this are basically creating a suicide pact. Family is where it all rests upon, we called it Kula and a group of Kula became a Grama!

    The ancient vedic villages called as Grama, where individual families who set up a village brought with them their Kula achara or Kulaachara Professions and their Kula Sampradaaya meaning their traditions.

    These people created a perfect society for Millenniums we have lived that life till invasions and conquests brought aggressive cultures imposint their values and breaking up our societies which also had horrible superstitions and practises inhuman. Eventually it was given up for the modern world yet a few still today carry on the tradition 5000 year old

  • [email protected] you man! Why WTF you promote white guilt you [email protected]?! I'm white and see everyday were I live that people of color (every color just not white) are more privileged! Good thing that you moved in the wilderness, cuz that kind of stupidity belongs there! No wonder you could not integrate with normal peoe

  • i couldn't live this simply but i can understand why some would. i used to live in amish country in pennsylvania and they were more organized and clean than this. the drawback is how restricted the amish and mennonite communities have become with theocratic dogma. eventually i will have the homestead of my dreams and find my happy medium to these extremes but until then i have to drag myself through the 9-5 hustle like typical people or as i refer to them, the inauthentic wanderers.

  • Did anyone else notice that Todd has a seriously uncanny resemblance to the late Pernell Roberts, aka Trapper John MD?

  • This guy is full of shit! He obviously has some sort of financial backing because, those aren’t chestnuts he’s eating!!! This is obviously a produced left wing YouTube video!! How the fuck did a documentary crew find them?

  • So true. I feel so great whenever I get away from the man made social system and live in the natural world. It feels so natural.

  • My daughter in laws family is from N.Carolina all the way back to the civil war. They were hassled to join the confederate army so bad that the blocked any entrance onto their land. I guess they're still a bunch of crazy liberals living I those hills. Peace

  • I love how they just had to get a Trump rip in there someplace all the while never mentioning how the Obama administration seized millions of acres of PRIVATE land to create so called monuments and denying hundreds of families the RIGHT to keep and live free on their own land. BTW, Trump is reversing most of those government land grabs and returning that land to the rightful owners, but don't let facts get in the way of your anti-Trump agenda. What these people and most who watch this video FAIL to realize is that a huge amount of Trump supports already live this way or very similar and have for generations. So stop pretending like you have discovered something special and new… you haven't.

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