Shelter, fire, water, food: basic elements of survival.
Apartment, electric stove, tap water, supermarket: developments of comfort and convenience.
Looking back on his childhood camping trips, Colby Smith says he felt like a scuba diver or an astronaut–carrying his life support on his back, not relying on the natural world. He was outdoors without facing the elements. This feeling of disconnect prompted Colby to learn to build sleeping shelters and forage for food. After living in sporadic solitude for eight years, Colby has returned to society and now teaches others how to find and use natural resources.
Caitlin Horigan does consulting, marketing, fundraising and web design for non-profits and micro-businesses. She’s a yoga instructor and works on community permaculture projects. A trip to South America changed Caitlin’s concept of subsistence. “Electricity can be useful, but you don’t need it in your home.” She says she’s not making any sacrifices to live this way and doesn’t feel she must swear off the modern world.
For Colby and Caitlin, living off the land is not a necessity–it’s a lifestyle choice. These stories express the lifestyles of two Mainers living off the grid. To differing degrees, they maintain a connection to the modern world while living without public utilities, practicing what they call “primitive” skills.