A life full of technology, social media, emails, work, rent and just too many commitments can get overwhelming at times. We’ve all had moments of wishing we had a simpler life, but this couple actually took the plunge to live a nomadic life, and 8-years on they're still living it up in the wilderness.
26-year old Miriam Lancewood, a P.E teacher from Holland, and her husband Peter, a lecturer from New Zealand, initially set out to challenge themselves to one year without the modern-day necessities of technology, society and electricity.
"We wanted to be a part of nature, rather than just observing it. We wondered whether we could survive a year in the wild." - Miriam
With two 85-kilo bags, the couple packed up all the food and living essentials they thought they needed to live a nomadic life. They headed to South Marlborough where they spent their first winter, then travelled to Nelson Lakes District and later the West Coast for summer and autumn. The struggles of hunting their own food and living in the outdoors were initially difficult. “It can be quite unpleasant, sometimes it’s awful,” Peter explained. Miriam’s earliest unplesant experience was killing her first animal: a possum. “I was vegetarian since birth but getting weaker and weaker. We were waking up with pains in our stomachs from trying to keep warm.” At first Miriam felt extreme guilt from this, but as she adapted into nature she began to feel a sense of self-pride and accomplishment in fending for herself.
The couple soon adjusted to wilderness living, and a life without modern-day conveniences. Miriam reminisces on her life as a teacher in New Zealand, describing herself as “always stressed” and “depressed about thinking I’m going to do this forever and ever.” However, today her story is a little different, and leaves us all thinking, is this life full of modern ‘essentials’ and ‘always on’ technology really that great?
"It's amazing when you remove yourself from modern day life, how much better you feel. Sleep comes very easily when the mind is quiet; I'm never able to sleep in cities now."
Five years into their nomadic life in New Zealand, Miriam decided to write a book titled ‘Woman in the Wilderness: My story of Love, Survival and Self-Discovery’ about her experiences. The couple have also shared a few tips over the years about living in the wilderness and prepping to go off the grid. The pair spent months training for a winter in New Zealand’s nature by partaking in long treks, first-aid courses, night walks, and reading survival and foraging books.
So was it worth it?
“Living like this taught me survival skills – and that we do not need much to be happy. In fact, the less you have, the more free you feel. I feel relieved I do not have a house and a job. I feel completely free while living in nature. The purity of the wilderness has taken away my worries, and I feel my mind is free to observe the beauty of the world." - Miriam
The couple have since relocated to Europe, where they’re spending a year walking to Turkey; part two of their life’s dream of never returning to “civilisation”.