Does anyone else fantasize about this life? Living in the forest, being partially self sufficient (i don’t want to live off corn I grow myself and squirrels I shoot), and just spending all day meditating and thinking? I’m sure i’d get bored of it in a month but it is still a nice fantasy.
No. I like hot showers, indoor plumbing, and electricity.
For a civilized version, please read How to be a Hermit by Will Cuppy, our least-appreciated humorist.
You don’t need to forego those luxuries to live the solitary, reclusive existence of a hermit.
I’m as close as you can come while still having things like a cap, job, apartment, and whatnot. I work only every other week, and I work nights, which keeps the human contact to a minimum. When I’m not at work, I’m pretty much always at home, as the #sd chatters can attest. Which, I guess, might disqualify me from hermit status, but I don’t think it counts. It’s not like it’s real face-to-face human contact, after all.
I think it would be neat to be an “ornamental hermit.” This was a social drop-out who would be hired by wealthy Englishmen in the 18th century to live a hermit’s life on their lavish estates, along with the faux Greek temples and herd of minature deer. Ornamental hermits would live in treehouses or artificial caves, on display for the lord and his guests. The advantage to actual hermitry was that the estate staff would see that you didn’t starve, and the odd chance that one of the female guests might sneak back after the regular tour for some strange.
You know, if you didn’t spend money on bombmaking materials, you could probably live in a “Ted Kaczynski” type deal, but with a water tank and a solar heater. (That, or find a cave with a natural hot spring.) A solar panel or two might be enough to run a TV, or a laptop.
And a Volleyball, for conversation. (And for someone to scapegoat when things go wrong. “Damnit, voit—This is all your fault! No racoon stew for you, tonight!”)
I’m solitary and reclusive but I’m not a hermit which, to me, brings to mind someone living in a cabin or shack in the middle of the woods somewhere.
yes. YES. A thousand times yes.
Not that I hate people, I hate crowds. And as time goes on, more and more people move here, hence crowds.
I’d rather grow my own crops and farm animals, do canning etc., make my own beer… Nothing I’d love more than to be left to my own devices.
YMMV, because I’m a very solitary individual. I don’t feel the need to speak, or interact, I’m apt at it because it’s necessary in today’s world. I’d rather live in a cave or on a mountain with Hubby. Where we would’nt feel the need to talk.
I’ve fantasized about this a lot myself. I’m not all that social, and part of me is really interested in living with the bare essentials. Living off the grid would be cool. But I could never talk my husband into giving up ESPN.
I lived as a hermit for four months in Vermont in the Summer/Fall of 1996. I had gotten tired of the modern world and it had always been a dream of mine. I lived in a large remote farmhouse next to a mountain on the far outskirts of a small Vermont village. No phone, no internet, no mail, nothing. I didn’t know anyone in the whole state and I just stayed home and read or went hiking or whatever I felt like. I went to the General Store (a real one) about twice a week to get food and whatever else I needed.
The problem was that I liked it a little too much. The only reason that I left and moved to Boston was that I had run out of money and needed a job. I would do it again in a heartbeat but I would probably want internet access this time. I am not sure how it would work out long-term, but for four months it was great.
I thought about that a long time ago, building a shed type material. It would easily be big enough for a bed and desk, which is all i’d really need. I could have an outdoor chemical toilet. Maybe small windmills for energy and a water tank too. Internet would be nice so I could have a satellite for that if I really wanted it.
But where would a person build one? It would be nice to build one deep in the woods but how do you buy a small area of land in the middle of a forest?
Funnily enough I have, But I don’t like the image of doing it as a hermit. I like to think I’d be doing it Robin Hood style. Keeping my clothes clean, building decent houses in the trees. Going down the Glen to catch fish.
In the Isle of Man the landscape makes this fantasy particularly appealing.
Well, you could either a) Buy the whole track of wilderness, and only build your cabin in the middle of it; or b) Just build the shack in the middle of the wilderness, without actually buying the land it’s on. If you’re isolated and remote enough, you might just go unnoticed by any rightful property owners.
It’d be kind of a bitch to move construction materials out to your building site, of course. But hey, you can’t have an omelet without breaking some eggs.
*Though it would be possible…with some work, some patience, and preferably a pack mule. Or at least a “cargo bicycle,” like the Vietcong used.
Cool! Professional Garden Gnome!
I have the daydream where I have the cabin and the flannel shirt and I chop firewood all the time.
I think there used to be a commercial where a guy lives up in the frozen north all alone for 6 months every year and all he has to keep him connected to the world is his internet connection. I like that idea. The only problem with bringing the internet into the hermit mix is that you might start feeling like it’s your lifeline which defeats the wholel purpose of solitude and self-sufficiancy.
Yeah exactly. Also if you are camping (if you want to also get back into the wilderness lifestyle with your hermit goals) modern technology makes it feel fake too. Insulated coats, 0.2 micron water filters, pre-packaged food treated with radiation, etc.
What’s with all the rustic crap?
I’d want an incredibly posh and sizeable hideaway in the woods where I could paint watercolors all day and traipse through the forest, but still be able to order whatever I wanted off the internet. Maybe I’d bake my own scones in my marvelously equipped yet quaint kitchen, though…
Or maybe a winter castle on a windswept isle…with servants…and a cook…
As long as I have enough toys to play with and it’s pretty enough, I’d be just fine.
Are you going to wear the Errol Flynn-style outfit?
I lived in lofts in downtown Boston through most of the eighties, and I fantasized about being a hermit in the woods a lot – so I did it. I bought myself an old, ramshackle log cabin in the woods in Belfast, Maine (cheap), and after spending a couple summers fixing it up, I moved to it – “permanently”. I had twenty-seven acres of my own, all rocks and forest, and this was surrounded by about another hundred acres of other peoples’ uninhabited woods. Though I was quite a ways in, I did have electricity for lighting nd pumping water from the spring, but no television, just a small radio and a lot of books.
I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, but I’m not certain I’d do it again, either. Of course this was fifteen years ago and I feel a lot older now, and perhaps less resilient.
Spring, summer and fall could be glorious. It was wonderful to see the progression of the seasons without a lot of human interference. There were moments that were perfectly mystical in nature, when I might suddenly find myself enveloped in an oceanic feeling, as though I were completely comprehending my little role in the big picture.
And there were creatures like the Bald Eagle that would come and sit in the pine tree outside my main window many evenings, that could give a sense of kinship.
But there were other times, such as when I overconfidently collected bolete mushrooms and cooked them for dinner, not realizing that while no bolete is exactly poisonous, some must be cooked very thoroughly in order to avoid illness. Spending three days vomiting every five minutes or so when alone in the woods is, well, humbling when you’ve been thinking you’re doing a great job of hermitizing.
Winter was especially hard there. The water line froze and it was necessary to carry buckets of water through the snow from a stream a quarter of a mile away, in order to wash and cook. And I had enough wood put aside, but the wood stove that was my only source of heat was pretty much a rattletrap, and needed to be fed every three hours, day and night. Failure to wake up and feed it meant waking up in a near-freezing cabin, and then it would take much of the day to raise the indoor temp to sixty.
I suppose I wasn’t, strictly speaking a “real” hermit, as I’d go into town once a week to do production work at the local newspaper and buy food; and sometimes friends would come by. But there were days in a row when I’d be alone, reading, writing, and tending to chores that needed to be done to survive, especially in winter. Somehow, I’ve felt lonelier in cities at times than I ever felt there.
I stayed about a year and a half, through the winter and into spring and summer, but by August, other duties forced me back to Boston, and I wasn’t able to go back much after that. I sold the place a couple years later. Sometimes I still miss it.
It was a tremendously enriching experience, and some of it still sticks with me. I’d recommend something like it to anyone who wants to do it and can arrange their life so as to make it possible. I’ll always be grateful that I had the chance.
…and wiping my ass with toilet paper…