Where can I go to experience peasant life for a month?

Hi all,

I wouldn’t mind heading to a foreign country for say, a month, to a place where I can live and interact with people without any modern comforts (electricity, running/hot water, etc). Are there places around the world that accept ‘tourists’ in to this kind of thing, where the environment is relatively safe and secure? Preferably in to a society where the people living in it are content with their way of life.

Any ideas? Suggestions?


Go camping. To make sure it is realistic, don’t take much in the way of equipment, or extra clothes. Of course, you will miss out on the bleak lack of prospects for the rest of your life, but hey, it’s a vacation.


I did a basic google for “visit cottage no electriciy” and got hits in Scottland, Maine, Ontario, and Whales, among many others. I suggest Scottland, since the lack of electricity will require ready access to liquor for entertainment. Have fun.

Any Amish society.

The professor of my anthropology course I some a couple years ago spent several stints living among the Giriama people in rural Kenya. She nearly assimilated with their culture completely for 2 months at a time for research purposes. She lived in a hut built from straw and mud, learned the language (some form of Bantu I think), participated in their spiritual rituals, and ate their food but only drank the bottled water she brought from modern civilization. She said many of the Giriama had never seen a ‘white’ person before so they were curious but very kind and hospitable.

The professor of *the *anthropology course I took a couple years ago…

incomplete editing :smack:

I highly doubt that the Amish accept “tourists” in this way. You can go eat an “Amish Dinner” or go take an “Amish Buggy Ride” or tour an Amish house. But you can’t just show up and live with them.

Also, you would be very far from being away from modern conveniences. Even if you didn’t have electricity or a phone, you’d still be clothed, bathed, fed, have transportation and live in a very sturdy house amongst a lot of other people who spoke English. It would be more like going back in time than going off into the wilderness.

I actually came in to suggest an Amish society as well. I’m not sure about ‘tourists,’ but I had a teacher who, every year, goes to live (and work) with an amish community. So maybe not a tourist, but if you were serious about it…OTOH, it’s not that you can call them up and ask about it.

You can come to our place and live above the stable, I’ll shut the electricity off to it. Then you can get up in the morning and feed and water the ducks, turkeys , and pigs. And then tend to the garden all day, it’s about 1500 sq ft.

The best part is, I won’t even charge you for the experience!

I would suggest The Blasket Islands off the west coast of Ireland. The island was evacuated in the 1950’s but there are some modest accomidations on Great Blasket for only €25/night. Electricity and running water was never installed on the island. They’ll duly instruct you to bring your own torch and drinking water.

My grandmother pays good money to someone to live in and keep up her cabin up in BC, which might have electricity, but no hot water (and possibly no running water). I’m sure if you really wanted the job for a bit, we could let you do it for free ;).

Get a job with the State of Tennessee.

I kid, I kid.

But only by thaaaat much…

To be technical, I’m pretty sure the OP stated they wanted to live like a peasant, not live in the wilderness. You are probably correct about Amish people not taking people off the street, but I’m sure there have been occasions where certain people wanted to switch to the Amish belief system and started living among them.

But overall, there is no running water, no electricity and no automobiles. Everything the original poster asked for.

Ask any homeless person in any large US city. No travel expenses.

^^True, or you could just live with a homeless person. :slight_smile:

There are plenty of places in the back country of Panama where you could go where there’s no electricity, no hot water, no roads, no modern conveniences of any kind. Of course, these are not the kind of places that are typically frequented by tourists. However, if you showed up and asked to rent a house, say, someone would be happy to accomodate you. You could probably pay someone to cook for you too. The locals of course would think you were quite crazy, but I doubt you would have much problem.

I’m thinking here of Spanish-speaking mestizo campesino (peasant) communities. You could stay in Indian communities as well.

Pretty much anywhere outside the developed world - in Latin America, Africa, Asia - it wouldn’t be difficult to find communities you could live in that don’t have any modern conveniences.

I recommend Eastern Europe or Asia, although I’m sure there is plenty of cheap opportunities South of the border (that is parts of Mexico and down). Really to be a peasant is what you make of the definition. In my opinion people all over live like peasants, but it’s driven home that much more when you displace yourself from the environment and culture you’re used to.

I lived on the Isle of Wight (UK) for 3 months and just walking everywhere and depending on everyone for food and what not felt like a giant stretch for me. I figure everyone is suggesting Scotland and Ireland because of the common language, but since they use alot the words you think you know already differently it’s practically a foreign language in itself.

I’ll tell ya when I first went to Poland in '01 it was like going back in time 20 years. I figure if you go further east (beyond the EU) you will find the comfort level you’re looking for. And don’t be so afraid of the “English language thing” Most kids have already had 2 years of English and use it better than people here. Really if you’re wanting close to nothing then Asia is your best bet. Word is Mongolians will never refuse company and they’re nomads at that. But plenty of Asia and yes Africa too (no thanks) still have community wells or near-by streams and plenty of walking to just do the things you can do here in a 100 sq. ft space.

If I were you I would think carefully on what it is you are really after, you have to know yourself well enough that you know you can tolerate such conditions. When it comes to me, I can live in close to nothing but there better be some pretty scenery to content me… then think about the exchange rate and finally do some searching about those areas, chances are the decision will get made for you- more or less. Good luck!

“A Year In Catford” - The diary of two Provencal sommeliers who swapped their 16-acre vineyard in the Luberon Mountains for an ex-local authority flat in Catford, in search of La Vie Anglaise.