Friday, 7 April 2006

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, it might explain.

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed?

Hunter S. Thompson

I moved out to the woods on June the 1st of 2005 and, after a six week trial run, said that I would live out for a year. It seemed like a good idea at the time, it was nice and warm and light and quite a lot of fun. 9 months and 2 weeks later I find my life has been turned upside down, I've been on the TV, radio and in Newspapers and had all manner of people demanding my opinions on a range of subjects I know nothing about. Living in the woods is one thing, suddenly finding yourself answering calls from the worlds media is quite another, it has been a bit of a whirlwind ride I can tell you. On occasion I have been at risk of starting to take myself seriously and for a little while I thought I could change the world, it's a bit embarrassing to think of now but I did think that I could have an influence on things. Mostly though the thing that has changed has been me, I am a very different person now to the one that went to sleep on the side of a hill and woke up at the bottom of it on the morning of June 2 nd. Not only have I changed but the way that I view world is completely different now, I had rather thought that a year in the woods raising money for the Woodland Trust would salve my conscience and that I would then be able to get on with making money. It would be very nice to make lots of money but I have realised that material possessions are not the key to any kind of happiness. Being out in the woods I have gained some kind of freedom, a freedom from the trappings of owning things and whilst the cost of this freedom has been a lack of comfort I get the distinct impression that it is better to be uncomfortable and free than comfortable and trapped. More and more of my friends are buying flats and so trapping themselves for the foreseeable future to live and work to pay for their homes.

The other thing that being in the woods has done is to make me realise just how important the natural world is. Now that might sound a bit obvious but it really struck home over Christmas that the natural world is really very fragile and that the influence of humans on it is really rather destructive. OK this isn't the most shocking news in the world and I'm not going to harp on about it, I'm not really into that doom and gloom business. The trouble is that for some reason I feel obligated to do something and there are three factors behind this; firstly, something has to be done; secondly, I have managed to free myself from the trappings of modern existence and so I have the opportunity to do something, and thirdly there is all kinds of press interest in this living in the woods thing still and I should try to use this for positive ends. Combine this with some utter stupidity and that ticket to Brazil I bought and all of a sudden you have a plan to go live in the Rainforest for a year.

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