To be admired, or mad as a hatter?

@GreenMoo (11842)
March 15, 2012 10:34am CST
There's a guy living in the forest near us. He arrived in the autumn, and is still around. That might not sound very unusual, but this guy lives entirely on foraged foods and lives in the open with not even a tent for shelter. He's been offered housing by many people including ourselves and the local social services, but prefers to do his own thing. Back in the autumn there were lots of fruits to be found and he would feast o grapes and apples. Then he learnt how to identify mushrooms and has been gradually extending his diet to include such delicacies as ants and pretty much anything he can find that won't kill him. Right now it's still chilly at night, but a few weeks ago we had serious frosts each night and in November we had a week or so where it rained endlessly and he was constantly went. I'm quite astonished he's still alive. I can't help admiring his tenacity, but he also makes me cross as he won't tell anyone where his camp is which means we worry when we don't see him around. He doesn't have a phone or anything like that, and our woods are remote enough that you'd be unlikely to be stumbled across if you had an accident. What do you think? Is he mad as a hatter? Or someone who should be admired for following their own path? Would someone be allowed to do this where you live?
6 people like this
14 responses
@peavey (15808)
• United States
15 Mar 12
The biggest part here about being allowed to do something like that would be to find enough public land and not get on private land. Someone would be sure to call the authorities on him if he so much as picked an apple up off their ground. Mad as a hatter? Because he chooses to live naturally? Maybe it's the rest of us who are mad, living our lives sheltered away from the rain and the cold and the sunsets and sunrises and real life. We're encased in our caves of wood and steel and glass, now and then glancing out to see if it's light or dark. Most of us experience so very little of the world we live in, choosing instead to insulate ourselves against it, pretending that mosquitoes don't exist and that mountains are only for pictures. I wouldn't say he is crazy. Extreme, maybe? Or maybe not even that.
3 people like this
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
He's upset a few local people by camping out on their land, but they are more worried about him dying of exposure out there than him doing any damage. I completely agree with your point about living closer to nature. But I can't personally imagine shunning such 'luxuries' as a tent when it's raining, for instance.
1 person likes this
@peavey (15808)
• United States
15 Mar 12
If he makes his choice, then he's responsible for his life and not others. I know... we are our brother's keepers, but we can't force anyone to be what we want them to be. Personally, I would want a log cabin with a wood stove, but some people would think that was too "rustic," too, so to each his/her own, I guess.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31407)
• United States
15 Mar 12
This probably would not be allowed in the states, although we have many "tent cities" that are not publicized where people forage anything they can get. A social worker would go visit the man and try to get him to use the soup kitchens and get food stamps, etc. I don't think the guy is necessarily crazy, he just enjoys the challenge of being independent and wants to be left alone. Does he talk crazy or act crazy?
3 people like this
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
He doesn't forage anything thrown away, just nature's harvest. And he doesn't behave crazy, just very determined to do his own thing.
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (27001)
• United States
15 Mar 12
Well, in this day in age he might not be right in the head. Unless he is homeless and has no means of making money to survive in society. But if he chooses to live that way, then there is nothing anyone can do about it. I don't think he should me admired at all. Like I said, no one in this world lives like that. I also don't think he is mad as a hatter either. Is seems to be his choice.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
He's young, with an education and a profession should he choose to work at it. So it's entirely his choice.
2 people like this
@Hatley (163930)
• Garden Grove, California
16 Mar 12
hi green moo another thing comes to mind. what if he has done something illegal or crimnal.I mean he is evidently well educated so he could have a home with all the trimmings so what is he hiding from?Perhaps he is afraid with a log cabin or stationary building he could be found and arrested.Perhaps the way he does is an act to hide behind.
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (27001)
• United States
24 Mar 12
He might be one of those eccentric people. Most of them are extremely educated as well and they snap and go off in a different direction. But Hatley brines out a good point. Maybe he did something criminal and he is hiding out.
@ShepherdSpy (8563)
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
15 Mar 12
Having read another discussion recently about living without money,this guy seems to have taken it to another level..would he be a survivalist,or has he said anything about his reasons for wanting to live this way? Unless He's trespassing,wanted by the cops,or mentally Ill,I figure he can live his life on his own terms..If the guy has no other responsibilities or family ties,He's free to do as he pleases..it does seem a bit odd that he'd pass up offers of help or shelter,though..
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
He's very private but I think the point is that he is trying to prove that he can do it. He has no need to accept help or shelter if he can manage without I suppose. He's young, with qualifications and a profession which I think would earn him good money if he chose to work, so what he does id entirely by choice.
1 person likes this
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
16 Mar 12
That other discussion I mentioned was about a Woman qualified (IIRC) as a psychiatrist..I think Her thing was managing to live without needing to use money,however that worked out-I don't think She was going back to nature,though..as for this Guy..Wow.
1 person likes this
• Mexico
16 Mar 12
Hi Green Mo: I don't think a person like this is necessary a mad or insane person. Maybe he is just a lonely man that could hardly feel comfortable with civilization and that's why he chose nature and prefer doing everything by his own way. I don't think it's the wisest idea but if he is not doing anything wrong is ok. Or maybe he is just passing through a stage in his life where he wants to be completely alone. ALVARO
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
16 Mar 12
Actually, he seeks out company so I don't think he is shunning others. I think he is challenging himself to do something physically.
@jillhill (37399)
• United States
15 Mar 12
Wow I know that I wouldn't be able to do that....and live through it..and where we live no one would be able to as usually here it's very cold in the winter months.....I think it's strange to say the least but if he's happy then why should any of us question it?
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
Even here, where it's not as cold as some places, I'm surprised he manages when it's sub zero with no shelter. I suspect, when it's very cold, that he spends the nights walking to keep warm and sleeps in the daytime.
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (18489)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
15 Mar 12
Maybe he's made himself a burrow somewhere, or else a tree house? I do know that it's warmer at the base of a tree than out in the open, so it probably isn't as cold in the forest as it is at your farm. I don't know about here, but people do live in "deepest, darkest" Stanley Park in Vancouver. Or at least, they used to when I lived in BC. A few years back a horrendous wind storm devastated a large part of it.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
He says that when it is particularly cold at night he deliberately clenches and unclenches his muscles to keep blood flowing.
2 people like this
• China
18 Mar 12
Strange to sound,what is he ? How old is he? where is he from? Maybe he is a sociologist that came there to experience primitive man's life;He doesn't seem to be homeless,because there is no need for him to come to the forest,he may roam the streets which is better than he is right now;or at worst,he is an escaped prisoner or a wanted man.
@GreenMoo (11842)
18 Mar 12
He's a young man, and educated. I don't tend to think of him as homeless, although he does not have a conventional home right now, because he has the facility to get one should he choose. I don't think roaming the streets would be a better option for him than living as he does, because I'm sure he would not choose to partake of such shelters as there are anyway and he is quite capable of feeding himself from nature, where nature is allowed to flourish. It's of course quite possible that he is a wanted man in some way, but I personally think not as he strikes me as being too socially active for that. I'm sure if he were wanted in some way he would be sensible to keep a lower profile than he does now.
• China
19 Mar 12
Judge from what you said,he seems to be the type of person who wants to challenge himself and see how long he will hold on as a hatter;or at a certain date,it occurred to him that follows the lead of Robinson Crusoe.
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
23 Mar 12
Although he could be admired because of his tenacity and resolve to stay in the forest, and live of the earth, I also believe that there is a bit of selfishness in him (maybe selfish, is not the right word, anyway...). He might think that he is not hurting or disturbing anybody, but in fact he is! People around like yourselves who knows that he is around would tend to worry. And he could pose a problem with social service people too!
@GreenMoo (11842)
24 Mar 12
That's precisely how I think! Social services did offer him accommodation, as have various local people including ourselves, but he turned the offer down. There wasn't much else they could do.
@Vvance (280)
• United States
16 Mar 12
Hi GreenMoo, I can think of quite a few reasons why he wuold do that: There are many people who strive to push themselves to the limit. Maybe he's doing something of that sort. Or maybe he has lived the city life all along, and now wants to experience the opposite end of the spectrum. Or, perhaps he wants to prepare himself for some unforeseen circumstance which may result in this situation. Maybe, he believes that the life people live now is far too damaging to one's health and probably thinks that this life is most conducive to happiness and wellbeing. I feel that he's doing something worthwhile indeed,and yes, he must be admired for his strength of character.
@GreenMoo (11842)
16 Mar 12
I think he's challenging himself to see if he can endure. He's doing really well, so should be admired for his tenacity at the least.
@katsmeow1213 (29023)
• United States
16 Mar 12
I say mad. Regardless of his reasons for doing it, why live in misery when you have options? I don't think it's healthy to live off wild berries and wild mushrooms and whatever else you can find. I'd also worry about water. Can he find fresh water? Is it clean? Not to mention the elements, and animals. I've seen on TV where homeless people and such are nibbled on by rats while they sleep.. makes you wonder what sorts of things might nibble on this guy in his sleep.. and animals carry diseases like rabies! Perhaps it is his lifestyle that has caused his behavior? Maybe he got some parasite or disease or something that has made him a bit crazy.
@GreenMoo (11842)
16 Mar 12
Water isn't a problem here, and I think he can probably find a reasonable enough diet in the right season. But my concern is shelter. Honestly, this guy does not even use a tent. Someone pointed out that it's warmer in the woods than in the open, but it's been subzero at night this winter, and when it's wet too that must have been awful. But I guess that it is his choice as an adult, and if that's what he wants to do then it's his business.
@urbandekay (18314)
16 Mar 12
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." H.D.Thoreau I have lived in the woods but not like your neighbour, I took food and fetched water all the best urban
@GreenMoo (11842)
16 Mar 12
I'd wondered if he was modelling himself on Thoreau. Must read that stuff some day.
@Hatley (163930)
• Garden Grove, California
16 Mar 12
hi greenmoo well I begin to see things to be admired but living without a tent or shelter in the cold season is not too smart.I would not say hes mad as a hatter but he must have a few misconnectins in his brain cells. A cabin would be a smart thing or evem a tent but no shelter he is going back in time not forward. I would love to see him build his own cabin.I feel its wrong of hime to isolate himself in case he is ill or falls or is badly hurt in awy way.I really dont know if he would be allowed or not seeing here in the US we do not seem to give a damn about all the homeless so he could just be another homeless person.I wonder where his family is as surely he had parents and maybesiblings too? Maybe someone should findout and get him some housing at least.He must have some synapses that are not firing in his brain.poor guy. someone shold find his kin and see what help he could have.
@GreenMoo (11842)
16 Mar 12
He's been offered housing Hatley, by us as well as more official bodies, and he has refused all offers. He is not mentally ill, at least, I don't think so. He chooses to live as he does of his own free will. He's young and educated, and he has a profession which I believe would pay him reasonable money if he chose to practice it. Whilst I think he's bonkers, I also admire his tenacity.
@GardenGerty (93685)
• Marion, Kansas
15 Mar 12
He sounds very independent. I think he maybe thrives on the challenge and wants to see how far he can take it. We have a homeless woman here, who has family but refuses to live their lifestyle. I do not know if we have anyone living on public land, but I do wonder how she survives. People do things like make sure there is money in coin returns on machines, because they know she checks them. She spends time in the library from time to time and when the restrooms are open at the park she cleans up there.
@GreenMoo (11842)
15 Mar 12
Absolutely. He's challenging himself to see if he can do it, and he's managed admirably. He's never accepted food from us, and won't even accept the offer to pick veggies from the garden. Being homeless by choice must bring a lot of freedom with it, but it's a brave choice.