As some of you may know, I live in a Yurt. Actually, it’s a 12 ft Ger, but no-one knows what a “Ger” is, so I tell people it’s a Yurt (they are both quite similar, wood framed, canvas dwellings).
It’s got two sheepskin rugs, and a woodburner. I’m still using the candles I got from the car boot sale as my only source of lighting. It’s so damp that my stuff goes moldy and I have to keep anything electrical and most of my instruments in the main house to stop them from perishing. I’ve got a 5litre water bottle and a camping stove. The temperature drops to between 6-8 degrees C at night, but that’s ok because, as I mentioned before, I have two sheepskin rugs. Fortunately I’m also addicted to knitting so ROLL ON WINTER!
A few weeks before I moved in (in August) I had posted an advert on Facebook looking for somewhere to pitch my yurt. It was called “Ever Wanted Your Own Hermit?”. Some very wonderful people answered the ad, and so here I am under canvas. Straight after I found my pitch, you may have noticed that I deleted the advert, and all references to the Yurt. Why? Well… at first I didn’t want there to be any evidence of my Yurt dwelling online.
“Why not?!?!” you ask. “After all, everyone seems very interested and is always asking about your alternative way of life, wanting to visit the new yurt, see pictures etc. Why don’t you post in your weblog about it?”
Well, there were a few reasons I’ve held fire:
Firstly, although my yurt-dwelling is legal, the way I’m doing it (I’ve checked extensively), I do worry that I might get grief about it anyway, or that the laws might change, so I haven’t wanted to publish my lifestyle on the internet.
Secondly, I’d worry about security, so for that reason I’m not going to give my specific location. Let’s just say I’m somewhere in the Exeter area.
I have thought long and hard about whether or not to write about my Yurt dwelling on this weblog and finally, I’ve decided: YES.
I have changed my mind for one very important reason: I never would have been able to realise my dream of living in a yurt if it weren’t for OTHER PEOPLE’S WEBLOGS.
Reading the writings of those who are living alternative lifestyles has been invaluable research for me on my quest, and I’d like to give something back by writing about my way of life.
In the past year, on my path to a more basic form of transport and a more basic form of living, I’ve read, re-read and learned so much from the following people’s words:
- The Original Ditch Monkey: A guy who lived in the woods for a year without a tent to raise money for the woodland trust. http://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20060714120000/http://ditchmonkey.blogspot.com/index.html
- Igor Kovse: An obsessive ultralight cycletourist who will tell you everything you need to know about travelling ultralight. http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.co.uk/
- Richard the Piano Tuner: A 30year old man who lives in london as a permanent cycle tourer. He is technically homeless, but I tend to think of him more as “houseless” – someone who chooses to live outside in a bivi bag, whilst keeping one foot in the normal world by having a full time job. http://www.piano-tuning.co.uk/blog/
- The late great Sheldon Brown has provided the ultimate website on Fixed Gear Cycling (now maintained by his widow, Harriet Fell). http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html
- Mark has chosen to live without money (in a caravan, cycling everywhere and collecting firewood on his bike, a bit like myself but much more hardcore). http://www.justfortheloveofit.org/blog
- The “Living Car Free” section of Bike Forums http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/226-Living-Car-Free
- Jay Shafer lives in a minimal Tiny House, and sells people plans to builg their own. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/
Another reason I was apprehensive about Yurt-posting is that this was meant to be a Cycleblog, not a Yurtblog. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that this doesn’t really matter. For me, the simplicity of Fixed Gear Cycling fits perfectly with the ethos of simple off-grid yurt living. My cycling journey has certainly led me to this place, so actually it IS relevant after all.
Perhaps I should change the name of it to “Zen and the Art of Fixed Gear” or something, to convey my lifestyle commitment to using no more than you need.
Do you need more gears on your bike?
Do you need a house and a mortgage?
These are important questions for me, because in my experience, having anything I don’t need just gets in the way of living, loving and happiness. I firmly believe that too many people worry about lack, when they should be worrying about excess. I think the Dali Lama says some sort of relevant thing in a book I’ve got, but I can’t find it right now.
Anyway, more coming on the Yurt soon, including pictures and inside tips.