A friend of mine felt like buying a piece of land recently. Like you do. He dreamt of having his own little save haven surrounded by nature. Although I could fully understand this wish I didn’t believe he would actually pull this off… but he did. If you’re following my Insta Story on Instagram you already know I was invited to visit this peaceful hideaway far off from civilization. I actually didn’t expect this to be such an interesting experience. Going for a day and a night without electricity, running water and internet/phone reception made me ponder all the things we take for granted during our everyday lives. It all seemed like some kind of apocalypse scenario to me – food from our last looting tour (well, leftovers from the last BBQ but pssst…), an outdoor shower, a couple of oil lamps and an old car battery to emergency-power a single device. So here’s how we spent this day off from civilization…
Nestled within dense forest somewhere in the south of Germany the piece of land isn’t even accessible by car. We parked the car and walked a couple hundred meters uphill until we reached the wooden gate. The property already came with two wooden cabins when my friend bought it. The cabins do actually have both a bathroom and a kitchen. However, as there’s no running water and electricity yet the rooms just added to the apocalypse-y feel and appeared to be mere remnants of days long gone by. There’s a well on the property that serves as source of water and as a fridge. If you’re brave enough you can use the outdoor shower as well. Although it was June I somehow managed to pick the moodiest day to visit. As you can see in the pictures the whole atmosphere had this eerie kind of beauty to it.
Dining apocalypse style
One of the first things I noticed was that without electricity a lot of indoor activities will suddenly take place outdoors. Although the day wasn’t that warm and I had to wear a sweater and a jacket we spent most of the time outside. I arrived in the early evening after work so it was time for dinner. Our only option for getting a warm meal was the outdoor fireplace so we started a fire and had to wait for it to burn down a bit. We then proceeded to prepare food we could just chuck on the grill as pots and pans were simply not an option. Weirdly enough I seem to enjoy my food more if I have to prepare it under more difficult conditions. It just prompts me to think about how awesome it is to have enough food and to appreciate that I don’t have to risk my life to go out and loot supermarkets. Although our dinner pretty much consisted of grilled veges and mushrooms with feta cheese and garlic bread I enjoyed this meal more than any other that week.
So what do you usually do after dinner? On a gloomy day like this I most definitely would have curled up indoors with a cup of tea and my laptop. Definitely my laptop. This obviously wasn’t an option here. However, even reading a book is pretty hard if the moon and two little oil lamps are your only sources of light. We were kind of lucky as the moon was super bright that night – the trees even cast shadows in the moonlight. So at least it was possible to walk around safely without a lamp. We then did the only reasonable thing – we started a bonfire, grabbed a drink, gazed at the stars and talked. Fire has something truly magical to it – when I sit by a fire under the starry sky I always feel like this is what life was originally meant to be. It suddenly makes everything we do in our lives seem so… artificial and far away from our true nature. Yeah, I know, the irony of talking about the artificiality of modern life on the internet from my laptop. I wouldn’t want to change anything about the technical progress in our world – I just find it important to stop for a moment every now and again to think about what our lives and what we were meant to be in our truest form.
What added to the apocalypse-y experience was the fact that through the quiet of the night you could hear cows mooing in the distance from the surrounding farms in the area. With a bit of imagination they did indeed sound like zombies. Use your imagination! 😀 This was alright as long as we were safely sitting by the fire inside our fenced-in piece of land. However, as I mentioned, there was no functional bathroom and at some point the drinks we’d had obviously had to go somewhere so we would grab an oil lamp and wander into the darkness of the forest with the zombie cows growling in the distance. Needless to say this was so much fun 😀
Sleeping far off from civilization
Obviously the experience wouldn’t have been complete if I hadn’t stayed the night. In the cabins there was plenty of room to sleep and one of them was even furnished with an actual bed and a fireplace to keep us warm during the night. The 21st century problems got me again though when it was time to get ready for bed. I still had a full face of make up on and as we all know leaving your make up on over night is a big no-no for your skin. So I grabbed an oil lamp and a bowl and filled it with cold water at the well to wash my face. Yep, it worked. And it was perfectly okay. And cleansing my face with gentle warm water at the sink in my bathroom the next evening made me unusually happy.
What can I say? I slept so well that night as apart from the zombie cows in the distance everything was super quiet. Living in an apartment in the city center I’ll take every chance I get to sleep in a place only surrounded by nature. I was woken up by the first rays of sunlight and felt so happy and relaxed.
Returning to the city I felt like I had been gone for ages. But I believe sometimes we need this kind of experience to re-adjust our own inner compass. We just need this little reminder that we are super lucky to be living such comfortable lives while people’s lives had been tough for hundreds and thousands of years before. Through all this progress we gain so much freedom to pursue our dreams and goals. So let’s make the most of it instead of decadently wasting our precious time on trivialities.
Have you ever had a similar experience that made you reflect on the life we’re living? Let me know in the comments!