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admin | Category: What Cause Ed | 05.04.2014
Since my recent move, I have not only been adjusting to a new living situation (hello, cohabitation), but also a new power situation -- or lack-thereof. Homesteading off grid a blog about what we love A blog about what we love skip to content homesteading off grid homesteading 66 life 3 off grid 19 off topic 9 outdoors 7 positivity 1 prepping 3 Homesteading off grid a blog about what we love. Did you know sinhala wala katha gossip lanka is one of the hottest topics in this category? Did you know smart blood sugar dr marlene merritt is one of the most popular topics on this category? The idea of leaving our basic modern comforts – the Internet, our smart phones, central heating, the ability to go to a store and simply pay for whatever we need is at the least an inconvenience and at the worst a terrifying idea to many of us.
It is in this group of people, scattered all over the world living in remote, inaccessible areas, and their off-the-grid lifestyle where French photographer and traveller Antoine Bruy, armed with his Mamiya 6, found the subject for his poignant and very illuminating series, Scrublands. The imagery that Scrublands presents is so compelling, so strong that it quickly converts the unbelievers and it promptly convinces its spectators that there is a happy and contented life to be found sans all our modern comforts. We recently caught up with Antoine to talk about his series and his Fotofund crowdfunding campaign to continue the project in the Appalachian Mountains.
Phoblographer: What photo and camping gear did you take with you during your hitchhike, in case any of our readers are considering doing the same thing you did?
Phoblographer: You shot your very inspirational and illuminating series, Scrublands, during your trip. Phoblographer: We know the Scrublands is a series of photographs of people living off the grid across Europe, but tell me more about it. Antoine: I found the people I photograph through the WWOOF network (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Phoblographer: How was the experience of living with these individuals, doing what they do, eating what they eat, and essentially partaking in their lifestyle?
Dave Glasheen, 69, was a Sydney businessman until he lost his ?6.5 million fortune in a single day during the stock-market crash of 1987. Today, with his big white beard, he looks like a cross between Father Christmas and Robinson Crusoe.
From the moment I arrived on “Resto”, Dave did not pause for breath as he showed me around his beautiful island. The rest of his time is spent collecting rock oysters, mowing his five-acre lawn and fixing the hairline cracks in his rowing boat, which requires continual bailing thanks to its many holes. On the other side of the world, deep in the badlands of Texas cowboy country, I met John Wells, a fiftysomething former fashion photographer who once worked with greats such as Bruce Weber. With his own hands, John has built his own settlement complete with solar-powered shower, a tiny bedroom with a swamp cooler, and even a greenhouse to grow vegetables.
This remote corner of the States has long attracted romantics, wasters, nomads, dreamers and doomsday “preppers” who have pockmarked the desert with secret underground bunkers full of water, fuel and food in preparation for the end of the world. Like Dave, John followed his dream of a life of solitude – yet he, too, still craves company; John also lives alone but for a slightly crazy rooster called Carl, and his long-horned calf, Ben. Both men seemed to epitomise the single, white, middle-aged male’s desire to start a new life in the wild.

When couple Bretwood Higman and wife Erin McKittrick, both in their thirties, left their Seattle home one morning six years ago, they just kept walking.
They now live for half the year in their yurt, collecting firewood for the tiny wood-burning stove and making their own clothes.
While their life is certainly unconventional – they have no access to running water, just a well, so they make do without a shower, bath or loo, and use dogs to lick their plates clean – I was astonished by the fluidity of it all when I joined them for a week in the wilderness. It was strange to see Erin changing a nappy (made from towelling, of course) on the frozen, mossy Alaskan tundra, and I couldn’t begin to fathom how they trek for six long months of the year with two infants; Marina and I struggle to get our children and equipment into the car for a short trip to visit friends. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their lifestyle has raised some eyebrows, and neighbours have even complained to social services about the children’s welfare. But perhaps the wildest of the “wild men” I met – certainly the most established – were the Longs, who have earned their unofficial title as New Zealand’s remotest family. They home-educated their two children, who only left home at 18 – a testament to their chosen way of life. The grass, of course, is always greener, and while you shun the worries of the modern world, the pressures of life in the wild are merely different.
Everyone I met had created a unique way of living off the grid, and I admired and envied those who had fulfilled their dream. I could live on the island with Dave if I can bring my two rescue pups and a kitten eex recently found in a storm drain. An interactive map showing who wants to go off-grid, where they are, and who has land to offer. But while the majority of the population wouldn’t be willing to let go of modern conveniences, there are some in this world that would gladly give up these comforts for an independent, self-sustaining life off-the-grid.
At the same time, it offers a glimpse of how that kind of life can not only be possible but also fulfilling and in many ways, more profound.
This idea of hitchhiking around Europe has been maturing for three years before I finally did it.
Did you set out to photograph the subjects in the series from the start or did you just happen upon the idea while travelling? I made some good friends on the way, and I’m going back to visit them and give them a hand. The plan would be to come to the US to keep working on this project in the Appalachians and probably in Canada as well.
His home was repossessed, he separated from his wife and, with his remaining savings, he bought a small corner of Restoration Island, a tropical, sandy bar a mile off the north-east corner of Australia. He wanders the island in a handmade leather thong with just his dog Quasi for company (who also protects their home from crocodiles). In the evening, he turns his hand to brewing home-made beer – “a necessary luxury” – which he bottles to barter with passing fishing boats for coral trout and mackerel. Four years ago, John sold his New York property and ploughed the money into a tiny plot of land over the border from Ciudad Juarez, the lawless Mexican city often described as the most violent on earth.
Surrounded by such characters, it came as some relief that John was also an avid gun-hoarder.

Nine months and 4,000 miles later – some of which they completed on raft and skis – they arrived at the spot where they wanted to live, on a small island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain. For the other six months, they trek through the Alaskan wilderness with their young children, four-year old Katmy and two-year old Lituya. Of course there were tantrums, but I saw less whingeing and crying than with my two on a trip to the park. It took two days of tough trekking along South Island’s storm-lashed south-western coast to reach their remote home by the Gorge River, where they have lived for nearly 30 years.
The Longs emphasise the importance of spending time together, as families once did: sharing a room, working together, learning together, eating together. I returned from each trip increasingly aware of our materialistic world and resolved to simplify my own life.
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This experience was intense and very unpredictable, which is pretty much why I like to travel.
It was at this point when I started thinking about travelling all over Europe through the different mountain ranges to make the body of work coherent.
I wouldn’t say it was an eye opener, but it taught me that many things are possible in life, and in most cases we are creating our own barriers to prevent them from happening. Twenty years ago, he gave up work to become a castaway, building a house from driftwood and learning how to provide for himself.
The closest thing Dave has to regular human company is Miranda, the female mannequin propped in a chair in his living room. Robert Long gave up medical school after becoming disillusioned with modern teaching and, after a long trek in the wilderness, came upon his own wild paradise. The Longs have lived a hand-to-mouth existence ever since, fishing in the ocean and foraging for their table. It’s all about being surprised and ending up in situation I would never have thought about before. I didn’t know exactly where I was going to shoot the pictures I made, it was a lot of improvisation.
It hasn’t rained much in two years, so the tanks dotted around his land, which can hold up to 200,000 litres of water, have all but run dry. Though he has enough drinking water, Dave has to ration how often he showers and flushes his rainwater loo.

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