This is so real!
Why Miriam Lancewood lives in the wild, hunting her own food
Posted on 09.11.2018
When Miriam Lancewood and her partner Peter set off to live alone deep in the New Zealand wilderness, they told their families they’d be back in a year.
But the couple came to enjoy their nomadic, off-grid lifestyle — foraging for edible plants and killing their own animals — so much that they’re still living it, nearly a decade later.
“It’s perceived as being scary but I see the wilderness as my home, so I feel very comfortable there,” says Miriam, who has written about her life in her memoir, Woman of the Wilderness.
Miriam, who was born in the Netherlands, says there is freedom in her lifestyle, one that is “without time”.
“We sleep when we are tired, usually when the sun goes down. When the first birds sing, we wake up,” she says.
“We eat when we are hungry. We don’t know the days of the week, or the date. That is irrelevant really.”
Ditching conventional living has brought significant struggles, but Miriam says it’s been worth it; she now feels deeply connected to natural beauty she once merely observed.
Killing to survive
I’ll be little Robin Hood running around in the forest
To prepare for her move to the wilderness, Miriam practised her aim with a bow and arrow every day for a year.
She and Peter had decided that, in their new living environment, she would hunt and he would cook.
“I thought, well, hunting will be a great success. I’ll be little Robin Hood running around in the forest,” Miriam says.
But things didn’t go as planned.
Miriam’s aim was excellent, but finding animals to target was hard work.
Also tricky was the fact that she was raised vegetarian.
“I was always like, ‘oh, no animal needs to die for me’. I was very judgmental of meat-eaters,” she says.
But there was an urgency to expanding their diet.
“We got so cold that we were losing weight just by living, and in the morning we would wake up with hunger pains,” Miriam says.
“Just getting through the night cost so much energy and so after a while — Peter was visibly losing weight — we said, OK, we have got to get onto this hunting.
“I ended up doing exactly that — killing animals to survive.”
“When I hunt, and come back with a goat for dinner, I feel, wow, this is so real.”
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