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Old 09-10-2013, 10:08 AM
 
7 posts, read 7,129 times
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I want to make everything I use myself, all my clothes, all my food, my house, and I want to live this way for the rest of my life. I'm trying to do this now, but it's next to impossible where I currently live. I know there's places where people still live this way like rural Bolivia and Siberia, even if it's fading away real fast, so I'm looking into moving somewhere else where it may be possible.

One of these places I'm thinking of is rural Alaska, since there are still some of the older people in the bush villages who remember what the nomadic life was like (even though I'm pretty sure there's no one left in Alaska doing that except maybe some of the Inupiats way up North?) and lots of wilderness. The specific area I'm thinking of is that vast piece of land between the Innoko and Kuskokwim rivers.

I already have a fair amount of experience living like this, I've been living in a cabin I built myself with no elecricity or running water for the past three years, I forage, garden, fish, hunt, and trap for much (but not all. I still buy big bags of flour and noodles and canned food, particuliarly when I stock up for Winter) of my food and raise my own livestock for meat, hides, wool, milk, cheese, and various other things. I spin and knit all my clothes, chop all my own firewood with hand tools, dig and process and fire my own clay, and know how to work with metal with simple tools in a charcoal forge (but I don't know how to smelt my own ore or even how to find ore, so chances are I'll have to go without metal tools where ever I find myself, since here in Maine I have ready access to scrap metal just picking it up in the woods from the centuries of logging up here.). The climate here is almost exactly the same as Fairbanks, and I've seen -70 F with wind chill several times for a couple days in a row, so I've got a bit of an advantage getting used to the climate there in this respect, and our blackflies are so bad that we call it the 'black fog' in the Summer, so I'm used to the insects already. My road isn't plowed in the Winter so I usually just hole up for the snowy months, so I have some experience along that line too. I'm a fair shot, although far from a great shot, with bow, gun, and sling. Enough that I consider myself a good enough shot to hunt, since I refuse to take a shot if I don't KNOW it will be a kill shot, and frankly I don't have any respect for people who don't have enough respect for their prey to practice their aim...but that's a whole nother discussion. I have spent allot of time just living off what I can harvest myself, and have lived in primitive shelters (ones I didn't need metal tools to make, that is. Unlike my cabin.) including quinzhees for short periods of time, I think the longest was four months. And I want to try going through this Winter living in a wigwam I'm currently building, although I realise it's quite a bit different having my cabin and plenty of extra firewood nearby. I also realise that the moose are much bigger up there, and there's grizzly bears and lots of wolves and forest fires up there that we don't have to deal with out here. I also realise that while I can live just fine off the land in Maine, there's all sorts of different plants on the West coast, and I'd have to learn those. So, I consider Aroostook county to be sort of an 'Alaska lite'.

I've met allot of people from here who lived breifly in Alaska and almost all of them say it'd be much easier to live like I want to around here than in Alaska, land costs less here and it's easier to buy a hundred or more acres, people are more leniant and tolerant of people living differently, and if you're caught trespassing or even squatting on land around here the worst you're going to get is someone asking you politely to move. People are much more likely to be worried about you taking down trees than actually living on a spot of land in a semi-permanent shelter around here. But in Alaska I've heard that the state and logging companies reguliarly patrol their lands looking for squatters and will put you in jail if you're seen, and if you're on private property you'll just be shot.

I've also got a pretty large group of friends that want to do the same thing. A couple dozen, but I really doubt all of them would actually go out and live like this. What would a game warden or forester say if they found a random group of a dozen people living nomadically in the woods of Innoko National Wildlife Refuge? What if they found just one hermit doing that? Would it be any different if I had domestic reindeer with me, or perhaps a flock of sheep? (Although I'm not sure if it's be possible to keep sheep through the Winter up there. I can do it fine here, but I have a barn and place to cut and store hay, and I'm not nomadic here.) Sheep would make this a magnitude of order easier, though.


Would we/I have better luck in other places? I figure it'd be effectively impossible for a foreigner to do this in Siberia, but what about Paraguay or Argentina? What about the Australian outback, do any non-aboriginals ever go back into the bush country and live like the aboriginies? Would that be highly disapproved of? What about the more wild parts of South Island of New Zealand, or Tasmania? Or Finland? There's still Sami in Northern Finland, and they have Everyman's Right and Lemmenjoki national park, but that's definantly not possible for a foreigner and I really doubt I could get citizenship there. Greenland seems nice, except for the same problem of Danish citizenship.

I was even looking at places like Louisiana or Mississippi, the climate is so warm I could thatch a simple roof and never need to build a fire for heat, and there'd definantly be enough downed branches for cooking fires without having to take down any trees. But there's just so many people down there I don't know if it's possible.

I'd prefer to live in the boreal forest, and if it were possible I'd definantly want to stay here in Aroostook, but the economy and politics of the United States are extremely biased against subsistence living and luddites, so I figure I'll have to go either somewhere where that lifestyle still exists, or somewhere where I can just disappear into the wilderness altogether.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,337 posts, read 30,712,510 times
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There's a lot of private property on the Innoko, you'd be run off if you squatted there.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:44 PM
 
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 1,906,280 times
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I'm not sure there are any International countries that would be happy to have a non-citizen who doesn't work or contribute to their economy living there.

As for the US, I'm pretty sure that in most forests, you will need hunting or trapping licenses, plus there are many areas that may not allow fires to be built. You'd also have to worry about getting shot as you travel onto privately held land, or being arrested for trespassing. Not to mention, that if you do hole up in a place where it's not legal for you to, authorities could come by and tear down everything you've built and make you move on.

Why don't you work really hard for a few years, keep your expenses really low, save money, and buy a few cheap acres near a forest where you could get a hunting license? It seems a lot more stable than hoping you're not kicked off public land, or shot/arrested for trespassing on private land. Frankly, it seems like you're basically asking, "Where can I be homeless and never have a problem with authorities?" That's not very likely to happen.
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Fairbanks
309 posts, read 443,415 times
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Stay in Maine It's just like Alaska.
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,427 posts, read 3,499,625 times
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I'm guessing you've never actually visited Alaska... And you've not bothered to take the time to read the countless threads on this forum discussing in depth this sort of move. I started to take time to address some of your questions, but then I decided since you aren't willing to take the time to do actual research, I shouldn't waste my time either.
Except I will say this: The whole point of a "wildlife refuge" is to set aside space for wildlife. Not for squatters. If you want to live on a piece of land, man-up and buy it.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:10 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,158,085 times
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I'm trying to figure out if the OP is more like Kaczinski or Proeneke.

Check Alaska OTC land sales out. You'll find acres and acres of land that is in the middle of nowhere, accessible by Air, Sno Machine, ATV, and/or Boat only. They are also the cheapest parcels of land available. Make sure you step foot on it first, so that you know what you are getting into. (Not that it sounds like this is a major concern for what you are wanting to do) Make sure the land is in a borough that doesn't have property taxes - again, most likely this will be the case for your land choice and go from there. Once you buy the land, it's yours - not even a recurring bill.

Sounds like you have advanced survival skills - but even advanced survival experts have problems surviving the AK winters.

Have an emergency plan and a way to contact someone should you try this. Good luck. Sometimes the simple life, isn't so simple.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:52 AM
 
7 posts, read 7,129 times
Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisfitBanana View Post
I'm not sure there are any International countries that would be happy to have a non-citizen who doesn't work or contribute to their economy living there.

As for the US, I'm pretty sure that in most forests, you will need hunting or trapping licenses, plus there are many areas that may not allow fires to be built. You'd also have to worry about getting shot as you travel onto privately held land, or being arrested for trespassing. Not to mention, that if you do hole up in a place where it's not legal for you to, authorities could come by and tear down everything you've built and make you move on.

Why don't you work really hard for a few years, keep your expenses really low, save money, and buy a few cheap acres near a forest where you could get a hunting license? It seems a lot more stable than hoping you're not kicked off public land, or shot/arrested for trespassing on private land. Frankly, it seems like you're basically asking, "Where can I be homeless and never have a problem with authorities?" That's not very likely to happen.
In Maine, so long as you have over a certain amount of acres you and your family are allowed to hunt and fish on it without a license, I was hoping there might be some sort of similiar clause in Alaska especially since I've heard about how there's laws allowing for subsistence living. I tried looking up these laws but all I can find is people talking about them and not the actual wording of the laws themselves, although I did find one person saying regardless of what the laws say they're supposed to do isn't what the state actually lets people do and in reality they only apply to Alaskan Natives.

Yeah, I realise no country wants a person living in it that isn't making them money. At the same time, I use things no one else is using, a big part of my diet here is cattails, and I've only ever seen a couple people out gathering them before, and never as far out in the woods as I usually spend my time, so I'm certainly not costing anyone else anything.

In essence, I want to be a beaver. No one pays attention to them, they live in these places where no one is and no one cares that they build their homes and live their lives out there. They live in a non-competing niche. That's what I want to do. If someone wants to live like a wild human (I don't like this term, but it works for the analogy) then why can't other people just see them as another wild animal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AKStafford View Post
I'm guessing you've never actually visited Alaska... And you've not bothered to take the time to read the countless threads on this forum discussing in depth this sort of move. I started to take time to address some of your questions, but then I decided since you aren't willing to take the time to do actual research, I shouldn't waste my time either.
Except I will say this: The whole point of a "wildlife refuge" is to set aside space for wildlife. Not for squatters. If you want to live on a piece of land, man-up and buy it.
I have never been to Alaska before, but getting there, especially the parts I want to go to, would be extremely expensive (not only in money but in the amount of time I'd have to spend away from working), so I'm saving up to check out some place, probably either Bolivia or Alaska (it would cost about the same for either place), but it's impractical to visit both. So I want to learn as much as I can before I go, and the first question is, is what I want to do even possible at all there?

I did look around, I've been trying to gather information on Alaska for the past half year, and I haven't found much information. Which is why I'm asking. Could you recommend some terms I could look upto find more information? Most of the information I found was people looking to homestead, they wanted to move into the wilderness with a snowmobile and generator and haul in supplies to build a house and such. Pretty much all of the responces said it's possible but that the people asking about it were always underestimating the expenses and weren't taking into account how it's next to impossible to make that kind of money living in the bush, and to be aware of the severity of the Winters. Then there were some people who wanted to do it more similiar to how I'm talking, they were talking about hiking back into the woods with a pack and gun and living if the land. The responce to those sorts was nearly universally 'you'll die.' The few people who explained why they'd die said that they didn't know what they were doing survival wise and listed the sorts of things they'd have to know. But they rarely gave practical information, it was mostly talking about why it won't work. Many of those things don't apply to me (I'm a great deal more used to 6 months of snow and treating frostbite and the amount of firewood nessessary to get through various conditions and such that someone coming from Florida or Michigan doesn't have experience with, and I actually have experience walking into the woods, building a shelter, and living that way longterm off the land) and I tried to write my post explaining what I know already so hopefully people's responces would be more along the lines of answering my questions instead of saying 'you're going to die' and nothing else, which people have thankfully been doing here so far (I didn't know the Innoko river was mostly private, I thought it was all Forest service and Animal Refuge, thankyou for that information!), or to explain what else I need to know that I don't have much experience in yet so I can practice it ahead of time, which would also be greatly appreciated.

I did save up and buy a piece of land. Here, in Maine. But I'm still paying it off, and the year after I bought it the property taxes TRIPLED so now I can't afford it by only making the occassional trip to town to sell stuff, which means I need a job in town which is far enough away to require a vehicle to get to, which means car insurance and gas and all this other stuff which ends up costing so much I have to spend most of my time working (I do all sorts of odd jobs for money for the most part, because I can't really take a steady job without being able to get off my property in the Winter) but there's not much work in Aroostook county (which is why everyone my age tends to move away), and some times of the year when it's really important (like hazelnut and fiddlehead season) I end up not having time to get my own stuff done (or I end up having to sell almost all of what I pick) etc. Essentially, the way the economy is set up in the U.S. it rather forces people to live the modern way. There is no option to subsist entirely self sufficiently without money at all. I'm whining, sorry.

That's a great deal of why I was looking at Alaska, because I've read that there is no land tax in the Unorganised Borough, which would be perfect, if I can find out a way to grow enough food in the short growing seasin and somehow keep livestock through the Winter, and I've heard it takes far more acres to sustainably harvest the same amount if cords of wood in the parts of Alaska I'm talking about than down here. I don't really think that's possible, atleast not without huge amounts of land and multiple people working together, and the more people the more land and more expensive it would be. I calculated how much land I would need if I were to grow all my own food, clothes, and wood right on my piece of property (in reality I spend most of my time foraging (I garden little of my food in comparison) on logging lands. The loggers don't mind so long as I don't take any trees down. I even got permission to set up a wall tent for a couple months.) and it came out to about 6.3 acres (It'd be less if multiple people are sharing the same houses, firewood's a big component of that.) which is a convientient number since 6.4 is a density of 100 people per square mile. I've read that 2.5 acres is sufficient for a subsistence farming whole family in Indonesia. In Alaska I imagine it's much much higher, especially thinking of permafrost. But I really don't know, which is why I'm asking. The only stockig rate I could find was for cows and it was in the Anchorage region, so that didn't help much. Especially since it didn't say anything about hay.

I think my best bet would be keeping domestic caribou, but the best way to raise them is nomadic hearding, which is what I'd like to do most. Build a tent out of hides and follow them around, milking them for milk and cheese like I do my goats and using their hides for clothing and shelter. It's what the Sami, Evenki, and Yakuts do, after all. Or just do what the Gwich'in used to do, without the livestock. I just want to be able to find some legal way to do it nowadays, since the only places I know of where it's legal to live like that (Brazil, Laos, Siberia, Kyrgyzstan) REALLY don't want foreigners doing that. Seems like most of them are trying to stamp out people living like that in the first place.

In Maine, unless a piece of property is marked no trespassing, you're allowed to hunt, forage, fish (you need a license though, unless you're on your own property. I always ask permission anyways, though. People hunt on my property all through moose season, too. I'm thinking of putting up a sign saying 'hunting allowed, if you give me a couple pounds of meat' heh.), and walk through it. You are not allowed to camp or take trees down or alter the land in any way, though. You can build a fire pretty much anywhere. As far as I can tell it's the same in Alaska, but people really don't approve of it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
I'm trying to figure out if the OP is more like Kaczinski or Proeneke.

Check Alaska OTC land sales out. You'll find acres and acres of land that is in the middle of nowhere, accessible by Air, Sno Machine, ATV, and/or Boat only. They are also the cheapest parcels of land available. Make sure you step foot on it first, so that you know what you are getting into. (Not that it sounds like this is a major concern for what you are wanting to do) Make sure the land is in a borough that doesn't have property taxes - again, most likely this will be the case for your land choice and go from there. Once you buy the land, it's yours - not even a recurring bill.

Sounds like you have advanced survival skills - but even advanced survival experts have problems surviving the AK winters.

Have an emergency plan and a way to contact someone should you try this. Good luck. Sometimes the simple life, isn't so simple.
Your post was very helpful, thankyou. I've looked at the OTC land sales before, but it mostly seemed expensive (but then, I don't know if you can find land for 500$ an acre anywhere except Northern Maine.) and not very much land. I'm worried that I might buy land, come to find out I need more later, and not be able to make any income to buy any more. But I guess maybe I should take what I can get and just go that way. I'd still want to go take a look at some places in person before I sell my land here.

I'm far from a survival expert, I know how to live my life the way I live it in the environment I live in, and this is how I grew up (but in a less extreme manner.). And anywhere else I go, including Alaska, would have a whole nother set of skills to learn. I fully expect to take a year or more living in a small town like Nenana or Birch Creek learning about it before I go off on my own, provided I can find a job and place to stay in one of those places, which I hear is next to impossible. If you stuck me out in the everglades or desert in Florida or Texas I can gaurantee I'd be dead within a couple months.

I dunno, I'd think of myself more like the precolonial Micmacs or like the stories the monks used to tell me about when they were growing up in Tibet than either of those two. After all, I don't hate technology or other people wanting to live differently, but this is the way I want to live my life, and Dick Proenick still bought stuff from town and such.

Ok, the rain stopped a while ago and I really need to stop procrastinating. Thank you for your information, all of you!
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:48 PM
 
18,893 posts, read 24,242,729 times
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I think you'd probably starve or die from scurvy.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 09-11-2013 at 03:11 PM..
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:06 PM
 
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 1,906,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qasao View Post
Yeah, I realise no country wants a person living in it that isn't making them money. At the same time, I use things no one else is using, a big part of my diet here is cattails, and I've only ever seen a couple people out gathering them before, and never as far out in the woods as I usually spend my time, so I'm certainly not costing anyone else anything.

In essence, I want to be a beaver. No one pays attention to them, they live in these places where no one is and no one cares that they build their homes and live their lives out there. They live in a non-competing niche. That's what I want to do. If someone wants to live like a wild human (I don't like this term, but it works for the analogy) then why can't other people just see them as another wild animal?
Sorry, but I don't think those in charge of immigration in other countries will think, "Well, he won't make us any money, but he'll definitely gather our unwanted cattails! Let him in!"

Basically, in another country, you'll come off as a vagrant - someone who may not disturb people most of the time, but eventually (health care crisis) will expect to use the country's resources without contributing to their bottom line. And you may think that you'll have all your emergencies covered, but when you severely break your leg and have to be put up for a month while you recover (unable to split your wood, gather food, or even walk at all), and you have extremely minimal savings from living like a "wild human," then you WILL be relying on the country's good will to provide for you.

Going to Alaska seems far more likely than trying to get a residency visa in another country.

As for hunting regulations - I don't know anything but what I've read in these forums, but I did find this website: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...fs/general.pdf
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:09 PM
 
Location: NP
570 posts, read 764,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
I think you'd probably starve or die from scurvy.
There's no shortage of things to die from in the Alaska bush!
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