As a lady who has moved around her whole adult life, I’ve experienced my fair share of city living. In fact, I used to think that the big city was what I wanted.
But after years of living in heavily populated areas, I figured out that it just wasn’t for me. I often caught myself fantasizing about escaping it all to live in the arms of nature, totally surrounded by trees. Now, at 24 years old, I’ve embraced what was once just a dream and am living happily in a cabin deep in the Alaskan wilderness.
OK, so it’s not totally off the grid—but when friends come to visit, their first question is always, “What do you do for fun around here, anyway?” There are no chain stores or street lights, there are zero nightclubs, and I’m 20 miles away from the nearest town (population: 1,000). I am literally embedded in the woods and regularly wake up to the sight of moose and bison walking around my yard.
This is the place of my dreams, but it’s not for everyone. That being said, here are 5 things that happen when you live in the wilderness:
1. You’re forced to face your demons.
Make no mistake: When living in the wilderness, you’ll have A LOT of time to yourself. So if you’ve got a few not-so-pleasant memories that you have been actively trying to ignore, they’re going to come back to you—with a vengeance. You have to be prepared to face (and accept) all of those positive and negative thoughts and memories, because it’s just you and your thoughts. ALL of your thoughts.
2. You learn to entertain yourself.
If your idea of alone time consists of going to a movie on your own, that’s awesome—but living in the woods is a very different experience. When you’re not close to any major conveniences, cities, or large populations, it’s very difficult to make friends. So you learn to entertain yourself. Embrace it. Pick up some new hobbies and creative projects.
3. You will travel back in time.
All right, so maybe not literally—but when you live in the wilderness, chances are you won’t be able to keep up with modern technology. You won’t remember how many iPhones have been released, and you probably won’t be able to stream YouTube videos or watch cable TV. Basically, you’re from the past. You’re from ancient times, and you know what? It’s kind of enlightening. But when people start to talk about the latest viral video, your eyes will start to glaze over.
4. You’ll get a little weird sometimes.
Without constant interaction with others, you’re going to get a little weird. Maybe even very weird. When I’ve been slacking off socially or have gone too long without seeing my friends, I find myself talking too quickly, mumbling, and not properly constructing sentences whenever I do see my friends. To avoid this awkwardness, call a friend, travel, and break out of your bubble of wilderness.
5. You’ll become overly sensitive to noise.
When you’re used to the sounds of nature, your own music, and not a whole lot else—it can be startling to visit a city again. Urban sounds will seem ten times louder than they actually are.