Whenever I think about Living Simple, my mind immediately goes back to 2006 when I lived in a remote native village in Alaska called Akiachak.
Located 350 miles west of Anchorage in the middle of the tundra, Akiachak was a subsistence village, meaning that the natives basically provided their own food through fishing and hunting. The only way in and out of the village was by boat or plane, so cars were in limited supply. Most transportation was either by snowmobile of 4-wheelers, either one of which would certainly get you where you needed to go, as long as you didn’t mind frostbite.
The natives did not have running water, nor did they have a heat source other than woodstoves. They would collect water from the Kuskokwim River, carry it up to their homes, and boil it over the woodstove. To relieve themselves, a toilet seat was located in a bathroom of sorts….a gravity toilet actually; all human waste dropped down under their homes into a hole that they had dug, and they would periodically cover the waste with snow. All fine and dandy until the spring came and the ground thawed and the river flooded, at which time one did not want to go outside as human waste floated by.
Still, the natives loved their village, and most stayed their entire lives, following the simple traditions that had been passed down from generation to generation.
Listen, I’m all for living simple, but I gotta tell ya, that is a bit overboard for me. Give me running water and a real toilet and I’m one happy camper!
I didn’t miss not having a car; I walked to school each day, despite the cold (40 below), and I found the natives to be extremely respectful human beings who were gracious to this white man. Their needs were few, and according to the Living Simple philosophy, their lives centered around needs rather than wants.