Living in the New Zealand wilderness


Dutch-native Miriam Lancewood and her husband Peter roamed through the New Zealand wilderness as modern nomads. Miriam wrote a book about the experience and talks with us about how living in nature changed her.

“A friend dropped us off deep in the wilderness. I was fully prepared for everything except one thing: boredom. The first few days I was in a total panic—there were no more plans and it felt like I no longer had a future. I ran around cleaning the hut and trying to hunt in vain. It took a couple of weeks before my mind relaxed and then nature came to life. The beautiful, ancient trees and the clouds above the mountains pushed me through—I began to enjoy it.

Some winter nights we slept for fourteen hours; that makes you a whole other person. We rarely had disagreements. Of course I got upset when Peter kept on talking when I wanted to go to sleep or if he spilled something on his shirt but then I thought: Why does it matter? There is no one here to see it.”

“The first thing I did when I woke up was gather firewood; it could take a few hours before I’d be able to start a fire. We’d drink some tea and toast some bread that we had baked a couple days earlier. Then I’d either go hunting or we’d go explore the area. Peter used to teach ecology, so he would tell me something interesting about the trees or about the ground where he could tell water used to be. If it was bad weather, we would play chess and sometimes we’d play five games in a row.”

  • You can read more about Miriam’s story in Issue 21.

Text Eva Loesberg Photography ©Stocksy United/Cameron Zegers