One my favorite documentaries is of Dick Proenneke building his Alaskan cabin Alone in the Wilderness. I’m not sure when I first saw it, but it was well into adulthood, and I think it was on PBS.
I watched it whenever I could. There was something so appealing about not just the story, but the life alone.
I thought about it today when I saw a link to a video of a Swedish 18-year-old building a cabin by hand, I Spent 3 Years Alone Building A Log Cabin:
4 years ago I felt lost, even though society had clearly paved the path for me. I was 17 and living in Stockholm Sweden. After seeing the documentary “Alone in the wilderness” by Dick Proenneke, I became completely obsessed with the idea of just packing a rucksack of hand tools and wondering off into the vast forest of Sweden to create my own life, living off the land and build a log cabin. I found my meaning, but I was still in high school. My Grandparents owned forest so I started spending more and more time with them every weekend, wandering out, dreaming of my obsession and asking for advise. I had absolutely no prior knowledge of anything how I was going to do this, just the obsession to learn. When I turned 18 I told everyone of my plans. I received a gopro camera from my parents, so I could at least film some of my adventures. I hadn’t even thought about filming anything but I did so and am I glad I did. It is a long story from here of hard work, pain, cold, making many many mistakes and figuring out how to solve problems all alone by trial and error. But I finally built the cabin all alone after 3 years. Along the way I also became passionate in filmmaking, so I invested in a better camera. The whole journey is filmed on a tripod by myself, which was lets just say a struggle (I am insane). Some people will doubt this and say I had a film crew and construction team, which I just take as a big complement. I know my journey and I hope to inspire others the same way Dick Proenneke inspired me.
There seem to be multiple pieces of the Proenneke documentary floating around but not the full hour-long video. A website devoted to Proenneke has many links, and as suspected, those that are publicly available without charge are not the full docmentary. These two public clips tell some of the story:
(There’s a longer one here of Proenneke talking about his adventure).
Throwing it all away and living isolated from almost everyone in the wilderness has a certain fascination. It’s a piece of the Prepper puzzle for me that is still just a dream — “the bunker” someplace far away that can accommodate more than me alone, but is a worst case scenario option.
The reality of it, of course is that living in the wilderness is much more difficult, but still that loner spirit is invigorating, even if in one’s own mind.
It’s part of the right to be left alone, which doesn’t exist anymore. Technology is part of the problem. I know that we can’t turn back the clock, but I’m glad that I grew up in an era when we didn’t have cell phones and internet and various other technologies that make it impossible to hide. I’m glad that when I was a kid mom couldn’t find me for hours, and she didn’t panic!
The entirety of government expansion, particularly progressive government and ideological expansion, also makes sure there can be no loners, that no one has the right to be left truly alone. I don’t know what the situation was for Dick Proenneke back then, and maybe the Alaskan wilderness is different, but almost anyplace else the cabin would be taxed, subjected to various regulations, and Proenneke subjected to a slew of government governing his life.
Maybe that’s what’s so appealing, trying to remember or at least imagine a life free from the suffocating technological and bureaucratic grips.
Watching the video is an escape.DONATE
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