Living Off the Grid“I think when we bring all of these technologies into our lives, we’re rejecting a lot of life.”

As heard on The Ryan Tubridy Show

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Do you think you could live without your phone? What about the Internet? Your car? Electricity? The toilet? It’s one thing to stop using a smartphone, Tubridy-style, but it’s quite another few steps along the way to give up all forms of technology. That’s what Mark Boyle has done for the past three years. He came in to studio to talk about it with Ryan Tubridy and Ryan asked him that, given he’s forsaken all these things, what’s left?

“I think life is left. We kind of forget sometimes that when we accept one thing, we reject another thing. I think when we bring all of these technologies into our lives, we’re rejecting a lot of life.”

But running water, Ryan asks? It’s not a technology, Mark agrees, but the pipes and the systems that bring it to you are. So during the summertime he washes in the lake where he goes and during the winter, it’s a case of pouring a jug of cold water over his head.

“One of my first jobs in the morning is to go and collect spring water. I’m quite lucky in that we’ve got a spring at the end of the lane.”

Mark lives on what he describes as a three-acre small holding in Co Galway, on the border with East Clare. He has a cabin built out of straw bales and roundwood. “It’s kind of like a little Hobbit house,” he tells Ryan. What does he do for food?

“I try to live from the landscape around me. Which, this time of year, is quite limited. It’s kind of, kale, a lot of potatoes every day. If I go fishing, I catch pike.”

It’s not just off the grid, it’s off the last three centuries. It works for Mark, and he’ll certainly be ahead of the pack should the nuclear apocalypse arrive anytime soon, but he lost me at running water. A person’s got to have some red lines, right?

The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology by Mark Boyle is published by Oneworld.

You can hear Ryan’s full interview with Mark, as well as the rest of The Ryan Tubridy Show here:


© The Listener 2019

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