Our 6 Favorite Off-Grid & Wilderness Living Documentaries
Maybe off-grid living and wilderness living are lifestyles you simply enjoy watching other people do.
Or maybe you yourself plan to live off-grid in the wilderness in the future!
Either way, I think you'll agree that sometimes inspiration is needed.
There are days when traffic jams and the smell of car exhaust and the heat of inner-city asphalt or the monotonous clocking in and clocking out of daily life get to be just a little too much.
We get it.
Having just moved to the wilderness, the memories of fast-paced life in the gray world are still fresh on our heels.
Watching documentaries about off-grid living, wilderness living, homesteading, old ways, and things of this sort were always a soothing balm for us when we longed for the big quiet wilderness but were stuck in suburbia of eastern America.
So for anyone else looking to add some fuel to the inspiration fire, here is what we recommend you watch! Pop some popcorn, put on the kettle, and cozy up for a wilderness retreat in your own living room!
OUR 6 FAVORITE OFF-GRID & WILDERNESS LIVING DOCUMENTARIES
All The Time in the World
"In search of a new perspective, a family of five leave the comforts of home to live remotely in the Yukon wilderness during the long northern winter and amidst the surprises that the rawness of nature provide. The parents leave their jobs and take their three children, ages 10, 8 and 4, to spend nine months living in a small cabin with no road access, no electricity, no running water, and no internet, no TV, no phone and, most importantly, no clocks or watches.
Filmed over 9 months, off the grid, without external crew, and featuring the unique perspectives of children, All The Time In The World explores the theme of disconnecting from our hectic and technology-laden lives in order to reconnect with each other, ourselves and our natural environment – parents connecting with children, children connecting with nature."
This is a film we purchased and have unlimited access to, which is a good thing because we like to watch it once a month or so.
Just the other night, we played it while we each tinkered with our individual crafts & projects. The children are really impressive and it's obvious they've benefited from calm and intelligent parenting, so the angles of inspiration are many.
Visit their website here to view the trailer and, if interested, purchase the film.
Alone in the Wilderness (1 and 2)
I'll go ahead and bet that if you're reading this, you're familiar with Dick Proenneke and have already watched Alone in the Wilderness MANY times.
But did you know there's a part 2?
I've been watching Alone in the Wilderness on a regular basis for many, many years but only found out about the second part a couple of years ago.
I scoured the murky depths of the Internet, unable to find part 2 available for viewing online anywhere. But, it is available for purchase. Which I happily did.
Now, if we don't have Internet or the power is down (but the laptop battery is charged), we can enjoy hours of wilderness living in the beautiful Alaskan bush, shot with an old film camera in the 1960's and 1970's.
His journals are wonderful reads, too, chronicling the subtle details of a daily life lived in one of the most remote places in the world.
"Alone in the Wilderness is the story of Dick Proenneke. To live in a pristine land unchanged by man... to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed... to choose an idyllic site, cut trees and build a log cabin... to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available... to be not at odds with the world, but content with one's own thoughts and company... Thousands have had such dreams, but Dick Proenneke lived them. He found a place, built a cabin, and stayed to become part of the country."
For anyone interested in off-grid living, wilderness living, building your own home, and craftsmanship - this is the ultimate inspirational film.
May it be salve to your city-weary soul.
Surviving Alone in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years, The Story of Agafia Lykov
Many winters ago, while living in a small log cabin landlocked inside of 300 forested acres belonging to a Zen monastery, I read a book called Lost in the Taiga.
In the late 1970s, a Russian pilot flying over a remote, mountainous stretch of the Siberian taiga, the vast subarctic forest, spotted a tilled field hundreds of miles from any known settlement. He could not believe his eyes; in this forbidding part of the world, human habitation was a statistical impossibility. A team of scientists parachuted in and were stunned by what they found: a primitive wood cabin, and a family dressed in rags that spoke, thought, and lived in the manner of seventeenth-century Russian peasants during the reign of Tsar Peter the Great. How they come here, how they survived, and how they ultimately prevailed in a climate of unimaginable adversity make for one of the most extraordinary human adventures of this century.
Already being fascinated by Slavic folk stories and peoples, this true tale roped me in so intensely.
Agafia, who is over 70 years old, still lives in the Siberian wilderness - completely alone after all of her family members perished.
Years later, you can imagine how elated I was to find out that Agafia had been visited, and a documentary film made!
I watched, mesmerized, by this lifestyle and this quiet and tranquil inner world she exudes. Agafia didn't even know WW2 had happened and still spoke an Old Slavic language that only a few scholars still knew.
Even better - this documentary is available to watch online, for free! I've linked to it below for you to enjoy.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Another documentary film set in the Siberian taiga (are you catching on to a northern boreal love here?!)
With voiceovers by Werner Herzog, this film follows trappers in a small Siberian village as they go about their lives throughout the seasons.
A portrait of harsh but beautiful far north life and stoicism amidst difficulties.
(This film is available to watch on Netflix).
Surviving Alone in Alaska
Heimo Korth and his wife Edna, are the only two people living within 19 million acres of Alaskan wilderness.
Together, the two hunt and fish and strive to be as self-reliant as possible.
This film, like the others, has an element of stoic survivalist wisdom to bestow - Heimo & Edna lost their little girl, Colleen, at age 2 in a river drowning incident.
This documentary is available to watch free online, and I've linked to it here for you to bookmark:
Hopefully at least a couple of these films are new to you and will make for cozy viewing nights soon, whether you're living in the middle of nowhere or smack dab in the city center.
Thanks so much for stopping by and please leave us a comment introducing yourself or adding some of your favorite inspirational off-grid/wilderness films to the list!
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This is a space to share glimpses into daily life here in the Washington wilderness - full of nesting & nomading, & forging deeper relationships to self, to old ways, & to the natural world.
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health & wellness
wild food foraging
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