One night in February 2011 I had a dream that I would spend the summer living in a teepee. So after finding an appropriate campground and procuring a suitable teepee I gave notice on my rented accommodation in town, put most of my possessions into storage and moved out at the start of April to an undisclosed location in rural Wiltshire to spend six months under the stars, whilst continuing my employment at a local hospital. The plan was to live as simply as possible, but always ensuring that I was fit for employment.
The tent that I used was a single poled Teepee tent which had a diameter of five metres. I chose this design over a traditional teepee as it is much more practical to move in that it has a single central collapsible pole (Large traditional sioux teepees generally require a flat bedded truck to move the poles). I kitted out my teepee with several sheepskin rugs, a berber rug, an inflatable bed (to keep me off the floor) and of course a wood burning stove. The stove is very economical to run and kicks out a large amount of heat whilst not consuming a great deal of fuel. Further heating capability is added as the majority of the flue piping is inside the tent. Rain hasn’t really been a problem – I made sure that the waterproof flap at the bottom of the cover is carefully tucked under the groundsheet. The tent has stood up well during several strong gales, although it has sometimes felt like it is about to blow away! Security is a slight issue as it is not possible to lock the tent, although I do tie a double knot on the door. My answer is to not leave anything of value within the tent (I put all my valuable possessions into storage before beginning the project). I am still hopeful that no-one would want to steal my dirty underwear!
Whilst completing this project I hoped to raise funds and awareness for my sister’s work in setting up a special needs class in rural Uganda. Click here to find out more about my sister’s work in Uganda.
I am writing this in mid-July and so far I have had a wonderful experience. It has been beautiful to come home every evening to such a beautiful location and being inside the teepee is a magical experience, and gives me ample time to reflect on life. I usually try to have a small BBQ outside, practice my juggling, meditate and do some writing. I have really got into listening to the radio – I don’t miss a television at all!
If you ever get the chance I would recommend spending six months in a teepee – it is very good for the soul!