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Two years ago I found myself living alone in a tent in the Turkish hills. There was no power or running water on my land. It was the beginning of an adventure that profoundly changed my beliefs about what is possible, or enjoyable. In this site I share a few of the things I learned along the way, such as:
It's December. Winter is upon us (in the northern hemisphere at least, those down south are at the beach). This month's most popular blog post returns to a theme that many ask me about. You are alone up a mountain in the Turkish hills, so don't you get afraid?
The Earthbag Adventure
It was my sixth month in a tent, and by then I believed I could live under canvas forever. I fell asleep each night to the sound of agama lizards foraging in the sun-warmed rocks, the call of tawny owls, and the poi-dance of fire flies beyond the mesh of my door.
Why I was living in a tent half-way up a mountain is another story, an episode I'll return to at a later date. But I can assure you, most of those who begin living permanently under canvas are pushed there, one way or another. Those troubles were now long over, however. Following a Mediterranean summer of cricket-strummed nights, I had begun to enjoy my hermetic life, an unorthodox existence with no running water or power, and a compost toilet.
One day, my neighbour and garden helper Celal peered over the wire fence at me. He was a wiry fellow with a cap, a hacking 60-cigs-a-day cough, and a smile that split his weather-worn face into a net of mirthful creases.
"You wanna make yourself a shelter quick! Winter's coming," he
I brushed off the warning. I was sure I could be a nomad forever . . . Read on.
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With winter now squeezing me inside my earthbag house, I've been musing (again) this time on the subject of walls. What is a wall for? It appears to be a protective barrier to keep the inside in and the outside out. But appearances can be deceiving . . .
And four more not to. Will you lime finish or not? This is the question.
Atulya K Bingham is a natural building enthusiast living in Turkey, and author of the prize-winning novel Ayse's Trail.