What’s a happy life?
A good job? A good house? A good marriage? Having 100,000 views on your latest Tik Tok?
Well, not necessarily. Here are 4 amazing people who have none of the above but somehow found their own happiness…in the wild.
They figured that the modern world wasn’t for them, ditched everything and everyone they knew, to find their own way of life. Careful though, reading any further might make you want to reconsider your own life and career choices.
Still here? Alright then.
This is their story.
1. Life in a jungle (Hong Kong)
Meet Jason. You’ve probably already realized that he looks a lot like Tarzan. Not only that, he lives like Tarzan, climbs like Tarzan, even grows his hair like Tarzan! However, his story might just be better than Tarzan’s.
20 years ago, Jason used to live in the Philippines. Through some twists of fate, he ended up homeless without a family nor a job. He even had to sleep in churches and metro stations at night. Eventually, he was adopted and moved to Hong Kong. But he never felt truly at home.
So he moved to an island on the coast of Hong Kong and began creating his own home. He built an entire house out of beach trash and dead trees, grew a garden of organic produce, and spent his days doing what he loved: singing, dancing, climbing, and swimming.
He even stopped cutting his hair! Because, as he says, this hair is his “source of energy.”
Pretty wild, isn’t it? Disney thought so too. That’s why when they heard about Jason, they went: “This is the Tarzan we need!” and they offered him the lead role in an actual Disney show.
And now? As far as we know, Jason is still there, still young, wild, and free in his jungle. He finally got his happily ever after, just like Tarzan.
But maybe you’re not much of a Disney fan. Maybe you’re more into Tom Hanks movies or Robinson Crusoe.
Then you have to meet Xavier.
2. Life on an island (Pacific Ocean)
Have you seen the movie Cast Away ? or maybe Into the Wild ?
Well, this guy could have easily played the lead in both movies.
This is Xavier. For 300 days (that’s 9 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days), Xavier lived on the remote island of Tofua, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For 300 days, he lived without WiFi, TV, cars…or even a supermarket!
But he wasn’t kidnapped there or stranded after a shipwreck. In fact, Xavier chose to be there of his own free will. While other people around him chased after banking jobs, fancy weddings or a new big house to raise the kids, he chose to try a different a life, far away from any civilization. And very close to nature.
So one day, he left his mom, sister, and girlfriend behind to live on this island for 300 days. On this journey, he only brought:
- A machete
- A Swiss knife
- A small medical kit
- A camera
- And…his two bare hands.
As you might expect, Xavier ran into challenges everywhere he turned. He had to find food, water, and shelter all by himself. He faced threats from wild bees and poisonous snakes. Sometimes it would take him 6-7 hours just to catch a single fish.
But the thing Xavier struggled with the most was loneliness. As days passed, he learned to keep himself sane by appreciating simple things he couldn’t find in the big city. He even found a little pig to keep him company!
Today, Xavier is back on the mainland, but he is still determined to keep adventuring full-time. He is currently planning a 400-day journey around the globe on an ultralight plane. Good luck to him!
3. Life in a hole (Russia)
While Xavier dreamed of going up, this guy needed to go down.
He lives in hole in the ground, that he dug himself, just like a rabbit.
He may not look like it but 10 years ago, Yuri was a lawyer in Moscow, with a career, a lovely house, and a lot of money. Yet somehow, all his achievements didn’t mean anything to him.
He felt lost in life, without any real goal or purpose.
So Yuri took a train ride 100km away from the city, found an empty plot of land, and set up camp. When winter started showing up, he did what any rabbit in his condition would have done : dig.
That’s how Yuri started building himself a nice little housem several meters deep in the ground. Inside his little hole, Yuri brought in an oven, some plates, some chairs, a piano, even a sauna… He showers using rainwater and cooks from a stove powered by solar energy.
But most importantly, Yuri also brought lots of…books.
Yes, even in the wild, Yuri the lawyer still wants to read! Nature had given him peace, but he had yet to find purpose. Well that purpose he found by opening his own library, in the middle of nowhere. Here any book lover can come in to borrow books or trade them. Or just have a fireside chat with him on their favorite reads.
Yuri’s been living in this cosy Hobbit hole in the ground for the last 10 years – and as far as we know, he’ll be there for the next 10 years.
But if the freezing lands of Russia are too much for you, you can also have a shot at the desert life in the Emirates. That’s what this middle-aged German woman did.
4. Life with camels (UAE)
Meet Uschi, the camel queen.
Uschi has spent most of her life in Germany with a typical 9-to-5 job. But deep inside, she didn’t feel like a German. That’s why when 20 years ago, she visited the Dubai desert as a tourist, she fell in love.
In the desert, there were no cars, no highways – only sun, sand, and a lot of…camels.
So Uschi dropped everything and moved to the middle of the desert to build her own camel farm. It was hot, challenging, and very much not German. But somehow it just felt like home. She hired locals, learned Arabic, bought 30 camels, and slowly became Dubai’s very own camel queen.
Today, Uschi’s farm has become a famous destination for people all over the world. She has even welcomed royalty into her home. In her own words, much of her soul and her life now belongs to the Arab world.
Happiness is found when you feel at Home
You might think that these four people’s life choices are too extreme. But it doesn’t really matter to them. They felt at odd with the world they lived in. So they decided to try another one.
And found their own sense of happiness in the process.
At the end of the day, happiness is not about where you were born, it’s about where you feel at home – whether in a big city, on a remote island, in a hole, with camels…or even just within yourself.