Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Would It Take?

I came across this article in the New York Times about people who choose to live by themselves in remote spots.It's not an easy choice; one of the men interviewed for the article ate (among other things) nettles and rats. It also takes lots of labor and planning, and even the men who are used to living like this can get lonely. A couple of the men said that women generally don't like such an isolated lifestyle, especially if there's a child involved. Child-rearing is hard enough in civilization; I don't blame other women for not wanting to do it in isolation. (Of course, one of the men said women don't like the lifestyle because of the lack of shopping. I wonder what he would say about the men who prefer civilization?)

The reason I mention this article is because it makes me think about colonizing a new planet, which is something I have in mind for a future project. What kind of motivation would drive people to leave their home planet and start from scratch somewhere else? Would the motivations be different for each gender? I think things would have to be pretty bad on this planet to make another one look appealing. I do intend my future Earth to have some serious problems, though my characters would be less affected than most people due to their position in society. The main reason I plan to have them leave the planet is to search for something (I won't say what so as not to spoil anything); the question is if it is possible for them to return to Earth, why stay on the other planet? I think they may choose to stay when they discover something else--but I can't say what exactly here.

How far would you be willing to move, and why? What parts of your current lifestyle could you give up?


Maria Zannini said...

LOL! Considering where I live now?

I am one of those people who would gladly live out in the middle of nowhere.

But--and this is a big but, that wish has changed over the years, due in no small part to physical limitations.

Isolation is HARD work. Even living a short distance from civilization taxes you. But living completely independently is draining both physically and emotionally.

How old are your characters? Age plays a factor too. How motivated are they? This lifestyle is not for the weak-willed. It takes determination and commitment. A partner helps immensely. As long as I have good water, good soil and a strong back, I'd be willing.

I'm glad you're taking these things into consideration. Unless you've walked the walk, it's hard to imagine what you're giving up---and what you're gaining.

A good book and movie to use as reference is The Yearling.

Eric said...

Great post, Sandra. I really like when writers consider things like this. The more grounded your writing is in real consequences, the more it hits the reader on a deep level.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I think people would go for their work. If you were a biologist or a botanist that wanted to study life on other planets, I think you would be willing to cut familial ties or take your family with you. I bet you could get quite a few singles to go, especially if they were of both genders. Then people could meet on the colony, finding a partner who clearly likes the same lifestyle.

Jackee said...

I like living in the boondocks--but then again I have AMAZON, thus maybe the shopper commenter has a point (though a rude one). LOL!

I remember as a kid seeing the movie versions of The Martian Chronicles and thinking the same thing--why would they ever want to live in the desolation of Mars?

No answers, but you pose an interesting question. We are social beings, but social is a spectrum. I could never live in a city or any place where I didn't have land to roam on.

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