No-income outdoors lifestyle on Santa Fe mountains homestead

Since a “forced retirement” three years ago, Tomas Robison has been stretching his savings by exchanging labor for rent on an off-grid homestead in the Santa Fe mountains. Applying the lessons learned from 3 decades of intense camping (as a climber and river guide), Robison created his home from a yurt, outdoor camp kitchen, hand-crafted composting toilet (The Dood-R), and a “summer shower” from an old parachute.

Calling it “voluntary homelessness”, Robison believes his camp can be reproduced by others facing unemployment or eviction or simply looking to replicate his no-income, lifestyle. It’s not always a comfortable setup: in winter, Robison takes cold baths and makes regular trips up the hill to fill containers with water from the properties’ only well. Having sold most of his power tools, Robison calls his focus “paleo modern”: he relies mostly on hand tools for chopping wood and creating furniture, though he has kept some modern tools like an electric chainsaw for the bigger jobs.

For Carol – the property owner-, the location is a sanctuary where she has fled a job in international development focused on poverty and the environment. Frustrated by a sense of powerlessness, she has chosen to apply the bigger principles of land stewardship and simple living to her own life. To the property, she has transported a traditional Ifugao hut (built by another resident of the homestead, Mamerto Tingdongan). She and Tomas have started work on a Cal-Earth SuperAdobe structure, but are currently looking for more help to finish.

Despite the difficulty of the harsh Mexican winters, Robison enjoys the challenge and works to cultivate what he believes is the necessary mindset to find fulfillment in the solitude and his daily tasks.

“Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.” – Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf

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  1. Funny that he mentions not being able to handle living in suburbia and feeling very anxious like he has to get out since that’s where I am and how I’d feel about living in a hut in the desert!
    I ❤️ my indoor plumbing, central heat, and washing machine, thx!

  2. I was homeless for a few years, but back in my own home for about 7 years, but sometimes I just want to drop this lifestyle and go live off the grid. It can be really cool and mentally peaceful depending on the circumstances.

  3. I don’t use power tools, then pulls out a grinder. haha. I really admire what he’s done. Nice he can take advantage of neighboring abandoned home.

  4. Such a lovely man, he is so humble and also so informative. I love that he insists on not feeling like a victim, a path he could have taken.

  5. Its fun how you have seamlessly mixed summer and winter scenes. One moment you have adjusted to the summer landscape and next moment its like “woah when did the snow come in?”

  6. So many hateful comments. Different strokes for different folks. You do you and he does him. Big fucking woop.
    It used to be interesting to read comments. Now there are so many mean spirited trolls out there. Get a life.

  7. You are tramppelling more raw land area than established city dwellers but I’m not mad. I was thinking if we could take care of our own we can stack up in public housing. The upside is when folks want to recreate they won’t intrude on forest dwellers. G.

  8. I’m from the Philippines been your channel since 2016? So happy He mentioned the bolo and Carol about the rice terraces. It was 7th wonders of the world, lol, i was in my elementary years then.

  9. He seems fit and smart enough to get jobs helping homeowners with gardening, mowing or small repair jobs. That is if he needs money.

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