For many people, the prospect of living without a car, a smartphone, a laptop and a watch is unthinkable.

However, for Miriam Lancewood, life without all of these things and more is perfect.
The 33-year-old, who is originally from Wehl in Holland, has spent the past seven years living "off grid" with her New Zealand-born husband Peter, 63, in the New Zealand wilderness.

• WATCH: Mike Hosking interviews nomad Miriam Lancewood

The couple originally set out to challenge themselves to just one year without the modern day necessities of technology, society and electricity. Seven years later, they are still living in the wild.


According to Lancewood, they have no plans to go home to civilisation.

Miriam and Peter Lancewood came up with the idea to go and live in the wilderness of South Marlborough one day after they finished a hike in Holland.

"We wanted to be a part of nature, rather than just observing it," Lancewood told Daily Mail Australia.

"We wondered whether we could survive a year in the wild."

And so, pursuing their idea of a radically different lifestyle, the pair began to prepare to head to New Zealand.

"We packed up two 85kg bags with everything we needed, from rolled oats to milk powder, flour yeast, honey, rice and vegetables.

"We counted out everything perfectly, including the teabags," Lancewood said.

Vegetarian Miriam Lancewood soon learned to shoot and kill her own food. Photo / Supplied
Vegetarian Miriam Lancewood soon learned to shoot and kill her own food. Photo / Supplied

The ambitious couple trained a little before they arrived in New Zealand, taking a couple of 10-day hikes through the bush and practicing lighting fires in the rain, Lancewood admitted that because she had been a PE teacher at home, she hoped she would be okay.


"I knew how to shoot with a bow and arrow at a target, which I knew would be useful.

"What I didn't know is how much more difficult it is to shoot at something moving," she

The pair set out for South Marlborough in late 2010, where they passed the winter before moving on to the Nelson Lakes District, and later the West Coast for summer and autumn:
According to Miriam Lancewood, the pair would wake up around when the sun rose, before heading out to find firewood.

They would then light the fire and make cups of tea and toast with bread they had made the day before.

Obviously, they had no sense of time - they merely followed the sunlight - but after breakfast, they might go exploring or for a walk.

The couple would later head back to their tent and go hunting in the afternoon and early evening.


They would sit around the fire and have dinner once it got dark, going to bed possibly one hour later.

"We were totally dependent on the weather, we didn't know what time it was at any point," Lancewood said.

"We got up when the sun rose and went to sleep when it went down. In the winter, we must have been sleeping for 13 or 14 hours, but it wasn't good quality sleep at the start.

"We woke up with pains in our stomachs from trying to keep warm. We knew we needed to hunt to get warm in our bodies."

Lancewood caught her first animal - a possum - that year. She had been a vegetarian for most of her life before that, but realised that she would have to hunt to stay warm.

The 33-year-old later shot and killed her first goat with her bow and arrow.


"I remember thinking 'this is terrible' at the time, and crying, but later I also felt very proud of myself," she said.

For the nomadic couple, wilderness life soon got into a regular pattern.

Between hunting, cooking, exploring and sleeping, they filled their days without modern-day conveniences, and only tripped into various towns when they needed to top up their food supplies.

"We have no need for money in the wild. When we go into towns, we obviously have to buy more rolled oats, honey, rice etc - and so I take money out of the bank.

"But I often play my guitar in shopping centres when we are in town to also help to tide money over.

"It's amazing when you remove yourself from modern day life how much better you feel.


"Sleep comes very easily when the mind is quiet; I'm never able to sleep in cities now.'

She did miss some things, namely contact with her family, but Lancewood said she created a system whereby she wrote her parents letters with a pen and paper, before
giving them to passing hunters to post when they were in town.

"My parents would then reply to me by email and I would pick up the emails every two or three months when I was in a village," she said.

However, Lancewood also said she preferred their new quality of life much more so, when they got to the end of their first year, they decided to stay living in the wild.

"The peace of mind you find from living in the wild is indescribable," she said.

"Plus, I have no home and no backup plan, so this had to work!"


Lancewood explained that she has learned much from seven years spent in the wild, but
the biggest and most important lesson of all is how "insignificant" we are: "I've learned how small our problems really are, and because of this, my personal issues seem tiny and pathetic.

"This has been a huge help for my anxiety. I feel happy, healthy and exploring gives me so much joy and energy.

"I feel happy, healthy and exploring gives me so much joy and energy. Why would I go back to my old life?

"Why would I go back to my old life?"

Lancewood has written a book, Woman in the Wilderness, about her inspiring adventure and what she has learned, and she said that the couple hold hopes of living off the grid in Eastern Europe at some point in the future.

"I am a bit nervous about things like bears there, but I would also love to find wild places in Eastern Europe," she said.


"To do something like this, you do need to be physically quite strong and have quite a bit of endurance and stamina.

"But I'd recommend it to many people. I don't think I will ever go back to civilisation."