Sports teacher who quit her job to live in the wild with her 'mountain man' and washes hair with URINE

Sports teacher who quit her job to live in the wild with her ‘mountain man’ and washes hair with URINE

Miriam Lancewood, 34, lives off the grid with her ‘mountain man’ partner Peter, 64.

For the past eight years, A former sports teacher who quit her job to live in the wild washes her hair with URINE to get rid of dandruff and hunts her own food.

Without phones, Internet, refrigerators, toiletries, watches and other basic things many people take for granted, they have cultivated a life far from ordinary – and couldn’t imagine doing things any other way.

The couple has been living in the wilderness for almost nine years and the one thing that Miriam misses the most isn’t central heating or a proper bed – but shampoo, which she missed during the first winter of their travels when she developed a bad bout of dandruff.


(Image: Miriam Lancewood)

She explained that during their first winter in the wild she suffered from a bad bout of dandruff and had to come up with a homemade solution to get rid of it.

‘Peter said he’d heard something about the Eskimos up north who treat their dandruff with morning urine. I thought I’d give it a go. What does it matter ?’

The 34-year-old, who is originally from Wehl in Holland, recalled ‘peeing in a little tin’ and wetting her hair to allow it to become more absorbent.

‘Then I poured the tin of morning urine over my head. I waited until I could smell the urine, and then I washed it off with soap. It works very well,’ she said.

The urine trick is just one of any number of unusual things Miriam has started doing since she took up wilderness life in 2010.

The former teacher also uses charcoal and ash to brush her teeth and keep her teeth white and uses a Mooncup for her period – washing it in nearby rivers so that she doesn’t have to carry tampons around.

Miriam said sickness, along with food, is one of their key concerns, They cannot call for an ambulance or medical assistance as they have no phones. And medical attention is often at least several days or weeks away.

She added: “Peter once got sick with malaria. There were no doctors and we were in the middle of the jungle. It’s a very scary moment when you don’t have any emergency resources.

“We just have to be very careful. We have a very big First Aid kit and had medicines with us for malaria.

Ex-teacher lives in the wild
(Image: Miriam Lancewood)

“We also have to be very careful not to get in an accident. If you break a leg it would be so bad.”

The pair packed up their bags in 2010 bringing just a backpack with them.

“We got rid of all of our belongings [when we left in 2010], and I had left only what we needed,” she recalled.

“We realised you really need very little. You need two shorts, three shirts, one woollen jumper, one long [trouser], one pair of leggings, and a couple of pairs of socks. Not much.”


(Image: Miriam Lancewood)

Speaking about their existence, Miriam detailed how they decided to pack up their conventional lives and jobs and head out to the wild:

‘We packed up two 85-kilo bags with everything we needed, from rolled oats to milk powder, flour yeast, honey, rice, and vegetables,’ Miriam told.

‘We counted out everything perfectly, including the teabags.’

While the ambitious couple did train a little before they arrived in New Zealand, with a couple of long 10-day hikes through the bush and practice lighting fires in the rain, Miriam admitted that because she had been a P.E 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 laughed.

Miriam says she does miss her family and friends, who she sees around once every three years

However, Miriam said she wouldn’t trade her life to go back to working in a city. Her reality now is a far cry from when she worked as a special needs teacher in New Zealand, a job in which she found herself constantly stressed.

“I certainly wouldn’t go back to having a job and being in a city and having a so-called ‘normal life.’ I would hate to have a monotone existence where we know what we are doing next week, living round the clock where the clock is ruling your life.

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

“I have been so surprised by how much energy you get from living in nature. I think this is actually our natural state.

“Our ancestors lived the way we do now. It’s amazing how much energy you get from just living in the forest. Compared to the mountains around me, I’m very small. Your fears and worries get even smaller.”

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