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She Chased Her Wooded Bliss, Found It's Really Boring

'Plenty of people have believed that nature would save them; fewer have the guts to admit when it doesn’t'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2021 12:36 PM CST
She Chased Her Wooded Bliss, Found It's Really Boring
An idyllic life in the woods isn't all it's cracked up to be.   (Getty/Petr Kahanek)

(Newser) – The question posed to an advice column for Outdoor magazine comes with a twist. The writer explains that six months ago, she did what a lot of people only fantasize about: She quit her job, dumped her boyfriend, and moved to a remote cabin in Montana (complete with outhouse) so she could write. She had grand visions of hiking, thinking, and writing about nature, full time, all under the inspirational sign given to her by a friend: "Walden II." The problem? She can't seem to write anything, she's bored by the trail she walks every day and the geese that populate it, and she's more lonely than she imagined was possible. "I thought this was what I needed to find my true self, but something is wrong, and I’m afraid it’s me." Columnist Blair Braverman responds with advice that goes beyond that one woman's plight.

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"Plenty of people have believed that nature would save them; fewer have the guts to admit when it doesn’t," Braverman writes. It's understandable the woman has a block because she's trying to write about what she thinks she's supposed to write about—being some kind of modern Thoreau—instead of the far more interesting story right in front of her: "You’ve gone to the woods to find meaning and you cannot find it. That you are trying every day, without witnesses, without even neighbors, and still you can’t bring yourself to care about wild geese." The upshot is that "now you’re stuck with the same problems you had before but you don’t even have a toilet," writes Braverman. "That’s interesting. And it’s funny. I would read that book." (Read the full Q&A.)

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