Live Free or Die premieres on NatGeo on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The intriguing and self-reliant folks showcased on the new series definitely subscribe to a “do more with less” philosophy – and appear to accomplish their goals nearly flawlessly.
National Geographic Channel’s new series explores one of the most remote subcultures in the United States, according to showrunners. Live Free or Die follows the lives of five individuals living in the “country’s backwoods and swamps with few of the trappings of modern society.” The cast feels as if they have been freed from the constraints of modern society and the technology-fueled existence millions of Americans feel bound to every day. “They are modern-day pioneers who rely only on skill and intuition to harness the natural environment,” NatGeo says about the new series.
Live Free or Die Series Description
“These five individuals are participating in a lifestyle trend known as “re-wilding” — a new term that refers to the un-domestication of humans and reverting back to our wild roots. They live almost completely off the land, in simple homes without any electricity or running water. The woods furnish their rugged lifestyle, and wildlife populate their dinner plates, bringing significant challenges that often require quick and innovative solutions in their constant struggle to survive. They are faced with natural obstacles like brutal weather and depleted food sources and must find ways to subsist that don’t violate the strict code they hold themselves to in order to remain self-sufficient. It is this very code, the difficulty of keeping it and the potential to triumph over nature that fuels their desire to remain on these modern-day frontiers.”
The Inquisitr recently spent an hour chatting with Live Free or Die cast members Tony and Amelia.
IQ: Why did you move to mountains?
Tony: I was born in Omaha and lived there until I was 13 or 14. Then I moved to the DC area and got a job. It was total culture shock. I was there four years and then went to college in Colorado. I got a degree in environmental studies, writing, and biology. Once I had my degree I wound up out here. I wanted a garden and not on someone’s else land. I ate out up dumpsters, I ate dandelions, I refused to spend money on food. I took the first job I could find. I live entirely debt free. Quite simply I knew what I wanted and took the straightest line to get there. H**l the first few years were rough, I had no heat the first winter. It was definitely pretty rough at first but after that … paradise.
Amelia: We live on 1-acre of land and grow our own food. We trade work with neighbors that have livestock and farms to get other food we need that we cannot grow or raise ourselves. We have fruit trees, practice permaculture and raise chickens, rabbits, and goats – perhaps we will also raise pigeons in the future.
IQ: What do you have in way of utilities?
Tony: We harvest rain water. We don’t do the electricity thing. We have a rocket stove and a big wood gasifier for heating and cooking purposes. We harvest wood in a sustainable manner. We fell wood in winter without killing it. This process increases organic manner content in soil and for the garden – we use hand tools for the cutting.
IQ: How do you garner items you cannot provide for yourself, such as clothing and shoes?
Tony: A lot of our clothes we actually find on the side of the road, there are often free boxes of clothes set out in the area. There are plenty of ways to buy second hand clothes cheaply.
IQ: The NatGeo Live Free or Die media kits state that you saw Tony’s primitive home and immediately fell in love with the place and decided he was the guy for you. What appealed to you about the “re-wilding” lifestyle?
Amelia: What inspired to live this way? It feels good and satisfying to be connected with the food I eat and to live down to earth. What motives me mostly, is living in a way much that is much more sustainable. I grew up on an 80-acre farm. When my parents divorced, my mother moved to the city and dad kept the farm. A lot of my free time was spent out on the farm. We [siblings] would ride horses, work with the cows, and had huge gardens, hay pastures, and old log cabin we helped build to enjoy. I learned a lot in animal caretaking. I was obsessed, we had Morgans. After living on dad’s farm then a few other places unusual; a small homestead in Nashville where I had chickens and an organic garden, I met tony. Had original section of house built when we met, it is now twice as big, or more now. He is an incredibly hard-working person – very dedicated.
IQ: Do you plan on having children? Would you have to adept your lifestyle to accommodate babies and youngsters?
Amelia: Children? We haven’t decided yet either way. We have talked about benefits and the challenges. Raising children here would be amazing a lot of ways. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a unique environment. Everything takes longer though, it is a lot of work.
IQ: Why join the Live Free or Die Cast?
Amelia: I had mixed feelings. I felt kind of nervous about having a crew of people that are from a very different type of lifestyle coming here and having cameras being pointed at me. I just was not really sure what to expect. I am kind of shy and I don’t really do that well with a camera. I think I’m good a hiding nervousness. Looking natural in front of a camera can be difficult. But, I was excited to share what we are doing with the world. What I am most excited about, and the main reason I did it, is because it could inspire people to live in a way that they will feel more satisfied with their life, and bring more happiness to our world. That is, if I can get anything out of this, it is inspiring other people to do what they really want to do with their lives go ahead and just go ahead and do what you want to do – that is the best thing we could get out of this show.
Tony: One sentence sums it why I chose to be on Live Free or Die. I have ideas in my head I want the world to hear. The show will reach most of the world, I didn’t know how many countries would receive the broadcast until after I signed up for the deal. I want to encourage people to do what they want to do. To live like me or not. Just to be happy and free. If you want to be a painter or a space shuttle engineer – just do it. We are not bound by the expectations of society.
[Image via: NatGeo]