One Couple, Their Toddler, and a Yurt in Rural Alaska

One Couple, Their Toddler, and a Yurt in Rural Alaska

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Cambria Bold
Jan 7, 2010

Married couple Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick have walked more than 7,000 miles together. Their last trip spanned an entire year, during which they traveled more than 4,000 across Alaska with their 11-month-old son, finally setting up camp in the coastal town of Seldovia on the Kenai Peninsula. Their home now? A yurt without running water, shower, bath, or toilet... but there is internet access!

As The New York Times writes, the couple discovered yurts as they were returning from their epic 4,000-mile trek and passed through the town of Homer, the home of Nomad Shelter Yurts— a company that sells modern tents inspired by those used by nomadic herders on the Mongolian steppes.

Their motto for their home was to "build up from the ground, and see what we need" rather than establish a standard list of household amenities. They ended up deeming toilets that flush as unnecessary, and settled on an outhouse instead. Showers, too, were out; they take a weekly trip to town (an hour away) to wash their clothes and themselves.

How big or small your living space is, according to Ms. McKittrick, is a matter of perspective. When she's cooking, she imagines the kitchen is the entire tent. "I like having only one room," she said. "It means you can live in a small space and have it feel big." ... But to them, the sacrifices are worth it. "I'm someone who doesn't mind giving up some level of convenience for having an interesting experience," Ms. McKittrick said. For the two, everything from watching bears trundle through the yard in summer to canning salmon bought by the bucket from fishermen docked in town is a fascinating departure from modern life.

See a great slideshow of photos and read the whole article here.

Image: Brentwood Higman for Weekend America

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