Quite early on in Mark Boyle’s book The Way Home, about living ‘off grid’, without what we might call modern technologies, he finds a dead pigeon by the road, recently killed. He takes it home, plucks it, guts it, and—concluding that it is less than one day dead—cooks it.

A page or so later, his partner says it would be nice to to have a hot tea in the morning without having to make up the fire, and he knocks up a rocket stove from an empty Guinness keg his neighbour has to hand and some lengths of pipe. (Rocket stove? Explained here).

He has, earlier, built from the ground up the cabin where they are both living.

As a reader, I’m not clear how he learned all of this, or remembers it, or whether it’s in one of the books he has.


Although the definition of ‘technologies’ is deliberately imprecise, it generally covers anything powered by electricity (so: no internet; no mobile phone; no television; no radio) and anything powered by petrol (no van).

When he wrote the book, in 2017, Boyle was in his late 30s, and had bought a smallholding in rural west Ireland. He’s had some practice in removing himself from our industrial complex, since he had previously lived for a year without money. The book about that paid for the smallholding.

(Small amounts of money do change hands in The Way Home. He makes something from a column in The Guardian, written in pencil and delivered by post; there are occasional pints drunk at local bars.)

Money and machines

It is worth piecing together his explanation of what constitutes technology, as well as what it is he is trying to escape from:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…