Close your eyes for a moment. Let’s travel back in time to the moment when this planet was covered with trees 300 million years ago. Feel the mystic air of ancient nature, 100-foot tall fern trees and giant forests… Now shoot forward to 65 million years ago when dinosaurs were munching Ginkgo trees and maybe some psychedelic giant flowers… Then to 200 years ago, when the industrial revolution started and humans really began altering the face of our planet… And now transport yourself to 2018. What happened to all those lush forests full of buzzing wildlife?
Can you imagine living in a world without trees?
I first started living in a treehouse whilst on my travels in India. Somewhere along the way I stumbled across a community where everybody lived in some sort of funky house. At the time, that community was a radically free space, open to all kinds of people who were willing to work, or contribute in some form, in exchange for accommodation and food. I fell very in love with the work I was engrossed in, and the different lifestyle I was learning about. Some pictures of the community buildings and forest…
I spent the best part of 3 years living in a treehouse, building treehouses, writing this blog about treehouses and I’m now starting a new venture dedicated to treetop construction in the UK. As you can imagine, treehouses and wood are pretty much my life.
For me the temporary transition out of my city life was quite natural. It’s not as though I didn’t enjoy city lifestyle, or that I resented it for that matter as there are many things which I love about city life. It was more that I was looking for a different way to live, and hoping that this alternative lifestyle would enable me to be more free and more connected to nature, as opposed to pursuing the conventional more things.
Granted, there are many interesting ways to live which differ from the norm – living in the trees is just one of these lifestyles. But what is it actually like to live in the trees? Well, here’s a few anecdotes from people who live or have lived in a treehouse, and some pictures of their own arboreal abodes.
‘Living in a treehouse was like a dream come true. I lived in one for 5 months during my time in Tamil Nadu. Every morning I was so happy to open my eyes to the floating pirate ship I was sleeping in upon the tree, hearing the sounds of world waking up. And at night I was so happy to dreaming, in the slow and gentle voices of the forest.’
‘In the city, we mainly interact with humans and domesticated pets, and computer species’ with screen faces. What I really loved about treehouse living was interacting with animals. In the treehouse which I was staying in there was no door or lock, not even a fence around the base of the tree, so it was a semi-open space; which made it all the more inviting for other people and animals to come in. There was a squirrel living on the recycled solar panel roof. At the beginning he was bit aggressive towards me, but as time went by (with my food sometimes being left out) he accepted me and became cool with me. There were also two lovely hummingbirds, which visited me every morning, and a little lizard family chilling out inside. Blue butterflies were always dancing in the air and amusing me, a termite tribe at the bottom of the tree was eating the soft rotten wood and sometimes even a tiny snake would take a nap as he wrapped his body around a wooden beam inside the treehouse. At night time, when I take an outdoor shower whilst looking up at the stars, tiny cute bioluminescent caterpillars would appear on the banana tree leaves. Twice I met big forest deer in the mystical foggy morning when I was up early enough – it was quite a magical encounter. Whenever it was raining, there were heaps of scorpions running around. Once I got stung by one which was as big as my face, surprisingly it was not so painful, my body was just experiencing very intense electric shock like sensation for two days. I actually kind of enjoyed this strange funny feeling of scorpion intoxication. It all was the part of living in the wild and living in a treehouse.’
‘My treehouse had just enough electricity for light in the night time, and on the nights when there was no power, I just used a candle. The funny thing was that I found the candle light so romantic that I began using it all the time instead. I didn’t use a fan or cooling gadget, because when you live in a treehouse made of all natural breathable materials, it was never too hot. Of course, there were some mega hot scorching days, but I wanted to experiment and see how my body could adapt to the real climate, not an artificially created one.’
‘The space in which we are living and spend most of our time really influences our perceptions, emotions and imagination. Look around your surroundings now, how is the shape and structure of your space? What kind of molecules of materials are you breathing in? Are they organic and natural? My treehouse was made of wood and material sourced from the local area – acacia, red sander, eucalyptus and bamboo. Coconut fibre ropes were used to make the bindings and mud plastered on the exterior to make walls. All the wooden elements were cut, processed, shaved and treated by hand, so there was a feeling of a warm touch which was residing within; I found this kind of living space totally different to living in a square concrete box. Nature, and our bodies are not square, they are organic, dimensional and interesting. Every treehouse has its own unique design and character which depends on the tree, and inside there’s endless space for creativity and inspiration.’
‘Waking up in treehouse makes me feel powerful and utterly connected to the force that drives nature and existence. At times I reflect on that topic, but that’s just the sense of knowing, what I’m talking about is the real FEELING; of being part of an enormous wave – a paradigm shift. I love it.
I am always, and without a doubt, much more ready to get out of bed early on a Sunday morning if I’m in a tree house. My day calls out far louder and more inviting from up there. It’s a totally different sense of perspective.
Most days living in a tree house (not all days, mind you) my first step on land is extra special, it’s often more of a stride or even a bound, of positively charged motivation to go out and do!
Mornings in a tree house offer a psychological structuring that seems to enhance sensitivity and life direction, you might even call it therapeutic.’
Waking up with the other canopy dwellers as the first ray of light hits the sky and gazing down as if from heaven at the world below, as the Sun slowly brings Creation back to life, has been the most energising and happy way to wake up. It fills me with this drive to go join the world and all its creatures in its fullness and intensity and enjoy an action packed, creative day full of passion. Sleeping in a tree fills me with love all the way back to heaven where I sleep, caressed by a cool, soft breeze.
Waking up (with the sun) in a treehouse, is the perfect reminder that right now is the most precious moment to truly enjoy, and that the day will bring so many beautiful opportunities.
Many thanks to Luna for the beautiful introduction!