On the night that Mark Boyle checked his email for the last time then turned off his phone, he hoped it would stay off forever. His plan: to live a technology-free, simple life, connected to nature on a half-wild, three-acre smallholding in County Galway, Ireland. Strangely enough, his last email was from an editor at a publishing house interested in his new simple living project.
For a writer, this was good news, but Boyle, author of The Moneyless Man, wasn’t sure it would work—publishers no longer accepted hand-written manuscripts, and Boyle thought he’d sounded the death-knell on his career with his decision to give up technology. He’d be living with no electricity, phone, television, light bulbs, or running water. No flush toilet, power tools, or gas stove. And no computer. He’d have to re-learn how to write without handy online research, spell-check, and easy deletes. And how would editing work without the instant communication now considered essential? Instead of giving up, he picked up a pencil.
The result is a book that is an invitation to look around, eliminate all distractions, and develop an intimate relationship with our own landscape. To dive deeply into what it means to be a human being in relationship with what surrounds us. To use only what we need, and only those things which support our values. To look carefully at the costs of our conveniences, our speed, our craving for “more.” To be clear-eyed about the effects of our choices on the natural world, our environment, our human and non-human communities, and our own precious souls.
The Way Home chronicles Boyle’s back-breaking, soul-strengthening labor and communion with the natural world as he learns that the “simple life” is actually complex, mysterious, and demanding—and that it brought him contentment and deep, abiding joy.
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