Free Range Free Chat

Ah yes. Monday it is then, starting another raucous week here at NV. We’re facing more intense weather outside with storms, tornadoes and hail predicted for tonight; and heavy weather inside with yelling, interrupting, promise making and whining in the political sphere.

Men argue. Nature acts. —Voltaire

Luckily we have other choices for this day, one of which is filtering out some of the political noise, sheltering from the weather noise and take time to go “off grid,”. It’s quiet with fine weather off grid — because suddenly we have the space to choose to act, to revive….

Martijn Doolard is doing just that and through a series of videos he invites us to witness his life as he restores two shepherds’ cabins in the Italian Alps. In watching, you begin to see the meditative nature of work and the quiet calm that he devotes to his tasks. The doing is louder than the talking. . .

Doolaard is a 38-year-old Dutchman who, in 2020, bought a set of primitive shepherd’s cabins in the western Italian Alps for less than the price of a decent new car. He had the immediate intent of fixing them up, and a broader, more abstract goal of living simply in nature. The first video he posted, in October 2021, laid out what might be called the Doolaard style: A Kubrickian drone shot, gliding over a wooded, fog-enshrouded mountaintop, backed by a minimalist orchestral score.

The shot then cuts to the back seat of his car, and we see Doolaard driving through the forest, en route to his new adventure. “Hey guys, welcome to this channel,” he says. “My name is Martijn Doolaard.” His first name, pronounced in the Dutch way, comes across as something like “muhr-tine.” In the year since that humble start, over more than 50 episodes, he has built a feverishly devoted base of half a million subscribers and growing. They tune in to watch Doolaard, who uses a single tripod-mounted camera, the occasional drone, Google Sketch, a suite of power tools, and an almost preternatural sense of calm as he tackles a seemingly never-ending list of tasks involved in trying to make a home from a pair of century-old buildings that lack heat, plumbing, and electricity.

Outside Magazine

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