I'm Sam Sycamore, a writer and radical ecologist from Kentucky, now residing in California. I'm passionate about learning how to better align my lifestyle with the landscapes that I walk upon.
Through my podcast, The Good Life Revival, I document the growing back-to-the-land movement of the twenty-first century, interviewing folks around the world who are pursuing a lifestyle aligned with the rhythms of nature.
I currently live off-grid among the redwoods outside Santa Cruz, CA, where I teach the art and science of foraging for edible wild plants.
When I’m not busy with work-related projects, I enjoy cooking, making music, and playing with my dog, Joshu. I get easily excited about projects that involve building things and shoveling dirt.
I lead a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity and intentional poverty in order to minimize my engagement with the dominant culture and maximize personal freedom from day to day. I aim to be illegible and irrelevant to the economy, to borrow from James C. Scott and the late Toby Hemenway. It’s not for everybody, but it works for me, and I enjoy talking about it.
I'm not glamorous, I’m definitely not a “guru,” and I can’t pretend to be anything more than one individual of below-average means trying my best to figure out how to live honestly, ethically, and sustainably.
I get things wrong, I make mistakes, and because I’m fundamentally opposed to the machinations of civilization yet unable to exit, I am hypocritical by default. Domestication of the mind breeds cognitive dissonance. There’s no way to escape it.
All that said, I do hope my example might inspire others to ask the hard questions for themselves about what it means to live a good life, and then pursue it to the fullest extent possible.
I've spent the last several years busting my butt to learn the skills needed for a more self-reliant lifestyle, while also making efforts to network locally, regionally and nationally to help re-establish severely crippled social bonds.
Along the way, I’ve developed a much deeper spiritual understanding of my connection to the land around me, and come to discover a kind of personal animism for myself as a result of my direct (and sometimes psychedelic) experiences with the spirits from all kingdoms of life that I’ve encountered on the land.
What is "The Good Life"?
"The good life" means something a little different to everybody, but I love discussing this topic with other people because I find that everyone does indeed have their own definition, and I derive great joy and inspiration from hearing the stories of others who've also chosen this path back to nature.
Here's how I like to define the good life, in the simplest terms:
our days are self-directed,
our meals are self-produced,
our communities are self-sustaining, and
our landscapes are self-regenerating.
A lofty goal indeed, but I know for a fact that it's achievable!
My aim in publishing this podcast is to expose you to real-life examples of the folks out there fighting the good fight and living life on their own terms — and to share my own stories as I go for it, too — to encourage you to venture out and start creating the world that you want to live in.