Happy people: A Year in Taiga


I’m pretty sure I posted this before, maybe last year, but in case you missed it it’s worth posting again.

Happy People: A Year in Taiga goes along the journey of one year with the professional trappers and hunters living along the Taiga river in Russia. These are hardy, no-nonsense old world people. They make a living in one of the harshest parts of the world, one that is at that beautiful and full of natural resources. The skill and resourcefulness they show is admirable.

It’s the second time I watch this documentary. Its four parts, one for each season (as in actual seasons of the year) each lasting one hour. Again, worth every minute of it.

One of the things that stuck with me this time though is that even though I bet they are happy people and some of them probably chose such a life, I sure wouldn’t trade places with them any time soon. In spite of the beautiful natural surroundings you can also see the Spartan way of life, in many ways limited. At the end of the day the trapping, fishing and hunting is done for good old money mostly, and they make rather little of it at that. Clearly being frugal is one of their main survival skills and if applied to any other line of work, likely one that pays better, it’s also understandable that a person would thrive as well.

Again, the skill and resourcefulness is amazing. How they cut down trees to make everything from skies to canoes, driving, navigating, repairing, fishing, hunting, trapping. While these people may be jack of all trades, they sure have mastered several of them as well.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Happy people: A Year in Taiga — 1 Comment

  1. There was a time in America’s past, not very long ago (we’re talking World War 2 era) when many Americans were this resourceful.

    During the Great Depression, clothes were mended, shoes re-soled, even rubber items like raincoats were patched with special kits. When my grandparents died I found an old rubber patching kit buried underneath junk in a shed. Unfortunately, it had none of the actual patches, but everything else was there. The box had a price of $1.25 scrawled on it with a pencil.

    During the war, American GI’s, both on the battlefield and in Axis POW camps, improvised radios so they could listen to Allied broadcasts. One guy held by the Japanese in Burma made pretty much all of the parts himself. He used tinfoil and a tea can for capacitors, wire wound around sticks of cinnamon as resistors, etc.

    Another in the Philippines had been a radio repairman before the war, and sweet talked the guards into letting him repair their radios, and got parts that way. He actually built a one tube SW radio that fit in an old US Army canteen that could easily receive signals from American transmitters near San Francisco!

    Today, my second cousin (age 13) spends pretty much all of her time with her nose in her smartphone, except for school and basic stuff like eating and sleeping. She doesn’t know nor care how it works.

    She and her peers seem to only care about the latest app. Her mom is a programmer so it isn’t lack of intelligence. Teens today, their phone is their world. They simply don’t care about anything else.

    Ironically, the guy who thought up the smartphone, Steve Jobs, got his start watching a neighbor assemble Heathkit radios, and he once said that everyone should learn basic programming because “it teaches you how to think”.

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