Thursday, 20 July 2017

Living off the Land as an Itinerant Artist.

Myself at work in Porto. Photo sent by Alex. Thanks.

Living off the land as you travel? This would save money and is something I have always wanted to try. During the years of this blog I have hiked over 10,000 KM across Europe (and, a little across Africa). Within Spain especially I pass all sorts of interesting foods growing at all times of year. Unsurprisingly, Portugal seems to be equally abundant. I love fishing. There is a lot of coast, and many rivers.

Next to accommodation, the biggest expense for a travelling artist like myself is food. Finally I have decided it is worth carrying a camping stove, pot and pan with utensils to cook my own meals. I love cooking and miss having my own kitchen as much as I miss friends and my own bed.

One year in Granada I kept a list of everything I picked and ate from fields, hedgerows and woods. Over 40 different plants, fruits, nuts, herbs etc. That was without even really thinking about it. So, on this slow hike through Portugal I will be harvesting as much as possible from the land and the sea. Or, bartering for fresh produce in return for sketches, or other work. My intention is to live solely on local produce, freshly picked, freshly caught, or making use of preserved food stuffs. So far I have spent just a single €uro on food since walking from Porto (I should reach Aveiro tomorrow).

The €1 bought a fresh mackerel. Potatoes, broad beans, herbs, lettuce came from fields and allotments belonging to people I met as I walked. Other food has been recycled from spoils at small outdoor markets. Plenty here grows wild in hedgerows and on the side of roads and footpaths. I also have no problem with helping myself to a cob of corn from a large, commercial field if there is no-one around to ask! The list of possible sources and food types is endless.

A very healthy, cheap and fun way to live and eat. A little extra work each day, but the quality of what I am eating beats a €10 menu of the day hands down.

As well as my pots and pans with stove I am carrying a bottle of olive oil, small jar of chilies, a garlic, and will buy limes (to use instead of salt - I don't use salt, so another good reason for avoiding cafe foods). It is not the season for lime picking. I can't cook fish dishes without lime juice. I may also buy a small bag of flour. Other than that, everything I eat will come fresh from the land and the sea for as little as possible. I intend to use shops and bars for beer alone.

So far, I have harvested/gathered/caught/recycled/robbed...

Mackerel, thyme, mint, potatoes, tomatoes, broad beans, lettuce, corriander, grapes, apples, pears, onions, red pepper and eggs.

I am going to miss cheese unless I get lucky and meet a cheese maker. More than happy to live without meat, but would rarely say 'no' if it becomes available. All will be recorded here daily if possible. ATM I am using an awful webcam. A new camera should come my way soon.

Very loose plan on direction. May well even backtrack at times. Who knows?


Anonymous said...

Hi John just come here from U75 sickened by the idiots. Good luck with your project and life you seem like a great bloke living a great life and sharing it with the world. What's not to like.

Sue said...

Sounds really interesting. I'm looking forward to your next post.