, a staff writer for GQ
magazine has written a biography of Eustace Conway, entitled The Last American Man
Growing up in the hillsides of South Carolina
in the 1960's, Eustace decided to follow the examples of Henry David Thoreau
and Ralph Waldo Emerson
, and live naturally in the woods.
At 7 he could throw a knife accurately enough to nail a chipmunk to a tree. By 12, he was camping by himself in the woods. At the age of 17, he lived outside in an Indian tipi
, making his own clothes out of buckskin
. By the age of 18, he had canoed 1000 miles on the Mississippi River
. He's also set the record for the fastest cross-country trip by horse, at 103 days.
While writing a book on Appalachian
mountain culture, Eustace decided to live the life he was writing about, and built a historically accurate 9 building farm from solely materials on site, and trained all of the animals for the farm himself.
As a throwback to 19th Century American ideals, he is revered by some, and reviled by others. He champions the "simple life", environmental causes, and runs the Turtle Island Preserve
as a camp for people to experience a closer connection to nature. Or, as put by Eustace himself:
"Turtle Island guides people through experiences with the natural world to enhance their appreciation and respect for life. We achieve this through a more comprehensive understanding of nature combined with the lessons of our elders and traditions."