Simplicity is having the knowledge to appreciate yourself and your surroundings. If you wish to live simply, you must first have the knowledge to do so. Living simply requires knowledge of surroundings, as well as the ability to work through problems. You are unable to hire a plumber or a repairman if things get rough in your wilderness home, so knowledge is essentially the main necessity for living alone and apart from technology and society. When I am in my tiny house in Wyoming, I will trust my knowledge for overcoming issues that will affect how my year alone goes. I think that the winter will be tough, as Wyoming is quite far north, so I would need to know some techniques for finding and storing food. Also, in order to enjoy life alone and away from technology, I must be wise enough to appreciate the surrounding nature, as it will be my only entertainment for the entire year. My dad and I go hiking often in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In those scenarios, we must be able to know what we are doing. We must adapt to any problems we may come across, like if we get lost, we must find the path, or if we run out of food or water we must find some. This will be a common problem living alone in the forest, and I must know how to deal with it. I believe that having knowledge is like having a good companion: you can trust it at any time for help or guidance. Without knowledge, we would be living like animals with no sense of what to do besides eat, sleep, and breathe. I think that returning to our roots of simple life without technology is a good way of testing knowledge because it is where we developed it.
Happiness is what every person strives for, whether they know it or not. A man who lives in isolation must stay happy or he will drive himself mad. When I am living in the woods, I must be able to find happiness, even in the harshest of conditions. If I expect to stay in the wilderness for an entire year, I must be able to enjoy my surroundings and my days, or else I will be forced to leave and my adventure will have been unsuccessful. This is why happiness is so important. I would not live alone in nature to study the wilderness, I would live alone in nature to be happy and observe nature. A key part of happiness is a low level of stress, so I will not burden myself with a daily journal or nature reports. Instead, I will lift my pen and write in my journal whenever I feel the need to, whether from inspiration, boredom, or loneliness. Since I am currently in the process of applying to secondary schools, I have an elevated level of stress because of the need to study for the SSAT as well as keep my grades up. This means that I need to multitask all the time or else my work will be unfinished or I will be unprepared for tests. Because of this, I almost never have free time during the week, and I'm usually unable to crawl into bed before 10:30 at night. I am overtired, so work becomes harder and stress becomes heavier. On the weekends, I try to get my work done early, so that I have free time. This is the best time for me, because I can do what I want when I feel like it. Being stress free will ultimately make me happier. Happiness, in my mind, is two kinds of ice cream: you can enjoy having time to do what you please, while also not worrying about overbearing responsibilities.
Although knowledge and happiness are important values to hold while living alone in the woods, simplicity is the main aspect. Henry Beston and Henry David Thoreau lived simply in nature to immerse themselves in life without complications. They wished to live without the innovations and technology of the then modern world, but to live as their ancestors did. Simplicity shows us that the new iPhone and handle-less segways aren't necessities of our modern lives. They are simply ways to make our lives easier. People like Thoreau who wish to live simply must abandon these technologies if they wish to fulfill their commitments. Although doing this will disconnect me from the modern world, nothing major will happen. I will not be updated on the conflict in the Middle East or know whether or not Chelsea finally won a match, but these are not necessary things to live with. I will abandon my social life, my job, and my education, while working towards maintaining only the necessities of food, water, shelter, and happiness. These will not be great losses for me. A year in the woods will be like a year added to my life, rather than a year of killing time, because in the words of Thoreau, "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity". This will be an opportunity to experience life before the technology that has advanced so much in the early years of my life. Before I had an iPhone or an Xbox, I would sit outside and watch the squirrels chase each other around in my backyard. Now I must return to that life. It is through the process of simplification that I will become more complex as a person. Since I will not have entertainment devices in the woods, I must find entertainment around me. It may take some getting used to, but it is necessary for my development and my adventure.
True knowledge is knowing what to learn. True happiness is knowing how and where to find happiness. True simplicity is knowing what you need, and not what you want.
It's that simple.