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Minimalistic and close to nature: Marc has a "home in the forest"

Two men, two lives – and a radical decision. Günther and Marc live in the forest. A dream that also has its downsides.

[Berlin -] Living in harmony with nature – far away from civilization, that sounds romantic at first. But the “37 degrees” documentary “At home in the forest – life beyond civilization” (September 14th, 10:15 pm, on ZDF) shows: Life in the forest means, above all, survival.

“Whoa, that’s me in the photos,” Marc exclaims in disbelief. In the pictures that the 47-year-old looks at with his mother Ulrike, a suntanned young man can be seen. A real sun boy with a casual gesture and a smart smile.

His mother looks longingly looking through the photos. “You had everything. It was all perfect and you were a perfectionist. We had a nice home, you learned to ski and that that’s the way it is now, that’s an extreme, ”she says gently, plaintively. Marc sighs. She means his life in a self-made yurt in the Odenwald, which he has lived in since 2014.

However, he will soon have to vacate his home. And that after years of dispute with the local authorities. In the future he will live in a construction trailer – on even less square meters.

But that doesn’t bother the former golf teacher, as he says. He can and does not want to explain “the questions in life any longer with the pursuit of money”. Marc earns what little he needs with “wilderness courses” for nature enthusiasts.

New beginning after burnout

With a burnout eight years ago came the radical break with his old life. Since then he has lived in the forest and is satisfied when he can sit with his dog in the sun and spoon porridge. “I had terrible existential fears. But now I know that I can always survive. ”A life of prosperity – that was once upon a time.

And Günther Hamker knows this life too. He comes from an upper class family. His grandfather owned a margarine factory. He gave him the 80 hectare forest property near the Bodensteiner cliffs in Sehlde / Lower Saxony. He has lived there for 60 years in a former shelter for forest workers.

The forest saved him

He actually wanted to be a doctor. But the pressure was great. He drank against this – and almost perished in the process. “The forest saved me,” he says. The former forester says that life is entirely voluntary.

But the price for this life is warmth between people. A woman never lasted long in the small but cozy dwelling – only Edda. Five years. They loved each other very much, says Günther wistfully. But she wanted to “take him with her” into civilization – into a life with structure and rules. He refused.

He eats when he’s hungry and sleeps when he’s tired, he says. But sometimes he starts brooding. Last winter hit him very hard. At this time of year, life in the forest also means survival. And then also Corona. The virus kept hikers and curious visitors away from his home. Günther sometimes had the “feeling of being stuck”.

As a viewer, in these 28 minutes, you get an idea that life in nature, which is completely voluntary, also has its downsides – and that it is not perfect either. But maybe it doesn’t have to. Marc says that he is satisfied. “You don’t have to have 100 percent in life. You can also be satisfied with 80 or 90. ”Yes, perfectionism, that was once upon a time. [dpa]

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