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The End of the Road (almost) in Sardinia, Italy

Living in a yurt in the Mediterranean might not be paradise but it aint bad.

After 13 years of nonstop traveling I recently decided to try and find somewhere to call home. Being British it made sense to me to choose somewhere in Europe where I wouldn’t have to worry about visas and where the local cops wouldn’t shake me down for being a rich gringo/farang/ferengi. North Europe is too cold, the Spanish strike me as being grave, I never saw anyone smile in Croatia and Greece is overrun with English drunks.

That left Italy which suited me fine as, even if the country is in the hands of a corrupt fascist like Berlusconi, Italians know how to enjoy life and that’s always a nice atmosphere to be around. I tried the south last year and got a bit scared off by the mafia and local delinquency and so decided to try Sardinia instead. It’s got great beaches, mountains, warm climate and it’s actually underpopulated.

It’s also home to the Sards, however, who are regarded as rather strange by most Italians and just about any young person who can make tries to leave the island to study and work. The Sards are headstrong, obstinate and take offense easily but at the same time kind, hospitable and a little anarchic. I could deal with that.

I haven’t lived anywhere for more than 6 months since I was 18 and not being a great fan of human civilisation it was clear to me that I had to go and live in nature somewhere. But rather than being stuck in the middle of nowhere with farmers and rednecks I had the idea to make my own little village. I’d find a bit of land and populate it with yurts and tipis and then invite a load of artists to come and stay.

Through a series of strange coincidences I found a little hut made of clay and wood to rent in a valley with no electric current or telephone lines. Most of the residents were Italians who had come here as hippies, built their own homes out of local materials and used solar panels for power. I soon discovered that there was a greater concentration of lunatics here than anywhere I’d ever seen and the place was so incestuous it took me the better part of 2 months to understand who was with who, who had kids with who, and who would never speak to who ever again. Trying to understand the relationship between one particular girl and boy I realised that she was the daughter of the ex of the boyfriend of the boy’s mother.

Nothing to do with me in any case but as summer began and Sardinia experienced its 3 lucrative months of the year when everyone flocks to the island and everyone works 7 days a week, I found myself out of a place to stay. Everywhere was booked for the summer and prices were sky high. I called up everyone I knew and the last call provided a surprise:

“Oddly enough, I know someone with a yurt for sale…”

To find a yurt on the market in Sardinia was odd enough, to find it for about a third of the usual asking price was providence. I snapped it up and with a couple of friends, spent hours working out how to mount the damn thing, a feat which would have had any Mongolian in hysterics as we made every mistake possible.

A friend lent me some carpets and now I’m living in my round woolen tent, 5 metres in diameter and with a little wooden door that obliges me to bow in reverence to the sky each time I step out for a leak in the middle of the night. The cloth cover on the crown of the roof can be removed and I sleep looking up at the stars – until the insane and unpredictable Sardinian wind starts to howl and then I’m jumping up to tie everything in place before it blows away.

So now I’m living in my yurt in nature just ten minutes by car away from a beautiful deserted beach and life would seem to be pretty good. But the dream of living in nature and the reality aren’t quite the same thing. The nearest shops are 7 kilometers away and though I can get there by bicycle I’m stuffed when I get a puncture and can’t go and buy a new inner tyre…

A couple of solar panels keep the laptop going and some hippie friends told me how to put coffee down around the yurt to piss off the local ants. Actually, they just carried it away like they do everything else but in any case that means I never have to worry about cleaning up the kitchen too much – all food that falls to the floor is carried away within a couple of hours and the only real hazard are the cats who regularly steal my newly-bought parmegiano cheese. 7 euros and 7km to get more. The bastards.

I pay no rent, I pay no bills and in between hanging out here on the island to go to the beach or write for Road Junky, I head off to the mainland to go to Rainbow gatherings and try to convince hippie chicks to come and visit. It’s really not such a bad life. Maybe it’s not quite the end of the road but it could be close.

All I have to do now is convince a load of other freaks to come and live here and set up the great dream of Bloonland – wanna come and live in a yurt in paradise?

Drop me a line…tom AT