"I live outside 24/7 and eat roadkill - I don’t want animals to die in vain"

3 months ago
Meet the woman who lives outside 24/7 and eats ROADKILL so animals don't "die in vain".

Manders Barnett, 32, has been living in a tent for the last four years and has always felt her "heart and soul belongs to nature".

She left her job as a wildlife technician behind when she met a man living a nomadic lifestyle and felt a pull to join him.

They travelled 500 miles from Idaho to Oregon, in the US, living off-grid together – but she has since separated from her friend and is living alone.

Manders is now staying in Grants Pass, Oregon, in a 10 by 12 foot canvas tent with her two horses outside and uses water from a well to shower and wash her clothes.

She hunts, forages and eats safe roadkill such as deer and coyote – as well as gathering groceries from her local farm shop.

She sees the modern world as a "matrix" and says she couldn't go back to living "domestically".

Manders, an artist and content creator, originally from Idaho said: “My heart and soul has always belonged to nature.

“We’re biological creatures.

“I eat roadkill.

“I don’t delight in finding roadkill.

“I’d rather eat it than let the death be in vain.”

Manders met a nomadic man who had been living on horseback for six years in July 2019.

She said: “We shared a lot in common.

“For me the modern world - it’s straight out of a matrix.”

Manders decided to leave her job and travel nomadically with her friend – and got herself two horses - both mustangs called Huittsuu, meaning small bird and Paxtwaylá, meaning friendly.

They rode out in early 2020 and spent two-and-a-half years living outside.

Manders said: “We were living off-grid.

“I was surrendering everything that I thought I knew.”

The pair went their separate ways in summer 2022 and Manders now lives alone with her horses but plans to travel when she has built up supplies.

Manders said: “I’m used to living in a small space.

“I spend all day every day outside.”

She uses a wood stove for heating and cooking and washes her clothes and bathes in water from a well.

She has a solar panel battery pack to charge her phone and doesn’t watch any TV.

Manders does get some of her food from a local farm shop but will also forage for wild mushrooms and flowers.

She said: “I do hunt. I do pick up roadkill.

“I’m really good at knowing when an animal is fresh.

“I do forage. I love to gather mushrooms and wild flowers for salads.”

Manders will use all parts of the roadkill if it’s safe to use.

She said: “I use all parts of the deer.

“I take the bones to make tools, and tan hides to make clothes and bags."

Manders cares for the land and plants seeds where she can to give back.

She said: “The landscape wants to provide for us.

“It’s my comfort zone out here.”

Living outside, Manders does have encounters with big cats and predators – but hasn’t had any close calls.

She said: “I’m not afraid to die.

“What I’m afraid of is living an unfulfilled life.

“I’m absolutely at home outside in nature.

“It’s home for me - it’s where I belong.”

Manders said the transition to her lifestyle has “profoundly changed” her in the most “beautiful way”.

She said: “Humans, by becoming so satisfied with domestic lifestyle have lost the ability to know the language of nature.

“I pay my respects by being present.

“I’m not going back to anything domestic.”