Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Benefits of Self Sufficiency

I try to live as self sufficient a life as possible. For example, we grow many vegetables and some fruit in our garden. We make soup from the tomatoes and cider from the apples. I've even attempted to make oat milk on a few occasions and we regularly eat sandwiches made of freshly baked bread and our own peanut butter.

I don't own a single credit card or have even one loan. I budget our grocery shopping weeks in advance and spend carefully, mostly in small local shops rather than the big supermarkets. We have saved tens of thousands of pounds in interest by saving enough over several years to pay off our mortgage a decade and a half early.

One valuable thing I learnt a long time ago was to have a way of looking at the world which gave a means of forming ideas about your life and how you want to live it. Then it's a question of actually putting those ideas into practice.

For me, independence from bureaucracy, banks and big business is very important. That way a person can have real control and freedom in his or her life. I choose what time to wake each morning and what goes into the food I eat. I select what work to do and when. I don't care about buying the next 'big thing' because possessions alone can't make a person happy.

I like listening to the birds singing as I work in the garden. I like the taste and flavour of home-made food. I like the creativity of making my own birthday cards for friends and family. I like having enough free time to spend with the people I love. I like not having to worry about sales targets or board meetings or the risk of redundancy.

The control and rituals of a self-sufficient way of living are reassuring and satisfying to individuals on the autistic spectrum. I find anxiety is much less a problem for me than before. An attention to detail helps when fixing a budget, planting seeds or darning socks. Personalised routines are easier to stick to and leave enough free time for hobbies and individual interests.

Try sites such as to find out more about living a more self sufficient way of life.


Nicole said...

I think that it is fabulous that someone can just ignore the given for most of us, and give back to the Earth. I think that it is a wonderful idea!

London Alive said...

Hi Daniel

haven't seen your blog for some time as I was on holiday and what a nice surprise! It's inspiring and reassuring to see you approach relevant and sensitive issues openly w no fear.

London Alive said...

ah! Maybe this is of interest

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Daniel. I feel much the same way as you about being self-sufficient.

Have you considered that your removing yourself from society can make it more difficult to interact with it? You cannot avoid the interaction altogether (if you have managed to, please tell me how)--do you find that your self-sufficiency makes you hypersensitive to annoyances and difficulties with others?

I understand you have a partner to share your life with; nevertheless, Anneli Rufus wrote a book called Party of One: A Loner's Manifesto that speaks to the acceptance of self-sufficient folks in society. I use that book to understand and justify my need to do things my own way. I would suggest that as a read if you are interested to see some research about these kinds of attitudes as seen by society as a whole.


Keiser said...

Hi Daniel,

My person (also called Daniel) has AS like you.

He told me he just bought your book.


Daniel Tammet said...

Hi Paul,

I don't think that being interested in a more self-sufficient way of life need make a person lonely. I have lots of time for friends and family and my partner that I wouldn't have if I had to commute daily to and from a 9-5 job.

Cass Mann said...

Dear Daniel. Your story and your book are extremely life-enhancing and self-empowering and dovetail with the work I have been personally undertaking over the last 20 years as founder and CEO of UK’s only gay men’s HIV/AIDS charity Positively Healthy ( where self-sufficiency and the possibility of triumphing over all obstacles (including those described as “insurmountable”) are navigated and applied. I use your book and history as a training manual in my workshops with HIV-positive gay men in London, as you are living proof that all obstacles can be overcome through not only thinking outside the box but dismantling the box. I have for you the deepest respect and gratitude for publishing your experiences and work, which is helping my clients to triumph over their adversities and overcome their inertia. Cass Mann.

▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓ said...

Daniel, hello, I'm Torley. :) You're a hero to me and I've just recently learned you have a blog. I'm so happy and I can really relate about self-sufficiency: staying true to your own principles and developing your own values to live by. Totally inspiring.

Just wanted to say hi!

Suzanne said...

Hello Daniel - my grandfather was amazingly self sufficient and rarely went into a shop. He had his own hens, bees and pigs, grew most of his own food and sold the surplus.

He was a very calm and serene person and I think his way of life helped him to be like that.

Keiser said...

Hi Daniel

My human (also called Daniel) read your book and will be in touch with you soon.


colin mackenzie said...

sorry .... i don't have comment yet. I just created a blog account and this window popped up; but I found the website cos I just bought Daniel's book. A big new window on the world just opened up. What a bizarre species the minestrone of mankind is, everybody so different. Regards, colin mackenzie

Daniel Tammet said...

Hi Suzanne,

One of my friends recently told me about her childhood in Ireland, which was largely self-sufficient. They milked their own cow, grew potatoes and other vegetables, cooked plenty of stew and dug peat to burn to warm the house.

I would like to have some hens to lay fresh eggs for my breakfast, just like your grandfather had. I'm not so sure about bees, although the honey would come in handy when making flapjack!

radar said...


Your outlook is beautifull
Your insights are stunning

Thank you for giving me a better view


Choedron said...

Hi Daniel,

A comment to Paul:

Being self-sufficient could also mean being self-sufficient in ones own mind. Therefore one does not need others around to be satisfied. But one can choose to interact with other people. The feeling of being lonely stems from not being self-sufficient. People who are self-suffivient never feels lonely.

Yours sincerely

Shenphen Choedron

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel, I just watched a documentary called "Brainman" and was moved to tears at what you described with your numbers and shapes and colours. After the doco finished I did the wikipedia on you and found this site, moved even more by where you're at with self sufficiencey. I am susceptable to energy fields from groups of people and I also see colours (not numbers -anagrams though) and now live pretty self sufficently in country victoria, Australia. I'm so happy to have seen the doco and now read your blog. I look forward to seeing more from you.

Anonymous said...

Well said and certainly the mantra I am trying to chant in my life. When my Mum was still pregnant with me my parents sold the poultry farm they had owned for a few years and bought a house in the suburbs. When I was growing up we had chooks, a lush vegetable garden and very little ever went to waste, even the cat ate what we did. I sometimes look at my small and badly positioned garden and remember the days when I could go and pick fresh vegetables, wipe them on my shirt and eat them right then and there (my Dad never used poisons). I miss the chooks, I miss the golden eggs and the great cakes we made with them. I envy you, it sounds like a great place to live.

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed by what you've acheived. My recent venture into self sufficiency is a small one and yet other people find it almost impossible to consider. I've become a raw vegan - I'll only eat raw fruit, vegetables and nuts/ seeds etc. I thought I'd give it a shot to see what happened and in the past year or so I've become quite convinced that it is the lifestyle for which the human body was designed.

I've discovered that once you realise the benefit of turning your back on the social lies that for instance "dairy is a food group" and "you need meat protein to live" and "cooking improves food" - it is easier to see through the other lies we're constantly spoonfed via the international media.

We're constantly shown a plethora of made up needs on TV. These have been fabricated with the sole aim of money making. This, in my opinion is to blame for the epidemic of depression, stress and anxiety in our society. Having Asperger's, I was once susceptible to this - but now, despite living in London and having a conventional job (well, presenter on an Easy listening radio station) I find that if I do my best to ignore the hysterical cries of the grotesque million eyed monster that is international media...I feel a lot better.

Don't listen to their shit people! Media today concentrates on three things: sex (the net esp), food (cookery shows) and shelter (home makeover/antique auctions etc etc).
Surely as a race that classes itself apart from primates...we should be striving for something beyond these basic needs.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'd be interested in learning more about green living, which basically you are already doing.
Some websites to consider for further information on recent advances into self sufficient living or sustainable living in 21st century:
The last link is my website designed by me, still in development though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,

I'm 19 and a high functioninhg Autistic. I still live with my parents, but I'm very self sufficient because even though I don't drive, I get around fairly well on Public Transit and on my bicycle. I am happy because I can be on my own schedule and I'm not dependent on my Parents for transportation.

I feel my life style choice is ideal, because I'm significantly limiting my impact on the environment.