Josh Duhamel is burned into my brain as “the guy who cheated on Fergie at a strip club.” I don’t even know how I absorbed this information back in 2009 when that happened because I wasn’t paying attention to celebrity gossip. But that is who he is in my mind. He and Fergie stayed married for a shockingly long time, separating in 2017. Then he got married to someone 21 years younger than him, model Audra Mari, in part because he wanted someone young enough to have more children with. He now splits his time between Los Angeles and an off-grid cabin in North Dakota. I guess he works steadily enough because he has a new movie coming out, Buddy Games: Spring Awakening. In an interview to promote his new movie, he talked to Inverse about his off-grid life and his interest in doomsday prepping, hunting, and self-sufficiency. Now he’s burned into my brain as “guy who tries to kill a deer with a bow and arrow.”
His first cabin was a pit: It started with one little cabin in the woods with no electricity and no water. We would go and we didn’t wanna stay for more than a day or two. You could tell the mice had overrun it. It was disgusting.
Then, the cabin on the property next to that one went up for sale, and I bought it for like nothing; this beautiful little idyllic cabin on the water. Suddenly I had 54 acres out there. So I had two cabins, one with no electricity or water. They both have wells and electricity now, but they’re both really small.
He was inspired by a book: I read this book called Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse years ago, and it freaked me out a little bit.
And then there was a movie or book about these guys who had this little community where everybody had their own specialty. One was weapons, one was canning, one was construction, one was medical. And if you didn’t have something to bring to the group, you were out. I’m not saying I’m that crazy about it, but it is a comforting feeling knowing that I could survive out there.
He can’t hunt a deer yet, but he’s trying: I’ve never shot a deer. I tried last year with a bow. It was totally unsuccessful. I wanna learn how to actually dress a deer and take the meat and freeze it and have the ability to feed my family if I need to.
My idea is that I want to be able to hunt a deer. I’m not a hunter by any means, but I have this crazy fixation on what happens if sh*t hits the fan in LA and I have to take my family out there and live off the land.
I’ve become a bit of a doomsday prepper, I guess. So I’m learning how to hunt. I have wells. We have water. We have fuel. I’m building something so if things do go south, I have a place to take my family. And I believe that we could live off the land out there. I’m not very good at it yet, but I’m getting there.
He just got a real toilet after 10 years: We recently got actual plumbing with actual flushing toilets. For the first 10 years, it was outhouses, which my wife did not love; to go outside in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, especially when there’s wolves and bear all over the place out there. So I still keep two outhouses just for nostalgic reasons, I guess.
My first thought is “who is coming for Josh Duhamel”? Like why does he think if Los Angeles erupted into chaos that he would be a target? He’s not on the top of anyone’s list. No shade, but he is not. He could just hide out in Topanga and have a homestead there. That’s what people do in Topanga, they get donkeys. My second thought is, why put up with an outhouse for ten years? People get used to having outhouses and plumbing is complicated. But I cannot imagine getting up at 2 AM and going out in the snow with bears sniffing around, when someone like Josh has the resources to install a real toilet. I know he’s not megastar famous but the man can afford to pay a plumber. I hope his wife put her foot down.
He also shouts out “Elon Musk’s Starlink” and the book he mentions was written by a “Constitutionalist Christian libertarian”…so I’m getting conservative vibes from Josh with all of this. I think this “doomsday prep” trend may be more popular among conservatives, just a hunch. It’s kind of ironic to me that conservatives fret over an “impending societal collapse” when they’re the ones who won’t work to address climate change. It’s almost like they want it to happen. Anyhow, my theory is that the pandemic made a lot of people of all backgrounds want to “go back to the land.” One of my close friends is very liberal and she has a dream of buying land, getting into organic farming and creating a compound where her extended family can come stay. I watch a lot of YouTube channels where people share their experiences of homesteading and going off grid. I find it fascinating. I don’t think I’d ever do that, but I hope I’ll have a big enough backyard to have some chickens and a vegetable patch someday. Homesteading is hard work and physically demanding. However, I think it helps people feel connected to the earth, and that’s something I know I long for sometimes. But not enough to have to use an outhouse every day.
Photos credit: JPI Studios/Avalon
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