On Halloween night I decided to try to find a Halloween movie to watch on Netflix. When I typed in HA in the search tool of Netflix, several movies came up beginning with HA. The movie that caught my attention was a documentary “Happy People – A year in the Taiga”. All I know of Taiga is the clothing line Taiga; which is a Canadian winter wear apparel company. I knew the Taiga was somewhere in Siberia, but after that I knew nothing of the people or their land. After watching the film I realized that as good as the Taiga retailer claims their brand to be, I don’t think their clothing line is good enough or strong enough to stand up to the harsh conditions of the Taiga. I was moved by this documentary, mesmerized by the strength, character and spirit of the people who live in a beautiful, enchanting, bitter, grim, severe, rigid and unforgiving landscape. These people are beyond tough and their human strength would test all of us living in Urban Centres across North America. I was mesmerized by the simplicity and the spirit of the people and the beauty and harshness of the land. The Taiga people truly live off the land with very little modern conveniences. They use the many resources the land has to offer from making their winter skis and canoes from the forest to the mosquito repellant made with fish oil taken from the fish they take from the river. The men earn their families’ keep as trappers and they leave their village for the winter to work their trap-lines hundreds of miles from home. There is a Christmas scene where the men return home for a couple of days over Christmas and to get there they travel 150 miles on a snowmobile just to spend a few precious hours with their families. Their Christmas is a simple one filled with family, community, food and celebration. A few days later the men leave and make the same exhausting trek back to their trap-lines for the remainder of the winter. The past few years I’ve been moving toward a simpler life, with less consumerism, more family time, cooking from scratch, only buying and using what we need and more attention to recycling and re-using. I’ve always had a fascination with self-reliance and living off the grid. It is one of the reasons I love camping and when I first started camping I simply had a pick-up truck, a few pots and pans and an open fire. It was in this environment I learned that you can pretty much cook anything in tin-foil with a little butter and salt and pepper. To drink a hot cup of coffee made in a percolator over an open fire after spending a cold night in the back of a pick-up truck can only be described as heaven! Of course now when we camp we live like kings with all the modern conveniences in a beautiful trailer and I have to admit I prefer a hot shower over a cold lake especially now that I’m hitting 50. To be as self-reliant as the “Happy People” would be a huge and monumental drastic change in lifestyle. After all the modern conveniences that we have become accustomed to, I don’t think people like us would adjust well to such an extreme lifestyle. I do know this; we can all learn a little from the “Happy People of the Taiga”. Joy – these people experience joy from the most simple experiences and they stop to watch and take care of each other, their land, their limited possessions and their animals. Watch the trailer below and if you don’t have time, make time to watch Happy People.