5 Lessons from Henry Thoreau Who Lived Alone in the Woods for 2 Years 

In 1845, Henry Thoreau went to live in a cabin in the woods for two years. His aim was to experience a minimalist lifestyle and explore what might be learnt by living away from an increasingly busy world. I find these quotes especially interesting because now, almost 200 years later, we are still exploring and pondering these very same thoughts or ideas.

But what were some of these thoughts that Thoreau had?

Here’s a few of my favourites…

5 Life Lessons from Henry Thoreau 


“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”


“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

“Ah! I need solitude. I have come forth to this hill at sunset to see the forms of the mountains in the horizon — to behold and commune with something grander than man. Their mere distance and unprofanedness is an infinite encouragement. It is with infinite yearning and aspiration that I seek solitude, more and more resolved and strong; but with a certain weakness that I seek society ever.”

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

My Thoughts

I remember Chris McCandless (Into the Wild) writing one of these quotes in his journal. But it’s actually the work of Henry Thoreau who published a book about his time in the woods called “Walden”. I believe his work not only describes a lifestyle that would make people more content and less stressed, but also the trap of living by the rules of society and the danger of not really “living” at all. Either way, there’s a reason why we continue to look back upon these quotes for inspiration!


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Sean F
Sean F
3 years ago

Thoreau, Emerson and Muir
The Holy Trinity of Original Outdoors-men ‘Outdare’.