Living the Outdoor Life Year-Round in London

Jan 17, 2013
Outside
Outside Magazine

Richard Roberts is a London piano tuner who abandoned his apartment and is living a life outdoors so that he can pay off his student debt. He bikes around town and sleeps in a bivy bag on a four-season mat—in a different location just about every night. He blogs about everything at piano-tuning.co.uk/blog/. It's an interesting chronicle, not just because you get to explore London outdoors at night through his lens, but because he takes you inside the homes of the city's residents: swiss bankers, athletic trainers, hunters, etc.

His story is a testament to the ability to live an urban life solidly outdoors, though he does take something like the occasional break from his cold, wet London existence. Sometimes he stays with family, and as winter has set in, he's decided to take a jaunt to Argentina—where he plans to test his cycling mettle. For the über-aware Roberts, such a vacation does not come without guilt.

"I’m not proud of flying to Argentina, even on a direct flight I have released about 1,700 kilograms of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere and my return journey will release an equal amount, along with other nasties from the combusion of jet fuel," he said. "This is not the total emissions of the flight; it has been divided by the number of passengers to represent the true cost of my individual journey—3.4 tonnes of carbon for the round-trip. This is about as much carbon as the average sub-Saharan African will emit in their entire lifetime. Ironically, while I’m enjoying my holiday, it is they who will suffer the worst effects of climate change when the rains fail again and more of them die of starvation."

This short is part of England Your England video series, and was filmed by Matt Hopkins. He plans to return to record more of Roberts' life later this winter.

—Joe Spring
@joespring
facebook.com/joespring.1

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