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This is the inspirational story of how one couple ditched their careers and high-pressure life in New York City to move to rural New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew all they needed to live self-sufficiently, discovering a new sense of value and abundance in the process. Alongside their personal story are tips and tutorials to guide readers in the discovery of a fulfilling new lifestyle that relies less on money. Tremayne wholeheartedly believes that everyone has the skill, imagination and creativity to make it work.


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About This Book

Reimagine Life

Contact: Sarah Armour
(413) 346-2153

Described as “an invitation to experiment” by MAKE magazine’s Dale Dougherty, Wendy Jehanara Tremayne’s new book The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living is a brave, modern manual for a post-consumer life. Releasing in June from Storey Publishing, it tells the inspirational story of how one couple ditched their careers and high-pressure life in New York City to move to rural New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew most of what they needed to live self-sufficiently, discovering a new sense of abundance in the process.

Wendy’s story begins in a more-than-decade-long search for, in her words, a decommodified life — a life less entangled with commerce, materialism, and the influences of marketing and more connected to nature and to her own creativity and resourcefulness. A life in which she was less a consumer and more a creator. A life inspired by the celebratory nature of a gift economy and shaped by Wendy’s personal credo, “When the whole world is for sale, the maker is the revolutionary of the age.”

Wendy’s reimagined life led her and her partner, Mikey Sklar, to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where they bought a one-acre abandoned RV park and remodeled a 40-year-old mobile home using mostly materials from the waste stream. In a process of discovery and skill-building, they became makers with multiple identities: forager, builder, herbalist, engineer, botanist, welder — more than they had ever thought themselves to be. In tutorials both contemplative and practical, Wendy and Mikey share what they’ve learned, from wild-crafting medicines to making biofuels, from hacking electronics to fermenting foods, and from building a home out of paper to installing a PV-solar system for electricity.

Part memoir, part DIY manual, bound together with inspirational art by a community of contemporary illustrators and Wendy’s honest and passionate narrative, The Good Life Lab celebrates the richness and abundance that comes from a self-made life and, in the words of Sandor Katz, “provides us with much creative inspiration for our own transformative journeys.”

About the Author

Prior to life as digital homesteaders, Wendy was a creative director for a marketing firm in New York City and Mikey was an IT executive on Wall Street. Wendy is the founder of the international textile repurposing event Swap-o-Rama-Rama and has written for Craft’s webzine and MAKE magazine. Mikey has blogged for Adafruit, Hack-A-Day, and Popular Science. Together, they keep the blog Holy Scrap.

The Good Life Lab
Wendy Jehanara Tremayne
Storey Publishing, June 2013
320 pages; 6″ × 8″
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
$18.95 paper; ISBN 978-1-61212-101-7


Praise and Acclaim

“Wendy and Mikey set out to find a state of happiness that could not be bought with dollar bills. By trial and error, with faith and vision, they built a new life, a life of work and play and celebration under the vast desert sky. This fascinating book tells their story.” –Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, PhD, president of the Sufi Order International

“An invitation to experiment on your own and try to live a life of your own making. It’ll be messy, imperfect, and a lot more fun.” –Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make magazine, co-creator of Maker Faire

“Practical information guides you through a remarkably varied range of do-it-yourself projects, including building with papercrete, plastic welding, and fermenting your own kombucha, kimchi, and tempeh.” –Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation

“This is not a story about going ‘off the grid’ and living in isolation from society, but rather returning to the interconnectedness and social values that have characterized humanity pretty much since there have been humans.” –Doug Rushkoff, author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

Image Credits

Please use the appropriate image credits below when using any of Storey’s images.


Collage: © Alethea Morrison, using art from The Good Life Lab