Features & Images » Travel

Travel Story

The Faerie Path



Or ‘How To Travel The World With $100 Or Less’

While it’s not unusual for an 18 year old to leave home and travel the world on his own for two or three years, it’s not every young traveller who hits the road sponsored by a kilt company, with $100 bucks in his pocket and a didgeridoo slung over his shoulder.

But then Adam McIntosh has always done things a little differently.

He became famous in Scotland at the age of 15 for building and living in a treehouse perched 30 feet over his father’s organic farm. He got the idea while attending various anti-logging protests and tree sits with his father and looking at the platforms the protesters had built using ropes and lumber.

(His father, Alistar McIntosh is a bit of a celebrity himself, and his book Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power is getting rave reviews in the U.K.)

Local newspapers and television crews, drawn in by McIntosh’s energy and charisma, featured stories on the young eco-warrior, and before long he was something of a national celebrity.

As the years went by, he added amenities like a gas stove, wood stove, solar water heater, and electricity, and with every addition came a new story. There was also the odd publicity stunt – such as setting his own crotch on fire during a fringe festival to raise money.

By the time he finished high school and was ready to travel, McIntosh had been featured on Good Morning America, and his treehouse, which he named Sycamore Mansion, became a kind of bed and breakfast that attracted, among others, Jamiroquai guitarist Simon Kratz and supermodels Roxanne Dodd and Denise Van Outen.

Before he left Scotland, he made the papers one more time by lowering his treehouse to the ground last February, stripping it of all its refinements, and setting it on fire. "Sending it to Valhalla," was how McIntosh put it.

Through the connections he had made with the media, and using his fame as leverage, McIntosh approached sponsors for gear and cash for his current trip, which he is videotaping for the BBC.

A newspaper bought his plane ticket in exchange for the story of the treehouse burning. 21 st Century Kilts, Scotland’s leading kilt company, gave McIntosh a few teflon-coated kilts to wear on the journey. Tiso’s, an outdoor specialist, gave him some waterproof rain gear, including a tent that met its end in Whistler. Brit’s Abroad, a company that exports specialties from the U.K. around the world, sends McIntosh 800 bars of Irn Bru shortbread whenever he needs help, which he then eats or exchanges for what he needs.