Sammy Nickalls
Updated Aug 17, 2015 @ 11:12 am
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Guys, being a human is hard sometimes. Like, doctor’s appointments? Ugh. Plus, sometimes, traffic can get really bad. And jury duty? Maaaan, why can’t we just take a vacation from being a homo sapien, amirite? Well, England-based designer Thomas Thwaites decided to use his precious vacation time not to head over to the beach, but to just stop being human and be a goat instead. YEP, HAPPY MONDAY.

Last September, Thwaites, whose work focuses on technology, science, and future research, decided to change gears and try living from a totally different perspective. He commissioned prosthetic limbs to make his experience more. . . goatlike, and he lived among a goat herd in the Swiss Alps for three days. Next month — a year later — an exhibition of Thwaites’s goat-ing will be made public in London. The reason? To simplify his life. “My goal was to take a holiday from the pain and worry of being a self-conscious being, able to regret the past and worry about the future,” he told Mashable.

But the preparation behind this vacation was not simple one bit; Thomas made sure to do his research. He studied what it’s really like to be a goat, both physically (speaking to an expert in animal locomotion to perfect their movement) and mentally (seeing a behavioral psychologist to learn how to “turn off” parts of his brain so he could think less like a human and more like a goat). He even spoke to a biologist to see if he could create an artificial rumen (part of a goat’s stomach) so that he could eat grass and digest it. So you know, Thomas wasn’t goatin’ around.

Fitting in with the goat herd wasn’t exactly easy at first. “I was able to keep up for maybe a [kilometer] or so on this migration down the side of this kind of rocky mountain, and then they just left me in the dust,” Thomas told Motherboard. “So I spent the rest of the day trying to catch up to them. And eventually I found them again, and it was quite nice, in the actual soft grassy pasture bit. But actually heading down the mountain was petrifying. Because if I fell, I didn’t have any hands to stop me from hitting a rock.”

Thomas’s aim was to cross the Swiss Alps with the herd, but it was very difficult to get used to the prosthetics, and it was too cold for him to sleep outside with the goats, so he set up camp each night with his team. And the goats, of course, weren’t so sure what to think of him.

“I found myself at nearly the highest point on the hill of the whole herd of goats, and there was this moment where I looked and noticed that all the other goats had stopped chewing and were looking at me,” he told Motherboard. “I hadn’t been scared at all before, but I suddenly became aware of their quite sharp and pointed horns. A particular goat that I’d been hanging out with a lot seemed to have defused the situation. I might just be making human stories in my brain, but that’s what it seemed to me.”

Another goat herd also told Thomas that he believed the herd had accepted him. For three days, Thomas traveled with the herd — and for another three, he spent his time as a solitary goat. “To be a nonhuman animal? So much calmer and simpler,” Thomas told Motherboard. “. . . I think it’s a bit of an ongoing thing, because it seems so tantalizingly close to be able to gallop and be free and just eat grass. I’m not sure how close I’ll get in reality, but in my mind, my fantasy, I’m just one prototype away.”

If you’re as interested in Thomas’s experience as we are, but you can’t make it to London to check out the exhibit for yourself, have no fear — a book about his experience, entitled GoatMan: How I Took A Holiday From Being Human, is set to publish in April of next year. Though this experiment is totally fascinating, we think we’ll stick to our beach vacays for now.

(Images via Twitter)