The New American Dream Is a Cabin in the Woods with Wi-Fi

A short, rambling exploration of our shifting values and some made-up theories about why that might be.

Matt Gangloff
5 min readFeb 14, 2022


Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I hate small talk so I ask deep questions without permission. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes…not so much.

My first question on a first date last week was if happiness was the meaning of life. I asked my Uber driver if he went to Mars on Elon’s rocket, what kind of government he would set up. And, any chance I get, I ask people how they would live if they could do anything they wanted.

My favorite answer:

A cabin in the woods with Wi-Fi, a sustainable farm, and a retreat center for yoga or meditation or something like that, connected to a community of other small cabins/farms with Wi-Fi.

It seems like ask that says some variation of that cabin in the woods thing.

It’s possible I’m just friends with a bunch of weird, hippy types. It’s also possible I have some kind of confirmation bias, whereby, because I wanna live in a cabin in the woods with Wi-Fi, I notice when other people do, too but I don’t think that’s it.

I think the American Dream is changing.

I think we’re fed up with working more and earning less. The joy we get from buying shit just doesn’t hit the same. I think we’re fed up with fighting more and fucking less. We’re tired of being pissed on, pissed off, overstimulated and underwhelmed by a way of being that makes us want to drive our Hyundai Tucson to the very next trailhead, leave the keys in the ignition, and set off into the woods for good.

But it would be great if we still had Wi-Fi.

We want to go back to our roots, reconnect with nature, get out of the rat race, get back in touch with our primal selves and still have access to the best things the modern world has given us. We want to find a new equilibrium between the old way of being and the new. We want to get rid of the parts that aren’t working for us and keep the ones that are.

We want to make a living by making a life.



Matt Gangloff

I teach the how-to’s of Post-Traumatic Growth: How to heal and grow, find a new mission, become your best self and build a meaningful life.