Have you ever wanted to keep goats—or wondered what it would be like to be one? Many urban farmers have the first desire—too keep backyard dairy goats—but if you can’t say you’ve ever wanted to actually be one, I’ve never had that thought either. However, Thomas Thwaites, a conceptual designer out of England, has. After commissioning prosthetics for his legs and arms, Thwaites lived with a herd of goats in the Swiss Alps for three days, Motherboard reports.
In preparation, Thwaites spoke with goat-behavior experts and watched the dissection of a goat. His goal was to cross the Swiss Alps. No matter how much he prepared, though, he wasn’t entirely ready for the actual experience, especially because he didn’t have time to get used to the prosthetics before his September 2014 journey as a goat.
“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,” Thwaites 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.”
Thwaites was unable to sleep outside with the goats due to weather and had a difficult time convincing the animals that he was one of them.
“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.”
Thwaites also spent three days living as a goat outside of the herd. His book detailing the experience is tentatively called GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016) and is due to come out in the spring.