Michael Cruit was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From March 1966 to 1968 he was in the U.S. army, including thirteen months in Vietnam. In 1975, he enrolled in the University of Minnesota, where he earned a degree in sociology. In 1980, Michael went to Costa Rica to write his dissertation, but never returned to the U.S.
Sociology was not too useful for survival in the rain forest. Michael panned for gold and made coconut oil, paddled upriver to the nearest town and exchanged the gold and coconut oil for supplies. Eventually, he learned carpentry and made a decent living working on local construction projects.
There are no roads, no power lines, no phone lines anywhere near his house. A Pelton micro-hydro system provides enough electricity for lights and a refrigerator. He lives with seven cats, eight dogs, thousands of parrots, toucans, and monkeys, and billions of bugs.