This is an excerpt from one of our podcast listeners, and it very eloquently sums up my current mood. For anyone cooped up inside who is feeling the call of the wild, this is for you. Enjoy...
"I am sitting here, at work, embraced in a cocoon of electric blue light, and the cicada like buzzing of computers. Soon, I will start the 3 days a week that I am off and trade that blue light for the rays of the sun, and the buzzing of the computers to that of my beloved ravens, and the hustle of the Tennessee woods.
This time one week ago, I was 8 miles away from civilization and happily listening to the coyotes sing while shivering in my shelter. The sound of raindrops danced on the roof of my tent. The wind blew through my fortress of cedar trees, causing them to rub against each other and creak and moan like the hull of an old ship listing port to starboard in the sea. For three days, I knew nothing of the world beyond those trees. All I knew was that the weather was cold and wet, that my fire needed to be stoked, and that the local wildlife was not in the least daunted by the advancing cold front. As a matter of fact, I was not daunted myself.
Photos from our Outdoor Survival Course
There is something that happens to the human body when it is removed from modern comfort and left to the elements. There are parts of your brain that turn off, and some that turn on. You no longer care about who the president is, about that brake light on your car that is out, or even how much money is in your bank account. When you are cold and wet, none of that crosses your mind. Being warm and dry become your main concern. Food and water; resources that you mindlessly get from a fridge are now priorities. Sitting alone in the wilderness gives you perspective. Suffering gives you perspective.
After a few nights of being cold and wet, alone in the dark and surrounded by the sounds of the wild; the edge of your modern cozy existence dulls a little bit. Your bed becomes cozier and your faucets, as they generously flow that clean cool water become a modern miracle. I long to be encompassed in the wilderness, away from modern man and perpetually testing myself. I am, however, also a modern man with a car, a job, and a family. A part of me loves all that modern comfort; All the great achievements that our modern homo sapiens brains have brought to all of our world, making our lives so easy... and our bodies so weak.
The rest of my being lusts for the elemental suffering, and hardening that only the wilderness, or war can provide. I know I am not alone. If I were; Les Stroud, Bear Grylls, and television shows like Mountainmen would not exist to stimulate some primal part of our modern brains. There would not be mud races like Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash (both which are immensely fun to participate in), to force our modern bodies into primal, physical, survival-esque discomfort.
We are modern humans. That is a fact. But on our brief human timeline we were wild for even longer. Thousands of years of our own primitive instinct has not left our beings. It sits there begging to be aroused, begging for you to turn off your televisions, cell phones, and machines. It begs you to lose your shoes, to grow a bushy beard, and step into that instinctively familiar unknown that exists just beyond that tree line, shoreline, or that horizon. That place where beautiful violence exists.
I am not saying to give up your great modern life, I am suggesting that you find a balance. Be an IT tech, a mechanic, a doctor; whatever. Just step out of your comfort zone and feed that instinct. Take a cold shower in the morning. Don't hide from that icy Northern wind, or that cool rain. Go barefoot around the yard, wear a kilt, climb a tree, or jump into the water. Embrace what nature has to offer (within your own limits, of course). Trust me. You can handle it."
- Adam Elston (IG: @Grizzley_Adam)
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