Hiking thoughts

The Man in the Arena.

Finding the man inside who you may of never met before.

It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again. Because their is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed. Who knows the great enthusiasum, the great devotion. Who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Solo hiking over longer distances involves being self sufficient. It involves being confident that you can handle any circumstance that may happen to you or fellow hikers that you may meet. Solo hiking is completely different, there’s nobody to ask “What do you think, what direction do you think we should go now?”  You ask yourself the question and you need to take the time to contemplate the answers. There is definitely a need for careful planning, which means there’s a better chance of success. But the best plans can unravel very quickly on the trail, when you are reliant  on your mental and physical health to achieve your goals. I met the man inside me whom I had never met before on my latest hike and he was more confident than I thought.

The Credit belongs to the man in the arena.

Credit always belongs to the person who tries their hardest in any situation. I try my hardest, but I am not obsessed with outcomes anymore, my mental ability plays a greater role as a grey hiker. As a younger hiker, it was only a question of turning up on the trail, with hardly a thought that anything could possibly go wrong. It’s not that I can’t achieve exactly the same outcomes now, but it generally takes more time, effort and preparation. I’m a purist on the trail, in the sense that I like to carry everything I need on my back. Which makes for a heavier pack and an obsession with the weight of every piece of equipment.

Nearly every effort I made in the beginning contained error and shortcomings. It begs the question, how do you become proficient at hiking long distances, or anything else for that matter. The simple answer is, to hike as much as you can, in as many diverse environments and weather conditions that you can find. That doesn’t mean to say you have to like every type of weather or environment. You could be a warm weather person, or a cold weather person, but it never hurts to experience both, as you can experience sub-zero temperatures in the desert too. I have experienced the disappointment of not finishing a hike that I hoped to complete. But I gave it my all and failed while daring greatly and even though it was disappointing, my mental fortitude remained intact.

Don’t be a cold and timid sole.

Be open and honest in every situation you find yourself in. There is so much to learn from every hiker you encounter, because the most insignificant insight can be the one that saves the day. Don’t be timid, it’s often the things you fear the most that turn out fine and vice versa. On my first solo hike I was very apprehensive that I might be lonely and it filled most of my thoughts. But it turned out I was very comfortable with my own company. I thought very little about the hiking components, traversing steep and slippery gradients  and the more difficult part in descending them. In a group situation, it never entered my consciousness, but alone it was more significant. Going down a steep gradient with a heavy pack on, one slip and the momentum of the weight on my back could cause me to land very awkwardly.

I was aware of this situation all the time, but my hiking poles and intense concentration prevented any mishaps. As I said, this situation never entered my thoughts, but it certainly should have instead, loneliness was my primary concern before I started to hike solo. I don’t think you can ever know, when you first start hiking what part will be the most problematical. So it’s best to strive valiantly and take everything as it comes. Don’t worry about everything, worry about nothing until it actually happens. The brown snake that was at the water tank, when I needed water. My guard was down, dressed in shorts and open sandals at the end of the day, it passed quickly between my feet before I had time to react. I learned a valuable lesson, luckily I have the chance to implement it in the future.

the man in the arena
Don’t be a cold or timid sole

 

More walking less talking

Walk the talk.

More walking
Ocean walking

It’s a another year over and another one has arrived for us. The holidays are over and it’s time to start putting some meat on the bones of 2018. First up, thank you so much for your subscriptions to the blog. I have had a lot of trouble with spam content, which frankly, I don’t understand and as I’m not unique, I have learnt not to take it personally. I’m one of millions that these things are happening to. Anyway, I have sorted through my lists and cleared out all the dead wood. I hope this leaves me with genuine people who want to interact with the Grey hiker community.

It’s going to be a busier year for me I hope, I have a few things planned already. March 18th I plan to do the Cape to Cape hike here in Western Australia, it’s on the south coast of the state between the lighthouses on Cape leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. Around 84 miles that should take me about 6 days and if my mathematics are correct will be around 14 miles a day walking. Good weather being my companion, I hope that this will be doable for the Grey hiker. Although I will be carrying a full pack, as I’m camping and cooking this time.

More walking.

Then on the 6th of April I will be in Melbourne Victoria, to hike the southern coast, this time from Apollo bay to the Twelve apostles, a rock formation in the southern ocean. This will be around 5 days and 63 miles to cover which will average out to be around 12.5 miles a day, again, very doable. Carrying a full pack again and the weather will be more problematic this time, as it will be in the autumn. I’m walking every morning and doing some other strength building exercises. It’s the first time for a long while that I have carried a full pack, I’m sure it will make for more interesting and intense walking.

I have been thinking about that Henry ford quote. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-your right”. So the Grey hiker is going to do these hikes, I think I can and therefore I can. Good physical health supports good mental health, the reverse is also true. Poor mental health can contribute to an increased risk of developing physical illnesses. Hypertension, cardiovascular disease and obesity to name just a few. Apart from all the usual suspects that effect physical and mental health, my own personal one is setting goals that are realistic and achievable. When younger, my mantra was, “Just go for it and power through.” But now I’m older and possibly, wiser, I know a major setback could have devastating consequences going forward.

Keep walking.

It’s possible to walk your way through a lot of small physical problems. But you have to know they are small and not something that may turn nasty.  In my case it was hernias, it started with one,  but ended with three. After my surgery, I was off my feet for eight months, so as I said previously, possibly more sensible going forward. “Above all do not lose your desire to walk every day. I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one can not walk away from it” (Soren Kierkegaard)

I believe there are thousands of tired, anxious, and over civilized people, who would receive a tonic for their health and well being, by going into nature. Spending time alone in the wilderness, is the ultimate cure for so many of our mental health problems. Hiking the trail all day and eating in the fresh air is a feeling that’s hard to describe. Crawling into a sleeping bag at the end of a day on the trail has to be the best feeling available, better than any feeling we could ever get in a five star hotel? Depending on the depth of the feeling one requires.

 

Walk the talk
Camping in the wilderness

Will part of us always be a “hunter gatherer”?

Will part of us always be a “hunter gatherer” at heart ?

hunter gatherer at heart
Hunting for food was a way of life once.

No matter how sophisticated we think we are in our comfortable western society, there will always be an element of the “hunter gatherer” within us. A certain few still have the desire to hunt and kill animals. But for the majority of us, these tendencies are concealed in a less noticeable way. Myself and many others experience this feeling when we are exposed to nature for a period of time. The first opportunity I had to really experience this, was when I was around seventeen years old. I went to Canada with a friend of mine where we met up with his older brother, we took a camping trip through the national parks and countryside between Toronto and Montreal. This was in the late sixties and even though it was a popular pastime, it wasn’t quite as sanitized as it is today.

Sitting around the “camp fire” in the shadows listening to the wild life all around us. The wind blowing through the trees, the clear night sky and in those days the proximity of bears, foraging for food, gave me a “primitive” feeling. This felt very different to what I had been used to living close to London. It didn’t feel strange or even different though, it felt “right” as if this was how it was meant to be. Today, the first major problem most people will have, is disconnecting from social media. Dare I suggest leaving all the electronic gadgets at home, this includes the satellite navigation system. Even in the late sixties, where life was relatively simple, we were closer to our “hunter gatherer” roots than we are now in 2017.

Are we getting farther and farther away from our “hunter gatherer” past?

Is this the fundamental underlying problem that we have, without even realizing that we have a problem. Food sharing and cooperation are central to “hunter gatherer” societies. “Hunter gatherers” exist in multi-level social structures, to help regulate cooperative systems. Furthermore, these social structures regulate rules, friendship, kinship ties and the spread of social norms. Central to this, is an extended family environment where everyone looks out for each other. We see this as primitive now, because we think we have evolved into a society that has all the answers. At an intellectual level we may have a lot of the answers, but unfortunately we also have a lot of unanswered questions to think about.

Community is an essential part of life in these “primitive” societies, we have almost stopped “hunter gathering” for our food supply now. We eat more and more processed food now, as it’s convenience helps us cope with our hectic lifestyles. At the same time that I was in Canada on my trip through the forests. My mother was walking to town everyday with her shopping basket. Purchasing fresh food from the “fish mongers” the “butchers” and other individual outlets. I can remember “Tesco” being no bigger than my local newsagent is today. Community was organic, it just existed, by virtue of  people walking everywhere. Loneliness the disease of the 21st century, had hardly been “invented” at this stage. A lot of the ailments that loneliness would bring, hadn’t as yet, started to develop.

A “Hunter gatherer” problem manifesting as something else.

There is always an internal battle going on in each of us in two conflicting parts, one is our center of rationality and high minded logic. But unfortunately these feelings are trapped inside a biological animal, who mostly cares about survival, which is linked to our tribal past. The farther we move away from this  tribal past, the worse this problem seems to be. But we can design our lives like a “hunter” traveling light, and in doing this, we can set up our lives in such a way, that we can be quite comfy with very little money. The “Hunter Gatherer” is not possessed by his possessions. The modern worker unfortunately, is often one pay check away from the street. With more attention paid to our basic needs, instead of our wants, we can have long stretches where the “hunting” is not so good, but we can still survive.

 

hunter gatherer at heart
A more simple way of life could be the answer.

 

Why it’s depressing to stop walking after an extended period

There is plenty of evidence that walking is good for us.

Supporting evidence overwhelmingly confirms that walking is good for us in almost every way possible. Research shows getting up and walking around for two minutes out of every hour can increase our lifespan by 33 percent, slash our risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and more. One study found that walking for two miles a day, can cut our chances of hospitalization from heart disease by about half. Another study found that a daily walk for at least an hour, reduced the risk of having a stroke in men over the age of 60, and it doesn’t  matter how brisk the pace is. While a three-hour long walk each day slashes the risk by two-thirds.

Walking also triggers our body to release natural pain-killing endorphins, so the more steps we take during the day, the better our mood tends to be. It’s even known to improve sleep, support our joint health, improve circulation, and reduce the incidence of disability in those over 65. One of the most common mental benefits of walking, is stress relief. It also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. Regardless of our age, or fitness level, it’s never too late to start walking and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits.

Walking a long way.

Walking depression
Walking long distances

With all this overwhelming evidence, it seems natural to assume, if we hike a greater distance we must get more benefits. Most of us who embark on a long hike, do so, seeking change, with the hope that we can walk ourselves into a new body or a new state of mind. The therapeutic benefits of long distance hiking are well documented. There is historical evidence, of men in military units experiencing these therapeutic benefits on the lengthy walk home, after fighting a campaign abroad. On this journey, soldiers would slowly process and come to terms with the experiences they had lived through. Unlike today with modern transportation, where military personnel can be back home in a matter of days.

Various organizations, started by the men who suffered these experiences, have appeared. Sean Gobin hiked all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail in America, after returning home from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Sean founded “Warrior Expeditions” that supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by participating in long distance hiking expeditions. A few return year after year, the trail  becoming the center of gravity around which their lives center.

Depression after walking a long way.

Taking an extended hike for months at a time, necessitates being able to find the time and commitment, so it’s not a decision taken lightly. It also demands that you get to know pain intimately on a daily basis, and to be able to push through it. The complexity of life also changes, because for an extended period of time, we truly live in the present. This presents problems as the hike draws to an end, a realization that what has become “normal” is about to change. It also takes the body a few days to realize that we have stopped hiking, and this grace period seems to last for a few days. It is as if, after these few days without hiking, the body’s control center says, “finally this death march is over, now I can begin doing all of the repairs I’ve been putting off for months”.

For many through hikers, after months of living in a world where you’ve had a lot of control over every detail of your life, you’re again thrust into a world of decisions and conflict. It seems as if, people who live in the “real world” and haven’t experienced what you have, just don’t get how different the world can be. On a through hike, life is simple, but back here in the real world, things are complicated. The desire to give up all the advances of society to go back to a “better world” is strong. You may be hit with a sense of “powerlessness with an absence of hope”

When you stop walking there is no community anymore.

One of my favorite parts of  through hiking is the community. A place where people from all walks of live come together, irrespective of their socioeconomic class or background. On a through hike, we share self-imposed struggles that bring us closer together. Real society, for all of its comforts, is often lacking any sense of community. At first, being home is great after your long adventure. No more foot, leg or back pain, a temperature controlled home with real comfort, with a family who wants to hear about your hike and see photos. But after a while they’re over it and you’re over it and your through hike is still all you can think about. Your homesick for a place that doesn’t have a roof, again.

 

Walking depression
A sense of community

Childhood vows subtle decisions made.

Childhood vows subtle decisions made
Childhood vows

 

Childhood Vows how subtle ways of thinking effect us later in life.

Questioning childhood assumptions is a good place to start. I’m not talking about social and cultural conditioning, which effects all of us. These social and cultural beliefs can be and often are very limiting for us. There was also nuance thinking, unique to me, caused by subtle childhood vows I made. Innocent as they were, they became part of how I saw the world and the people around me. Attitudes were cemented throughout my childhood and teenage years, these moments were like forks in a road. They could have been catastrophic things or traumas, that may have been easier to understand. But these situations I have been thinking about were not significant at the time, but subtly put me onto a certain road for a period of years.

It’s these minor forks in the road, these were the choices I wasn’t aware of making, these choices are the ones that I have taken for granted as part of who I am. I realize now, that some of the forks in the road have caused me to have certain values and principles that I uphold, or have moved away from. This has made me think of the cost I may have paid, or am paying in my life in the present moment.

Having perspective.

I’m realistic, I’m not blaming myself or others, the pitfalls in the road are minor setbacks. I’m trying to be more flexible going forward. Often we are so sure of our beliefs, that we defend them and have arguments over them. We are so sure of the correct way to live life, that we look down on others who live and think differently. Liking the people who support our beliefs and disliking the one’s who don’t. We seek and defend the “truth” because we think such a thing really exists.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius. There are thousands of remarks and situations we may encounter through our early years. Not every remark in life causes us to make a vow it’s only a decision to be a certain way. Having an attitude towards a certain situation, or no attitude at all. Or a vow is never made because the impression is not strong enough.

Childhood vows.

These could be some childhood vows that may solidify later. A young boy prepares a speech to give to his class, he’s really excited and his parents realize how important it is to their child. He stands up in front of the class and in his excitement forgets the words he wants to say. The teacher remarks “that wasn’t very good, did you memorize what you were going to say as I asked you to. I’m sure the others will have done what I told them, and not forget their words.” The boy makes a vow to never speak in front of people again, because he feels humiliated. He doesn’t tell anyone, but for the rest of his life, he can never summon up the courage to ever express himself properly around people. Obviously this leads to all sorts of problems.

A young girl is walking down the street with her mother. There is a homeless person begging for money on the sidewalk. The mother tells her daughter that the person is a bum, worthless and no good to anybody. If you don’t work really hard in school and make me happy by being a good girl. You will end up just like that and disappoint your father and me. The young girl makes a vow, I will work extra hard in everything I do. I don’t want to end up like that homeless person or disappoint my parents. She goes on to have a good career, but has little empathy for others, which causes problems in her marriage later on. This vow could have taken the girl in another direction, depending on her perspective. She could have resented her mother for the same remark.

More Childhood vows.

A boy is chastised at school for being untidy and having a messy desk. He makes a vow to be good and never be messy again, always wanting things to be tidy in his life. He ends up avoiding any type of confrontation and maintains order in everything he does. His own children are messy and he finds this extremely hard to deal with, leading to other problems.

A girl is at the outdoor market with her mother. A man is eating a take away, chewing with his mouth open. The mother makes a disparaging remark, “that man is a pig, do you see the way he chews his food, he is no better than an animal.” The girl makes a vow to never be like that, but in doing so, makes constant judgements of others manners. Becoming very dogmatic in her attitudes towards people. She carries this into her relationships, with obvious problems.

My Childhood vows.

I can remember a couple of forks in my road that I believe, had a profound effect on me. My father was reading the local paper, he came across an article about a man who had worked at the same company all his life. He made a remark that he felt sorry for the man, how could he waste his whole life in one place. Never experiencing the world and everything it had to offer. What good was a watch and a retirement party, when he had given up so much. As a result I realized years later, that I made a vow to never be like that man, I would travel and have different jobs and experience as many things as I possibly could.

I have been in the work force for 50 years and have never been in a job for longer than four years. Due to my apprenticeship where I had no other option, but I managed to take time out to travel even then. I married and had two sons, we moved around a lot, working in different places. I look back on that vow today and realize what a profound effect it had on my life. Not only that but other peoples lives as well. Lots of positives though, both my sons are very confident men now, I’m sure that going to different schools, may of helped their confidence. They have both said “thanks, we  know what we don’t want, we want to settle and provide a stable life for our own children.” In a counter intuitive way it has all worked out.

Another Vow.

We lived in a quiet street in a very conservative town in England, everybody knew each others business and made judgements accordingly. Our next door neighbor who lived on his own for a number of years. Suddenly went to prison for child molestation offences, it was the talk of the street. No smoke without fire of course, but no one knew the full story, unless you believed all the gossip. Evidently something happened, because he returned home a few months later. No one would speak to him and tried to pretend he didn’t exist. My father surprised me with his reaction, much to my mothers distain.

I heard him say “I don’t care what anybody says, he’s a good neighbor and he’s still more than welcome in this house.  I’m not going to judge him. While he’s lonely and ostracized and I’m not prepared to stand by and let this situation continue.” They were good friends from that time on and for many years, they had a cup of tea and a chat every afternoon until my father passed away. The vow I made then, not to judge others and help out when I can. Has stayed with me from those teenage years until this day. Those two vows I made, worked out well in the end. Since there were other moments, but as I said before, not every remark makes us take a childhood vow, it comes down to our attitude at the time.

 

Crabs in a bucket

Crabs In a bucket, “If I can’t have it, neither can you”.

The crab in a bucket theory, refers to the behavior of crabs, when placed inside a bucket.  While a single crab can escape if several are in the bucket, none will escape.  As one crab claws it’s way to the top, the others pull it back down.  The other crabs will kill the one trying to get out, if it continues to pull itself to the edge of the bucket, while not staying down with the other crabs.  This is a true phenomenon.  The crab mentality is a metaphor for the human response to self improvement in others.  So often when people see others advancing, they subconsciously or consciously reach out to hold them back.

Also with negative talk, gossiping and biting at each other, and not achieving anything in life.  While never trying to get out of the bucket.  Members of the group, will attempt to negate and diminish any member, who achieves success beyond the excepted normality of the group. Hence they will use envy, spite, conspiracy or competitiveness and other methods.

Do you have the crab mentality ?

Do you have the crab mentality or are you surrounded by others with this mentality?  There are so many reasons we don’t want to lose people in our lives.  Since we don’t want to be lonely, be excluded, feel disappointed, or upset people.  Therefore we are in fact being people pleasers.  We have to be willing to lose people in our lives who are not supporting us, or who have the crab mentality.  They want to drag us back down, kicking us in the “guts” passively or aggressively. While talking to us in a way that makes us feel unworthy, we end up selling ourselves short.  While missing out on the dreams we may have been capable of achieving.

1. Request support.

When I go after my dreams, I would love you to be supportive of my efforts, it’s not going to be easy for me to attempt these new things.  Because it’s important to me that I have your backing in this endeavor. With your help, I would like us both, to benefit from any positive feelings we can share together.

2 Set boundaries.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a trap.  We may not be ready to let go of this person, but if their unwilling to support us, or help us to realize our dreams.  We have to advise them it’s not going to be as comfortable spending time with them.

3 Cut back your time with these people.

Reduce your time with these people, spend more time with people who believe in an “abundance” mindset not a “crab” mentality.  Most of all spend more time with people who want everyone around them to win in their endeavors.  “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with” Jim Roan

The crab mentality has to go.  If people are saying negative things, or have a bad attitude, running off at the mouth about what’s not possible.  Or are, opposed to taking action and showing others what is possible, then you don’t want to spend time with these individuals.  You can continue to love them from a distance, but not allow your energy to be pulled down, with this negative crab mentality.  It’s time to be true to yourself and eliminate the crabs from your life, our calling belongs to us and us alone.  If we continue to hide behind beliefs we were raised with, people pleasing to make others feel comfortable, we’re never going to grow into the person we’re meant to be.  More importantly, we’re never going to do the work we’re here to do.

Don’t be afraid of losing people, be more afraid of losing yourself.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Crabs in a bucket
I’m free at last

                                                                     

Adventure Gap

There is an adventure gap between our purchases and the activities they may be able to perform. These products allow us to feel like we are living an adventurous life. While remaining comfortable and safe.                                                                                                                                                                 

Adventure gap
Destruction of nature

The new Toyota Highlander blurb highlights some of these anomalies. While already assuming that we can be driving in the highlands of Scotland. Now we don’t just sit around we go out and discover nature, the new aggressive front grill, says you have an attitude, for adventure. It does go on to mention 5 ports to charge up your mobile devices, enhancing convenience, but still suggesting that they are mobile like their users.  The “highlander” branding connotation, struck me as quite odd when I was in Scotland at the start of the West Highland Way hike.

The small town of Milngavie is the gateway to the Highlands for hikers. Walking across the Tesco car park, I could not believe how many four wheel drive vehicles there were.  I’m used to that living in a small country town in Australia. Here a woman in a normal car, was trying to reverse out of a car space between two of these high sided monsters. I acted as a car park attendant and guided her out into the flow of other monsters.

An advertisement in Australia came to mind, it felt strange there, but here it felt ridiculous. The”highlander”driving in nature, to the top of a beautiful hill, the vegetation being flattened.  As the “highlander” carries it’s passengers into a comfortable adventure. Multiply that outwards and we quickly have an ecological disaster to deal with.  The edginess of the advertisement implied, that you are getting away from it all, on your own adventure. Yet not explaining that you would be surrounded by other adventurers. Like the four wheel drive park at Tesco’s.   

Adventure brands.                                                                                     

As the economic market seeks consumption, it’s looking to the edges to involve the”wild”of nature. To tame it with comfort, for economic advantage.  Hybrid branding is everywhere, as we become separated from simple adventure, we naturally crave more. The branding can be all that’s needed, leaving only a word association to the freedom of nature. Utility vehicles once carried the tools and equipment of working men in a functional way.

Now their being branded to apply to a younger man. Certain utility vehicles are becoming edgy, suggesting one use but supporting another. A sports car look with striking metallic colors, canopies enclose the back, but lower to the ground. Nature can’t be left out in this branding of a free spirit, Breeze and thunder are two names that feature on the livery, but I’m sure there are others.

The high costs.

The relatively high purchase cost of all these recreational vehicles compared to most normal vehicles. Suggests, that many individuals are taking out loans, to fund this sense of freedom. Get away from it all, but make sure you work hard enough to service the loan.  For a while I noticed a small sprig of colored flowers as a decal on small sedan cars.  This was intended towards the feminine market, but I haven’t seen these around for awhile. To win the hearts of women, they needed  to create an emotional response, which I’m not sure a car can do.

Four wheel drive vehicles can evoke a feeling of safety for women and their children. Surrounded by various heavy duty components and also being higher above the road.  “Highlander” has a different feature with women in mind, a microphone system that makes talking to passengers in the back seats easier.  Telling the kids to pipe down and behave is a breeze, but neglects to say if they’ll listen.

The gap.

There is an adventure gap in our clothing as well, the things that we own were designed for more dangerous activities, than they actually perform. A Patagonia puffer jacket, designed to withstand freezing temperatures on the side of a mountain, is traversing the freezer section in the local supermarket. Hiking boots designed for the Himalayas are scaling the terrain of the local farmers market. There is an anomaly as well, as the outdoor equipment stores adopt clever disguises. The local outdoor shop is selling socks that picture hikers on the lower slopes of Everest. There  pretending to sell adventure equipment, but they are actually selling boring stuff like normal clothing.

Don’t buy this jacket” Patagonia to give away all retail revenues on black Friday”                          

Adventure gap
Putting nature back

While not the biggest supplier of outdoor equipment. Patagonia made a grand gesture when it gave away 10 million in Black Friday sales. The American Presidents lack of support to the global warming debate supposedly caused this action.  Registered in California as a benefit corporation donating 1% of annual gross revenues. So far it’s given around  74 million through this initiative. It’s still a small player in the American market and with only a tiny slice of the 4 billion a year European market.

The black Friday gesture was a move to eschew capitalist values on Americas busiest shopping day.  Despite telling customers not to buy its jacket, Patagonia’s sales on black Friday actually increased. The companies grand gesture didn’t include discounted items, but drew thousands of first time customers.  Thoughtful consumption, the idea is that enlightened consumers don’t buy what companies do, they buy the reasons why companies do what they do.  Intelligent consumers, or another branding trick?

Rewilding humans and nature.

Rewilding principals.

A Forest Monks program is offered by the rewilding university based in Wisconsin USA.  Also intensive training in ancestral skills, mental and emotional strength, primal fitness and much more.  Furthermore a less practical version that entails, joining an online community of monks who explore the connection with nature and self.  Rewilding, is the latest craze in the health and fitness world, its all about living a feral lifestyle.  Also this lifestyle may bring you back into sync with nature.  Probably making you healthier and happier than you ever thought possible.

There is a promise to rewild  your taste buds and access your nourish sense.  As a result the body uses it’s own natural ability to know what is good to eat for health.  Not relying on prescription drugs to solve chronic health issues, wild food, herbal and mushroom based medicines are often used.  Criminals are locked up to rehabilitate them back into society. It’s only after we become domesticated, that we are more capable of unnatural acts.  Most of all these show up as prejudices violence, greed and selfishness that seem to characterize modern society.

Human experience.Rewilding

The truth is, rewilding is more about inner change than outer change, but this can present a problem.  As we move further into an urban, technological future, we move further away from the natural forces that shape our minds.  How do we get back in touch with them?  The human rewilding model suggests that with an increasing awareness of nature, we start to remember where we came from. We forge a connection with our inner essential being. Our experience of nature is being changed by technology as we experience nature second hand through a variety of screens.  Wild walk apps are starting to appear on our phones.  With articles that advise on how to do it  with regard to walking in nature.

What you need.

What you need  for a thirty minute walk heading into the wilderness.  Wear hiking boots, trails can be uneven, watch out for your weak ankles, carry water, a first aid kit, find your adventurous spirit, with endless products to buy.  Another piece of  sound advise, but for a thirty minute hike!  Since how far are we going into the wilderness?   Another sign of social correctness gone to far, trying to wrap us in a warm fluffy blanket.

Back to nature.

Rewilding, can have many forms, we can’t all go back to nature as many of us feel the need to, it’s not practical, luckily for nature.  The rewilding experience that’s on offer at various locations, can help us to see things through a slightly different wilding lens.  Many wild animals make the transition to establish their homes in our civilized environment.  Hence they still retain their wildness, foraging for food and shelter, but their footprint is not as heavy, or as pervasive as ours.  Most of the time in our busy lives we never encounter them. Unless we consciously observe them on rare occasions.  Can we be in nature and not be noticed?  As each generation passes, we move farther away from our wild beginnings.  Rewilding and many other disciplines recognize, that emersion of any kind in nature, can only help the human spirit.

“Wild” into nature.

“Rewilding Australia” aims to improve the trajectory for Australian wildlife, and increase ecosystem resilience to future threats.  Part of this rewilding is introducing native species back into the wild.  Most countries around the world are attempting similar programs. In addition, nature has to be preserved for itself and for the benefit of future generations. Rewilding humans or introducing wild animals back into nature can only be a good thing, together it might make a profound difference.

Is the soft blanket attempt the right solution? making it more inviting for everybody.  The less serious should be encouraged to walk around the park.  While still walking for half an hour but carry less equipment.  Consequently they won’t roll their ankle on uneven ground, or need  to carry a first aid kit.  Propaganda is often used with great effect, propaganda needs to be used now to try and keep the wild in nature.  “Keep out” rewilding in progress.