Recently, I proclaimed that I enjoy nature. I made this proclamation after visiting some more natural surroundings last
So my mom decided to give my boyfriend and I a day course in
So it was with a healthy dose of reluctance that I rocked up at the parking lot of Howl Bushcraft a few weeks ago. It was a wet and chilly February morning that lent itself much better to staying in bed than being outdoors. After a little wait on the parking lot, we were greeted by our trainer for the day. Immediately, you could tell my boyfriend and I didn’t take this whole thing very seriously. While our trainer was decked out in navy green outdoor clothing and the other participants all looked ready for a long hike, my boyfriend and I showed up with an M&S shopping bag that contained our stuff for the day. At that moment the healthy amount of reluctance turned into an unhealthy amount.
But as soon as we started the course, I decided to give this day an honest go. I got cracking with making a shelter out of only sticks and leaves. I learned how to carve sticks into spears (well, pegs technically). I tied some fancy boy/girl scout knots. And I made fire from scratch for the first time in my life. In the rain, I might add. After a full day of learning the ropes of outdoor living, I really feel like I could survive in the British countryside for a night. To the Mount Everest climbers of the world this might not sound impressive, but to me it was a massive accomplishment.
More than a feeling of accomplishment, I left that day with a huge sense of gratitude. Because that day happened to turn into one of the best days I have had in a long time. Better than any meditation session, the course really managed to pull me into the present. As this whole ‘wildernessing’ was so new to me, I was either intensely listening or intensely doing at all times. There was no time for troubling thoughts. By the end of the day, my fingers were frozen, but my heart was glowing from the roaring fire of happiness that had grown inside me while tending to the real-life fire in front of me. Of course, it helped that the trainer of Howl Bushcraft and his assistant could not have been kinder and were so passionate about their craft that I couldn’t help but get sucked into the whole experience.
I left the day not only with a new set of skills but also with a renewed zest for life. I cannot wait to go back into the natural environment. This time, with slightly less of a ‘pretty little princess’ attitude. If you have never bushcrafted and skipped the whole boy/girl scout phase as a child, I can highly recommend booking yourself onto a beginner’s course.
It is never to late to learn some self-sufficiency!