This is very off topic compared to all of the previous posts but after just getting back from a little Urban Adventure I am in a different state of mind. I didn’t feel like writing a review for my machete or some other piece of gear, I feel like writing about how hiking and adventuring has changed my life and my perspective. I am a religious/spiritual person and hopefully this doesn’t go in that direction, if it does and you are closed minded enough to not continue reading… don’t worry me and my God forgive you! :-p
I posted previously about a trip to clubhouse beach we made which involved a 7+ mile hike into the Coastal Prairies a few hundred yards inland from the coast. While I have been on many other trips in treks in my younger years, none of them had quite the same impact. During one portion of the hike through the forested sections of the trail there was a common small white butterfly which was flying, almost floating only about a foot off the ground. It never landed and never got to close or two far from me. Watching it I couldn’t help but think how perfect the hike had been, and how small we are in the open and unnoccupied spaces of nature. This butterfly, probably never had and never will have contact with another human and it has survived and thrived in a harsh environment with little fresh water and a deluge of preditors, it had more of an impact on me than any class I ever took in college. It supplied an opportunity to think about nature, how slow its motion can be, and how disconnected from it I had become.
After graduating college I took a job in Miami, and 10 days after I walked across the stage at the University of Wisconsin, I hopped a plane with three suit cases and set out for Miami. The temperature difference was 0 degrees when I left the car in Minneapolis to 76 degrees when I got in the rental car 7 hours later. I was entering into a tropical world where nature floureshes year round and there are minimal days of frosting temperatures which can kill plants and animals if not prepared for the sudden temperature changes. Also a change in my life was going to be a steady income to pay my debts, establish a new lifestyle, and drink better beer than PBR or Bud Light. With this new found wealth also came the wanting for material things, I had just received the down payment for a cheap car and I wanted a new GMC Truck, I wanted a boat, I wanted a surround sound system, a new computer, new clothes… new new new STUFF! I found myself in the party scene, on southbeach most weekend nights, swindling my way into night clubs for free and trying to get drinks for cheap or free as well. So this continued until through a new girlfriend I met a friend, Adrian, who also writes for this blog, who wanted many of the same things I did but we began to get into survival training, reading Ray Mears, watching all the documentaries and Les Stroud we could find on the web or netflix, and learning everything we could from YouTube. After now years of knowledge accumulated I believe I could go into the wild and survive, it wouldn’t be comfortable or pretty, but I believe I could get by.
The change from wanting material things, many of which I now have but don’t much care for (I never did get a boat that operated, but I plan to build a sailing catamaran once the dry season comes) and now wanting to learn about survival and especially sustainable lifestyles to break away from the grind of society. When I do get into nature I start to notice things, small things, like a butterfly that flies the same path I walk, but it does it in a floating dance, while I pound my feet through the mud in steel toed boots, and notice that I should get lightweight shoes better suited for the environment I was in. We found blue crabs that had we not brought enough food for a few days would have tasted better than any food we had brought. We have found many live spiral conchs which a delicious snack as well, but since we bring fake processed this or that to eat, we leave the nature for the nature, and I am starting to realize that the way we live in unnatural. I drove home from my urban 4 mile hike along a man made island/beach and burned enough fuel to cook for weeks, I made it 10 miles in about 15 minutes, and blared some tiki-tiki dance music which would scare any natural being within a mile away. These are unnatural things to do, and they have impacts on the nature and environment around me since most of nature doesn’t have the ability to hyper evolve to keep up with humans rapid environment changes. Some species have been able to survive, through industrialization and there are many that have not survived, and probably many more we impacted before we even knew they existed. And this is my struggle…
We can go on hikes and for a few days feel closer to nature, start to change the speed of life, and survive the way we have survived for thousands of years, but at the end of the week I get back to my truck, turn the radio on and drive 70 miles per hour to get back to my concrete house. I do not believe I am satisfied with this lifestyle, and I assume if you made it this far down the post you agree as well. I find my self thinking why do I go hiking, kayaking, adventuring for fun on the weekends or relaxation on a short vacation, and work a majority of my life. Why don’t we flip the script and work a little to aquire small things which make survival in nature much more comfortable and adventure a majority of the time? After looking into myself, by paying attention to the signs around me and the feelings inside me, by concentrating on the changes I want to make in my own life, by meditating to clear my mind, contemplating the options laid out in front of me, and the self realization that I cannot make drastic changes to my life all at once, I know now that it must be a series of small changes which accumulate into a movement in my life. These are the 5 steps of enlightenment and while I have come nowhere close to reaching enlightenment, I have become closer to nature and that is the first step towards changing my lifestyle and the path I am on.
This is the true reason I started this blog, I hope to grow this into a company, producing the best lightweight adventure gear to meet only the basic survival needs but comfortably> This will allow others to hike lighter and faster and hopefully instill a change in themselves, while at the same time hopefully providing enough income for myself, by working a few days a week I can adventure a few weeks a month 😀 So if your with me on this endevour, have some great ideas to better gear you have or a lesson to eliminate gear you don’t need we want your input. We want to sell you a better product and support an opportunity for you to sell our products and hopefully free yourself as well. The more comments we get and suggestions, the more likely this thing will work and someday maybe I will reach the enlightenment that I strive for with every step of every hike.
I was inspired to write this by http://bluemtnrambling.wordpress.com and I think about this a lot but have never put in writing. Thanks Bluemtn for the inspiration and I look forward to seeing your blog progress