I read somewhere that the kind of rebellion that the establishment fears the most, is self-reliance. So if you’re living off grid, growing your own food and so on, you’re basicly a true rebel — unlike the idiots running around in the streets with their underwear showing, protesting against something it’s fashionable to protest against, while smashing things up. Since I am a rebel at heart (yes, I know that sounds tacky), I am aiming for self reliance and I hope to one day flip the bird to modern society and just leave. I am almost there, I only need a watermaker and a wind generator for my boat, so as soon as my kids have grown up it’s a pirate’s life for me.
Now, this blogpost isn’t going to be about my passion for the sea, but bushcraft — which has become a very important part of my life. Of course, bushcraft is useful at and by the sea as well, though the term itself originates from the Australian inland. Bushcraft is essentially the idea that with the right skillset, you can survive and thrive with whatever means you find in nature. That said, bushcrafters love gear, maybe because it is still an area dominated by males and we men love our knives and our little gadgets, but the self reliance aspect is still there. You’re still self reliant even if the knife you’re using to make your bowdrill spindle is a 200 dollar knife …
I love learning new bushcraft skills and I enjoy how my skillset makes my adventures out in the wild even more comfortable and at the same time more challenging. One of the first skills I taught myself was how to stay warm and get sleep without a sleeping bag out in the Norwegian winter forest. That was almost 30 years ago. At the present moment, I am learning about edible plants and seaweed. There is always something new to learn, which makes bushcraft incredibly exiting and which is why an extremely skilled bushcrafter like Ray Mears claims not to be an expert. Viewing yourself as an expert make you less flexible and stops your learning process, I think he says. And that goes for most areas in life, I would add.
Bushcraft is not yet a very well known concept here in Norway where I live, which really is a shame. Traditionally, in Norway you go out in the wild either to walk very far, like it’s a marathon or something, or to kill animals. I know many who have been put off by the Scandinavian hunting culture, which I must say is downright disgusting, extreme and shameful and has nothing to do with being close to nature at all. I know some who have been so put off by the arrogant and often irresponsible spoilt men in the woods that they hardly never go wild camping anymore.
Bushcraft is a much healthier way to experience the wilderness, and I hope it can attract more people to get up from the couch and get out in the natural world. Hunting can be a part of bushcraft, of course, but in this context it has very little to do with the sickly hunting culture I just mentioned. Bushcraft is closely connected to our Norse/Viking ancestry and I would say it is an excellent way to connect with the past. But even more important, through bushcraft and your adventures in the natural world, you will connect with your true self.
Here’s a video from my woodland overnighter this weekend:
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen