In The Guardian today, Guy Grieve describes how he lived for a year in Alaska to escape the stifling clutch of a life commuting and paying a mortgage. Unlike Chris McCandless in Into the Wild , Guy survived to tell the tale in his new book Call of the Wild.
His approach rings very true to others like him who want to leap from a soft consumer lifestyle to a face-off with all-powerful mother nature. He unerstands his own limitations. That’s why he survived.
Tips for surviving the wilderness
1. Be realistic about your capabilities. If you are not able to take physical hardship and a degree of pain, don’t go.
2. Leave all the macho stuff behind and master the art of humility. Be flexible, and never be ashamed to retreat.
3. Banish all schedules, and learn to enjoy doing things slowly. This can be difficult, coming from our frenetic society.
4. Make a good camp. Without a good home you have nowhere to retreat to and rebuild your morale, which is all-important for survival.
5. Learn to make fire, anytime, anywhere, using the most basic materials.
6. When you’re traveling, if conditions become difficult, apply the old Eskimo trick and just stop. Build yourself a shelter and wait for as long as it takes to clear.
7. If you ever feel scared, reassure yourself with the fact that as a human being, you are easily the scariest thing in the wilderness.
I am very impressed with your ability to withstand the discomfort of journey to Alaska. I will be taking this adventure this year and I hope to succeed. Have you returned to Alaska since the completion of your trip?