This blogpost is dedicated to you, wild woman. Don’t look over your shoulder; that wild women is you.
If your romantic partner is dying for a wild and free outdoor weekend, workshop or holiday, but doesn’t know how to convince you to come along, show him/ her this article.
Now listen carefully:
Nature is our home; the only problem is that we forgot how to live in and with it. We are so out of tune that we no longer know how to do things when it is not about pressing buttons, touching screens or buying in a (online) shop.
We’ve created many unnecessary “necessities,” and have forgotten the basics: how to start a fire, where to find water and food, where to find shelter, and how to keep warm.
We tend to think life is so much easier these days. It might be in some ways, but I do believe we have made it way too complicated. We live in an artificial world that we are not made for that stresses us out and makes us sick. (Re)evolving to our original essence is, as far as I am concerned, the only way to go.
Forgive me if I am wrong, but I think we women are even further away from our natural reality than men. Better said, it is way lower on our priority list to be “natural.” Therefore, to many of us, it takes much more effort to get out of the city and get into nature. I am not talking about sunbathing for a couple of minutes in the city park. I am talking about immersing yourself in nature, Nature, with a capital N – rivers, woods, mountains…
The natural world is our real world, our only world. We should return to that world to get to our real essence – our real strength and freedom. From my own experience, I can tell you that learning bushcraft techniques is a fun and effective way to get there.
That’s why I want to tell you about “feminine bushcraft”.
Bushcraft is not at all “men only,” … on the contrary!
But first things first:
What the hell is “bushcraft”?
The term bushcraft originates from skills used in the bush country of Australia. Often the phrase “wilderness skills” is used, as it describes skills used all over the world.
Bushcraft is about thriving in the natural environment and the acquisition of the skills and knowledge to do so. Bushcraft skills include fire craft, tracking, hunting, fishing, shelter-building, the use of tools such as knives and axes, foraging, hand-carving wood, container construction from natural materials, and rope and twine-making, among others.
Bushcraft is different than “survival” (which is also very handy in life threatening situations). It’s more like an “art” of living comfortably and autonomously in nature.
Through history, we women have known survival and bushcraft skills as well. We knew the do’s and don’ts about fire; we knew about foraging plants and herbs; we knew how to fabricate different tools and utilities; we knew how, where and when to hunt. We knew where to hide and to stay put. We walked barefoot and had a minimum of restrictive or frivolous clothing. We were strong – very strong – and free.
What has become of us?
What do we choose to be like?
Do we want to become plastic baby dolls?
What are you afraid of?
From what women ask and tell me when I talk about our adventures, expeditions, and rewilding projects, the main reasons why women don’t feel like exploring the outdoors more and learn bushcraft skills is because they fear:
- The cold
- Animals and insects
- Not having a toilet at hand
- A competitive atmoshpere
- Having to eat strange things
- And the worst: being convinced they cannot do it – that they are not strong or manly enough
For all these fears there is only one answer:
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
Let me help you to debunk these fears one by one.
Mankind has been able to live in Arctic regions for thousands of years without modern housing and heating. They must have learned how to put up with the cold somehow. We can learn lots from them. The key is to know how bodies function, and learn how to keep the inner stove burning. I have slept many times outside in below zero temperatures, and very seldom have I felt cold.
This is one of the biggest fears to overcome, but it’s almost 100% a mental thing.
If you eat the right things you will normally not smell bad. A bit of water and the right pleasant smelling plants and herbs, rich in saponins (soap-like foaming) will do the job of keeping you clean and smelling like a baby doll. And if you really cannot live without deodorant, I have the solution for you: just put some ash under your arms. Easy, cheap and efficient.
The many beauty and hygiene products we have in our bathrooms are basically useless. Ah no, sorry, they have a purpose: to intoxicate us.
Menstruation is another issue. There is a wonderful solution to this, the menstrual cup. It produces 0% residues. It doesn’t take any space, it’s clean, easy to use and travel with. Many plants and herbs can also help you relieve menstrual complaints.
Absence of the bathroom
The idea of having to poo in nature is disturbing to many of us. But why??? There is nothing more natural. You will get used to it rapidly. Not being able to poo in the wild is one of the strongest examples of how strong domestication has weakened us and how much rewilding we need. Check this book out!
Animals and insects
I do admit, this has been the most difficult issue to overcome for me personally. But as always, it’s all about taking intelligent precautions and having a wider understanding of nature. Knowing the species of the region and how they move and behave is crucial.
The same goes for insects. Many of them can’t stand smoke, like mosquitos and flies. The best recommendation is to wear a net for your face to sleep where midges and mosquitos are present, or avoid the periods where they are plentiful. In the case of ticks, it’s important to check your body every day and take them out with tweezers.
In every workshop or course, you will meet more males than females, for sure. And every now and then, you will meet the (almost) real Rambo, talking about his sharp knife or his new performance survival kit. Sometimes it’s about who gets the fire going first, or who arrives first at the next check point. But in general, the men are gentlemen, (even in the woods).
They enjoy the presence of women in the group and feel that it adds a tribal feeling of being a small community. Men love to teach bushcraft to women and they notice that sometimes women are much more talented at it.
Living with and learning techniques and skills from some Canadian First Nations, I got to understand that bushcraft and survival weren’t about “men only”. I was lucky enough to cross paths with various native women, still using and teaching skills their ancestors have been using for many generations.
Eating strange things
Sorry for being straight-forward. What is more disgusting than “instant soup” or so-called corn in a plastic bag? Or something more disgusting at first sight than shrimps or lobster? In our culture they are considered delicacies. But when it comes to eating grasshoppers or worms, it is the thinking about it that makes people almost vomit. Wherever you go, you should be open-minded about food. We should reeducate our taste buds, which are spoiled by industrial foods and artificial flavors.
Outdoor cooking is simple, but very tasty and nutritious. Being outdoors, a freshly caught pike on the grill or some clovers can really wake up your culinary taste buds. The outdoors give an extra tasty touch to your meal, and you will feel thankful for every bite.
It’s not for me
Do you really think it’s not for you to learn to live in Your home? Your home is your habitat, the only place your ancestors, you and your children belong to.
Then what is for you? Building a career to be able to consume things that you do not need and food that makes you sick and overweight so than you have to go to the gym to burn off those calories?
You are strong. You’re a wild woman. You’re creative, and you’re free. The world needs to recover the wild women. It’s time to go “home.”
I wait for you.
Please share with me the fears and brakes that keep you from returning to nature.