What am I doing? How? is it difficult? Can other people do it? I get some of these questions really often. So I tried to categorize most of them and get some answers for you guys.
1. What am I doing?
I like being in the woods, travelling in deep forests, covered in snow, enjoying life! In simple words, I am a lover of nature. I truly love nature, I am calm being in the woods, living with my tent in remote areas etc. I like driving my car in off road conditions such as snow, mud, ice and more! It is so relaxing for me that I forget all my problems, even the most serious ones. My mind becomes clear because that is what nature does! Nature is so beautiful, no words can describe it. When in trouble, it’s time to go for a ride! 🙂 If you feel like trying it, I strongly recommend it. Not all people have an off road vehicle but you can try hiking.
Um… that’s easy! If you want, you will find a way. There are no excuses. Even if it’s for one day, or one hour. I use any means necessary to find myself in the woods. 4×4, normal car, bike, trains, buses,or hike. Mostly I use my 4×4 which is the most enjoyable and reliable way. I enjoy driving and I am sure I will find myself far far away from everybody. I off road a lot and it’s part of my life. I can’t argue that sometimes is dangerous but surely it gets safer if you take the necessary precautions. Firstly I will analyze few rules and secondly what you can do to extend these rules for your own safety. I am a guy of extremes and I like being in some extreme situations because I want to test myself in these conditions and see how I react.
Rule above all rules.
LEAVE YOUR EGO BEHIND. You shouldn’t care who has a better car, who has more power, the better looking knife, the most expensive gear etc. WHO CARES? Nobody. Sorry to hurt your feelings but if you don’t know how to use your gear, drive your car, or you don’t know your limits, you are worthless. You are a problem to the team and to yourself. I have 10+ years of experience and the worst situation always happens from these people.
Rule #1. Always have a knife with you.
I don’t mind if it is a pocket knife, an army knife or a sword. If you know how to use it, that’s all it matters. You can protect yourself from other people (never had to), animals (never had to), build shelter, make fire, eat and so on. Practically everything. It is WAY more important to know how to use your gear than having lots of things with you. A knife is more important than a compass. If you don’t have a compass and you are lost, just wait. Read the stars. You can’t? No problem. Wait for the sun to come out. That is your East. Done. If you haven’t been in the woods before, don’t go far away before you have good experience. I always use paper maps and my surroundings to pinpoint my location. I have nothing against GPS but if it is cloudy, or if you are under a big rock, or if it rainy or the satellite moved or other reasons, you can’t rely on GPS. Signal is lost easily or sometimes the GPS shows wrong location. But paper maps don’t move and mountain tops also don’t move! So you have your location. When I am driving I use GPS and a paper map. In one extreme case, the GPS believed I was in another country due to bad weather and the worse thing was that I couldn’t move the map to the point I wanted because it was locked over the blue dot. Nothing bad happened but imagine being lost and trying to find your way back home. Remember: Bad things are programmed to happen the worst possible moment with the worst possible conditions trying to give you the worst outcome.
Rule #2. A) Know your gear. B) Know where your gear is!
These two sub-rules are important in every case. As I said, you don’t have to carry around everything you have in your house. Before you buy something, you need to read reviews, see videos, understand some basics and then decide. My suggestion is that firstly you go with what you have. Is it a kitchen knife? Take it in a special case so you don’t cut yourself. A Swiss army knife? Why not? Ask yourself if you want something or if you need something. This distinction is important. So, how will you know your gear? My suggestion is to test it in normal conditions. When not far from home or if you have someone with you, or if you have spare parts and in generally when there is no emergency. Test anything you would like to know about your gear and all the aspects the manufacturer suggests. If you don’t test it you won’t be sure about it. Don’t wait to do so. When you are some people together, relaxed, having your coffee in the woods, try out your knife, or your new flash light, or start building something to master the techinque of building it. Improvise with your gear. What happens if you do this, that, try different angles etc. This will help you unimaginaly in a bad situation. The more you do it, the less time it will take you next time and the better you will perform when people will need your help. (improvise, test it, check it in normal conditions
Rule #3. Know your limits.
Test your limits in normal conditions or in a safe environment. Try to make a shelter with friends when you already have a fire and a tent. Try to find some food when you already have something with you to eat. What is the lowest temperature you can handle without feeling cold? Personally I can handle cold easily instead of the heat. I have to be in high altitude during the summer to function properly. Other people prefer summer to winter and so on. There are no good or bad adaptations as long as you are not trying to convince yourself otherwise. Everyone is different and has different needs with different advantages.
Rule #4. Know your team (trust test)
The people you take with you, should be tested in some easy conditions before going on a hard and difficult trip. There should be an understanding on how other people work under pressure. Do they get stressed? Do they worry? How do they feel when something goes wrong?
Few examples are: always take care of your vehicle personally, check your gear, use it with care and love, and in the special case you give your gear to someone, check it thoroughly after you take it back. When I say to take care of your care personally I don’t mean that you should service your car on your own or take responsibilities on something you don’t know. I like working on my car and after 10+ years I learned many things. Nobody is born with knowledge about something. We all learn in the process. Now I know my needs, I know what I am about to do and take the precautions even on when to service my car or when to change a part. So what I suggest is that you should be near your car when it is serviced. Check the technician but don’t bother him. Start learning. Ask questions. Go home and check again. Repeat the procedure in your mind. Learn what is where and which part does what. In an extreme case you can help yourself or another person. I repeat that there should be a combination of trust to your mechanic and basic knowledge of you to fix things when necessary.
The term team does not apply only to the people you have with you. But to your gear supplier, your car, your car mechanic, the petrol station, the vehicle tires, your knives and so on.
Part 2 will be out soon with other aspects, such as: Rules, how to do things and what if things go to the extreme?
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