What is the appeal that we have towards survival skills, bushcraft, and earth skills?
Scroll through Instagram or YouTube and soon you'll find someone flint knapping, building a shelter, or starting a fire by rubbing sticks together. It seems that society is getting more and more interested in this overall topic. Do we wish to connect with the outdoors after a week of work? Are we worried about actually needing these survival skills? Or is there something in our ancestral DNA that attracts us to these skills?
I think its a combination of everything! For me, survival skills have been my way of connecting with the outdoors and have brought me further into the overall topic of nature. I have always been interested in learning about animals and plants, and how to live amongst them. Earth skills, primitive skills, ancestral skills, or whatever they are calling these skills these days, are very low impact, require personal commitment and passion, as well as being extracted from the very location we reside.
When I developed my adult survival class curriculum (Survival 1-6) I thought about the progression that we may need to take in order to go deep into the skills. Survival 1 was the hardest of them all to create. My questions was "If I had an entire group of strangers who may have zero wilderness experience, what will I teach them?". Of course they need to learn fire, shelter building, water disinfection, foraging, hunting, and how to make a survival kit. But what is missing from all of that? How about not getting lost in the first place?! Trip planning, the psychology of panic, natural navigation, regulating core body temperature, and maintaining proper hydration. Survival 1 teaches all of those skills and more! Getting folks off trail and into the woods is a big step as some people may have never been off trail or in the backcountry away from street lights and sirens.
Survival 2, 3, and 4 were created to get students more into the earth skills like rubbing sticks together, making rope from plants, and debris shelters. These are skills that require determination and practice to get good at over time. Survival 5 is a deep dive into the skills as we put them into practice with a 4 day class and a survival overnight included in the mix! Survival 6 is a week long survival trip only for those who have practiced the skills and taken Survival 1-5 as this last class will be tough!
Survival skills teach persistence, self reliance, and patience. These skills also get as outside while giving us a sense of freedom and confidence on out next wilderness adventure. What do survival skills mean to you and why are you attracted to them?