Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Alone in the wilderness: Fear

When you're in a situation like me there are a lot of things that could scare me when thinking about my oncoming journey.

Dangerous animals, poisonous plants, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation and injury.
It is not going to be a picknick and there's nothing romantic to it. Making a living in the wilderness is hard and not for the squeamish. There are a lot of ways to die in the wilderness and there are just as many ways to die in an urban enviroment, the types of threats are only different.

In the US the most dangerous wild animals are the Grizzly bear and the Mountain lion (or so they say). In Russia where I'm heading there are actualy Tigers.. The (if I remembered correct) Amur tiger in the south and the Siberian tiger in the north. Many people who are lost in the wilderness die of hypothermia, Russia's temperatures can get down to -50 degrees celsius in the far north, In the far south near mongolia the country turns into a desert where people can find themselves being cooked while being attacked by one sandstorm after another. Russia is far to big to have one single climate.
It figures that staying somewhere in the middle, where boreal forest meets temperate, is my best bet.

Then there are other types of fear that could overwelm me out there.. The fear failling my quest, the fear of 'losing it' and go nuts or get a psychosis (had one before, wasn't a lot of fun), The fear of not seeing my children again or how they might curse my name later on, The fear of people trying to keep me from doing what I have to do.

Fear kills.. at the same time fear can save your life.. This needs a little explanation..
Too much fear can stop you in your tracks, fear can occupy the mind which makes it harder to think clearly, fear can drive you mad.
Being completely without fear might kill you even faster. Just imagine a person who is totaly fearless for a minute.. Such a person would walk up to an annoyed male african rhino and smack that ass if you would ask him to without even blinking. If you look at it like that, fear can be a good thing to have.

We should not be without fear yet fear should not control us either but meet somewhere in the middle, this is called being cautious

Diary 27 march

I started reading The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. It is my favorite book yet I never ever got to finish it but hey.. 1248 pages, you can't really blame me.  Once I've read it I'm going to throw it away, there's no point in keeping it since I'm leaving. Once I leave I'll be taking a few books with me for on the road but this one is too heavy so I read it now.

I also try to keep myself busy with woodcarving but lately I can't find any inspiration.
At the moment the kids are at school and madame is off working so I'm all alone. Gives me the time to do some more fitness.

I have been spending a lot of time imagining what my life will be like in a few months, visualizing it, ever since I started this blog. I have also spend quite some time lately to find inspiration; Stories of others who are either going to live in the wild or who have already done so for a couple of years.

For the song of the day.. Sepultura - Ratamahatta.. So this is what it sounds like when you mix metal with tribal music.. awesome song..
Sepultura - Ratamahatta

Monday, March 25, 2013

Diary 25 march

Today was a day like any other but I feel pretty good. The weather however is pretty horrible, the snow is finally gone but it has been very windy for many days now. The fence in my backyard looks pretty damaged, it's nothing more but a wooden sail out there. Lately I'm doing pretty good, spending a lot of time with the kids, playing and teaching them how to write letters and numbers and reading them bedtime stories, today I have read them the story of Herakles..

Soon I won't be able to do that anymore so I enjoy it while I still can. But I try not to think about it.

What else am I up to lately.. Well I still try to learn a few tricks when it comes to woodcarving, I'm still practicing fitness and tomorrow I will no longer do bodyworkouts alone but also use free weights. I'm also checking out major bushcraft/survival websites and forum to see if there are any skills I have missed and might be useful to learn.

That's it for now I'm off to bed, my kids have to go to school tomorrow.. peace out!

The Beatles - Across the Universe

The bicycle of choice

As you all should know by now my main transportation method during the early stages of my journey is the bicycle and here is my bike of choice, not that I had a choice to be honest..

The bicycle is plain and boring, you're typical cheap grandma's bicycle.. A mountainbike or ATB would be much better for a project like this but hey, we are travelling lightweight on a low budget (or rather for free) here. The looks don't realy matter.. The bike is a tool to get me from A to B.

Like I said, it's plain but it works, before I head out I have to remove the childrens seat so I can use the 2 large bags at the back. I also need to check out if the light work since you never know nowadays with those LED bicycle lights. A bicycle with a frame like that is mostly considered a ladies bicycle.. but who cares really..

Like I have said before; If the bicycle breaks down beyond repair I will ditch it somewhere. If the terrain becomes to "bewildered" and cycling becomes impossible then I will ditch it. And when I don't feel like cycling for a while I will use it as a 'packing mule' and walk along side it if you get my point.
Anyhow I don't expect to use this bike for a long time and I will spend most of my journey hiking but it does give me a fast start.

Hobo Tin Can Cooking set tested

Today I tested my diy Hobo cooking set.

Making all this stuff myself instead of buying it is great but I better test it out before I bring it into the field so today I tested the Hobo cooking set. Basically it is just a tin can to boil in (Billy can) and another tin can made into a woodburning stove. Instead of burning twigs in the stove I made a quick Buddy burner because I was affraid that wood would give to much smoke and may cause an alarm to my neighbours.
I decided to test it out in my shed.. that way I was outside but still sheilded from the wind and the eyes of curious neighbours.

So this is how the test went.. Boy was I in for a big surprise...

Once inside the backyard shed I put the stove on the concrete floor, lit up the buddyburner and putted it inside the stove, then I took the billycan, poured a bit of water in it and placed it on top of the stove.. Now I just waited for it to boil.

Soon I noticed that there was quite alot of smoke coming out from the buddyburner and along with it a terrible smell.   After just a few minutes it was asif I had entered the dark realm of Hades himself.. in other words smoke was everywhere, the smell was horrible and I even noticed that it was getting a lot warmer in my shed. I had turned my shed into a smokehouse. Instead of waiting for a boil I cancelled it and put the fire out.   Once I did that my girlfriend came and said that my neighbour came by to ask where all the smoke came from, worried that our shed might be on fire hahaha.
He need not to worry, that'll be the last time I burned anything in there.

The Result....

Hobo Tin Can Cooking set
Worked great and after cooling down there was no damage dispite the heat. I did not get the water to boil but after putting out the fire. the water was very warm. So what can I say; Screw all those pots and pans, this will do the job perfectly at no costs what so ever.

Buddy Burner
All you Bushcrafters and Survivalists out there, forget all you knew about making signal fires! Just bring a buddy burner with you... What a let down.. Yes this realy is a long lasting candle indeed but the smoke and smell makes it horrible. Not something I would like to be cooking on.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Diary 22 march

Knife & Flint firemaking method succes!!!!

Well what can I say.. I did it! I have looked for info on how to make sparks with a stone and a carbon knife. I have tried this method before but now I know that I never used enough force and speed. So now I tried it again and a smile appeared on my face after I got a spark.. and another.. and another..

Yes I am pretty damn proud of myself right now.. especialy because this method is clearly a lot harder then using a normal steel striker. I had succes with both my Opinel and my Mora and with different flint stones. Great.. I can make sparks this way.. But tomorrow I will actualy try to make a fire with this method using dry grass and charcloth. I will get better at this over time. If I succeed at that aswell then I will  try the bow drill technique again.

There is a chance that my sister-in-law gets her driving license in a few weeks so today she already bought her first car, or her father bought it for her I think.. doesn't matter realy.. It's a blueish Ford Ka and even though it's not my kinda car I was happy for her. Her whole family came to visit again but it did not bother me this time. I do not get angry like I use to do.

I do not have much to say other then that I'm doing allright so i'm off to watch the second part of this great movie called The Odyssey and then tuck in for the night.. here is the song of the day

The Police - Message in a bottle

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blog: having some problems commenting back

Hi everyone.

I want to thank everyone who have recently commented on my posts but I should say that it may take some time untill I can comment back.

The reason for this is this..
I have 2 computers.. a normal pc and a laptop. We rarely use the computer because it is very slow. The laptop is a lot better and we use it all the time. I also use the laptop when I am posting in this blog but for some reason I can't view my blog on this laptop which means I can't comment back. I get notified when someone post a comment and I can see what they've read.

In order to comment back I have to disconnect the laptop from the internet and attch my pc to the modem.
I have no idea why I can't view my blog on the laptop. Maybe it's a java or flah related problem, I don't know, It's not my area of expertise. If anyone could help me out that would be great, then I can reply faster.

I feel I should post this just so you know that when you post a comment that it may take some days untill I reply.

Take care everyone ;)

Diary 19 march

Yesterday my father and stepmom came to visit, like all other people who I know personally, they haven't got a clue about my plans to leave soon.
We had a great day, we ordered some chinese, my father warned my about how the government is talking about cutting welfare and urged me to find a job and get a career.. if only he knew..
My stepmom talked about her medical condition and my stepsister unfortunately couldn't come.
Before they left we made an agreement that we would visit them next time.. but deep inside I realize that this might have been the last time I've seen them..

I am also thinking about my mother.. the last time I've seen her was more then a year ago.. The last time I really had a good conversation with her was more then 5 years ago easily. The same goes for my sister.
Since I've moved the bond between my mother and sister became stronger then ever while the relationship between me and my mother is awful right now. We are not in a fight! not at all.. We just don't talk anymore for some reason. And I know that we won't be seeing or talk to eachother in the coming months, so I will have to say goodbye to my mother and sister.

Do I cry about it?.. No.. I wish I could.. but I haven't cried in years now, I have learned how to swallow any form of pain.

This is the state I'm in right now.. Saying goodbye to people, aswell as the lifestyle I have lived.. a lifestyle that includes modern Popmusic, Star wars, Espresso coffee, Internet, Microwave meals, 8 o'clock News and buying useless crap.

Only then I can fully embrace my new lifestyle.. A lifestyle of self reliance in it's purest form.

People who know me personally probably think that I wouldn't survive out there because I seem lazy and unmotivated.. And I can't blame them.. I never had a real job, I never graduated and lately I seem to have no real friends, I never go out... I am, as most would call it.. quite a failure.
And yes, I have failed at being a participant in the urban ratrace and if I stay here, living like this, I maybe die when I'm 75 years old and lived like a complete failure.

I do not fear death. But living a long life that is meaningless, pointless.. that scares the hell out of me!

So this is what I have to do in order to live a meaningful life, going back to the basics, living a simplified life in the middle of nowhere. So what if they think I couldn't survive? I can say that at the very least I know the basics of wilderness survival which is more then they'll ever know.

Anyhow I am going off topic here..
Saying goodbye to my parents and sister is hard on me. especially because I have to keep all of this a secret so I can't letterly tell them goodbye. All this secrecy is wearing me down so much. On the day I leave I will also have to face saying goodbye to my children. They are the only ones that put a smile on my face. Like I said before; if I didn't have any children I would have left years ago.
But I do have children and I love them alot and I know they love me as well. That day will be the hardest day of my live and maybe theirs as well. They are typical "daddy's girls".. Last year they often cried and freak out if I would head out fishing for a couple of hours.... Within a couple of months they will wake up and daddy will be gone and they will never see him again.....  The sheer thought of it makes me sick in my stomach and that day will most likely haunt me for many years to come.

Untill that day comes I will spend as much time with the girls as possible.. It's all I can do.. But I have to go.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pfeil wood carving knife

In my last journal entry I wrote that I do a lot of woodcarving and I have kept myself pretty buzy with making some decoration on my knife handles. Carving with kitchen knives and my opinel was sheer hell. It is so hard to make small details if you only have knifes with long blades. So today I went to the local craftstore and bought myself a Pfeil No 7 carving knife.
The length of the blade is only 37mm (1.5 inches) and the handle is made of beech wood.
The blade somewhat looks like a scalpel and it seems to be just as sharp. Naturally I immidiatly tried it out and I love it allready.
I'm not to sure as to what type of steel is used for the blade but I think it's carbon.. which is good.
Got myself a nice tool for just 9.55 euro's.

Yes I will take this small knife with me when I head out into the unknown, I will add it to the list of gear I will be taking with me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fully use of a dead animal

I like the idea of fully using a dead animal that has been killed for food so nothing goes to waste.
Our ancestors were masters when it comes to this and here is a usefull list of what you can make from various bodyparts.

Bone: needles, fishing hook, bonecarving art, black pigment/dye when charred, bone knives and handles, arrowtips, fishing spear tips, hide scraper, buttons.... Bone can be called the plastic of the natural world and people across the world made the wildest things with bone and a sharp knife.

Antler & horn: flintknapping tool, handle for knives etc, drinking horn, antler deer call method

Feathers: flething arrows, isolation materials, decorative objects such as dreamcatchers.

Sinew: string and robe, fishing and trapping line, bowstring bowdrill string

Hoofs: glue, rattle

Eyes: glue, grease

Brain: for tanning hides

Hide: clothing, shoes, shelter material, hats and gloves

Hygiene in the bush

So today I whought it would be a good idea to talk about Hygiene and sanitation and the importance of it during a longterm camping/survival trip. Before I do that here is a video of Dave Canterbury and he pretty much sums it all up here.

I have watched other videos on how to keep clean in the wilderness aswell and I pretty much get the idea that hygiene is not as important when you're out there on your own. In such a scenario who cares if you smell a little if you're all by yourself. Still you're smell may be not that big of a deal, bacteria are. I have seen another video some time ago but I couldn't find it.. It was about smoke baths.

Smoke baths kill bacteria.. You can sit near a smoky fire or hang your clothes near it and it's a wonderfull method if you don't have soap. In order to get a good smoky fire it is best to burn green wood and branches. Any type of branches that are not all dead and dry. Pine seems to work great.
When you're out in the woods there is a big chance you sit near a fire all the time so making a special smokebath may not even be necesarry.

Taking a swim in the nearest lake can be fun but it's not necesarry, Take some water and wash the most important areas on your body that are most likely to get dirty and where filth can build up. All in all it doesn't matter if you get a little dirty as long as you do not get so dirty that it can make you sick.

When I head out I won't be bringing soap, perfume or deoderant with me. Water and smoke will do just fine. Smelling good may be important in a urban enviroment, people may tell you to take a shower twice a day, commercials on tv tell you to buy their products in order to stay clean. Hygiene over here has become a must and it's overrated. When you're in the bush on your own using soap and perfume and all that may even work against you. Some game animals can smell your soapy skin from miles away while other dangerous and curious animals may come and investigate what smells 'so good'. So much for hunting for food huh..

That's it for now, take care everyone

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some wilderness survival videos

When I decided to head out on this trip I first had to give myself the time to learn as many survival skills as I could. I did not have the money or time to follow a wilderness survival course. I also did not want to take loads of books on skills and wild edibles with me. So websites like youtube turned out to be the best when it comes to learning such skills and I have spend days learning all I could, seeing how it's done works a lot better the reading how it should be done.
When you search youtube for bushcraft and wilderness skills then you find loads of videos teaching you the same basic stuff: Setting up a tarp or hammock, info or reviews on gear and there seem to be a thousand videos teching you how to build the same debris shelter.

However.. every now and then I find something incredibly usefull.. tips and tricks I have not seen before. So here are just a few awesome videos that are either about Bushcraft/Survival or Primitive living.

Les Stroud - Stranded (Summer)

We all know Les Stroud from the tv series "Survivorman" when he heads out in order to survive completely alone.. He is one of my favorite TV instructors and I have a lot of respect for this guy.. This video is from back in the day before he started "Survivorman". The video shows how hard it realy is in order to survive in the wilderness on your own. It's a full episode so have a seat ;) There is also a "Winter" episode

Heating a poncho

I found this video recently.. It is about having a fireplace inside a poncho or other tent.. sounds like a pretty dumb thing to do right? Well this guy came up with a solution on how to warm your tent with a fire yet without having the risk of burning or melting your tent down.
Genius.. simply genius..!

Ancient disoveries - The sling

Hey! This is about Ancient history.. How is this relevant?
This is a video from the tv series Ancient Discoveries - Lost science of the Bible.
It's from back in the day when History Channel was actualy about History and still fun to watch.
This episode is about David & Goliath and especialy about the sling he used.. Slings were used as a weapon in war, a self defense weapon but also as a hunting tool and that's why I love it.
It is my favorite primitive hunting weapon and the guy in the video is a treu champion, In this video you see how a sling is used and also how powerfull it realy is.

Primitive Bow Hunting

This is an excellent video from primitive pathways, It shows a skilled hunter, a primitive bow (Longbow type I believe) and primitive arrows with stone tips. He did hit the deer but because he missed vital areas the deer got away, still it's a very interesting video... PETA is gonna love me for this... :)

Alone in the Wild

Here is the story of Ed Wardle who decided to make his childhood dream come true to live in the wild, completely alone for 3 months. He was dropped in the Canadian Yukon territory with minimum gear. He films everything himself. He bailed out after 7 weeks but I can't blame him. This video shows how hard living in the wilderness can be even for an experienced adventurer like him. In my opinion it also shows why being a very social person and living alone in the wild don't mix well.

That's it, hope you enjoyed

Diary 14 march

The children are off to school and the miss is heading to her job which leaves me some time to write.
It has been 3 days yet nothing interesting happened to write about.

I have been looking into woodcarving and I have been teaching myself some kolrosing, a Scandinavian carving artform and at the moment I'm practicing on the handle of my mora spoon knife. I believe knowing how to turn a piece of wood into an artwork is a great way to pass the time if you're heading into the forests anyway. If my future works can be considered art or not is all in the eyes of the beholder, as long as I like it.
I'm also thinking about making a wooden spirit on the handle of my opinel. I will post some pictures later on.

Some time ago I said that I would post a few letters on this blog in my own language. A letter to my family-in-law and to my children. Yet 2 days ago I heard that my my girlfriends father talked behind my back again. All of a sudden I realised again why I didn't like them and why we don't mix. I wanted to be passive towards them like I wrote in a previous entry yet here I find myself again with war on my mind.
My girlfriend told him that I was into fitness lately and apperently he said that 'I can't do pushups'.
That old mummy clearly overestimates himself and he clearly seems to underestamates me. I am certainly not the next Jean claude van damme, point taken. But I can do more pushups then the old fart.
Well here it is guys... I promised not to write anymore negative stuff about my family in law but I write whatever is on my mind and he just forced me to get this 'Cold war' between me and them started again.
Next time he visits I'll ask him.. "I can't do pushups? Ok.. Show me how it's done"..

So no, I will not write a letter to my family-in-law neither on or offline. It's not worth my time and effort. I thought they to deserved an explanation about why I left or why I never socialised with them. So I will just write a letter to my children on this blog in my own language so they can read it when they're older (and blogger still exists). I will write a letter to my father and mother aswell, but a real letter, They are ready to be send.

Sigh.. That's it for now.. If you want more info on Kolrosing and carving wooden Spirits here are some nice links..

T-rex - Deborah

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To my past friends

As I have mentioned before I grew up in Rotterdam and later on moved to the east of Holland to be with my gf and my kids and become a familyman.
I'm glad I did, it was a whole new experirience for me, I had to force myself to grow up fast and gain some responsibility.. something I always lacked.
But when I moved I had to leave my friends behind, I assumed I would make some new friends over here, I was wrong..
Everytime I talk about 'my friends' I'm talking about people from my past, people I used to consider 'my friend'. Well it's like that old song from the Fugees "You don't know what you got till it's gone."
And they're right. My friends gave me some good memoiries so here is a shout out to them and a 'thank you' for making my life more fun back in the good old days

I would like to thank..

Dagmar N
Andreas M
Paul H
Quintus L
Cees B
Jaco de G
Christel H
Barry N
Anoeska B
Hugo O (r.i.p.)
Femke O
Ilse V (r.i.p.)
Linda K
Pedro (m.i.a.)

Shit! .. Looks like I had more friends then I thought and I will remember them when I'm out there.. we had some fun times in good and bad days. Sorry if I let anyone out.

When my parents got divorced when I was 10 my whole family split up aswell and some of them I barely got to see anymore. Still they were close to me as a kid.
So thank you.. Marco and Amanda, Tom and Ria and My grandparents (r.i.p.) and I also would like to thank Tom and Bram.

The selfmade leather shoes

I have wrote about these shoes before but I feel like I should give a bit more detail about how I made these and why I made them in the first place.

When I decided to make these shoes I already had some sewing experience.. Repairing my own clothes, repairing my kids stuffed animals and even making my own clothing however this turned out to be something totally different.. Making my own shoes turned out to be a lot of hard work.
I got the leather from a jacket I bought years ago. I was not going to take the jacket with me on my journey so why not use it and make something useful out of it. It was somewhat of a motorcycle jacket, made out of black leather.

I looked for patterns online and I found a pattern for Anglo Saxon shoes on some reenactment website. No printer so I had to drawn it myself using my bare foot as a measurement tool. And then I start cutting.. no problems there. It's when I started hand stitching when I really ran into problems. I was used to stitching cotton, fleece and wool but this was a lot harder to do, at some moments I almost gave up. Broken 3 needles, fingertips were all sore and had scratches. But after 6 days the shoes were finished and the results are on the pictures below. If you look closely at the pics you'll see that each shoe is made out of a single piece of leather. The white inner layer is fleece for comfort and warmth.

So do they fit nicely? Hell yes!
If I wear these and put on socks as well then they become to warm for comfort when I'm inside. Wearing them feels like wearing slippers but they do a pretty good job as shoes. Some time ago I was walking these in my garden while it was snowing. There was snow everywhere and I expected the shoes to have no grip at all since they are "sole-less", I was in for a big surprise. Not only did I have enough grip, I also realised that they were completely waterproof.
My ancestors most likely were not Anglo-Saxon but "Germanic" Saxons.. Still they would wear the same type of shoes or at least the design would look familiar to them. Wearing them gives me the same feeling as a Native American who puts on Moccasins for the first time, or a Greek wearing ancient Greek sandals... a sense of patriotism..

When I head out I will be wearing typical, common sneakers, They are alot better when your cycling because of the pedals. But I'll be carrying these Saxon shoes in my bag for later use, when the adventure truly starts. Enjoy the pics.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Diary 11 march

Well.. weekend is over and the kids can wake up any minute so they can go to school. They realy seem to like it there. They often invite friends over and I always thought that at this age children would go to school just to have fun and so they can learn how to interact with others, was kinda surprised when I noticed they are learning how to write and they're pretty good at it.  Time's going fast.

Lately, out of sheer boredom, I started crafting again. I tried to make a duck call but it was to time consuming without powertools. I also made some kind of gooseboard on a common A4 paper, when I fold it I can bring it with me and it doesn't take alot of space.

Today I will start looking for my Tin can that I use for charcoal/cloth making.. I have 2 of them but can't find them both and these are important when it comes to firemaking so I need to find it before I head out. I will also once again pick up needle and tread in order to strengthen my diy backpack even more. When fully loaded it becomes pretty heavy (don't have a scale so I can't tell exactly how heavy) and I don't want the pack to tear when I'm on the road.

I'm doing pretty good nowadays, I am not sick anymore and I'm doing a good job at keeping negativity out of my mind. I guess part of the reason why I'm feeling so good is because of my fitness routine. Today I will also do some fitness if I get a moment all by myself. I am also going to look at specific training method for cyclists and hikers.

That's it for today, Take care.
For the song of the day here's the best guitar solo ever in my opinion.. enjoy

Queen - Brighton rock (Live @ Wembley '86)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ticks..Bugs from hell

When you think about dangerous animals that you can encounter during a hiking or camping trip you often think about bears, wolves or even tigers and jaguars in some parts of the world. But sometimes dangerous animals are a lot smaller and one of the animals that should be high on the list of dangerous animals  is the Tick.. after you have read this you'll probably never judge dangerous wildlife by it's size again.

The risks of a tick bite

When we think about ticks we immediately think about Lyme decease but it's just one of many diseases ticks can carry. Others are Anaplasmosis, Rocky mountain spotted fever, Babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, Tularemia, Q fever and Tick paralysis.. There are even rumors that back in the dark ages not only rats but also ticks were spreading the Plague.

Recognizing a Tick

Ticks are small parasites that feed on the blood of humans and other animals. They attach themselves to the skin and because they are so small they may go unnoticed for some time, increasing the chances of spreading disease. During feeding, they can transmit bacteria, viruses or parasites. Disease transmission is most common in the spring and summer months.
Believe it or not.. the 2 ticks here are from the same species. The one on the right is at normal size, the one on the left has been feeding itself for a while.

Treating a Tick bite

Some people will tell you to either poor vinegar or alcohol on the tick and the tick will just let go... If only it was that easy, I'm sorry to say that this is just a urban myth. Alcohol might kill the tick but then it would still be stuck in your skin with all it's potential deceases. Vinegar might help to clean the wound or infection after the tick is removed.
Also burning a tick does not help.
The best way to remove a tick is with fine tipped tweezers, you grab the tick as close to it's mouth as possible the you slowly pull the tick out without twisting it. Some people grab the tick by it's body.. Don't ever do that! you might squeeze the the infected fluids from the ticks into your skin.
When the tick is removed it might be best to visit a doctor just in case. Bringing the tick with you in a ziplock bag is also not a bad idea so it can be examined in a lab.

How to avoid getting bitten

Avoid walking through tall grasses and busches as much as you can. so ticks can't get on your cloths and travel to your skin. Put the ends of your pants in your socks and check yourself and your clothing for ticks afterwards. When you're in the outdoors try to stay on the paths as much as possible.

Is there a real reason to panic?

No not really. We all know that ticks carry diseases and that they are hard to get rid off. What most people do not tell you however is that most ticks (maybe more then 90%) do Not carry any form of decease. Still of course it's better to be safe then sorry. And most of all the deceases listed above can be cured with common antibiotics. It is also good to know that most of the stories of people dying due to tick bites are usually just that... stories.. it's pretty rare

Friday, March 8, 2013

Charcloth with aluminium foil

Some time ago I wrote about how to make Charcloth with a tin can but there are other ways to make charcloth and here is another one.. with Aluminium foil.

Here is the tin can method:

For this method we need 100% cotton cut into strips or small squares, a sheet of aluminium foil and some type of open flame such as a small outdoor fire or (as in my case) a kitchen stove..

The cotton is place in the centre of the aluminium sheet and you wrap it up into a nice package. On the top you make a small hole in the middle for the gasses to escape. Then it is placed in the fire.
It should look like this, Someone should clean that .... up!

I noticed that this method is way faster then charring it in a tin.. after less then 10 minutes on a low fire it stopped smoking, opened the package and the cotton was all black.. not burned but charred, nice!

Just in case you don't know what charcloth is used for.. It's used in order to catch a spark from a magnesium stick, flint and steel, firesteel etc. After it catches a spark you put it in a tinderbundle so you can blow it into a fire.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Diary 7 march

At the moment I'm trying to wake up a little.. Cup of coffee and canned Tuna for breakfast :) watching doomsday preppers on Nat geo. I'm not a prepper.. I'm bugging out before a potential shtf scenario.. Still I gotta love this show, and the whole idea behind prepping makes total sense to me.
Soon I'll write an article about my view on preppers.

So it seems that spring is just around the corner. a couple of weeks ago the grass in my garden was hidden because of all the snow and tomorrow we expect temperatures reaching 15 degrees Celsius.. That's Holland :)  Now that winter is over the spring reminds me of how much time I've got left.

I have decided to no longer bash on any people I know. Over the past few years I have become a bittered, grumpy old man but from now on I am no longer going to blame my family-in-law, my girlfriend or whoever for my own downfall.
No one wants to be angry all the time or have a mind filled with hate.. it changes you, making you become you're own worse enemy.

How on earth can I still call myself a Buddhist if I only love my children and despise all others I see every day. I should be at peace with myself and my surroundings, instead I find myself in a cold war between me and my GF's family.
In order to get rid of all the anger inside and in order to give this blog a more positive vibe I will from now  on write about my coming journey only aswell as primitive and off grid living and other things that are relevant. Peace will return to this blog and I will do whatever I can to let peace return into my life aswell.. I'm not going to try and become friends with my family in law.. it's too late for that, the damage has been done. But from now on I'm not going to ignore them anymore and I will treat them the way they deserve to be treated.. with a little more respect.

I am going to train both body and mind.. At the moment I'm doing some fitness 3 to 4 times a week. Nothing special.. just to gain some strength in order to be able to cycle/hike across Europe. It's mostly body workouts with the occasional use of dumbbells at home since I do not have the time or money to join a gym.. I still have 3 kids to take care off, and I rather spend my last months with them then at some gym. Also the goal is to become stronger, not to become a bodybuilder ;)
When the kids are at school, the wife is at work and my youngest baby girl is doing her nap I not only have time for some fitness, I also have time to work on training my mind.
So I will start studying all the buddhist literature I have laying around and meditate and put Buddhism into practice.. no longer will just call myself a Buddhist but from now on I will also act like one.

That is it for now. I'm off to do some fitness, Till next time ;)

Here is the song of the day.. one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands..

Queen - The show must go on

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Diary 5 march

Today was a good day.
I did some fitness, watched some of Dave Canterbury's trapping videos on youtube, played with the kids and I ended this day with playing poker with my girlfriend.

I notice a change in my behaviour and a change in the way I think.. I knew it would soon come to this.. The voice inside my head that tells me to stay....

It is the voice that tells you to stop following your path, your dream, your ambition. The voice tries to convince you that you head out to surten death. It tries to poison my mind with guilt towards my parents and most of all my children. It tells you to stick with the old or that you need more time for closure..
But, as always, I do not give in, I can't stop now and I shouldn't.... of course I don't really hear voices but you get the point.

Because at the same time I'm having visions (of course not real visions but.. :) ) where I'm in a pineforest sitting near a lake, behind me is my campfire and cozy shelter, The traps are all set and I'm off to do some fishing and the mountains on the other side of the lake are shinning in the mid-day sun...
Yes I know, I'm romanticizing things but on the other hands it helps to keep a positive attitude.

Tupac Shakur - Never had a friend like me

Monday, March 4, 2013

Diary 4 march

I'm not sick anymore but now our youngest daughter is getting ill and since she's just a baby I am a bit worried. But I'm pretty sure it will turn out ok. The beef jerky I started making 2 days ago is also done. I tated a bit and it's a lot more difficult to chew then the dried chicken I made earlier. It tasted alright and that is good, because I will be eating this alot on my journey and in the future, the only way I can preserve meat and fish is by drying it.

My dried meat.. Chicken on the left and Beef on the right..

To be honest there is nothing more I can talk about, nothing else happened today worth mentioning.
So goodbye and until next time.

Megadeth - A tout le Monde

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why I am not taking a firearm with me.

When people leave their urban environment to spend some quality time out in the woods, let's say for a weekend they often bring a firearm with them.
And with good reason, not only can it provide them with food but most of all it is the best way to defend themselves against bears, mountain lions, zombies and what not.
Soon I'll head out into the woods, not for a weekend but possibly for the rest of my life, Yet if you take a look at all the stuff I will bring with me you will not see a single firearm, just a cheap airgun and airguns are great for small game hunting but they're not meant as a defensive weapon, it would only piss off a bear even more.

So why do I not take a firearm with me?
Because of the local law.. In my country you cannot simply go to a gunstore, show your passport and start shopping. Dutch law on gun ownership is ridiculously stupid. Owning a gun over here is possible but very hard. You have to get screened by the police even if you don't have a criminal record, Then you need to follow a whole variety of shooting classes which costs you alot of money and time, Once they think you are ready you are aloud to buy a gun and ammo, but you must also buy a safe and store it there and you must become a member of a shooting club.

Congratulations!.. you are now the proud owner of a gun, you are now officially broke and once everyone knows you have a gun they'll consider you the next best serial killer 'cause that's how the dutch look at gun owners.

But wait! there's more!
Now that you have a gun you must practice at a shooting range several times a month otherwise you are in serious danger of having your license taken away from you, also expect the police from having unannounced visits at your home to see if you're keeping your gun in the safe. I cannot even imagine what you neighbours must think after the 13th visit. Also do not even think about using your gun in order to defend yourself. This is Holland.. many people have gone to jail over here due to self defence. Also if you want to fire the gun you do that at your local shooting range, no where else.

Now you know why I am not taking a gun, rifle or shotgun with me.. If I could then I would, and if I can get my hands on an old AK when I'm somewhere in eastern Europe (can't be that hard hehe) I will not think twice.

Diary 3 march

Since i will be leaving on the 25th of May I have still a few more months to go before I head out.
Yet I feel like i'm ready to head out right now. I know that there are still so many skills to learn that I don't know, but in theory I know more then enough to survive in the wilderness when it comes to the basics such as making a shelter, fishing, trapping. I feel like I could head out on my bike right now and go on this epic journey.. Still I know that I must wait until may.. The weather will be alot better.

What am I going to do in the meanwhile?..

-practicing all that I have learned
-posting here
-fitness.. preparing my body to cycle and hike across europe
-writing usefull info in my selfmade survival munual/field guide
-spending a lot of time with my children now I still can
-eating more then I usualy do, I'll need it later

That's all I will be focused on untill the day I leave, now I'm off to get into shape, take care everyone and have a nice day.

For my song of the day I'll give you Rapalje, an awesome dutch band with an unusual style that I love alot.. they tend to play scottish, dutch and medieval folk music. They often play at medieval and fantasy events.

Rapalje @ keltfest 2007

Making a fish trap from a soda bottle

This is a trick I learned a few years ago on youtube. You need a empty soda bottle, scissors or a knife and ducttape.

Cut of the top of the bottle. You can just throw the cap away but keep the top because you will need it later.
Take the top and put it back on the bottle but reversed, like on the picture below.

Now it's time to tape the two parts with ducttape. If you dont have ducttape then you might try sewing it instead. the plastic is thin enough for the needle to pass treu easily.

Now it's ready to use.. Before you cast it in the water put some weights in it (stones do just fine) so it stays at the bottom. Also put in some food to lure the fish.. bread, bugs.. fish eat a lot of stuff.
Now as to how it works.. When a fish enters the bottle and wants to get out it will follow the natural curves of the bottle. That's why goldfish in a round aquarium swim in circles alongside the walls of the aquarium. In a normal bottle the fish would have no problem escaping but this bottle trap, when the fish follows the sides then the bottle will lead the fish back inside... it can't find it's way out.

Next time you want fish on your plate remember this trap, it's easy and cheap and very effective.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Diary 2 march

I feel sick and most of my family is suffering from having a cold, It's that time of year again. I am taking it easy most of the time. During the day I sleep a couple of hours, then I wake up and eat, sleep some more and at night I am usually awake and full of energy.. I have a day/night rhythm like some kind of freaking vampire.
I do wonder how I'm going to treat an illness when I'm out in the woods, an illness such as a fever are viruses that go from human to human, if I'm spending the rest of my life living solo I don't really have to worry about that. But simply catching a cold can and will happen. And there are more serious deceases I might suffer from including food poisoning. Learning a thing or two about medical plants may be a good idea, I'm especially interested in how to get rid of headaches and these common colds. At the moment all I really know about this subject is that tea from stinging nettles cleanse the blood and that aroma from lavender can help you fall asleep.. That's not enough..

So what has been happening today?
I am making jerky and I hope the beef will be dried tomorrow.
I have lost my charcoal/charcloth making tin, it's somewhere around the house but have to search some more.
I have been eating lasagna, it was more sauce then pasta.. disgusting.
A girlfriend of my girlfriend is having a sleepover upstairs like she's f*cking twelve.
I have been watching youtube for info on trapping, after the 15th advertisement in 6 minutes I got annoyed like hell.. not a youtube fan anymore.
I couldn't sleep because everyone is coughing all the time.
Other then that my day sucked :)

Tomorrow my girlfriend is going out with her sister and her friend I just mentioned. I will be completely honest; I'm always happy when she leaves for a while, I have the whole house for myself, I can prepare for my departure without anyone bothering me. There used to be a time when I would miss her or when I was afraid that if she was going out without me, that she might cheat on me.. at this moment I wouldn't even care if she did..   We both changed and she changed most of all in my opinion.. It sits on the couch all day shouting at her kids telling them what to do and she considers that 'raising your children' so she can watch her precious TV. It burps and farts all day long.. there is nothing feminine about her anymore.
Anyhow tomorrow she will go out, party with their girls and waste her money on alcohol and puge in the toilet once she's home like all good, responsible mothers do..

That'll be enough drama for today so take care everyone.

Michael Jackson - Leave me alone

Friday, March 1, 2013

The food packing problem

When I started preparing for this journey I went online to find and buy all the items I needed.. knives, clothing and the like and I was not thinking about food at all..

That's pretty dumb of me.. I will be biking and hiking from west to east Europe, crossing the continent and like I have discussed before, if I want to obey local law and play it safe then I cannot be building fire's during the first stages of my journey in order to prepare food.
Bummer.. since biking and hiking across Europe will burn calories like you've never seen before.
That I'll be burning more calories then I can consume during those first stages of the trip is inevitable but I have to eat in order to go on forward as fast as I can.
I started packing some foods and small meals some time ago.. Soup, Rice, Baking powder and such but these all require boiling or some other method that needs a heat source. So I would have to add other types of food that can be eaten cold and that doesn't spoil easily.

So here's what I'm adding to my food list

Meat - In order to cycle and walk long distances on a daily basis I will need to eat food that is rich in protein and this was my biggest problem so far. Smoking meat is a great way to dry meat so it can be preserved for quite some time and it can be eaten without heating it. However smoking it again requires an open flame.. of course I could smoke meat before I leave but since I live in a residential area, smoke might sent the neighbours alarmbells ringing. There are other ways of drying meat including drying it near a radiator and that is how I made dried meat a couple of days ago (chicken) and I will make some more beef jerky today with this same method. By the time I'll leave I will be having loads of jerky to take with me.

Fruit and Veggies - I will be trying to dry slices of fruit and vegetables by using the exact same method. It should work and according to others it does work. Will give that a try soon for varieties sake.

Canned food - These foods will stay fresh for years if necessary and they usually can be eaten straight away. I will buy some before I leave. I especially love tuna in a can, very rich in protein aswell

Trailmix - I have been posting about making a trailmix before (in some diary entry I think) but guess what's new.. apparently my body has been creating some kind of allergy when it comes to nuts and nuts are high in protein and they were the main ingredient, the irony..
So my girlfriend ate the trailmix instead and I was on making a new one. I read somewhere that being allergic to nuts and being allergic to peanuts is not the same thing so I bough some salted peanuts and indeed.. Peanuts do just fine. I now have a small bag with peanuts and over the coming months I will add other stuff to it. Trailmix is however, meant as a snack and not a meal.

Chocolate - Yeah that's right.. If it's full of energy and it just doesn't seem to spoil then it's probably chocolate. It is considered an unhealthy food by the masses but in fact it has more energy then any typical energybar and it contains a lot of calories. Will take some with me for extra boosts.

Spoilable foods - I will be taking some foods with me that will spoil pretty soon without a refrigerator.
Some bread for example, foods that need to be eaten during the first days of my trip.

Vitamin Tablets - I will also be taking some vitamin tablets with me aswell, not realy necessary during the first stages of my trip but they might become important in the long run. At the moment I've packed Vitamin C and Iron tablets.

That's it.. This is the shopping list for a longterm wilderness survival trip in times when you can't build a fire and don't have a refrigerator... hope you enjoyed

From Cityboy To Hunter-Gatherer

Spring is near and so is my journey. Over the recent years I have learned alot about survival skills, trapping, fishing, hunting, the way our ancestors used to live, the way nature works, how to stockpile for winter and so on and I have also learned how much info the human brain can store in a few years.

All that info becomes useless if you do not have the right mindset, therefore having the right mindset should be no1 when it comes to survival essentials.

I always had the mindset of a cityboy.. I grew up in the city, went to school, got my own home.. If I wanted something I would go out and buy it. There were moments I thought I was about to die if my computer crashed. There were times I cried myself to sleep over the loss of a girlfriend because I wanted to be loved, I was lazy and was living on wellfare (still do) and I thought school was boring so I skipped it all. I spend my time hanging out with 'friends', smoking weed and developing a gaming addiction. I can fairly say I was pretty bad at anything, I thought I was useless and in a way I was.. I couldn't even properly bake an egg..
This is how I have spended (or wasted) much of my youth.

If I would head out in the wilderness with a mindset like the above I would not even stand a chance. You can have all the knowledge in the world and head out into the bush with the most expensive gear but if you want to live like a hunter-gatherer you need to have the proper mindset or you'll die.

I have to wait 2 more months untill I can live like a hunter-gatherer but I noticed that after 2 years of learning all these skills I am beginning to think like one...
If my wife comes home and she bought flowers the first thing that goes threu my mind is "Is it edible?", If I am watching Nat. Geo Wild and they show an animal I wonder what they taste like. Sometimes I picture myself different scenarios and ask myself how to survive them. If I see a particular type of grass I wonder if I could turn it into starch or flour. I am still using my computer on a daily basis but not to feed some gaming addiction but to learn about wild edibles and to feed my brain with other, usefull info.

I already told you that when it comes to gear and survival knowledge I feel ready to go, but having the right mindset/attitude is the most important thing I should bring along.