Friday, November 30, 2012

On the risk of death

Let's be honest here; most people would consider me a real idiot for leaving everything behind and go into the deep,
dark forests for a long period of time. One of the most important reasons why they would think it would be a bad
idea is because of the risk factor.. I'm taking a big gamble here.
However.. with all the accidents, violence and unnatural disasters only a fool would consider the concrete jungle to be a safehaven for mankind.

Thruth is we are never safe and the lights in our eyes can die out any second of the day no
matter where we are. Everytime I get into a car I take a risk. If we do not want to take such risks the we should better lock ourselves up in concrete bunkers far away from any potential danger.. it does damage the quality of our lives however. ;)
But yes, I have thought about the risks.. the awfull things that might happen.. I will do anything I can to prevent such scenarios from happening but I do accept the fact that I might end up dead.
Then why do I do it? Because when i'm an old fart i do not wish to look back at my life only to realise that I have accomplished nothing and that I never realy lived.
Sure alot of things might happen.. I might get attacked by a bear, fall of a cliff, get a bacterial infection and the list goes on but then what will you have me do? Staying here in a place where I don't belong? I have to face the fact that I am an outcast and I sometimes spend weeks without going outside. If it is time to go then it's time to go and if I need to take these risks in order to live a life that is worth living the i'll embrace them with open arms.

What does your survival kit looks like?

Buying and making a survival kit is a very important and very fun part of bushcraft, survival and even prepping.
Some people like to buy survivalkits.. i'm not one of them.. they are always stuffed with items we do not realy need. also if I would head into the desert I want different items then when I go into the tundra

The above picture is just your average commercial survival kit.. let's have a look inside..

  1. Apparently this is supposed to be the poucht that contains all the items, kinda hard to see on this photo
  2. A plastic bag designed purely to hold water.. nothing wrong with that.
  3. A musquito headnet.. since there are multiple ways to keep clear of musquitos (including making a simple smokey fire) this is quite pointless
  4. Emergency poncho.. A poncho is very usefull for keeping yourself dry in the rain and you can use it to keep the inside of your shelter waterproof. However, military ponchos are made to keep you dry and to make a tent out of it! better go for that.
  5. Emergency space blanket.. Great item to stay warm in cold climates and it reflects in the sun so it's easier to find you. unless you don't want to be found like me. other then that.. useful item!
  6. Emergency sun glasses. could be usefull to prevent snowblindness. but take a flat piece of wood or bone, make two slids and you have something against snowblindness. If the Inuit can do it so can you
  7. Stailess steel cup for boiling water or food.. Usefull item
  8. SAS Survival book.. Crap item.. If you need a book to teach you skills you're doing something wrong. If you buy such a book read it and read it again so you memorize the most important skills. Watching survival videos (see how it's done) or taking a survival class are also more usefull then a book. Also this is a SAS Survival book.. The SAS is a military organisation meaning that this book is filled with military know-how useless for the common man.
  9. According to the website this box has various items for fishing, sewing and it's a first aid kit.. Good job!
  10. A Multitool.. rather this item is usefull or not depends on what's inside.. which I don't know
  11. 150 yards of fishing line.. great for fishing, trapping, sewing.. you name it
  12. Apperently these odd looking things are soft worm baits for fishing. usefull for bigger fish. despite the fact that I would take a different, smaller design.
  13. Soft brass snare wire.. Why.. you already have good strong fishing line
  14. Emergency whistle.. just learn to make them in the wild. which has been done before.. less items is good.
  15. More thread.. Good!
  16. Folding utility knife. Sure, the more knives the better
  17. Cheap lighter.. Just one? realy?..
  18. Measuring tape.. Why?
  19. 2 rolls of mini Duct tape. Very important item with many uses.. tool making, shelter building, bandage..
  20. Compass and mirror combi. Great item despite that I would rather go for button compasses.
  21. Fresnell lens for fire starting.. Not my way of starting fires but ok
  22. Firesteel. Best item in the kit..
  23. Water tablets for cleaning water, usefull but only with dirty, smelly water. If that's not the case: Boil it!
  24. Bobbers.. A joke right? Nature provides you with good working bobbers, they're called sticks! If you do prefere something more fancy make it on the spot, I have done that before.
So what does my survival kit contain? Well, I don't have one haha.  And with good reason. I'm not preparing for a quick wilderness trip for a week. I'm planning to stay for years, maybe until the end of my days so I would need an altoids tin (or 2) for fire making material alone. So having a small, portable survival kit is pointless in my situation.

Diary 30 nov

Have been watching many videos about bushcraft and primitive skills today, it has become somewhat of a daily ritual. No SAS handbook for me.. It's much better to store such info into my brain.

Yesterday I took a long, hard look at my backpack.. The ALICE pack 100 ltr with metal frame..  I should never have bought it because it would be damn uncomfortable cycling for miles with that thing on my back. I need to downsize my bag and the stuff I put in it. So guess what I've been doing lately.. I took an old sporting bag that I had laying around and I have been converting it with parts of my ALICE pack. It's you typical sporting bag, rectangular with one shoulder strap with a camo pattern and at the moment it slowly it's turning into a outdoors backpack more ideal for cycling.
When it's done it might look like shyte but as long as it's functional i'm happy.. i'm also getting real good at this sewing business too!

How do I feel? Well things have not been doing so great lately. I was pretty sick yesterday and I have been suffering from a dental infection since about a week. Such infections have become quite normal lately and it somehow seems to run in the family. My father for example had his first set of false teeth since he was about my age! damn you calcium!
I should be going to a dentist, I know, I just don't thrust the little bastards, they all want my money  :)
Not that I fear the dentist, "No pain no gain" is my motto.

Awell.. such things happen, the agony of life.. but there will be better days.
Goodbye for now

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

14 reasons why I leave society

If anyone asks my why I am leaving modern society I often do not know what to say. So yesterday I made a list of reasons why I want leave and here it is.. enjoy!

1- Because I don't (want to) need money (bits of copper and paper.. that's all it realy is)
2- Because I only want to own that what I need to survive (which isn't alot)
3- Because only the forests make me feel free (and I was born free according to Mel Gibson)
4- Because I'm a natural born loner
5- Because the need of adventure (away with boredom and daily sloth)
6- Because I want to live like my ancestors did (uhmm.. that'll be the Saxons)
7- Because wild food tastes better (can't get fresher then that)
8- Because I need to do something with my life (something few have done before)
9- Because I need to put all the skills i've learned into practice
10- Because I want to see more of the world (wanderlust)
11- Because TV sucks nowadays (different channel, same shit)
12-Because I don't have a carreer (and more important: don't want one)
13- Because of all the rules in a society  (if I want to piss against that tree I'll do so).
14- Because I was born to hunt which is illegal over here (again those damn rules)
All these reasons realy overshadow the reasons why I would stay

Diary 28 nov

So yesterday I got the new pants I ordered. All new camo pants in a German flecktarn pattern so it matches with the flecktarn parka. when it comes to clothing I feel like i'm ready to go.
So I was reading my last Diary entry and it is almost funny to see how frustrated I can become sometimes and it also seems a bit unfair towards my family in law.. sure we have issues but I should'nt pretend like it's all their fold and there must be both sides of the story. Still it feels like a cold war between me and them and the day there will be peace is the day I leave it all behind.
Let's discuss something else..
I realise that of all the wilderness skills i have learned so far there is still one skill, an important skill, that I haven't realy been learning yet.. Foraging..  Edible Berries, Nuts, Roots, Fruits.. So much to learn yet so little time left. But this is what I will have to focus on the next couple of weeks. I learn most of my skills with the help of good old Youtube because you see techniques being done and it becomes easier to memorize. instead of buying books I try to force all the skills into my head which is alot better. However memorizing thousands of edible plants is a little hard so I will keep a notepad writing it all down.
Also I still haven't managed to start a fire with a bow drill, hand drill or fireplow which is something I need to learn. No fire equals death and it is somewhat frustrating. I will take with me many lighters, matches and a firesteel but eventualy I will have to make a fire out of whatever nature has to offer.
Better practice some more soon.

A quest for entertainment

This happens so often.. You are on a trip in the forests. You have already build your shelter, you have already eaten and not hungry, plenty to drink, you have a nice campfire going but it is not yet getting dark and you're not tired yet. All your basic survival needs are fullfilled..

Now what?

Well now it's time for entertainment, that's what. Didn't thought about that did you when you were packing your bag. That's because they don't teach you the importance of entertainment at survival class but it is important because there will be times when you're at your campsite having nothing to do.

It will be a long journey for me and I have to think about how I keep myself entertaint, or how to fight boredom which is the same thing. in my backpack I will be packing 2 books.. The Lord of the rings and a book about Greek mythology.. both great books but I never got to fully read them. Of course just these two books are not enough and I will have to find more ways to pass the time.

I have been thinking about buying an Irish tin whistle but now I realise that I should be packing as less as possible and I better make such things on the spot later on. Flutes and whistles can be made out of bone, wood or clay and I have tried to make them out of commercial clay and chicken bones but failed. Still I think it's a matter of trial and error. A flute is in my opinion the easiest instrument to make in the wild

Target Practice
When it comes to ancient history I find myself obsessed with ancient weaponry and warfare so considering target practice as a form of keeping myself entertaint came naturaly.
I have made several slings in the last couple of years and I never realy had the time to practice with them and this is my chance. The same goes for selfmade bows and javelins. By changing the distance towards the target it will become harder to hit a target. This way I fight boredom and get better at my hunting skills.

Fishing is a great way to spend the time in the wild. it also brings food on the table and it forces you to relax a little. At the moment I already fish alot and I've caught plenty of minnow and perch so I have at least some experience before I head out.

I will also be packing a deck of normal cards, unfortunately there are not alot of card games you can play by yourself and if you lose a card the whole deck becomes useless and can be thrown into the fire. So when it comes to actual games i'm still looking for a solution.

The Arts
I don't know how about you but i'm the creative type of guy. I love to draw and to write and that is simply how i'll spend alot of my time. Woodcarving and sculpting are also things I want to try.

A quest for shelter

Today I want to talk about my plan to head out in the wild for a longterm trip again.
Everyone who knows a thing or 2 about bushcraft and wilderness survival knows that building a shelter is top priority.  As I said before I will get on my bicycle, head east and stay once I find an ideal location. This means biking through Holland and Germany. I say this because I think that Poland might have great forests where I could take a long break but if not then I'll head further. Along this route I will have to build simple shelters to stay overnight. Each time the sun goes down I will get my bike of the road, into the bushes, build a shelter to sleep in and continue my journey the next day

Bare in mind that this is Illegal in Holland and Germany since this is considered wild camping (which is forbidden over here). However the more I head east the more this is tolerated. Also I will be packing alot of food that is ready to eat so i'll probably won't be starting any campfires in these countrys and on top of that I will try to stay invisible most of the trip.

Shortterm Shelter

All the shelters that I will build along my route will probably be A-frame debris shelters.
They are easy to build, quick to build and great for an overnight stay for 1 person.
Simply find a few branches, build the frame and cover it with leaves to make it waterproof or lay a poncho on top of it.  Or even better.. build the frame, poncho over the frame, debris over poncho for invisibility (wild camping not aloud remember). I'm planning building this type of shelter all the way untill I reach the polish border.

Longterm Shelter

Once I have reached my ideal-longterm-stay-location (more about what I consider an ideal location later) it will be time to build myself a longterm shelter and now it becomes a whole different ballgame. This is not just a shelter I will sleep in for a night but for years. It also becomes a place for cooking, a place to stay warm during winter and a place to just relax. What my longterm shelter will look like i do not yet know but it will have to be bigger and more solid then the debris shelter. So i'm thinking about experimenting with clay. Clay is easy to find, easy to work with and I have some experience making things out of it so making clay bricks might be a good idea.

I once heard that people made bricks by mixing clay with straw so I can give it a try. The above picture shows a house under construction with the walls made of adobe bricks.
These bricks are made with mixing Sand, Clay, Water and Straw. It's a populair building material especialy in the Arabic world and I will keep this idea in the back of my head once I get there.

There are many websites about bushcraft and survival that teach you how to build a shelter and there are many, many types of shelters they'll teach you to build but all these shelters are for people who try to survive in the wild for a week, a month in some cases. So building this might be the hardest part of my entire trip.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Glass knapping

Among all the rubbish on youtube there are some videos that can teach you alot. Some time ago I was walking the country side and I found a path made of small stones, rocks and gravel. some of the stones were shining in the sun like glass and I realised that those stones might be flint and I always wanted to try some flintknapping. dispite the fact that the stones were rather small I decided to give it a try and I brought kilo's home with me. I tried flintknapping and it didn't work. So I tried to find flintknapping tutorials on youtube to see what I did wrong. Lot of usefull stuff but then I found a video about practicing with glass. so I tried it and I got myself a nice arrowhead.

After trying glassknapping for a while I realised 3 things

1- Glass is not as durable as flint, it breaks more easily
2- Glass is easier to work with then flint
3- Glass is easier to find in nature (bottles, rubbish) then flint.. I know it shouldn't be.

Also some things are better to make out of flint then out of glass. A (hand) axe for example. The more I practice the better I get at it and it is a fun skill to learn aswell

Diary 26 nov

Today it's just a day as usual. today is a boring day just like yesterday and just like tomorrow.. The lack of adventure is hard to face. And i'm amazed that i'm still standing. I am like a ghost.. I wander this life without a purpose and nobody seems to notice me. When I look in the mirror I see a frustrated, angry little old man.. how did it come to this? how did I go from being somewhat of a loner to being alienated by society? Who am I? What have I got myself into? So many people visit my house but they are all friends and family of my girlfriend. They don't like me and I don't like them but they do come into My house, plundering My fridge, eathing My food that was bought with My money and their lack of respect frustrates me. Family-in-law.....blast 'em!

This is my house, yet it isn't.. her family drops by on a daily basis like this is some kind of hotel. and nobody cares what I have to say about it. I am the one who least matters.. a paranoid pushover, that's me.
I should talk to my family-in-law about it and I would if I was'nt so affraid that such a simple discussion might escalate into a real fight. So instead I hold my tongue until I leave.. just a few more months.. I can make it. Away from these simple minded people that I have nothing in common with.
I see it now.. either I leave or there will be blood.. either mine or theirs.. sooner or later.. let's not get it come to that.. happy thoughts

My wilderness living stuff

Here are some pictures of all the stuff i'm hoping to take with me when i'm off living in the wild. Some of the items are simply usefull in order to survive but I also pack items that will help me fight boredom and some items simply have an emotional valeu. There's a lot of stuff that I bought and also stuff that I made myself since i'm the creative type of guy. I also realise that I might not be able to bring all of this stuff with me because I will be travelling by bicycle and i'm not an athlete. I now realise that buying the 100 liter Alice backpack probably was'nt such a great idea if I better travel light.

What a mess! So what do we have here?.. All of the stuff lays on top of a (modern) German military jacket that I bought to keep me warm during the colder seasons, The blue book is about Greek mythology for entertainment. The map seems usefull and an important thing to bring along but it's just a map of Holland and a small part of west Germany which is not that great. there's also a fishing rod, shemach, russian military t-shirt, waterbottle, a sling and smaller stuff.

When it comes to finding food i will rely on fishing alot since I have some experience with fishing.. this picture shows my fishing kit. since this pic was taken I bought alot more fishing gear such as fishing leads, more hooks but laso more fishing rods. this picture also shows my bushcraft knife, a Mora compaignon.

another detailed shot

This picture shows my airgun (don't wanna eat fish all the time) it's a crossman 2240 with a shoulderstock (not on the pic) It shoots .22 (5.5mm) pellets and it's perfect for hunting rabbits and similair small game. it has it's drawbacks.. I find it hard to be accurate without a scope and it's powersource are co2 cartridges, so once all my co2 bulbs are empty I might just as well throw the piece away even if I still have pellets. But I am experienced with airguns and it's small so I might aswell bring it with me.
These pictures are just to give you an idea of the stuff I'll bring with me once I leave home. There are a few very important things that are not on these pictures such as a fleece blanket and food.. During the early stages of my journey I will travel through Holland and Germany where it's illegal to hunt and fish without a license and I want to obey the law as good as I can. but I still have to eat  so I will be packing food that's easy to cook and that will keep me going such as rice, pasta's, cans of tuna and such

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A quick introduction

Hello everyone,
My name is Ralph and I'm a 32 years old guy from a small village in the east of the Netherlands near the German border. I'm a father of 3 daughters and my hobbies are bushcraft, fishing, drawing and being creative in general. I also have a keen interest in ancient history and love to learn primitive living and survival skills.

This blog will be about my plans on leaving modern society and live in the wild.
In May 2013 I will pack my bags, get on my bicycle and head east on a longterm wilderness trip.. how longterm? .. I don't know yet.. I might stay untill the end of my days.

Now why would anyone do that?
There are many reasons why I would live in the wild. Feeling a lack of adventure in these concrete jungles is one of them. Another reason is simply because i'm not a social person. I don't have any friends because I don't need any friends and apart from my father I also don't have any family...
That may sound bad but if you are going to live in the wild it's great.. no one who would miss me and vice versa.

Going from cityboy into hunter-gatherer in 6 months is quite extreme and without planning ahead the wilderness would kill me. planning ahead means learning wilderness skills before I need to use them and also buying (and making) items that I can't get in the wild but that will keep me alive.
I started learning bushcraft skills about 2 years ago when I first wanted to leave society.

What have I learned so far? well it's amazing what you can learn in a few years. I've learned how to build an upside down fire, a A-frame debris shelter, a fish trap from a soda bottle, finding north by using the stars, making clay pottery, making a clay stove, turning nettles into robe or string, making charcloth (and charcoal), making primitive hunting weapons and the list goes on and on.
One of the things i'm learning now is primitive blacksmithing and making fire with a bow drill (which is harder then I thought) and i'm also busy making my own winter gloves and winter hat.

awell.. that's it for now. hope you'll enjoy my blog, don't expect it to become a fancy, nice looking blog since I don't have the time to do that ;)
Greetings Ralph