I was raised in the city. I remember the first time in my life I ever saw a live chicken (besides the market) I was about 6 or 7. When my mother tells me the kind of things her grandfather taught her about life in the countryside, in the mountains, it seems like imagining a film running before of my eyes. I remember reading an interview with a Romanian monk who was working at the Canal (one of Ceausescu’s work camps for political detainees) and he was saying that if modern-day people would have such an experience, they wouldn’t last more than one day. And he resisted there for years!
I often fell ashamed of myself for not having learned a lot of basic stuff about living in the wild. I remember when I was participating in a camp organized by one of my dearest mentors, prof. eng. Radu Budei (one of Romania’s greatest inventors alive) and he organized a contest of orientation in the woods, with landmarks. Boy, was that fun and instructive! It’s not something that any person needs to do in the eventuality there’s gonna be the need of running into the wilderness. It’s just about basic skills that you never know when you’re going to need. Let me give you an example. The Danube Delta. Aaah, the Danube Delta! A wonderful place to visit. But if an accident happens to you, or if you get really lost and it’s dark, don’t expect any help to come really soon. So learning the basics about how to manage yourself and your resources is something that any person needs to do – especially if one likes, as I do (and have practiced a few times), walking on fire, hitchhiking during the night in the rain across Europe, or going on really high mountain peaks surrounded by sharp edges (such as the Alps at the border between France and Italy).
So one thing I have recently discovered and I want to also recommend to you is the TV series Born Survivor / Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls [en, wiki].I really invite you to read about him, the guy is a legend and this show got 1.2 billion people watching it all over the world. Can you imagine it? This is absolutely awesome!
I really wanna recommend the series to all who want to develop their knowledge about what to do and what to avoid in such situations. And, to those in Romania, you can even buy for a great price, some of the best and most interesting episodes on DVD, the ones filmed in Panama, the Apuseni Mountains and Siberia. You can buy these from www.altex.ro, with no acquisition risk from your part, because they have the warranty service of 2 times the difference (as a value voucher) if you find the product in another part, cheaper.
What are your favorite resources for learning about life in the wilderness?