Trying to explain to people about my latest adventures is fraught with danger, if you’re as childish as I am.
Friend: So what have you been up to lately?
Me: Ooh, I’ve been getting really into bushcraft!
Now I’m worried that my friend thinks I’m over-sharing about a new-found interest in elaborate personal topiary so try to show them something on my phone to explain, except my recent searches include paracord, quick-release knots, natural cordage and something called cramp balls. Not an over-sharer of personal grooming habits then: no, now my friend thinks I’m into some seriously weird stuff and is at this stage thinking of how to make their excuses and back away quietly from someone who’s either some sort of survivalist or possibly a serial killer. At least, that’s how it plays in my head. Usually this is the point at which people start teasing me. Call me ‘Bear’ at your own risk.
I wince every time I have to say it: it’s not really a good description of what I’m into. I take elements of that, looking at simple or traditional ways to do something, but then I add to it. I’ll happily make a shelter out of natural materials if I need to, but I’m not averse to adding something modern if I see a place for it. It’s really just me enjoying pratting about outdoors and combining interests like cooking and sitting in front of a log fire. If I can cook over a log fire under the stars, even better.
In reality, I’m likely to be battling rain, mud and probably some wind as well, given that a lot of the camping sites I like are fairly exposed and I live in the UK. I’m all for dealing with emergencies but I’d rather be prepared, so that means understanding more about the environment in which I’m spending all this time. Having an idea of how to rig up shelter/wind-breaks is a necessity for any sort of outdoor cooking and knowing how to set it all up so it actually works is the sort of thing I’m working on now. It’s also useful to know stuff like how to light a fire when you’re out of gas or it’s very windy because the latter will happen all the time.
Give me six months and I may actually be in with a chance against the zombies, when the time comes. In the meantime, I’m going to practise saying “bushcraft” without doing a little snigger…