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Thread: The magic that adventure works on people

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    Post The magic that adventure works on people

    I’ve just gone through the thread “Real MEN vs. Modern WIMP men or where did the adventure spirit go”. It’s pretty thought-provoking.

    Although the thread specifically addresses men, it should apply to women too. Life was physically more demanding back then (before the 1930s) and people had no choice but to do what they had to. There wasn’t an option. Some were more adventurous and responded to the call of the wild, but most were satisfied to live life as comfortably as possible. The adventurers took the best gear available to them, then headed off into the wild. (Although if the adventurer was inexperienced, or if the expedition was to be a major one, I’m sure there would have been lots of preparation. Just think of mountaineers and Antarctic explorers.)

    People look at heroic men of the past and feel that they couldn’t compare. Too many people have this attitude, and it’s the attitude that prevents them from being incredible themselves. Determination; the refusal to quit, is what makes people incredible.

    Since those days, life and its needs have changed; technology developed and a smothering “keep everyone safe in a padded bubble” attitude developed. Comfort was what most people looked for, and were encouraged into.

    These changes have eroded the desire for adventure in most people, but that urge, that spirit, is still there; undefined in many people. Modern life makes us feel like we’re not as capable as we really are; it masks our underlying power. We are physical beings, and as such need physical challenges to grow. People who feel this undefined void look to fill it in other ways: many take up extreme sports, but too many look for answers in negative ways.

    To the people here on the forums, that urge is strongly defined. We know it’s what we want. Adventure. The need to be part of the physical world, away from the superficial veneer of society and its spirit-robbing technology. I’ve got nothing against technology. In fact, I quite like it. But I’ve experienced the wild and can see that technology can distract us from reality and dissociate us from our physical, animal nature. I’m sure many of you can too. To people that have grown accustomed to technology but haven’t immersed themselves in the wild, its use will make them dependent on it; blind to its fallibility and susceptibility to failure.

    Adventure’s got nothing to do with the latest and greatest gear. But as with all gear, it should only extend our capabilities, not replace them. It’s the experience, not the stuff we carry, that should satiate our desire to be part of the wild. I love adventure movies and photos of adventurers with all sorts of gear because it reignites the spark… the call to adventure. I’m sure it does in others too, particularly the inexperienced. Unfortunately many think that the gear is what makes them able to take on an adventure. This thinking should be (and is) discouraged by most of the people here. Knowledge and experience developed over time is what counts. Without them, it would be foolish to go into the wild with zero fear in your gut.

    The Survival Forums are a great place to pass on any knowledge and the adventure spirit to the inexperienced; to mentor people into becoming real men and real women through theory and practice. Collectively we have the ability to make people (and therefore the world) a better place. There are wise elders and idealistic youngsters. There is passion and energy. I particularly like klkak’s thought on the matter:
    "Every man and woman of us who have wisdom should without hesitation share it with those who seek it. In doing so we help a few who in return may help a few more."

    We should instil the adventure spirit in others because it creates well-rounded men and women. It unlocks and develops these secret powers you may not know you even had:
    • Respect for the wild
    • Connection with our animal nature
    • Self-reliance
    • Inner strength
    • Physical toughness and fitness
    • Determination
    • Mental development through planning and problem solving
    • Adaptability
    • Resilience to adversity
    • Patience
    • Confidence
    • The realization that our limits are greater than we believe
    • A deeper understanding of the interrelatedness of things
    • An appreciation and wonder of the natural world

    What secret power has adventure unlocked in you? How has the wilderness improved you?
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    It's a good thought. I don't happen to share it. That doesn't make your opinion wrong. Mine's just different. I don't think that real men and women have to carve a niche in the wilderness. Real men and women shoulder their responsibility, raise their kids, teach them right from wrong, build on what our fore fathers built. Real men and women do the right thing for the right reason without seeking praise or reward. Simply for the sake of doing the right thing. If they happen to enjoy the outdoors then more power to them. If not, then I'll accept their advances in science, medicine, food safety and all the other things that help advance our specie. Some would say the ability to tame the inner animal is the truest sign of civility. I say, to each his own and I won't bother to judge them since I have enough trouble keeping my own nose clean. But a good post never-the-less.

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    I agree with you, even if Rick doesn't. This last year, on the last episode of Alone, Alan said that in the past young men had to do a test to prove they were men. That test served a purpose for the young men. There is no test now days. And, you can see the results, with young men feeling lost. We see it on these forums with the ROTTWs guys. The wilderness has always been a proving ground. That doesn't mean that it is the only proving ground. When I was a teenager, I was in scouts and was fortunate to go on several backpacking adventures, along with rappelling and other things. When I turned 19, I spent 2 years in Poland doing service away from my family, and then I came home and joined the military. Although I still like an adventure into the woods, I don't have this big itch to scratch, like I did when I was young. Now, I teach young men and try to give them challenges to overcome. Young men need to be challenged..... they need to prove themselves. Not to get too political, but I think some of the mentally unstable youth that we have seen resort to mass shooting/eventual suicide is a result of not providing them with the grounding experience of a rite of passage.

    As for young women.... I don't know enough about that. But, it does seem that childbirth seems to be the fulfillment they crave. Don't quote me on that.
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    I'm in the "To each his own" thought process.

    Success is a self fulfilling goal......You decide what direction you want to go, and strive to achieve your goals....if you do it is your success.
    That doesn't mean your goals are better or worse than mine....and vise versa.....Just means we are different and follow our own path.

    For some, that being able to handle your self alone for a long period of time in the wilds....for some that is shoot par on a difficult golf course.

    Good thoughts on your post, but remember your audience here leans to the wilderness adventure side........Most likely the goals would be different in a golf forum.
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    I noticed that whole comfort bubble this year. When the leaves started changing everyone around me wanted to see it from the comfort of a car or home. My family loaded up, wife carrying the 6 month old in the carrier and we hiked over the hills to see the sights everyone else was missing. My kids are 6, 3 and 6 months and have seen things most adults only dream about seeing, and I am very proud to have instilled the wonder lust in them. Now it is teaching them to be a good outdoors man and protecting what they love.

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    If one only looks at the people that decided to go into the wilderness, back in the day, and the ones that go there now, the entire philosophy might be valid.

    Fact is that the ones that ROTTW back in the day were a miniscule fraction of the population and were considered just as crazy then as they are now. The young men that were recruited for the great adventure of the Pony Express were captioned with the phrase, "orphans preferred". And half the trappers that survived their first year in the wilderness went home immediately after being paid. The majority of the population waited for the Indians to be cleared out, and most of the big game to be shot out, before they ever moved near what looked like a wilderness.

    And most of those adventurers never fit back into society when they were forced by age, infirmity or the overwhelming growth of civilization, to reenter normal society except in rare instances where the longhunter or fur trapper entered the wilderness specifically to make enough money to finance a farm. When they returned to the farm they put their woods personality aside with a purposeful deliberation.

    For most men, and women, the hardships of life on a subsistence farm was as much adventure as they could stand, and the majority of them were subsistence farms right up until agribusinesses took them over in the 1950s.

    We escape the bubble by going on a hike in the woods or a camping trip to a preserved area. My grandparents "escaped the bubble" by going hunting on the same land they farmed or having a picnic at church on Sunday. Our grandchildren might find themselves escaping the bubble in a virtual reality center. It is all related to what we find our individual level of escape.
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    HUNTER 63 - " ... For some, that being able to handle your self alone for a long period of time in the wilds....for some that is shoot par on a difficult golf course. ... "
    And for others being able to successfully manage a 20 billion $$$ hedge fund is quite an "adventure."

    After all, Wall Street can be rather venturesome and exciting at times, so I am told.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seniorman View Post
    And for others being able to successfully manage a 20 billion $$$ hedge fund is quite an "adventure."

    After all, Wall Street can be rather venturesome and exciting at times, so I am told.

    S.M.
    Especially if you get caught with your hand in some one else's pocket......LOL....But yeah that's was my point.
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    If it came down to the measure of a man, I don't think the hedge fund guy would fair to well.

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    Depends on how you measure him and your definition of a man wouldn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Depends on how you measure him and your definition of a man wouldn't it?
    Got to agree with you Rick.

    I think we are getting our definition of "manhood" wrapped around an outdoor skill set.

    You look at Nesmook, and Kephart from the early days of outdoor expertise. Both men abandoned their families and responsibilities to run off to the woods. Kephart died trying to knock down a tree with his model T while drunk. Their books are still selling thousands of copies each year thought they were less than perfect as "men".

    More recently we have well skilled "experts" being fired for padding their resumes, others under restraining orders for death threats and being exposed as thieves and worse. Their TV shows are still watched by millions even though they might be short on morals or walk around barefoot when a sensible person would put on shoes.

    A "skill set" of outdoor capabilities is not necessarily the mark of a man and it has actually waned in value since the first Neolithic husband planted a crop in the ground and decide his family would be better off living in one spot instead of chasing woolly mammoths and digging for grubs.

    And in almost every case of our own ROTTW episodes on the form we find that the intended runner is attempting to shirk some form of responsibility rather than face up to their requirements in life and "suck it up and be a man".

    Lots of us have parents that hated the outdoors, did not shoot or hunt, were too impatient to fish and never slept a night under a tent. They still got up each morning, went to work, put food on the table, taught a social skill set called right and wrong, cared for the family before they took care of their own needs and died happy,surrounded by happy children and grandchildren.

    And all of it was accomplished without ever making friction fire a single time.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 12-20-2015 at 12:57 PM.
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    Couldn't have said it better myself.........
    Rep sent.
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    It's hard to think a person's outdoor skills would anything to do with it. Now if a hedge fund guy had their hands in my pockets..........

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    Y'know, I'm an outdoorsy type. My dad, meanwhile, while he enjoys a walk in the woods on a sunny afternoon, can't abide camping, I don't know that he's ever fished voluntarily, and canoeing with him is an exercise in keeping him from paddling in to rocks, shorelines, and other canoes. But he still taught me carpentry, how to cook, how to do basic repairs around the house...heck, it was my mother who taught me how to sew, but a couple of years before hand, seeing Dad mending one of his shirts led to him teaching me that sewing wasn't only for women, and everybody should be able to fix their own clothing.

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    I agree mostly, but I think the desire for adventures has not been stamped out out so much as satisfied in other ways: sports, video games, and movies. You can have adventure without leaving your couch.

    But let us also not forget the runnaway teens and adults, the college students that hitch hike and sleep under over passes on summer break, and the graffiti artists that do the same thing, veterans of past conflicts, or your average Joe who is down on his luck. They might be standing next to you, dressed like you by day, but at night, they change into olive drab and slide into the thick brush beside the road where, hidden, is an olive drab tent. They're smart. No one knows they exist BECAUSE they're smart. It's not adventure like your all thinking. There's no grand battles, no big discoveries, just survival against the odds. And by odds, I mean mostly clueless spoiled people who would steal a hikers bicycle wheels, leaving the frame chained to the tree, and "do-gooders" trying to "help". The adventurers are here, it's just that no one knows what they look like. They aren't wearing realtree cammo, and driving a cammo painted truck with a jacket up suspension, mud tires, and engine snorkel. Instead, they walk, bike, bus. They wear "Inventory man" cammo, or "cashier" cammo, or, they about people all together. Some even prefer the woods. I am one of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    It's a good thought. I don't happen to share it. That doesn't make your opinion wrong. Mine's just different. I don't think that real men and women have to carve a niche in the wilderness. Real men and women shoulder their responsibility, raise their kids, teach them right from wrong, build on what our fore fathers built. Real men and women do the right thing for the right reason without seeking praise or reward. Simply for the sake of doing the right thing. If they happen to enjoy the outdoors then more power to them. If not, then I'll accept their advances in science, medicine, food safety and all the other things that help advance our specie. Some would say the ability to tame the inner animal is the truest sign of civility. I say, to each his own and I won't bother to judge them since I have enough trouble keeping my own nose clean. But a good post never-the-less.
    I waffled on a bit but I still can't get my message out clearly. I really have to get the hang of this communication business!

    Don't worry Rick, I don't have blinkers on. I'm not saying that people HAVE to carve out a niche in the wilderness, just that immersing themselves in it, even just once in a while, will bring out the better qualities in them. And I completely agree with you saying that real men and women are people with integrity and honor, and they’re like that simply because it's the right thing to do.

    There are many ways to improve ourselves and I'd encourage them all. In fact I completed a physics degree when I finished school (back in the dark ages). Don't remember much now though. Now my efforts lie in helping people and the world improve. That's why I want to get different people's views on things. I’m only covering improvement through being in the wilderness because that’s what these forums are about, and because it develops so many aspects of ourselves simultaneously.

    However, I do think that since we're biological organisms, that we DO have an animal part to us. We need to develop that part of ourselves but not let it dominate us. I have no respect for "people" (and I use the term loosely) who allow their animal part dominate their actions. I want to make it super clear that I don’t mean that people should indulge their animal selves without thought. There are many aspects of animals that we shouldn’t copy. By developing our physical selves I mean that we should use our bodies to our best ability; “listen” to them to make sure we’re treating them as well as our physical condition allows; be in tune with our environment (including cities). Some would say that this would be getting in touch with our instincts.

    Apart from your thoughts on these points, I’d really like to find out what positive qualities you think are brought out when people hike, camp or live in the bush.

    As for keeping your nose clean… I’d be happy to send you a box of tissues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by finallyME View Post
    I agree with you, even if Rick doesn't. This last year, on the last episode of Alone, Alan said that in the past young men had to do a test to prove they were men. That test served a purpose for the young men. There is no test now days. And, you can see the results, with young men feeling lost. We see it on these forums with the ROTTWs guys. The wilderness has always been a proving ground. That doesn't mean that it is the only proving ground. When I was a teenager, I was in scouts and was fortunate to go on several backpacking adventures, along with rappelling and other things. When I turned 19, I spent 2 years in Poland doing service away from my family, and then I came home and joined the military. Although I still like an adventure into the woods, I don't have this big itch to scratch, like I did when I was young. Now, I teach young men and try to give them challenges to overcome. Young men need to be challenged..... they need to prove themselves. Not to get too political, but I think some of the mentally unstable youth that we have seen resort to mass shooting/eventual suicide is a result of not providing them with the grounding experience of a rite of passage.

    As for young women.... I don't know enough about that. But, it does seem that childbirth seems to be the fulfillment they crave. Don't quote me on that.
    finallyME, although the reasons for dissatisfaction and a feeling of something missing are many/varied, it looks like Rick, you and I all agree that there are more than one proving ground. Whichever proving ground we choose, I think the disconnect comes down to an imbalance of our inner selves: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. By “spiritual” I mean the attitude with which we approach life, not religious or new-age-hippie stuff. It’s what people would define us as: lively, sullen, ambitious, generous… whatever.

    When we focus on one or two selves more than the others, an imbalance occurs. Our lives often forces us to do this though. The mental self is often given priority because of our jobs or situation we’re in. Our emotional self has to be held in check too often to conform to society; not that this is a bad thing because we need this control to keep societies intact. Our physical self dwindles because many of us have sedentary jobs, and too many of us avoid or aren’t able to exercise. Our spiritual selves are left trying to adjust the other selves, but that doesn’t work very well because it’s partially formed by the other three selves. Result… imbalance.

    A rite of passage that challenges all the selves presents people with an opportunity to balance all four of their selves. An ongoing activity would do this more effectively though. If we consider the rite of passage to be the beginning of a more fulfilling, more balanced way of life, then it would go a long way toward more well-rounded people.

    Women today have a wider range of choices. They’re not restricted to the domestic stereotypes of yesteryear. Many have chosen not to have families, although the ones I know that chose this felt an almost overwhelming urge to have kids as they approached thirty. Almost. I acknowledge that the urge is there. I guess it’s part of our biological makeup, but it’s not insurmountable.

    What exactly to you teach young men? I’m surprised that women haven’t asked you to teach them too. I’d be interested to know the changes you see in the young men you teach. You know, a before-and-after sort of description. I’d also like to know what positive qualities you think are brought out when people hike, camp or live in the bush.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    I'm in the "To each his own" thought process.

    Success is a self fulfilling goal......You decide what direction you want to go, and strive to achieve your goals....if you do it is your success.
    That doesn't mean your goals are better or worse than mine....and vise versa.....Just means we are different and follow our own path.

    For some, that being able to handle your self alone for a long period of time in the wilds....for some that is shoot par on a difficult golf course.

    Good thoughts on your post, but remember your audience here leans to the wilderness adventure side........Most likely the goals would be different in a golf forum.
    Couldn’t agree more, hunter. What each person strives toward is very unique. I don’t think that being the ultimate wilderness survivalist is a measure of success unless that is your goal. I do believe that experiencing the wild and at least camping for a few days at a time brings out good qualities in people - if they approach it positively.
    I do agree that there are various ways to improve ourselves. I just think that immersing ourselves in the wild addresses a lot of ways simultaneously (I like to be as efficient as possible ). It engages our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves. As I said in the post to finallyME, by “spiritual” I mean the attitude with which we approach life, not religious or new-age-hippie stuff. It’s what people would define us as: lively, sullen, ambitious, generous… whatever.

    Golf is a particularly good option. Although I’ve only played once, I can see that it improves a lot of qualities in people. It’s a challenge. It engages your mental, physical and emotional selves. You need to focus your mind and get it in sync with your body. Emotionally… well think of the swearing you stop yourself from doing when you miss that crucial putt! It can be fun (if it’s your thang). There are probably more benefits, but since I don’t play, I won’t try to list them here.

    I’d like to know what qualities in people you think that wilderness activities improve. Or if you disagree with any of the ones I listed in my first post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hempie View Post
    I noticed that whole comfort bubble this year. When the leaves started changing everyone around me wanted to see it from the comfort of a car or home. My family loaded up, wife carrying the 6 month old in the carrier and we hiked over the hills to see the sights everyone else was missing. My kids are 6, 3 and 6 months and have seen things most adults only dream about seeing, and I am very proud to have instilled the wonder lust in them. Now it is teaching them to be a good outdoors man and protecting what they love.
    Yeah, it’s a bit sad, hempie, but at least they’re getting out there. It may be lame to people that have done a lot more, but who knows? Seeing the wonders of nature from a car might just be the start of more exploration for some of them: the spark that ignites the desire. I came from a family of non-campers/hikers from a culture of non-campers/hikers, so it’s not an impossibility. We can just try to nurture the desire in others.

    It’s not everyone’s desire to improve themselves, let alone doing it by going into the wild. They’d say, “Heaven forbid! Perish the thought!” or more eloquently… “FLICK OFF!”

    Self-improvement requires commitment and effort, and that’s something that many people just aren’t willing to do. So, hat tip to you, for teaching your kids! I tried teaching my daughter, but she’s just not interested anymore. She used to be when she was younger, but not since she became a teenager. Maybe one day, it might come back.

    What good traits do you think it instills in people?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    If one only looks at the people that decided to go into the wilderness, back in the day, and the ones that go there now, the entire philosophy might be valid.

    Fact is that the ones that ROTTW back in the day were a miniscule fraction of the population and were considered just as crazy then as they are now. The young men that were recruited for the great adventure of the Pony Express were captioned with the phrase, "orphans preferred". And half the trappers that survived their first year in the wilderness went home immediately after being paid. The majority of the population waited for the Indians to be cleared out, and most of the big game to be shot out, before they ever moved near what looked like a wilderness.

    And most of those adventurers never fit back into society when they were forced by age, infirmity or the overwhelming growth of civilization, to reenter normal society except in rare instances where the longhunter or fur trapper entered the wilderness specifically to make enough money to finance a farm. When they returned to the farm they put their woods personality aside with a purposeful deliberation.

    For most men, and women, the hardships of life on a subsistence farm was as much adventure as they could stand, and the majority of them were subsistence farms right up until agribusinesses took them over in the 1950s.

    We escape the bubble by going on a hike in the woods or a camping trip to a preserved area. My grandparents "escaped the bubble" by going hunting on the same land they farmed or having a picnic at church on Sunday. Our grandchildren might find themselves escaping the bubble in a virtual reality center. It is all related to what we find our individual level of escape.
    There’s something to be said for comfort and safety. I’d jump at the chance to indulge in a stay at a luxurious 5-star resort. I’m looking at the benefits that a wilderness experience gives people – a way to improve themselves. I’m not advocating that they live like feral people for the rest of their lives.

    I’m not getting your point, kyratshooter. Do you think that escaping the bubble is just a form of escapism? A way to get out of the dreary life that people live? Don’t you see it improving people in any way?
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