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Here’s the Wild Idea
As a young boy, Joel Van der Loon grew up in South Africa and Tanzania, and has always
been somewhat of a “wild child.” He and his dad grew up in a remote area of Africa, where he learned from the Massai, then sailed around the world, and lived a life very connected to animals and the untrammeled outdoors.
Find out about the lessons Joel’s learned from the Massai tribe, his cultural shock in moving to the United States, what survival skills you need NOW, and why major TV networks want Joel to show the world his survival skills. Also, hear about his terrifying encounter with a very wild animal and why understanding animals is so rewarding.
The Deep Dive
- 01:55 – Joel’s job as a survival training expert and what the “Bush” means.
- 03:00 – Where Joel’s sexy accent come from.
- 05:25 – Survival skills Joel teaches and that you should know.
- 06:35 – Why Joel does what he does.
- 07:40 – Adventures Joel’s taken with his dad seeking treasures off the coast.
- 10:05 – Joel’s culture shock walking into a McDonald’s.
- 12:35 – Favorite lessons Joel’s learned from the Massai tribe.
- 14:45 – The Massai will live their life with basically nothing. For this, they are often mocked by the local Swahili people.
- 15:45 – Listen to Joel’s terrifying encounter with an animal.
- 21:20 – The four survival skills you need to know now.
- 22:30 – Have we gotten too soft as humans?
- 24:15 – Joel’s big aha moment when it came to starting his own business.
- 26:00 – What Joel’s learned from being a wilderness guide.
- 30:55 – Joel’s recommendations for the most essential items to have in the wild?
- 35:45 – How soon Joel will give his currently unborn child a knife.
- 36:25 – What Joel things a book about talking to birds is the best book.
- 37:45 – Follow your passion.
- 39:55 – Intimidated by doing a survival course? Don’t be!
Gracedbygrit.com — WildIdeas for 20% off.
Surfdiva.com — WildIdeas for a $10 giftcard after the purchase of a lesson.
Bush Mechanics Survival Website
What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World, by Jon Young
Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive, by Les Stroud
Swiss Army multi-tool knife with the saw feature
Read the Transcript:
Welcome wild ideas worth living this is a podcast where we talk to experts who have taken a wild idea and made it a reality from sailing around the world to launching a thriving business for just standing up for what you believe in. While this ideas lead to the most rewarding adventures with your host journalist Shelby Stanger.
Welcome to episode 4. Today's guest is outdoor wilderness and survival expert Joel Vanderlyn. This episode is brought to you by graced by grit the women's fitness company was founded to help empower women cultivate their grit to find their grace I love their name and I love their yoga and running pants. Not only do they make my body look good which is always important but they offer classic styles and flattering fits made from the highest quality materials. They always look good on go to graced by grette dot com and check them out. And when you enter the code wild ideas you'll get 20 percent off your first order. This episode was also brought to you by surfer diva the original all women surf school has been teaching group private all women and coed lessons at their stunning Sandiego location for over 20 years. I've taught surf lessons there for years and seen hundreds of men and women come through. Learn to ride waves and it literally changes their lives. Go to surf diva dot com or give them a call and when you book a lesson in San Diego and mention this show or the code wild ideas you'll get a $10 gift card to use torture next lesson or in their store. Today's guest Joel Vanderlyn of Tanzania talks about wilderness skills. Everyone should have his wild encounters with terrifying animals including Well you'll have to listen and find out why having a deeper connection to the outside in nature is so important.
More today than ever before. So Joel welcome to the show. We're glad to have you. Thank you very much. Glad to be here. Can you just tell us a little bit about what you deal. OK so I am the owner and the instructor of Busch mechanics.
It's a survival school that's based in California but we run survival courses of course here and then in Nicaragua in the jungle and in Tanzania Africa. So we focus on teaching survival skills.
Bushcraft skills primitive skills and and basically do some guiding stuff too.
And I love that you use the word Bush because when I first heard that word in New Zealand and in South Africa I kind of giggled because I'm immature and yeah. So the Bush refers to the wilderness the jungle the Bush refers to the outside. The outside can be a desert. It can be the mountains it can be the woods to us the bush is every encompasses everything and tell me a little bit about where you're from originally because his accent is amazing and I know the ladies love it and the guys love it too. So talk to me about it.
Well I come from a family of gypsies.
So initially my ancestors are Dutch but my Dutch ancestors being the most relevant ones my grandpa and Granny they traveled around the world a lot with their kids of which one is my father. And they ended up in Australia where my dad was born. OK which makes him a. And so he ended up meeting my mother who was so African when they emigrated to South Africa off the radio. So then I was born in South Africa. They then decided to go back to Australia. So we went back to Australia and we lived out of a caravan or trailers. You call it here in the US for a few years until they decided to go back to South Africa which then we pretty much settled down. So we were and I lived in South Africa until I was about 18 years old of which my parents separated when I was eight and my dad then moved up to Tanzania East Africa where he's he's lived for the past a little over 20 years.
But you lived in a pretty rustic neighborhood. Yeah that was right.
It was a big change. I mean I grew up in South Africa in a small farming community along the coast a sugarcane farming community. And my dad then went up to Tanzania East Africa which is quite different to South Africa. Africa is the cosmopolitan or the first world part of of Africa if you will. Tanzania is deepest darkest Africa. So he went up there when it was still very much undeveloped and ended up. We actually found a plot of land as a family and fell in love with it and ended up buying it. But it was completely off the grid. So we had to develop everything from scratch. We literally hiked into it bushwhacked into this property and had to start clearing it out. And it took a considerable amount of years but eventually there was a house constructed we had a well we had solar. We had wind power and it had the combination of a lot of wild animals which still live naturally on that property. And we had the seaside right there. So it was just an amazing amazing experience.
So for those of you listening Joel's a surfer I mean he is a total Southern California looking surfer. But he grew up in the bush of Africa and all sorts of skills maybe we could talk a little bit about some of their survival skills you teach. You just taught us fire building but you also teach people how to live basically in the wilderness or in the bush with nothing but their water bottles.
So I like like my where it really come from is is I really like to come from a place of teaching people to do things in the bush with very little tools. I'm a strong believer in that the less you have. You know you could do really well having very minimal tools or you could do really badly. But if you train to do well with minimal tools anything extra that you have is always going to make life easier. So I teach a series of skills which always focuses on the minimalist type scheme that I have. And so that would encompass things like building primitive shelters. Navigation of course sourcing water and purifying water and building fires with modern and primitive techniques primitive trapping hunting tools you know animal tracking behavior techniques and a bunch more things. But that encompasses what I focus on.
And does this I mean why why do you do what you do. Is it because when you're a little kid you grew up having to use these tools.
Yeah I've just had this like intense passion for adventure and nature and you know it's it's just it's kind of the path took me in this direction and I just fell in love with it immediately and completely related to it instantaneously.
So I draw on all of my experience of which lot is with animals and the African bush. However I've spent you know over 10 years traveling the world and you know being of 40 countries so I can actually pull experience from various types of terrains and climates of which I've done numerous adventures with you know minimal equipment. And so I kind of I kind of put all those pieces together and put together a survival training course which can appeal to people really that are going into most type of environments.
So I want to go back a little bit to you as a kid because it sounds like you had a pretty incredible upbringing in the bush and your dad. Was it an adventure. Yeah. Can you tell about me maybe one or two experiences with your dad that you'll never forget it sort of helped influence what you do today.
You know there's first of all is it started off at a very young age and there's a whole lot of small memories that I have of him taking you out and building tree houses and shelters and you know I was actually operating using knives and making fires at the age of five which to me now seems like it. I think what my parents thinking you know but they kind of gave me that independence and they let me run with it. And I'm so glad for it. But as I got older and actually became more physically capable of doing of pushing limits a little more. We had a lot of fun. And some of the things that do stick out is we actually had heard about an underground cave system on Zanzibar island and this is this was way before Zanzibar was renowned as an international tourist destination. We hiked out with scuba tanks and we found it we had to slow everything down and repel down into this cave. And we actually found an opening underground which was what we were specifically looking for. And we had to squeeze in through the get put our scuba gear on off till we had got into the gap and we ended up cave diving completely unexplored cave. And it opened up into this huge room. It was just phenomenal breathtaking. And I think that the the travel to actually get there and find it. Which is what myself and my dad always loved the most it's always about the adventure more so than the actual activity.
I was just so amazing you know and I mean I could keep you here for hours telling you about cool stories that I've done with my dad but you know there's there's been a lot. And I'm really grateful for them.
That's so interesting that you were given so many tools as a 5 year old because in America it doesn't really happen.
No no. That's there's a lot of things in America that have been quite eye opening for me. But yeah growing up growing up there we literally as kids grow up you know bare foot playing in the bush. You know that's that's very very much the norm getting dirty.
So we're going to jump the head you said when you first came to America from Africa there were some pretty big shocks.
One being McDonalds Yeah I told you that story well I sailed over to America in two thousand six if I'm not mistaken for the first time. And how old were you. I was 20. I was 20. I think I was 20 or 21. And of course all my visions in my head were of what we see on TV. So I got to Florida. And I managed to get a day off and I went out exploring and I'll never forget seeing my first McDonald's and I chose not to do the drive through. Let's go in. Let's go check it out. So I walked into McDonald's and I walk up to the counter and of course of course order a Big Mac meal. You know she asked me Do you want the meal. I'm like yeah I want that meal. So I have this is what she meant by the meal. Well yes I was because you know back home. You either order the burger the fries or the coke. Like if they say the meal like we don't say that so I don't didn't know that a meal encompassed a drink and the fries got you thought like I want a meal of food. I never get it myself through that one. And I kind of put two and two together. And it has everything. But then she hands me you know the cup which of course was monstrously huge compared to what I'm seeing and I was like wow is big cup. But I couldn't help notice the cup was empty.
And so I look in the cup you know there's nothing in and she's looking at me like you know we done here and I look at her I'm like I'm sorry what am I missing the cups empty. So she's like yeah I'm like well what. How do I get soda. And she's like we see over there there's a soda fountain. You know you can go and help yourself and I help myself. So OK so I can go and help myself but does it what does it time out when the level of the you know the cups you know full She's like no it's bottomless you can have as much as you want. And I remember thinking to myself That is insane. If they had the Sea South Africa they would go bankrupt within a week because everyone would come in there and fill up like you know four liter bottles and stuff and take the coke home and they would they would drink as much coke as they could and they'd make sure they get their money's worth. So that was absolutely crazy to me the thought of bottomless Coke.
It's so funny. It's always interesting to hear of people's first impression of America. They grew up living so wild. He said You haven't lived with the Messiah.
So yeah I got to know them really well and they taught me a lot and I really cherished my time with them.
Well you tell the listeners kind of what the Messiah are and then maybe some of your favorite lessons you've learned from the Messiah so the Messiah all they nomadic herdsmen is what they are.
So everything revolves around Kettel for them. So unlike hunter gatherers they actually farmers and they live traditionally up in the northern part of Tanzania southern part of Kenya on the the tip step. They still a lot of them still live very roughly and they pretty much live exactly how they did thousands of years ago. However a lot of them have branched out now into urban areas. And of course like Al A.I we employed them and they they travel down from north to come down south to us to seek employment. A lot of them are doing that. But traditionally they are quite. They have a very very intricate culture. And it's you know there's a lot to talk about when it comes to the culture learn but mostly they're renowned for their ability to actually attack lions hunt lions to fend off of course their kettles cattle from being taken and eaten. But also it's a traditional thing for them. It's a sign of being a man if you can kill a lion. It's a very very respectful thing to do is to be able to kill a line and of course the more lions you kill it kind of ups your status said. Did you learn how to kill a lion. No I didn't. No. I listen to all these stories and I was always fascinated by them. But I have certainly not tried to kill a line. I was just going to say my wife's in the room and that would be an incredible pick up line. Lyons What else did you learn from that.
I just I mean I wanted your spectacle of a incredible humans and they are incredible. They really are. And one of the things OK of course I learnt a lot of skills from them so you know my foundation of tracking and really a lot of animal awareness came from them.
However something that I always do for the rest of my life will take away from them is that they actually get ridiculed by the local Kiswahili people a lot for being more like animals because the Messiah will travel around with nothing. They will live their life with nothing. The shocker which is the clothing garment and they have tools that usually carry a knife which is like a clubbing. It's a it's a small club and sometimes they'll carry spears not when they're urban areas and that is all they'll carry if they tie and they going to sleep. They'll lie down in the dirt cover themself of the sugar and they'll sleep and they'll wake up and they'll carry on with their lives. They have never experienced any other human beings live so simply and I appreciate that so much. In a world where we take so much for granted and we have so much. I really respect them for that and I kind of aspire That's why I think maybe bit of my minimalist type attitude comes from you know if they can do it with all they got.
You know I can get by with a lot less living simply is such a beautiful thing. It is the freedom and they take it to such another level. That's that's a really good lesson. So you have had some encounters with animals. What what's the scariest encounter I guess you had with an animal.
There's a couple let's see the most recent one is I went on a solo survival trip in the desert and got down to a desert oasis a water source. And this is an area that's never ever traveled anywhere else was.
I'd rather not because since I found it it's actually my little secret spot. And what kind you're here in Southern California and in Southern California Southern California and as you know here in Southern California with a big population when you find these little spots tend to keep it on the down. Got it. OK. I respect that. Hiking in I found a lot of sign of mountain lion a lot and it kind of was surprising at how much there was around and decided to build a shelter because I went out there with no tools.
I was doing a bit of filming so I decided to build a shelter with the door completely enclosed for that reason. I just wasn't aware of. You know it's there's something about having a shelter completely covering you at night you know mentally it helps a lot. And in that area the that sign I decided that's what I was going to do. And I'm so glad I did because at about 4:00 a.m. in the morning I woke up to you know footsteps on the dead leaves and I could hear it was a big animal and I heard it approach the shelter. I mean I could hear everything was so still and so quiet and absolutely no doubt it's a mountain lion for sure.
And he was outside the shelter. I couldn't see out he couldn't see and he obviously could pick up on my scent. And he started growling very slow deep growl and I tell you my heart rate I think was the highest it's ever been in my life. And he carried on for a little while and there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was a territorial standoff and the fact that I was in the shelter no way I was not visible and it was a completely natural shelter.
That kind of created sort of like a barrier. So I'm glad I had that barrier because of course eventually he walked off and did just quiet. Nothing of course. OK. I didn't move I didn't make a sound. I just listened and eventually you know heard him move off and that was it. But in the morning of course all the tracks were there. I found feces a little further down. And that was that was a pretty scary experience simply because he was only six feet away from me.
That's just incredible. I think that brings me to the next question is what should everyone know about survival. What are the top skills that everyone should know to survive in any situation in the wilderness.
Well there are numerous but I'd say the most important ones. I mean I look at it at two two ways. OK you've got your mental and then you've got you know your skills kick because the skills of course are going to be very important. OK. Going into survival school and learning how to do things like make fire and build shelters. Of course that is going to prepay you. But there is absolutely no substitute for having good ingenuities improvisational skills and a good mental you know the will the willpower it will take people a long way. But if you can have the combination of the willpower and the skills then that can take you a very very long way and almost not make it easy. But you could be in situations where you could be completely calm and collected because don't forget. Panic is what kills everyone. You know people get lost and they panic and usually they get themselves more lost and they end up having to spend the night in the wilderness and die of hypothermia. They try to climb up a tree to get a look out and they end up falling down and and breaking bones. I mean it all a lot of it stems of panic. So having a combination of the skills and of course the mental aspect which does of course some people have it and some people don't when it comes to willpower but that can also be trained.
And that is where I kind of branched off into a little bit of what I call Nature awareness the more familiarity you have with nature the more comfort you're going to have with it. So when you're out there and a problem arises you're not in an unfamiliar environment therefore you'll have a much more calm collected way of tackling any problem.
So how does the average human who works a nine to five job start training for this mental awareness.
Sure. Getting out into nature and sticking to areas that they feel comfortable in at first and then pushing a little more and a little more and a little more. Of course this is what I do so I would hope that they would go to a survival school or refutable one and learn the skills and learning those skills and simple things like learning how to identify some you know plants that they can actually eat and some plants that should be avoided because they are poisonous and learning the basics of what to do and what not to do how to purify water is very very simple things to learn. That can be the difference of life and death. And once they have a little bit of a skill set under their belt everything everything is going to just be a little bit easier and they're going to get a little more confidence. But honestly nature is the true teacher and being out there and having open senses and using your common sense nature will teach you if you open to it and you're listening and you're watching it'll teach you what you need to know.
So it's a food water shelter. Three three skills if I can if I want. Don't forget fire fire. So if I had to learn you know for skills on me and I was going to go on a back on a backpacking trip I was only going to bring a bottle of water what do I learn first fire has a lot to do with your location.
Don't forget of course in the rain forests we're not really concerned about hypothermia as much as we are water up in California especially once we get into elevation. We're very concerned about hypothermia and not so much water. So that's where a fire would of course be our first go to Point. And you never really know which one you need the most.
However I always say it like this. Think of the first thing that's going to kill you. And that's what you eradicate. The next thing that's going to kill you. That's what you're medicate. And if you just think about it if you think about it that way then it gives you a very good approach at how to knock out the things that are going to be serious threats to you.
You have this really beautiful belief about being outside and why it's so important. And you also think that we've gotten too soft as as humans. Yes. Can you just talk a little bit about that.
Yeah well first of all the connections are human beings and I include myself you know we of course try and fight it but we all need balance right.
We all have to eat. We have to have the combination of a healthy diet. We have to have a combination of exercise and you know we need that combination to be healthy mentally and physically and be fulfilled.
So you know you look at an example I think of is like a hippopotamus. OK.
It needs the combination of water and land. It lives in the water during the day during the heat and it uses the water to regulate his body temperature. At night comes out and it feeds on the land. A cat can't really survive without the balance of the two. And I feel like the relationship is exactly the same for human beings.
Yes we can go into urban environments and be completely surrounded by cause and you know electronics and millions of people we can do that and we can survive because it's so much the world is so modern that everything we need is brought into these urban areas. But I don't believe we can be truly happy and fulfilled. I don't believe that. I think you have to have a balance of nature and an urban environment with all your conveniences and things people love.
And so it's interesting because you live in an urban environment right now. You live in San Diego. You teach wilderness survival and you get outside a lot. But you made this you've made this your profession and it it's take you also this is your side hustle right now. You also work as a marine engineer. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about what was the aha moment when you decided hey I have to do this for a living. No matter what it takes I'm going to be a marine engineer on the side build web sites whatever it is and I'm going to get people outside because that's my passion.
Well I was doing this of course myself and it you know seven decks of it's evolved of course. And it was only after the first few days that I just knew straight away. This is what I want to do. This is the change. I was already looking at a change.
You know I'd been at sea for many years and I was kind of a little bit over that and I just transition back to land and I kind of wanted to get out of the boating and just real quick.
So you were at sea for how long and you did what.
Well 10 to 12 years as a marine engineer as a as a first mate and as a captain so I did various things but all around the world all around the world like crossed the Atlantic crossed the Indian Ocean. You know I spent a lot of time in the Caribbean South Pacific saved by was high.
Yes. You were grinding the corporate ladder. No. In your 20s you're sitting round the world.
Never done anything even remotely close to being corporate. Never will.
But so you're you are at this survival school you said and you just decided yeah.
I was looking for a transition already as a said and I found it on you straight away. And the funny enough myself and the owner of the school you know hit it off and he offered me a job. And I started you know intensely training and then instructing and that's been the path that I've been on since and that's my passion.
What have you learned from being a wilderness guide because it's one thing to go out in the wilderness alone it's another to take other people.
It is totally different. Totally different.
Patience patience. I don't really consider myself as being the most patient person in the world but I feel like with age and experience I'm getting a lot better at it. However with the survival training I've had to bring that to a whole new level. And and it really is teaching me the real essence of patients. And I actually appreciate that. Listen you know I'm really taking it in but that is certainly something that that is the most challenging.
And what's the best part about taking people outside into the wilderness and teaching them these really valuable skills.
The best part has got to be their faces just like you know seeing you in Johnny when you guys achieved fire and fire just so you know it took a long time with a piece of string and harvesting wood from the forest. Yep. So you.
So you did that it was so cool and it happened the bodhran Mathes which is which is one of the easier friction images. That was easy. But it still takes a considerable amount of patience and skill and technique. There's a combination.
But you guys did it and seeing your faces and other students faces when they do achieve fire is for me. It's really what makes it worthwhile to me.
You've had some really really unique experiences especially in the wilderness. What are some of the most memorable. I guess wilderness survival experiences you've had outside of your encounter with the mountain lion the other day.
Well they all memory well for different reasons.
But I'd have to say that you know those two that come off the top my head is that Alaska was certainly spectacular. Alaska was there for 10 days and it was truly breathtaking because it was so different to any terrain that I ever experience went with nothing but your water.
I had a knife. I don't know if I had a knife a folding saw and a water bottle. And then of course the clothes that I was wearing them.
Wow. And what are some of the most memorable places you've been that you would love to go back to.
That list is long memorable places. I'd have to say that once again Alaska hiking up Exit Glacier eight hours get to the top you look down on the ice fields.
That was truly just unbelievable. Raja Ampat archipelago in Indonesia purely for its desolation it's an archipelago of all these deep water channels intertwining between these islands and there's not. I mean we didn't see a single trace of a human being for like over a week it was unbelievable. And the Marine Life is so rich. So that was really spectacular. The Galapagos the proximity at which you can get to the animals I mean you can't experience like anything like that anywhere else in the world. It's unreal completely devoid of fear of human beings.
So yeah those if you stand on the bucket list right now. If you are stranded on an island and you could only take three things with you what would you take.
I'd take my wife my dog and some sunscreen.
That's awesome because you could survive you don't think about these things. What about food. If you could only have three three foods to survive on for the rest of your life what would you eat.
OK. Because I'm a very practical person. I would I would pick a combination of very practical foods and tasty food so I'd go with avocados. Chicken and Ross avocadoes chicken that's a balanced meal isn't it.
It's it's balanced if you're not a vegan you're doing some TV stuff now.
I know you can only talk a little bit about it. So maybe just give up. Just tell us Hey I'm doing TV stuff and this is the kind of things I'm doing. It's give us a sneak sneak sneak peek into your life on TV and what we might expect later on.
So I think well I'm hoping if all the stars align that will be on a survival show in this upcoming year 2000. What year is 2016 2017. I'm currently in negotiations with Discovery and History and I'm kind of like torn actually between two and I feel very fortunate to have to make that decision but I can't really say anything about the show.
OK. So we can expect to see you on TV doing your wilderness stuff. Hopefully be the. Well that will be interesting to talk to you when you're when you're filming. What are the most essential gear items that you know they can be kind of luxury items you can buy at the store but that you love and that you think everybody taking any of your courses should buy or have in the wilderness. They want to get outside.
Sure. So the getting back to the my whole minimalist approach. For me the Swiss Army Knife in particular the the one hand track the model because it's got a locking blade and it's got really it's got a bigger blade and a bigger saw.
But of course the Swiss Army knife has been tried and tested over a long time and the simplicity of it the ability of it and the diversity of it it's just a fantastic tool I actually use that most of the time. The sole feature on the Swiss Army knife is by far superior to any other multi-tool. So although very small we tend to use that a lot for whittling. So the Swiss Army knife is a huge recommendation I always have. As far as fixed blade knives there's a lot of brands out there.
But all I'll say about that is you know you've got a choice between stainless steel blades and full tang knives and like there's a ton of choices out there.
So I'll just give a quick give a few options to the listeners to you know to help them choose when they're going to be picking a knife. And that is you have the choice of going with a carbon steel high carbon steel blade fixed blade or you have stainless steel. Those are the two common ones in the market right now. The stainless steel of course is going to be very hard but it's actually going to be brittle whereas the carbon steel is going to be softer but extremely strong and not only that the high carbon steel will actually throw a spark if you take a piece of chert. You know there's various rocks around you strike it against the blade and that should give you a spark which can be very useful making fire.
It's easy to shop in the field where stainless steel is not because it's hotter. So. So that's some of the materials. And then what they call full tang where the blade actually extends all the way through to the back of the handle makes it very useful for toning.
So you can actually really beat the knife up without worrying about it breaking. So those are some of the aspects you want to look at in a knife. Personally for me enough is enough. I'll use anything. I'll use a machete I'll use a full tang I'll use stainless steel. If it cuts I'll use it.
Kamali watch that movie with the rock climber in Utah. I'm drawing a blank. But he didn't have a sharp knife and that looked like the most painful experience cutting off his arm. That's a survivor right there. Yeah it's a great story. So speaking of people who influence you. Who influences you most growing up and who influences you most now.
Well growing up certainly my family. I cannot. Sometimes it amazes me how much freedom and independence they gave to me to be able to kind of pave my own path. You know I've I've done a lot of things in my life a lot of different things and I'm kind of like I want to accomplish something and then I want to accomplish something else and know. And they never ridiculed me for that. You know when it came to finishing high school and then I didn't want a normal job. They just supported whatever decision I made so that really means so much to me and it's really given me the confidence to really go after my dreams. You know when you're beaten down all the time told you you're not going to be able to achieve that. Of course that's going to affect your mental will. Well I had the opposite I was boosted and always whatever decision I made was supported. So I was really thankful for that. So my family is a big one.
Another person you know who's who's a really really big deal to me in my life is a guy by the name of Ryan Levinson who's got muscle dystrophy and he's currently in stages where he cannot lift his arms up above his shoulders you know but yet him and his wife have sailed across the Pacific the action French Polynesian now living on their boat living their dream and every day going through hardships.
I mean if you think it's hard being having muscle dystrophy in a natural environment like where you have wheelchairs and you have a couch and stuff. Can you imagine being on a rocking and rolling 30 odd foot sailboat in dealing with lowering sails raising sales winching in winching out just actually standing is often a chore and they are. He's out there doing it and it just proves to me that we really can do anything we put our minds to.
Yeah Arayans coming on the show pretty soon so we're excited to have them on. He's actually the guy who introduced us and you have a life and you're about to have a kid. Yeah. Boy or girl. Boy boy it's going to be a boy. How soon are you going to give him or her a knife.
We've you know myself my wife have had this discussion and thankfully that she's she's on board with giving kids independence you know and learning from the mistakes at a young age so soon as they're old enough to competently handle a knife and I'll be the judge of that. I will let them handle enough as well as let them make fine as well as let them play in the dirt. I will give them that freedom to go out and take risks and fail and learn from it. Do you read it all. A little bit. You know I do. I'm not a big reader but there's certain books I love and there's a lot I don't like what books do you love or recommend for people to read. Survival based or any book any book any book. Well seeing as we're talking about connection to nature I really feel like they should get hold of a book by John Young.
He's the author. It's called bird language. It'll open up people's minds to the language of birds which is something that people might have heard of. But I feel like it's something that 90 percent of the world would never have heard of understanding the language of birds just like we would go and try to understand Italian or Spanish well. There is actually a way of learning bird language and it's something I'm really into. And I feel like that's a really good start for people connecting to nature. So that's that's one I could recommend for sure.
That sounds like a great book. What's the best gift you've ever received. Having a baby.
I think the best gift ever being given is my gift to my wife and myself and the planets. I think that this is the best thing I could have ever asked for.
Oh we're looking forward to meeting him or her. If you could fly an eco friendly plane over the world and it could read one message. It's eco friendly plane so it's OK for the environment. OK good. What it say. What's your message to the world.
You know says a million things I'll keep it simple and I'll just say that follow your passion follow your passion that's been a very crucial part of my life.
It still is and I think a lot more people can should consider that.
Where's the best place to surf in the world.
What country taking into consideration crowds consistency beauty of French Polynesia.
All right. Everybody's moving the French on the sideline for someone looking to get into the outdoors and do more survival things.
What are some great resources that they can link to their Web sites.
Of course there's you know there's there's a lot of YouTube videos which are really good. There's a lot of YouTube videos that are really bad. And of course they're just going to have to take everything with a pinch of salt. But I'd really do recommend the videos. There's a lot of good books out there. You know so more of the bushcraft type seen you know Dave Canterbury's got a couple of good books. Les Stroud recently came out with the book survive and that's that's one I really endorse because it's kind of like you know no it's it's a real life. You can see his experience coming through the book and you can see that it's short and sweet and simple and effective. There's no like glitz and glamour no talking about drinking your own pee ins and silly things like that. He gets cut straight to the chase of what is achievable and what's not achievable. So I'd say as far as reading a survival book that's a good go too.
And where can work an audience where can the audience and listeners find out more about you.
Well there is my web site Bush mechanics survival dot com. There is my Facebook account which Bush mechanics survival training. I also have a YouTube channel which is also Bush mechanics survival training.
I didn't know that. OK well Jill is there anything else we should talk about.
I just want to say to the listeners that if you are intimidated by doing a survival course which is something I come across a lot don't be. This is the objective of what I do and I can't speak for other schools is not to force feed them bugs and make them sleep and not extremely cold and that's not the objective. The objective is to pass down skills real skills that are simple and effective that can help keep them alive in any situation. And the combination of just trying to influence that bond between them and nature. And that's what I promote. So if that's something they're looking for then by all means.
Yeah no we really loved our fire course it was friendly it was unintimidating and I was making fire and our clothes still smell like fire and it's a great smell. So thank you all for coming. For those listening check out bush mechanics survival dot com. They have great classes they're affordable. You can check out Joel on YouTube on Facebook and we'll put it all up in the show notes.
Thanks so much and have a great day. Thanks again for tuning in to episode 4. Joe's a great guy and he actually forgot to mention a few things like the fact that he was a top ranked fighter on national surf camp in his home country and he did just film a TV pilot so things are coming in hot for Joel. We'll be having a wild ideas with living fire making session so you can learn how to make fire with Joel this spring. So stay tuned. By signing up for the newsletter wild ideas worth living dot.com. Our next guest is the guy Joel just mentioned Ryan Levinson and his wife Nicole left San Diego two years ago to sail into their dreams in French Polynesia. We talk about how hard it was to untie the dock lines and how anyone could sail across Civic.
Here's some great stories about their encounters with locals in the village and locals in the water like well you'll find out next week and tune in to hear more. Don't forget to rate the show on iTunes in Writer view. And don't forget some of the best adventures happen when you fall you wild ass ideas. Thanks again for listening. See you next week