When was the last time you got soaking wet and shivering, and had to drink something hot to get your body temperature to a normal level again?
When was the last time you were praying for some shelter from the burning sun? (No, I don’t mean your last summer holiday when you had to walk from the pool to the bar to get yourself a Cuba Libre 🙂 )
When was the last time you slept on the ground/floor, or had to walk for more than two hours without anything to eat or drink?
In today’s Western society, most of us are constantly bathing in a 24/7 comfort zone. Challenge yourself every once in a while! Your body and brains will be thankful.
Within days, I will be challenging myself at the starting point of our Kungsleden Dogsled Expedition 2016.In the midst of the Swedish Arctic winter, Raphael, the 10 dogs, and I will travel 450 kilometers on the famous Kungsleden between Hermavan and Abisko. We will be on the Kungsleden trail for around 18 days, plus or minus a few. Blizzards might hold us up for several days. We will encounter bitter cold and winds; our food will be far from high cuisine; personal space will be limited at all times; and comfort will be something of which we’ll be constantly dreaming.
People tend to think that a dogsled adventure is easy-going.
“It’s just sitting in a sled, enjoying the landscape while the dogs do all the work.”
The truth is the total opposite! Of course, the dogs do a tremendous amount of work, but so does the musher – pulling, tearing, tipping the sled, running beside the dogs, and flattening the snow with snowshoes to make it easier for the dogs to run along with the sled. All this and much more makes dogsledding a very intense activity. Of course, the length of the expedition and the diverse weather conditions can add to the workout as well.
People always ask me why.
“Why do you go to these hostile places, leaving all kinds of comfort behind?”
First of all, I don’t see these places as “hostile.” They are nature in its purest state. You learn to deal with the circumstances. Getting out of your comfort zone is something you should do more! Training your body and mind to feel comfortable with less is a great way of rewilding. You learn to appreciate the small things. At the end of the day, shelter, food, water, and friendship are what (the good) life should be all about. And that, to me, is comfort!
I encourage you to get out of you comfort zone every now and then, and experience the power of the elements and the discomfort of certain situations. It humbles you and helps you put things in perspective.
There is nothing wrong with cocooning, with enjoying the feeling of warmth and joy. But in our modern society, we are comfort junkies. We “need” comfort all the time, and we need more and more of it every day. Luxury become average.
Part of your rewilding process is learning to step out of your comfort zone. A comfort zone is a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control. Get out of that zone, and dare to explore other unknown zones! But hey, I didn’t suggest doing stupid macho things. It’s something you do gradually, controlled, and with common sense.
As you know by now, our rewilding strategy has 4 themes: diet, movement, disconnecting, & reconnecting, and bushcraft & survival.
Once you get the initial parts of the rewilding lifestyle under control, dare to mix it up all again, and be willing to go exploring:
- Diet: variation in your (natural) food is key. Be adventurous and try new things instead of sticking to that fast comfort food.
- Movement: mix up your workouts and don’t let your body get too used to the same workout over and over again. Triggering and surprising your body is the best way to get in shape without getting bored.
- Disconnect and reconnect: Dare to leave some modern comfort behind every once in a while. Doing so, you will be able to reconnect with your wilder self and the people around you. A campfire, for example, is reconnecting the people around it as much as putting out the heat.
- Bushcraft and survival: Bushcraft is all about learning to live comfortably without much comfort. Learning bushcraft skills is a never-ending story – there is always something more to be discovered! Survival courses are good for simulating a worst-case scenario and learning that if you have water, shelter, food and friendship, you have all the comfort you really need.
Plan you own expedition or adventure. Start little by little, and get out of you comfort zone without taking stupid risks. Your body and mind will be thankful.
See you out (of the comfort zone) there!