Well it’s been crazy times since I last made an update. Just off the top of my head, I’ve been to a primitive survival skills camp (with A.S.I); a 5 day retreat with Wim Hof AKA “the iceman”; a 6 day alchemy retreat with some very interesting recluses in Victoria; a fantastic course called “Nature One” with some friends up near Coffs Harbour (“Nature Philosophy”); a 9 day retreat called “Seven Levels of Quest” with a guy called Malcolm Ringwalt from Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School in the USA (we had Jon Young visit last year, this was this year’s equivalent I guess? It was basically a crash course in the philosophy of the Upanishads, with experiential exercises derived from indigenous North American vision quest traditions. Not what I’d expected, but great); and then out of nowhere my partner Janet and I got invited to sit a four day vision quest while a bunch of our friends from the previous course did their “vision quest protector” training. So about a week ago I found myself putting off yet again my increasingly desperate need for some downtime and sat in a circle on a big rock under a beautiful tree overlooking a spectacular eucalypt forest for four days and four nights, fasting “from all things familiar” (except water). I guess it was downtime actually, no one to talk to, nothing to do, all the time in the world to watch the sun inching its way across the sky.
All of these were incredible experiences. Amazing courses taught by amazing teachers in beautiful places, and all on top of a non-stop schedule of my own retreats and workshops and helping out on my good friends Lee and Gina (from Bluegum Bushcraft)’s kids’ rewilding camps.
Retreats are getting better and better! I can hardly believe it, the amount of stuff we’re doing now, going ever deeper into the movement and meditation work, rehabilitation and nature connection, primitive skills and rewilding, dance and parkour, building the jungle gym to even more epic levels, acquiring a fire bath…last time we had Rafe Kelley (Evolve Move Play) come all the way from Seattle to be our guest teacher, and in recent retreats we’ve had my friends Stuart Gadenne (Tengeri Natural Fitness and Cave Foods) and Ei Yang (Renourish Rewild) teaching us things about movement, awareness, hunting and foraging, traditional food preparation (using all parts of the animal), and hide tanning; and Janet Ranken (Wandering Earth) has been teaching basketry, natural dyeing of fabrics using foraged plants, bush tucker and primitive skills.
Our next retreat is happening soon – starting Saturday January 28th and finishing the following Sunday February 5th. The facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1691565781158157/ and signup page will go up on this website just as soon as I have more than half an hour of internet time. There has already been a lot of interest and is likely to fill up so if you’re keen to secure a spot get in touch ASAP – I have already started collecting deposits from people.
Finally, I’ve moved to Mullumbimby! And am living in a little shack deep in the rainforest (upper Wilson’s Creek, for those in the know), working on a property with my old friend Lex and turning it into a place where we can host retreats and workshops and things. It’s ridiculously beautiful up here, but yep: no internet, no phone. We have to drive into town to use these newfangled computer gadgets so I don’t get to check or update as much as I once did.
The great thing is though that in the last year I’ve gone from working up to living in the bush about half the time, to actually living in the bush all the time. Dealing with snakes and ticks and leeches and rain and wind and all of that gets a bit tiring at times, but honestly I could just spend my whole life sitting and watching the rain fall on the forest – if there wasn’t so much work to be done hacking the jungle back with machetes.