What were the films that inspired you to become interested in survival when you were younger? One of them might have been Crocodile Dundee, where Aussie, Mick Dundee, showed us what life was like in the outback.
It was thought provoking when he told New York reporter Sue Charlton that a “walkabout” in his backyard had taken him a couple of weeks.
Plus, Dundee himself exudes everything that Western life was, but is no longer. Heck, the guy didn’t even know when his birthday was.
Then there is the ultimate survival thriller, Castaway, where Tom Hanks gets so lonely he makes friends with a football.
I think backpacking in the outback gives you a taste of what it’s like to be both Hanks and Dundee. I want a bit of that Castaway experience. The isolation, the loneliness. The doing everything from scratch.
But I also want a bit of the Dundee too. I want to experience what it’s like to be a master of my natural environment, ready to confront whatever obstacles the natural world throws at me. Hanks survives, yes, but he doesn’t exactly have a good time. And that’s what it’s all about.
Learn To Forage
The natural environment is full of the food that our ancestors ate. But our cushy Western lifestyles have removed us far away from this primordial ideal. We need to get back to it. Well, maybe for a week.
Brush up on your foraging skills. Choose a couple of plants to look out for as you’re backpacking along in the outback. Don’t go mad at first, because you never know what’s poisonous and what’s not. This is especially true if you’re looking for mushrooms. It’s also probably a good idea to cook whatever you find, just in case.
But it’s worth it. Natural food often has a flavour that’s been all but lost in domesticated varieties of fruit and vegetables. A good survival forum will host discussions on what can be eaten and what can’t.
Leave Valuables At Home
This is a survival trip. Why do you need an expensive watch or an expensive mobile phone? Leaving these items at home has a dual purpose.
One, you’re going to get closer to nature. The whole point is to leave the modern world behind and for you to get close to nature. But the second point is that you’ll probably end up losing or damaging your valuables.
I’d still suggest taking a phone. But take an old one. I mean, a really old one.
Get Appropriate Footwear
You’ll be on your feet all day. And you’ll have to be if you want to get anywhere down under. This is why your shoes need to be well bedded in before you go. The last thing you want is blisters on the first day that last the whole trip.
If you haven’t had the chance, try wearing two pairs of thin socks.
Lastly, if possible, choose shoes with some degree of waterproofing. Even in the outback, there will be the odd bog and swamp, so watch out.