Robin Dood made this interview with me a couple of years ago...
Robin: Tell us about living in the wild, Amos!
Amos: It’s awkward at first, but after that you feel like you’re slowly awakening from a bad dream. You stumble a lot in roots and such the first few days, but then your feet remember, more and more what your conscious mind has forgotten. And it’s slowly becoming second nature. The ability to live in the wild is in all of us.
Robin: And how did you provide food & cooking?
Amos: I didn’t usually cook. The fire was mostly for heat on cold nights. I was never totally self-sufficient, even though that was the goal, but I didn’t need to go and fetch civilized food often, and during the summer and autumn hardly at all. I experimented a lot and was lucky, I guess that didn’t catch more bad stuff. I was sick a few days now and then by ingesting inedible stuff. I learned a bit more as time went by, though I’ll say I’m still not skilled enough to survive for years. You get rusty again quickly, too, after having returned to civilization.
Robin: It must have been cold sometimes, and wet too. How did you keep warm?
Amos: I hardly got wet, and when I wanted a fire I made it by picking the bark of willow, scraping off its wet, inner «skin». What is beneath is dry as desert sand, and fairly easy to make a fire with. And to add to that I tap Resin from pines. It contains turpentine. I also make healing tea from the willow bark. There was a kind of cave, slight overheads where I could avoid the rain. I did wander a lot, though, and didn’t carry anything more than I could carry. That’s what any Nomad must learn. We must all learn not to gather more than we can carry.
And you toughen up after a while. Temperatures bothering you initially won’t, after a while.
I also try to absorb as much knowledge as possible of natural medicine and herbs, and recognize it in nature. That isn’t easy either. You can’t learn life only from books. They can’t be more than a supplement in the learning process. Experience is the milk and the key.
Robin: What were the first things you missed from civilization?
Amos: I didn’t really miss anything, and I did find that strange. I brought a laptop the first year, and a lot of batteries because a paper notebook isn’t really feasible when you have a lot of writing to do, and one of my reasons for learning to live and survive in nature was to write a book called Thunder Road Book One: Ice and Fire, about the and of civilization that will be published next year or the year after that. I also wrote a lot of poems. The thing about being a Storyteller, though, I can do in a tribe, too, after civilization is gone. Easily. There will always be a need for a Storyteller around the campfire. Oral tradition is mankind’s natural way of telling stories. A wild tribe encourages diversity. It has to, to evolve and grow and becoming better suited to survive, both as a group and as individuals.
The second year I didn’t bring any advanced technology at all, except for a brief trip to the far, very far Norwegian mountains and «national parks», where I did drive. And kept «writing» in my head by memorizing everything, and I learned to contain it in my head. I can honestly say I hardly forgot more than a few words. It felt amazing. That, too.
The other reason is simple: Civilization will end soon, and we should help bring it about. It’s destroying everything making life worth living. I wanted to learn to survive for the case of survival itself. I’m convinced civilization will collapse totally in the near future, because of Global Warming, the coming pandemonium and social political breakdown hitting us fairly simultaneously. Each and every one of them cataclysmic events in itself, but joined they’ll be absolutely devastating to a system denying nature, and its vast power. And I want to be ready. I’m not yet, but I am working on it.
Robin: What made you go back? (to civilization)
Amos: Winter, I guess, and convenience and habit and all the strains and shit of the web pulling us back to our chains. And you can’t really escape civilization, not as long as it is There, as long as it exists anywhere. It will exist inside us, until we rid ourselves of it, totally, like disregarding rotten food, and avoid festering still ponds.
Btw I wasn’t really sick a day out there, but the first day I got back in I got a cold…
Robin: Will you go back again?
Amos: I do go back all the time. I haven’t spent months outside in a couple of years, now, though. But I’m constantly prodding, probing, both mentally and physically the true life of the Human Being. That btw is the most enduring and prevalent realization you get out there: We belong there. It’s our home. The cities, this current walking dead life isn’t.
Robin: Thank you very much! Maybe we’ll bump into each other someday out in the Wild!
Amos: Paths that cross will always cross again.