Last week I was getting my fill of the Joe Rogan Experience, and was listening to episode 1395 with Glenn Villeneuve. I had avoided the episode for a little while, because I did not recognize the guest, and at first glance he did not look interesting. When I finally did watch the episode, I was glad did, because it was a magnificent interview with a truly independent thinker.
Glenn Villeneuve decided to go live in the wilderness of Alaska for ten years, many of those years were by himself. While living in the wilderness, he was essentially self-sufficient. Except for some rare occasions, he lived off of what he could hunt. He built himself a small cabin in the woods with no bathroom; he pooped outside on the ground.
Listening to Glenn’s story kept me glued to the podcast, as many people only dream of accomplishing what he did. To live a life of complete freedom, away from all of the drama and busy work that takes up our time in society.
What struck me in the interview was how his life revolved around survival. He described that often times his days consisted of figuring out how he was going to eat that day. It seems scary to many of us, but it is also liberating. It seems liberating to live for livings sake, as opposed the artificial world we inhabit, where we must stress and worry at all times about our future financial and social status. This reminded me of why I enjoy travelling and exploring as much as I do: in a foreign place your survival needs become essential, and everything else is noise.
I am not big into multi-day backpacking trips through the forest( though I am not opposed), but I enjoy going to a place for a long period of time where I am not secure in the language and culture, because my mission becomes about daily survival and communication. This is why I love going to places in Asia, especially China and Taiwan. I can speak Mandarin, but I have a lot to learn about the language and culture. Ordering food, and learning new things is an active pursuit and forces me to focus on being in the present; I imagine it is a much more milder version of the the way Glenn felt living in the wilderness. Your daily chore becomes focusing on how survive and understand your environment. You do not take your surroundings for granted, as many more things have significance when you are far out of your comfort zone.