Program Fears and Concerns

Everyone I have talked to who has been through Lynx Vilden’s stone age immersion program has had good things to say about it. Not that it didn’t have its challenges, but that they are worth it. Ever since I signed up I’ve been having little fears pop up about it. Here is the list:

I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As of late, I have it under control through diet, nutrition and exercise. I am allergic to most things, so I eat a very limited diet of meat, vegetables and some fruit. My diet shouldn’t be that big of a problem since it’s very close to a hunter-gatherer style diet anyway. Although I’ve learned how to predict my IBS, it can still be quite spontaneous and that scares me. One of my worst symptoms is “urgency” and lack of bowel control. Basically, when I have to go, I will go. Whether there is a bathroom or not. Now in the last few years I haven’t had any accidents, but this is always present in my mind. The nice thing about being in the woods is that you can pretty much dig a toilet anywhere. Urgency won’t be too much of a problem out there. But the diarrhea might. Since I’ve been drinking bone broth every day and eliminated pork from my paleo-ish diet, my diarrhea has all but stopped. Out there, though, I probably won’t have too much access to bone broth. I’ll also have to eat greens, and sometimes those greens go right through me. This will be bad if my body stops absorbing nutrients while I’m out there possibly going hungry a lot of the time. IBS is my number one worry because of the amount of anxiety that it fills me with. I think I’ll be okay, but the uncertainty of it is like a dark cloud looming over the other inspiring aspects of the project. If I can do this and overcome the IBS, the fear and anxiety associated with it, it’s going to change my life forever.

One of the side effects of IBS is hemorrhoids. Generally these are also kept at bay with diet, nutrition and exercise. The less diarrhea I have, the less likely the hemorrhoids will flare up. But sometimes they flare up from things like hiking. Since I’ll be hiking around through the mountains quite a bit, I’m nervous that I’ll end up with an itchy butt. I’m going to make a lemon balm & cottonwood salve to bring with me should I need it to help out with that.

Physical Strength
I’m not sure if I’m strong enough physically to carry a heavy pack around the mountains for a month. A friend who is a personal trainer started to make me train but my immune system is acting weirdly and I can’t shake this cough and sore throat. I’m taking a couple of tinctures and am going to experiment on myself with English Ivy tea to see if it can curb my cough. I’m hoping that I’ll be well enough to continue my training through the two months of preparation so by the time the month of primitive living rolls around I’ll be much more fit. I have a good feeling about this.

I’m sort of nervous that I only have three more weeks to prepare. The hide-tanning process is taking longer than I thought. I only need to tan three hides to have the bare minimum, since three of my close friends each gave me an amazingly soft brain-tanned buckskin. I’m planning on tanning seven myself though, since I’ll need food containers and other such things.

Group Dynamic
I’m honestly not too nervous about group dynamic, but after watching a decade of reality shows, I’m a bit apprehensive. I’m an easy going person. I can get along with most people. I feel excited by the opportunity to meet and become close with a dozen more people as serious about rewilding and ancestral skills as I am.

Sex & Intimacy
No one wants to talk about the elephant in the room, but I’ll mention it just to make it known. Sex is a human need. It will be strange to leave my girlfriend back in Portland while I travel off for a backwoods adventure for three and a half months. It’s not like anyone died because they didn’t get laid for a few months, but it is undeniably a need of humans. I am also aware of the power that camp has in creating bonds of intimacy between people. These things should not be ignored, they should be talked about. We are sexual animals. My lady and I have both read Sex at Dawn and are not particularly bound to the mainstream ideology of sex and intimacy (particularly monogamy), but we grew up with the puritanical undertones that permeate American culture and haven’t done any work to really change our reactions to things regarding sexual intimacy. This is not so much a worry for me, but more of a curious concern that is a private conversation between me and my girlfriend. However, being too private about these things is one of the reasons the broken, mainstream ideology of sexual intimacy still persists. For that reason, I feel I need to mention this – without giving too many details.

The last thing I’m worried about are all the standard camping comforts and fears. I’ve had a fair share of discomfort, but probably not as extreme as the hunger I’m most likely going to experience while up there. I’m also still a little afraid of the dark, I hate the cold and am worried about cougars, wolves and bears… oh my!

5 Comments on “Program Fears and Concerns”

  1. Dear Peter,

    Thank you for being so honest.

    You’ll be fine!

    Persevere, remember?

    You’ll survive 🙂

    Lots of love for you,

    Christine 🙂

  2. I can see why you’re nervous. This will definitely be a challenging trip. I am really excited for you! You are going to do great and learn so much! On the other hand, this is an experience that only relatively healthy people would even attempt. I know you have the ibs issue – which believe me- I don’t envy you at all. But the truth is people like me wouldn’t last a day in that situation – so really- with all due respect – you are going to rock it!
    Try to stay hydrated! I’m rooting for you!

  3. Your list of fears helps include more of us in your adventure! Thanks for giving us a portal into the humanity of what you’re about to do. Good luck in your immersion.

    If you do feel like revealing more about you and your girlfriend’s philosophies and perspective on human sexuality, I’d love to hear it. I’ve also read Sex At Dawn and found it very thought provoking…


  4. The Hadza are serial monogamists, the last remaining hunter gatherers in Africa.

    About ibs, it might go away from being in such a quiet low stress place, plus I am assuming you won’t be drinking coffee. I just noticed from reading this that I no longer have IBS. It must be the quiet atmosphere and eating organic.

    Good luck, probably you will feel healthier there than you ever have and come back looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway!

  5. Peter, it’s really great that you have the courage and self-knowing to be able to familiarize yourself with your fear. Having gotten that far, I think you’ve already overcome the biggest obstacle. Best of luck on your quest, hope even more self-discovery comes of it as I’m sure it will. Cheers!