Some people are born with a sense of wanderlust. This intrepid calling is difficult to neglect, and those who hear the call understand the lure of the open road and the thrill of traveling to a place you’ve never been before.
The world is full of incredible places, many of which have not been tamed by humanity. For those looking to dive into the world of travel and exploration, perhaps you have a few cherry destinations in mind. Or, maybe you’re a little more adventurous and you want to experience the wilderness in its natural state.
For those wanting to leave society behind, there are quite a few things you should learn before wandering off into the woods and getting lost completely, the latter of which you’ll probably want to avoid. Here, we’ll explore a few of the basics to get you started.
# Before You Go
Heading out into the wilds of the world can be an intimidating experience, especially if you’ve never done anything like this before.
In order to ensure your safety, there are a few fundamentals you’ll want to follow, as well as a few precautions you’ll want to take prior to leaving us all behind.
- Tell people exactly where you’re going and how long you plan on being gone. This is crucial because if anything happens to you, at least you’ll have several people who will know how to find you. Additionally, leave a note in the window of your car detailing when you left, where you were heading, and when you plan to return.
- Get a tune-up and have a mechanic check your vehicle for any possible problems. The last thing you’ll want to do is get stranded halfway to your destination. Additionally, ensure you have quality insurance that will help you if you find yourself broken down far from home.
- Research the region you intend to explore thoroughly prior to venturing off. You can call ahead and speak with local wildlife officials, sheriffs, or park rangers to better understand the terrain, wildlife, and any dangers that might be present on your journey.
- Check the regional weather forecast for any potential inclement weather prior to your arrival. Numerous remote western regions have fire and flash flood seasons, and these can be deadly if you find yourself face-to-face with one of these natural forces. Heavy rain and snow also present a threat, so ensure that you have a clear window regarding the weather before you depart.
# What to Bring Along
Depending on how long you plan on being gone, and where you’ll be traveling, there are several things to consider.
If you’re game for a multi-day trek into the backcountry, you’ll need to bring food, and the means of obtaining food should you get lost or run out of food. Today there are lightweight options of dehydrated meals that you can pack along for your trip. If you’re leaving for a few days, bring a couple of meals for each day. Additionally, bring some lightweight fishing gear or some paracord for making snares and traps.
Also, remember to bring a food storage bag such as a bear bag for keeping your food safe from wildlife overnight.
If you’re going deep into the wilderness, you’ll want to adopt an ultra-light packing system. Basically, don’t bring anything along that you won’t need because anything extra creates unneeded weight on your back. And, after several days, you’ll feel the strain of carrying several pounds on your back.
In order to keep to the basics, consider the following list:
- Firestarter (flint and striker, matches, or lighter)
- Detailed Map and Compass
- Knife and Sharpener
- Change of Clothes (extra socks)
- Shelter (tarp and rope or lightweight tent)
- Safety tools (Whistle or signal mirror)
- Water (at least 3 gallons)
- Water purification system (Lifestraw, iodine tablets, or purification devices)
- Sunblock and Insect Repellant
With the contents of the above list, a well-fitted backpack, quality pair of boots, and your knowledge of the area, you’ll be well equipped to handle the wilderness.
# Immerse Yourself in Sensory Delight
Above all, allow yourself to be immersed in the natural world.
Listen to the sounds and truly see the wonders of the natural world unspoiled.. You’ll find that through this form of solitude, you’ll come to rely on yourself completely and you’ll discover a part of yourself that you never knew existed.
Remember, leave no trace. Take out whatever you brought in with you. Leave the area just as unspoiled as you found it for others to enjoy as well.