Some of the most important things one needs to know before going into the jungle are strategies towards survival. These can make jungle living a lot less dangerous and more comfortable. Recently in “el Valle” we jokingly began a “book club”. For our book club we made our first requirement Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I really enjoyed the novel and saw parallels between the author, the main character of the book (Chris McCandles) and myself. At least pertaining to the reasons why I chose to love the wild and come to the Valley in the first place. Although events that took place in Chris’s life were much more extreme than my life’s events, his character reminded me of experiences I’ve had in the valley and the reasons why I love, yet occasionally fear, nature. For example many of the quotes in the book were from Chris himself or authors that he drew inspiration from. I feel connections to these quotes from authors such as: Leo Tolstoy, Robert Frost, and Thoreau.
In fact, my favorite quote ever is from Thoreau. It has a lot of meaning to me. I first heard it from a professor I had in Outdoor Recreation.
“…in wildness is the preservation of the world”
-from Walking by Henry David Thoreau
This comes from an essay in which Thoreau describes nature as a thing to be preserved and protected rather than used as a means to grow economically.
I made a quote rock this stint that had the quote on it. For our “quote rock” project we have taken rocks from the river and written quotes on them pertaining to Kalu Yala, then placed them around a fire pit and park we’re currently building.
I believe that Thoreau has, and in the future will be able to, influence my intellectual views on nature and existence. I’m hoping to get a hold of the book Walking from one of the directors over our next stint.
Books have a lot on influence on the day to day in the valley. I enjoy manual labor and hiking but I’m also the type of person who likes to think, contemplate life and ponder while exercising my body. For example, I was thinking about how beautiful the nature in the valley was while I was raking out a trail to the new park we’re building. Granted, this was mostly to take my mind off the many fire ants that would continually sneak attack me. Books about nature, survival, and wilderness fill the void in my mind that’s usually filled by texting and surfing the internet when I experience boredom in civilization.
Often our group gathers around to read manuals, books, and magazines like National Geographic . And I’m surprised by how often they pertain to our everyday work! We learned about the fourth most biologically diverse islands in the world in the last Nat Geo we shared and Alex (one of the directors) called over the bio interns to check it out.
In fact, Alex loves sharing stories of survival and jungle ‘livin. Here’s a video of him reading from a book called “Survival” issued by the US army around 1970. It has lots of tips for staying alive in the jungle…