Thursday, June 28, 2007

A New Beginning

After graduating college, I went to work doing web programming. My life was very much about computers and electronics. I spent my free time playing computer/video games. I went so far as to hack my xbox so that I could have nearly unlimited free games on it. I always enjoyed nature but never really got to know it.

After my brother introduced me to the book The Tracker and got me to the Tracker School I began to change. In the last four years my free time has become devoted to learning skills of survival and self-sufficiency. I still play the occasional video game but try not to let it take over my life. This was all done to the detriment of my career in computers.

I grew less and less interested in what I was doing at work and found myself daydreaming of being outdoors instead of at my desk. On occasion I spent my lunch break sitting in a small patch of trees and bushes listening to the birds. It was my private oasis.

The day was approaching where my lack of passion and dedication for my career in programming was going to cost me my job. I finally got serious about looking for a new job/career. My main requirement was an outdoor job. I could no longer be in an office at least for awhile. A friend suggested the Student Conservation Association.

I checked out the website and applied for some internships. Last Thursday I interviewed for a position. The interview went well and I was offered the position at the end of the interview. The next day I accepted. August 31st will be the last day at my current job.

So starting October 1st I will start my new job. It will last for 8 months ending May 17th. At that time I don't know what I'll do. I think a lot will depend on my 8 month experience.

The job
I will be working in a group with 4 others in the Mojave Desert area. We will be backpacking/camping in the wilderness and working on conservation projects. Our three main tasks will be trail maintenance (rerouting, erosion, drainage), resource monitoring (assessing water sources, vegetation) and restoration of areas damaged by vehicles and similar problems.

We'll be on 9-10 day trips with 4-5 days off. My hope is to learn as much as possible about the desert which I've never really experienced. It should help that I'll be there for 3 seasons and experience 4 distinct ecosystems. I also hope to practice and learn new survival skills while there. I can do this after work and on my days off but it seems probable that I can even do it while working considering what our tasks will be.

My plan is to continue updating this blog during my days off. I imagine I'll have lots to say after 9 straight days in the wilderness.

I think my house is going up for sale this weekend which will mean soon I will have my free time back for working on skills. There are many things I'd like to do before moving out.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New friends

I'm still too busy working on my house to work on many skills, but I wanted to give shouts out to two friends who I've added links to on my site. First, under my "Links" section, I added a link to "Practical Primitive". This is an organization headed up by former Tracker School instructor Eddie Starnater. I most recently saw Eddie at the Baltimore Bowman event. He had a tent there teaching flintknapping and the bow drill and giving out free shirts. He offers mentoring sessions which is hard to find.

I also added a new link to my "Friends" section. Matt Bukowski, a former Tracker School caretaker/intern, started a blog. He lives with my brother in D.C. I last saw him at the Baltimore Bowman event as well.

Here's what little I've done since my last post. I went to a Gun and Knife show. I bought a new back pack there that is pretty dope. I plan to use it as my "Grab n' Go" bag in case TSHTF. I have it stocked with most of my gear presently. When I get it all stocked up maybe I'll do a post about it. I also bought a nice Spyderco folding knife for $60 since I didn't have a folding knife. Finally, I bought a magnesium match to play with. It took me less than a minute to get a fire with it the first time I tried it.

As I predicted, I ended up breaking the biface I pictured in the last post. The lesson I learned was, warm up on other rock before starting on a nice piece. Instead, I tried to take important shots right of the bat.

Finally, I started playing around a little with knife throwing. I only have one knife and I don't really have a good set up to practice with, but so far I can stick several in a row sometimes. It's probably not the most practical skill, but it is fun and cool.