Jungle Survival Journal — Pre-Trip: Kili is dead, long live the Jungle!


My badass adventure goal this year was to climb Kili. Mount Kilimanjaro. Yup.

Can supposedly be done by people who are not mountaineers, by people who just have a decent fitness level (heck, I have read of an 8-yr old climbing it with his parents, of disabled veterans without legs, and a grandmother in her 90s reaching the peak).

It’s out of my comfort zone (actually, I don’t even like mountains), and it’s far away from home, on a continent I have only visited a few times, and it’s sort of cool.

It made The List last year, and then got postponed because of a family trip. So, it went back on The List for this year, with detailed, timeline targets for what to research, who to contact, how to train. But, for the past few months, I have been missing almost every target I set for myself in terms of prep, reading guidebooks, booking flights.

I finally admit it to myself: I’m not excited about Kili. So, I decide to call it off: no point in doing this if it doesn’t excite me. I don’t think it’s fear (that may be part of it, but not all of it). I’m just not excited. The whole reason I picked Kili is because I thought it would be badass. Bring the spark back. The butterflies. The slightly manic giggle at the thought of doing something that cool. But it’s just not happening.


I look at Cody Lundin’s courses again (the barefoot hippie guy on the Dual Survivor show – I took one of his desert survival courses a few years ago, and it was awesome). His course offerings are good. But I’ve already done the trip I’m most interested in. — Mors Kochansky offers a course in Canada in July, but it’s more of a meetup where other people teach and he’ll come in for a class or two. Outside of Jasper Natl Park in the Canadian Rockies. Love the area. But the timing sucks because I have to go on a business trip the week after. And while it’s cool, it’s not super exciting either. Of course, it’s Mors. The Mickey Mantle of Survival in the Boreal Forest. The guy who coined the phrase “the more you know, the less you carry.” He invented the Roycroft pack that we learned to build in Cody’s class. So yeah, definitely interesting, but not exactly butterfly inducing.


Then I do a random google search for jungle survival courses. I have done that before. A bunch of times. But this time I must have picked different terms or something, because all of a sudden, a website comes up that unleashes a whole swarm of butterflies. Holy Shit! This is exactly what I have been looking for! For years! Okay, it’s not on the Amazon, but we can let that go. A Jungle survival class, like Cody’s, but in the jungle; they teach you jungle survival skills for the first few days and then you’re out there on your own. Super cool! I immediately start watching and reading their testimonials. Yup. That sounds exciting. And the internal smile is there!! The spark, the ooooohhhhh and the smile. Something’s dancing inside me as I read about the trip.

That course has my name all over it: A Jungle Survival class in Guyana, 7 days of training, then 3 days of isolation, just you and your machete in the jungle. That’s what I’m doing! I’m just not sure if there is enough time for me to prepare for the August class. I mean, that’s only 7 weeks away!


One of the testimonials links to a Conde Nast article written by a British professor who took the trip last year, with her husband. She’s in her forties. Hmmm, I figure, if she can do it, I can do it. I ferret out her email address and ask her for a skype call. We eventually connect and she fills me in on all the pros and cons of dry vs rainy season, food, bugs, physical challenges. I ask her lots of questions, such as what she wished she had brought, and what she had wished she had left home.

In the meantime, I check the Bushmaster’s Facebook page and see that they have a contest where you can win a seat on the August trip. Cool. Chances of winning are probably only slightly better than playing the lottery, but it’s easy enough: all I have to do is like their post and comment.

They say the winner will be chosen on July 1. Not sure if it’s a random drawing or based on demographics, number of FB friends, or whatever. I hold off on asking question about the trip, figuring that if it’s not random and I show that I’m interested, they won’t pick me (I mean, why pick a paying customer for a free seat, right?). I can wait to ask questions while I debate whether or not to sign up for the course!


Click here to find the full list of posts: My Jungle Adventure