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The Correct Way To Gain A Deeper View Of The Wild Places You Travel Through

By Paul Kirtley

Many wild habitats are unique and quite localised. The wisdom to survive there requires expert, local knowledge.

This is certainly the case with most hunter-gatherers. They cannot just move anywhere and remain as hunter-gatherers. Their knowledge of how to sustain themselves from the land is irreducibly connected to the land from which they sustain themselves.

Even in larger, more widely recognized habitats like rainforest, savannah, temperate or boreal forest, there's a great amount of loval adaptation, both in foliage and local terrain.

However well you know the common species which populate a selected habitat, getting familiar with your way around a particular area of wild country requires that you build up a mental map of the area and, over the course of time the local knowledge that goes with this.

From a purely survival-oriented perspective you need to know where are the animal trails, the migration routes? Where do particular species of animal like to feed? Where is the best fishing? Where do particular species of useful trees and wild food plants grow?

Wherever you go, the people who know the land best are the local people. These are the folks that have spent time on the land, in the forests and on the water.

However good your general bushcraft and survival talents are, there's always value in gaining the local viewpoint.

Better still , gain discernment from aboriginal people, whose folk have lived near to the land since time immemorial. Gaining aboriginal insight is priceless.

So it is when finding out about particular environments, you need to endeavour to incorporate the native perspective.

The interaction needed to gain this viewpoint goes way past the classic superficial traveller experience. As an independent visitor, I have watched this superficiality from Scandinavia to Africa to Australia. Most visitors just don't want to know very much detail about indigenous cultures. They would like to take a photograph and push on.

If you would like to know more, this will be stupendously maddening. If you'd like to know as much as humanly possible, need to soak up the local information and the indigenous culture, you generally have to work much more to reach your goal.

As a result, we look to our native hosts to provide a view of their world which is both detailed and honest. We stay with them and we work to their schedule.

This effort is well worth it, however as it imbues us with a view of the land, the terrain, the trees, the plants, the animals - the very nature of the country we are travelling amongst - that we would otherwise simply not obtain.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Saturday, November 17, 2012

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