When I tell stories about my time in the wild, people often look at me like I’m a little crazy.
by Nicole Apelian
(Editor’s note: I met Nicole Apelian at the 2019 Flintlock Two gathering in Arkansas and attended two of her classes. She is the real deal.)
When they hear about how I ate sea lice for food, or how I ran into a bear, or how lions circled around my tent, it’s natural that they ask me what I enjoy about that.
I get it!
Objectively, most my stories aren’t the ideal “vacation” scene most people dream of…but there is a reason why I do what I do, and I want to explain.
First off, I don’t love the taste of sea lice. And I don’t like suffering for the sake of suffering. Most probably agree with me on that! But inevitably, I will experience suffering again. I will be hungry in the forest and not know where my next meal is going to come from. ’ll probably run into a wild animal that could eat me if it wanted to. And who knows what else might happen.
So the question is…Why do I keep putting myself in these situations? It’s a hard question to answer, but let me try to explain.
There are some things in life that are pleasurable in the moment like eating a delicious dessert. But there are other things in life that are ONLY truly enjoyable in hindsight.
When you go through uncomfortable situations like being cold, being scared, being hungry etc., they aren’t always “fun”. But six months later when you’re sitting in the comfort of your home and think back on the experience, there is an indescribable feeling of joy that comes over you.
That feeling of joy and pleasure and accomplishment is so beautiful that I’m willing to deal with great discomfort so I can experience the joy that comes from knowing I got to participate in the wild. And that’s why I can tell you that the greatest joys in life are made even better by experiencing discomfort to get them.
I truthfully would have to write another book to capture everything I want to say about this, but this is a taste of why I am OK with discomfort.
A lot of people like to avoid the things that make them uncomfortable…but some of the best things in my life have come from going through discomfort and sometimes even pain, and then coming out the other side stronger than before. It is unbelievably rewarding to be able to walk in the woods and know how to survive.
That’s part of why I’m offering a brand new plant course soon.
I want to give you that feeling of security and accomplishment. I think you’re going to LOVE it!
Dr. Nicole Apelian is a biologist, anthropologist, mother, educator, researcher, author, expeditionary leader, safari guide, herbalist and traditional skills instructor. A leader in the field of transformative nature education, Nicole is excited to share her knowledge and expertise of nature connection, indigenous knowledge, natural wellness and survival skills with the world.
Nicole was also a challenger on the second season of History Channel’s TV series “Alone”. She thrived in the wilderness totally solo for 57 days with little more than her knife and her wits! Learn about Nicole’s experience on the show here.
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