For Nick Kohn, calls to self-isolate haven’t affected his daily life that much. Writing from the bushland where he lives and works, Nick wonders if us adventure-types have been preparing for a pandemic all along.
I’m currently on day three of fourteen days in self-isolation. I don’t have the virus, nor does anyone I know, but my work in a remote state forest west of Canberra keeps me cut off from most of civilisation. In fact, with COVID-19 running rampant on the outside, work doesn’t want me to leave!
We bulk purchase our food, pull water from the creek and spend long periods each day on our own. It’s not a life for everyone, but it works for me, and it’s got me thinking: aren’t adventurers perfectly equipped for a global pandemic?
A few years ago, with all of our technological progression, scientific advances, strong global economy and a higher overall standard of living than ever, the human race as a whole, were sitting pretty. No doubt, things weren’t perfect, but now we’re really getting put in our place.
In my opinion, this will probably be one of those events where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the sick get sicker and the healthy sit and pray. There’s only so much one can do to prepare for circumstances such as these, but some people are more resilient than others, and I believe adventurous people fall into this category.
1. Adventurers Spend More Time Outdoors
The average dirtbag spends plenty of time out-of-doors. This makes them hardy and efficient; they’re used to simplicity and minimalism and they unintentionally practice this each time they go out. Packing a hiking backpack and cooking a quick and nutritious meal, train skills beyond making it to the end of a hike. Now they’ll be returning from the shop with maximum beans, ready to last out the winter.
2. Dirtbags Love Type Two Fun
An inherent quality of the dirtbag is a mild-to-severe love of Type-Two Fun (also known as suffering). Adventurers froth off this peculiar type of fun which absolutely isn’t fun at all, but in retrospect is something you’d totally do again. Don’t ask them to explain it, just know that two weeks on a couch is definitely easier than five days in a snow tent and that they are ready.
3. Hunting, Gathering & Foraging Is Second Nature
Outdoorsy people usually have some knowledge about foraging. Whether this is some form of hunting or fishing, or the ability to identify edible species of fungi, berries or plants, it’s the ability to use patience and a keen eye to provide for yourself. Sure, this’ll be useful if it all goes a bit Mad Max out there, but it’s also a transferrable set of skills to your local Woolies: ‘Nah they were all out of mince, but don’t worry, there was heaps of cat food!’
4. Those Low Hygiene Standards Might Come In Handy
It’s common knowledge that the dirtbag adventurer isn’t known for their incredibly high standard of hygiene. Now I understand that this is an issue when containing the spread of a virus such as COVID-19, however, it also has its benefits.
Have you ever rocked a dangle cup off your pack or bike? Dropped your spork in the dirt and continued eating with it? Drunk water straight from the brook? Employed the ‘five-second rule’? (Also known as the ‘it still looks pretty clean and it’s my last one’ rule.) If so, your immune system is probably already significantly stronger than the average aircon-working germaphobe who’s out buying up all the toilet paper and hand sanny at the local Woolies. (What’s wrong with soap?!)
5. Adventurers Are Morale Experts
Adventurers are able to chuck on a smile and tap into genuine happiness in even the roughest of times. If you’ve crested a ridgeline in pouring rain and smiled, or kept on a grin when you came out of the backcountry to find a flat tyre, then you can cope with the rules the government’s asking us to follow.
Right now there’s a definite need to stay inside, in a bubble that we can control, but that doesn’t mean that adventurers get to relinquish their morale-boosting role. It’s time to check in on mates and family members, jump on video calls and connect with the people you’re living with (try turning off the tech for a night).
For the greater good of everyone around us, and the life that we take for granted, sacrifices need to be made, and this includes taking some time off from your outdoor pursuits.
Embrace your inner dirtbag mentality and thrive (as usual) in times and places where people don’t expect you to. Stay clean, be sensible and enjoy your time off from society.