My Bushcraft Journey Began In Childhood And Never Stopped

My Bushcraft Journey Began In Childhood And Never Stopped

Pixie Bushcraft’s childhood love of nature led to a lifetime of foraging, forest craft and more. If you like, she can teach you.

My journey into bushcraft and wilderness awareness might have started when I was a child. I spent a lot of time being outdoors with my friends. It was a time when people seemed to worry less.

We would cruise on our bikes to a nearby lake and spend hours sitting on a branch above the waters with makeshift fishing rods. We never caught anything, but just feeding and watching the fish was exciting.

We would build dens in the woods. Sometimes on the ground, sometimes in the trees.

We would try to make a fire in our dens and cook potatoes in tin foil. They were never fully cooked, but they still tasted great… and my mother would smell the woodsmoke in my hair and still let me be.

We would run into and get lost in massive wheat fields. Have you ever eaten fresh wheat grains?

We would lie in the sun in the long grass, with the smell of hay and the buzzing of grasshoppers and crickets surrounding us.

We would go swimming in a summer rain in the lake and cycle back home in the rain. I still don’t care too much if I get wet.

When I grew older, even as a teenager I always felt at home in the outdoors. It’s a calming place, where nothing is judging you. You can just be.

But – believe it or not – when I studied Biology in university, I had a phase when I hated being outside. It wasn’t cool. I wanted to party, I wanted to go out. Phases, huh?

From volunteer ranger to bushcraft teacher

I wanted to be in research and be someone in science, but… it didn’t work out. I volunteered as a ranger in National Parks in Austria, and that’s when I realised I wanted to work outdoors with people, not machines. That’s when I truly started working towards my bushcraft journey.

Impromptu weaving in the forest. This technique can form a base for anything from decorations to functioning baskets.

I did a yearlong training course with Wildniswissen, which is based on the The Kamana Naturalist Training programme. It’s a practical course where you learn how to make fire and shelter, but it’s also a self-study course you can complete at your own pace and place. It was written by Jon Young and is well-recognized for its hands-on approach to guiding students though a multi-faceted learning experience.

The Wilderness Awareness approach is internationally recognized for its mentoring teaching style, its naturalist training expertise, and its focus on connecting students with nature, their community and themselves.

These wilderness education courses emphasize nature as a teacher. They use storytelling and the art of questioning and teach routines to enhance awareness.

Forest art: Making time to go slow and create transient art in the forest

One of my ultimate goals is that students come away with a joy and self-motivation for learning. This approach trains young people and adults to use traditional ecological knowledge blended with the benefits of modern science.

And then my world changed again when a new country beckoned to be explored, and I moved to the UK.

So I had to learn everything all over again! New names for edible plants, new names for birds and insects and trees; what a journey. Revisiting what I already knew from my botany studies as a student in a new language made me more aware about what is out there.

And when I trained as a forest school leader, I also revisited all the practical skills that I had gained with Wildniswissen. It was like reconnecting with an old friend.

These days I live in London, but I am still in awe of the pockets of wild spaces you can find in the city. You can connect to nature, even when you just walk down the road to your bus stop. It’s all around you. Birds are singing, the wind is pulling on your umbrella, raindrops are hitting your face.

Rewilding urban spaces… Pixie’s herbal garden is a haven for wildlife, and all the ‘weeds’ have their uses.

This bliss of knowing that you can be safe, no matter what your environment throws at you, is what makes you a bushcraft expert.

7 Things Bushcraft Can Teach You

  • Resilience, patience and persistence
  • Practical skills where you use your hands and body
  • Flexibility or how to just take things as they come
  • Mindfulness – being fully in the here and now
  • Thankfulness and appreciation for the little things
  • Cooperation and teamwork
  • Nature connection – joy of the outdoors

Join me at Pixie Bushcraft and Forest School

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Want to re-connect with nature?

Ready to find wilderness in the city jungle?

Need to refill your batteries?

Looking to improve your wildlife skills?

Get in touch on Facebook and we’ll follow a new path finding the wild and wonderful in London. I would love to help you discover new skills for life, and gain an even deeper understanding of your local natural world.