Today I went for the mandatory test to see if I’m negative or positive for COVID 19. The country is in complete lockdown, and the government requires everyone to have a negative test in order to be able to go out into the countryside. Living in a small village in the middle of nowhere in the Carpathian Mountains, not being able to go out into the bush (seeing as though not having cafes, shops, restaurants or anything else doesn’t really bother me much) would make life unbearably boring. In the video you get to see just what driving in Winter is like where I live – my commute is like doing the snowy version of the Paris Dakar. Thankfully, without traffic. You also get to see me having my nose poked – something I really hate and which I think is completely unnecessary – if inner cheeks are good enough for DNA swabs, then they should be good enough for coronavirus tests, rather than painfully invading my nasal brain cavity. I do have a lot of respect for the people who have to stand there in the freezing cold all day wearing PP equipment, giving the swab and checking the results.
The Carpathian Mountains are filled with forest but there’s one particular section which I regularly visit which somehow stops me from filming with sound. It even messes with my trail camera footage. I’ve had some strange experiences there in the past connected to the Slavonic Leshy, and it’s almost like the woods doesn’t want me to record the noises there… In this video I explain true paranormal events, true scary forest stories, which have happened to me personally – and which continue to happen. Mainly involving the spirit of the forest.
This is a trip my wife and I made up to the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia in 2017 on my BMW F650GS (“Scarlet”). I am getting so stir crazy from the continued lockdowns, quarantine and now several feet of snow that I’m pining to get back on the open road and let loose. I really miss riding my motorbike. Currently we’re not allowed to leave the borough. The last time I went up to the Tatra Mountains by bike was the end-of-season event for East Slovak Motorcycle Clubs in 2019, to the village of Ždiar. The ride back was one of the worst I’ve experienced as we had torrential rain and hurricane winds for several hours on the single lane, yet busy, roads that cross the north of the country from west to east. I recorded this footage on a Dazzne P2 adventure camera. I’ve since upgraded to an Apeman because of condensation issues, but I haven’t tried it out on the bike yet. If, like me, you’re locked down and are sick of four walls, then just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Chanting my favourite Buddhist mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, along with Om (Aum), in the Gelug style during a snowstorm in the Carpathian Mountains. Ancient Sanskrit philosophy. Throat singing.
Impure mind, speech and body become pure The jewel of enlightenment, compassion and love The lotus of wisdom Indivisibility, unmoving, that which cannot be disturbed
BTW – The title ‘Meditations in White’ is in homage to one of my favourite books as a young teen: Stephen Wright’s ‘Meditations in Green’ (because mine is set in snow whereas his was set in the jungles of Vietnam)
As a huge fan of Hinterland Studio’s The Long Dark, I decided to re-enact it in real life. Hopefully, fans of the game will get just where I’m going with this. It’s just a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun. I’d also like to give a shout out to Accurize2 as any player who can take down a charging moose with one shot from the revolver clearly learned the hard way – via Interloper. He’s also a big fan of Alone, so we’re on the same page on that one. My current gameplay sees me starting over and over again at Ash Canyon and then trying to craft all the items I need as quickly as possible (moose skin bag, wolfskin jacket, rabbit skin hat and gloves, deer skin pants and boots, survival bow and arrows), usually in Timberwolf Mountain region. And then starting again. I just love the hardcore buzz from trying to survive starting with nothing in Ash Canyon. I hope the developers keep bringing out new regions and items. The Long Dark is an open world survival game set in the harsh winter conditions of the Canadian wilderness after a post-apocalyptic event. And it’s YOLO.
There’s a world of difference between sleeping out in the wilds during Summer and Autumn, and braving the cold of Winter. A simple day hike can turn into a life-threatening situation rapidly, so it’s necessary to have the basic gear to weather a storm. In this video I give my suggestion on the basic sleeping equipment load out for a short Winter trip out into the bush. Everything from choosing a sleeping bag to how to keep yourself warm in freezing conditions.
Winter is here, and with it come freezing temperatures and snow. Icy roads, blizzards, snow drifts and white outs are all dangers you may face when driving your car. In this video I give some tips on the equipment you should be carrying in your boot or trunk which might aid you if you break down during harsh winter conditions. Sometimes, just having a few extra bits of kit can mean the difference between getting home alive, and not. I’ve spent over two decades driving on often poorly-maintained roads in remote areas of the Carpathian mountains in sometimes terrifying winter conditions.
Being self-reliant and independent is what many of us dream about. We want to escape our jobs and where we live, perhaps move to some idyllic cottage in the country and grow our own food and raise our own animals. But first there are several steps which need to be understood, and in this video I explain the 4 most important points towards becoming self-reliant. And the lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic provides an excellent opportunity to begin the process as it exposes just how precariously most of us live our daily lives.
Your diet has never been as crucial as during the present COVID pandemic. This week, the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic substantiated suggestions and findings from various medical professionals regarding the importance of Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Zinc in helping the body build up its own immunity against the coronavirus. In this video I discuss various foods which contain the different vitamins and minerals (including sodium and potassium), my opinions on the importance of meat, things you should be aware about soy products, and I give suggestions on how to improve your diet generally – from a quasi-Paleo perspective. It’s an eating regime I’ve followed for over 20 years. A low carb diet which helps you lose weight – the diet of our ancestors. Plus, I chop wood. I also identify the negative effects of soy and tofu.
Choosing the right ax is often a difficult decision to make. A good axe can be a big investment – but it can also serve you well for many years. After more than two decades of using various types of ax at my house in a remote village in the Carpathian Mountains of East Slovakia, in this video I try to pass on some useful tips for those unsure of what type of ax to choose. Some of the ax types I show may also be of interest for veteran ax users, especially those in the US as they may be scarcer over there. I cover hatchets, camp axes, brick axes, valaška, felling axes, splitting axes, throwing axes, Scandinavian bushcraft axes, and a mysterious bearded goosewing ax. while it’s snowing. Besides, I’d rather be outside in my garden in the middle of nowhere in the snow talking about axes than stuck inside during lockdown… especially after 10 days of quarantine due to having COVID.