My parents worked a lot when I was growing up. A lot. Which meant there were no fishing trips. No camping. No dirt bikes. I was raised in concrete, grinding curbs on my skateboard and spinning on my head in driveways. I guess you can say I have never shit in the woods. Then you grow up and life happens and you only see nature in the collection of Wilderness magazines purposely positioned on the glass table in your corner office, to give the impression that you’re a traveler and seek adventure. All lies.
Two years ago, I saw a video by the Wilderness Collective. Men. Dirt bikes. Fire. I put it on my bucket list. Then by chance, or the universe slapping me with a “man the fuck up” prescription, I was invited to the exact same trip for a bachelor party. I signed up.
Our cell phones were collected. Gear and boots were handed out. We were each given Honda dirt bikes. Suddenly, it was like the 80’s. Except instead of tearing up concrete all day, I was going camping. I was headed into the woods, an unfamiliar world with no reception. Something I’ve been curious about but “never had the time for” for the last thirty years. Yes, thirty years. I could sense fear and excitement. There were twelve of us. We would be together for the next four days. 300 miles. From Sequoia to Yosemite. I realized right away I packed too much for this trip, including hair product which I obviously kept a secret.
My ex-girlfriend always wanted me to connect with nature. I’m made of plastic and hard objects. I think she thought nature would humanize me, make me more spiritual, something that was lacking in my life. This trip was my official attempt at connecting. But we didn’t connect with nature. We collided. We grabbed it and danced, stepping on its shoes. Skipped dinner and made love. Rode through dirt, rocks, and rivers. Jumped off a bridge like we were in a lemonade commercial, chopped wood like lumberjacks, built fires, slept outside, and of course, shit in the woods — my answer to the camp fire question, what was your favorite part of the trip? Because that’s when it hit me. Squatting, pants around my ankles, and holding onto a shovel to balance myself. I felt earth.
There’s something about shitting in the woods that completes the dance.
Even though I’ve been on this planet for forty three years, I’ve never felt it. It has never been a part of me. We spend so much of our lives building shit. Careers. Relationships. Futures. And in doing so, we slowly drift from our foundation, the basic elements that make up our true home. This disconnect dehydrates our souls. Something about shitting in the woods connects us to nature, frees us, fuels us, and brings us back to our breath. It gives you life and reminds you that you’re a creature of this planet. Not on this planet, which is how most of us live.
I learned that the woods can be your church, the conduit into reuniting with your spirit. Or discovering it. The endless hours of trail blazing through the forest made me realize that
The world glows through dust.
I’m back in the city now. Screens. Cars. Google. I still don’t know how to build a fire or hunt animals. I still don’t know anything about hiking or climbing rocks. But it wasn’t about that. Those are learned skills. This trip was about feeling something. And how that feeling makes you feel more whole, complete, as a human, as man.
Ready to find your own sense of adventure? Come ride with us, and find your greater purpose.