Early 2011 I got so tired of life that I decided to go hiking, to try to live off the land somewhere in Sweden not caring about its consequences. That year I started practicing primitive skills and slept in Dutch woods regularly.
June 21 of 2012 I resigned from my job, spent the last of my money on a plane ticket from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Skavsta, Sweden, and started hiking through Sweden and Finland. 5 months later, during one of the last nights in the Swedish woods, I walked to a nearby gas station to check the temperature. It was +4 degrees Celsius, so I decided to go back to my mom’s to spend the winter, then go back early spring.
In the woods I slept on the ground covered with pine needles or other debris laying around. I often used my poncho as roof, my jacket or some rotten log as pillow. Now that I was back in the Netherlands, I had the option to sleep in a king-sized bed, with a blanket and a soft pillow, in room temperature. I decided to not do it, and instead slept on the floor with the window open, using something hard as a pillow. It felt similar to sleeping in the woods, which put me at ease. Three days later I couldn’t take it anymore, I was getting bored already, and I decided to hitchhike to Germany to live in the woods there. Unfortunately Germany failed miserably and I ended up sleeping in a caravan at my sister’s in Northern Germany while I tried to hunt rabbits. A month later I decided to go back to my mom’s, in the Netherlands, because it was getting too cold.
Somewhere during these months I got in contact with Jacobi, and I decided to do something about industrial society. I helped him with a few projects related to rewilding and transcribed eco-radical texts. Later we formed the Wild Will Project. We talked about what people with our values could do.
After a few years and a separation, I found an awesome girl who had values similar to mine. We decided to live in the province of the Philippines in Negros Occidental where she grew up. We informed her family that we would come, and I sent them money to build a bamboo hut. 2 months later we got onto a ferry going from Manila, Philippines to Bacolod, Philippines with the intention of starting a business in the province.
Once we arrived I felt a relief, something fell off my shoulders, I could finally live more independently from society, catch wild animals for food, fish and collect wild edibles. The bamboo hut is quite amazing, a 12 sq/m hut on poles about 2 feet high with a 25-foot deep well nearby for water. There is an aluminum roof, plywood walls, and electricity only used to charge my phone or laptop. We do have two lightbulbs plugged into their sockets but rarely use them. We got a dog, who I later called Jack, and a rooster as a gift from my girlfriend’s mom. I went to the village nearby to buy a chicken.
A week later I learned that the location was in the middle of land used for sugarcane, and the only jungle nearby, 5 km away, was being occupied by a revolutionary group called New People’s Army, known for their violent attacks on government agencies and the military of the Philippines. Apparently my girlfriend and I had some miscommunication regarding the options for me to walk off into the jungle for a few days every now and then. But I tried to make the better of it and started to trap my food any way.
I went to the village nearby to load my phone so I could subscribe for internet, checked out YouTube for video’s on making a bamboo trap for rodents. A week later I caught a rat in 1 of the 4 traps I made. I decided to make 2-4 traps a day and placed them at the edge of an almost drained river, near patches of bamboo, where the rats were supposedly hiding. The morning after I caught 3 rats and the chicken laid her first egg. Instead of buying fish from the vendor nearby I could now provide us with meat caught with my traps and eggs from our own chicken. For the next 7-8 days I caught 3-6 rats a/day and the chicken laid eggs consistently. The dog ate leftovers from our breakfast and dinner and the chickens ate feeds bought in the village. During the initial 7-8 days of trapping for meat I realized that the only place I could get rats was in this immediate area, which was surrounded by sugarcane fields. I thought of ways to get more food and learned how to make bird traps and a snare for a chicken-like-bird known as ‘tikling’ (buff-banded rail).
A week or so later I decided to start doing my usual morning jog again, like I had done for the past 4 years. One morning I asked my girlfriend to come with me, to take a long-walk. She accepted and we ended up at a river somewhat 5 km from our hut. The river was shallow and we went in. We started collecting tiny shells for food and an hour or two later a guy called Moody introduced himself and showed us how to get crabs and shrimp out from the holes in the river. We soon collected about 2 kg of crab, shrimp, and shells. I was happy to have another way of getting food.
However, during this whole time, from realizing that I was surrounded by agriculture to collecting food from the river, I became demoralized because the area I was living wasn’t wild enough – it wasn’t wild at all, with the exception of rats, rail and birds, shrimp and fish — and big enough. I again began to dream about high mountains covered with wild trees and shrubs, broad rivers full of fish, shrimp, crab and shells, endless plains covered with grass sheltering roaming mice, and of course hitchhiking, like I had done in Scandinavia.
A few days before we went to the river, I already talked with an old friend of mine, whose father I met 3 years earlier in Manila. Her father lived in the mountain jungle on the southern islands of the Philippines called Mindanao, and when he lived in Manila for only 3 months he craved to go back to the mountain jungle. Back when I was still with my wife I contemplated about going to Mindanao, to throw away my passport and to just live the rest of my days there, in the jungle. I inquired my friend about the possibility and asked her whether or not the jungle was big enough to get lost in, or to walk there a few days without seeing anybody. She said yes, it is possible but I never pulled the trigger. I didn’t have the balls to leave my wife (I knew she didn’t want to go there).
Now I again started to dream about going there. My friend told me I could buy land in the mountain jungle for a cheap price. So I, again, had a choice; either I stay here, demoralized, or I finally go to a wild jungle. I chose the latter and informed my girlfriend. My girlfriend said she would come with me. Then I informed my friend that we would meet her father on Mindanao May 13, 2017.