Hello rewilding tribe,
My name is Alec, and as my handle states in an homage to Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael", I am very much at the beginning of this journey.
I grew up in South Carolina, where I was fortunate to have an early connection with nature through my father. It began as camping trips with my local Boy Scout troop that took me ocean kayaking along our shores, white water rafting in the Piedmont, and rock climbing in the upstate area and North Carolina. However, being the first born and lacking a rite of passage, I broke radically from the dogmatic approach of the Scouts and my Southern Baptist up-brining and became heavily entrenched in the writings of Peter Kropotkin and his views of anarcho-syndicalism and the local punk rock community. Like many, I was searching for a tribe that answered the questions I couldn't shake.
I always had a creative undercurrent that manifested as a multi-instrumental musician and writer of narrative fiction, poetry, and essays. After failing out of my first high school and then transferring to become a photo journalist in a magnet program at a different school, I was absorbed into the theatre department and struck deeply that that was my Path. I took the next year off from school and worked professionally as an actor before attending conservatory at the North Carolina School of the Arts for acting. Those four years were incredibly expansive of my instrument as a human and as an artist and I think, in many ways, was the beginning of my rewilding journey (though that vocabulary was far from my library at that point). My voice, body, emotional life, spirit, and mind were being charged and challenged every day to unlearn what society had blocked in me and to express the truth as raw, open, and honestly as I could.
I graduated with agent representation on the East and West coast and began working immediately. I relocated to New York City and spent the next four years as a professional actor and writer off-Broadway, in independent film, and on regional stages. However, as I gained more success, I felt further from why I had joined that tribe: connection to others and to something larger and more meaningful than myself alone. Around my second year in the city, I connected with a filmmaker who often took camping trips. I had my gear shipped up and dusted off and from there on began taking trains up North to sleep in the forest in any weather. I would depart Sunday after a matinee and return to the theatre for a Tuesday night performance, begrudgingly washing the smells and soil of my journey off to jump into costume. Pretty soon, I rediscovered that sense of spirit, only now it was amongst trees and friends (human and non) in the woods.
In the many odd day jobs I'd had between shows, personal training and nutritionist stuck with me the most. To liberate people from the hellish prison of out of control health habits resonated deeply and as my convictions that rediscovering our natural rhythm and place in the biosphere held the answers, I looked into forming some sort of health coaching business with this at its center. In a brainstorming session, I "came up with" the name... Rewild. However, a quick google search reminded me that there are no new ideas and I started digging deeper into what already existed in this term that felt so appropriately plucked from the collective consciousness.
This began with listening to Daniel Vitalis' podcast and for the better part of the following year, that was enough to satisfy my curiosity. However, I then heard his interview with Daniel Quinn and was immediately moved to read his books. Upon reading "Ishmael" I found that while the "ReWild Yourself" podcast had played an important introduction to some of these ideas and possible practices, it fell short of what my soul had been looking for my entire life: a reimagining of a world that could hold humans as well as it holds all other creatures. And humans that did their part to maintain that balance. Basically, a revolution that, until now, I had only felt, but not been able to succinctly express as a telepathic gorilla did. So, I dug deeper in another googling of "rewild" and found Peter's blog, ordered his book along with Miles Olson's "Unlearn, Rewild" and those now sit on my shelf to follow hot on the heels of "Story of B". I've also added James Broderick's podcast "Ancestral Health Radio" to my list to give an alternative to Daniel's. I have followed closely the critiques of this community about his work and while I agree with the majority of it, I have thrown too many babies out with the bath water in the past and now listen to it with an aptly feral grain of salt. However, I'm very grateful that my scope of information has been expanded to this forum and folks that have been at this for far longer.
I can no longer in good conscious pursue a commercial career in acting as it is far out of alignment with my values, and I am formulating how I have that conversation with an agency that has served me well for four years. Yet, I am, by spirit, an artist and a creative. I am in blatant dissonance with an urban backdrop that I only moved to for a career path that I am diverting from, and yet so many of the ones I love live here, and what is a rewilding human without their tribal connection? As, I'm sure many of you experience, I feel that this new path is an uphill battle riddled with idiosyncrasies, and I am standing at the bottom in reverence of the journey ahead and with vague notions of where I hope it lands me. However, I am glad to have found this forum, these books, and the electronic personifications of all of you at this start.
Oh. And I have a tendency to write Tolstoy-esque pieces... it's the slow rambling Southerner in me. I'm 27 and this is a screenshot into my life. For now, I mainly intend to watch and listen and as needed, ask questions.
Glad of this group,