B1 Intermediate 35 Folder Collection
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Somewhere in the land that'll one day be known as the state of Washington, a woman
wearing furs and buckskins carves rudimentary knives out of flint and bone, and uses them
to skin a deer she's just taken down with a home-made bow and arrow.
The deer is butchered, its meat salted for safe keeping, and its skin tanned into fine
leather – perfect for being sewed into clothing, or as the walls for a simple shelter.
This is the world of Lynx Vilden, and while this may seem like a throwback to the stone
age, it's actually happening right now in 2020.
You probably have a lot of questions, that's understandable.
Not everyone decides to abandon their lives in the so-called civilized world, and live
like a literal cave-man in the woods, but Lynx Vilden isn't one of those people.
Nobody could argue that modern life doesn't come with its own set of unique pressures
and anxieties – from bills and mortgages, to navigating the murky world of social situations
and romance.
Couple that with the looming threats of societal unrest, disease, political strife, and climate
change, and you begin to understand why living off the grid might hold some appeal.
Lynx Vilden – a 54-year-old, half-British, half-Swedish expat from the UK, whose real
name is still a mystery – was one of the first to decide that the 21st Century really
just wasn't for her.
And this is understandable when you consider the context – Lynx grew up in London during
the 1970s and 1980s, one of the most crowded and oppressive cities in the English-speaking
world – which Lynx herself largely remembers for its “concrete and dismal grey.”
Some areas of London have such low air quality that just living there is equivalent to smoking
a cigarette every day.
In other words: If you're into clean living, one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution
probably isn't the place for you.
She spent time with the indigenous Sami reindeer herders in her ancestral home of Sweden, and
found a kind of spiritual awakening in 1989 with her first sweat lodge ceremony.
After the ceremony, Lynx claimed that she suddenly realised she needed to return to
the earth, and learn the old ways.
This little spark of spiritual inspiration ended up dictating the entire course of the
rest of her life.
In the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, many years later, she climbs the rocks with calloused
hands and makeshift leather boots tanned from scratch.
When she reaches a vantage point, she stares out over the surrounding forests and searches
for a clearing.
When she finds one, she climbs down from the rocky grabs and gathers her supplies.
She knows she'll need to gather firewood if she wants to stay warm tonight, but that's
fine.
It's trees as far as the eyes can see - and with her trusty flint knife, even the thickest
branches can be sawn off eventually.
She's never felt so alive.
That's why Lynx travelled to the wilds of North America.
She floated from place to place, not surviving, but really living.
She'd lived in a Native American-style tepee on the dusty plains of Arizona, acclimating
herself to the dry and unforgiving desert heart.
She'd spent time in the states of Montana and New Mexico, with a roof of only stars
until she mastered the art of yurt-building.
She'd gather branches from the forest to create a kind of skeleton for supporting and
shaping tanned animal hides - perfect for keeping out water and maintaining a decent
temperature.
She assembled the branches and hides into a kind of squat dome.
Cosy, but with plenty of space for her light assortment of supplies.
She felt more at home there than she ever did inside a building made of bricks and mortar.
It's important to remember that Lynx isn't just a masochist or a hardcore survivalist,
everything she does has a unique philosophy.
Lynx isn't preparing for doomsday – as far as she's concerned, doomsday might as
well have happened twenty years ago.
Her journey into the wild was more about learning to truly thrive in nature, rather than just
enduring it after developed civilisation ceases to be viable.
Lynx's way of life is designed for someone who wants to live like a stone-age human,
not someone forced into the position by a world-ending catastrophe.
She'd spent days building a kayak from wood and hide.
It was trial and error, mostly, with phases of experimenting, sinking, and waterproofing,
but that's fine.
Lynx doesn't see nature as an enemy that needs to be conquered, but a friend she wants
to grow closer to.
When the kayak finally works, she paddles out onto the open river and lets it guide
her.
Out there, away from everything and everyone, she truly understands her place in the world
- and that place isn't smog, crime, and a gruelling nine to five rat race.
In a strange new world where her survival depends entirely on her own actions, she's
finally found an authentic sense of peace.
It's a feeling so special she wants to give it to everyone.
Lynx was granted a golden opportunity to spread her way of life after the death of her mother
left her with a generous inheritance.
Rather than using the money as an excuse to abandon her Palaeolithic lifestyle, she saw
it as a means to take it up a notch, and expand her tribe.
Lynx bought a five-acre plot of land around twelve miles outside the town of Twisp in
Okanogan County, North Central Washington.
Twisp is a small, secluded community buried in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, with
a population smaller than a thousand people.
It may not have been the Arizona desert, but it was still a far-cry from the dense, overpopulated
nightmare of London, so it suited Lynx's needs just fine.
Lynx's plot of land is slightly more modern than her previous nomadic existence – with
running water and a working power outlet, thanks to some solar panels installed by the
land's previous owner.
Lynx's base of operations is a large log cabin which she uses intermittently for storage,
and even then, she only lights it with primitive, home-made tallow candles.
She also prefers to drink water she's collected from the Columbia River rather than the running
water from the faucet, and doesn't even sleep in the cabin herself.
Even though she could, in theory, indulge in the comforts of a futon, she instead sleeps
in a more basic settlement – another hand-made yurt she's constructed deeper in the woods.
Even when given the resources to live in basic comfort, Lynx remains committed to her lifestyle
choices.
Her true passion, however, was teaching, hoping to guide others to that same revelation she
had in the sweat lodge ceremony decades ago.
Her teaching mission began with the Four Seasons Prehistoric Projects, a series of outings
across North America wherein Lynx tried to train eager apprentices in her carefully cultivated
wilderness living skills.
The first major project – known as the Kootenai River Mountain Project – began in 2001,
in the Northwestern Plateau of North America.
It was the trial run of what Lynx would later refer to as the “Stone Age Living Series”,
where recruits would spend two months in a stone age-style camp and subsist off the surrounding
land.
After this first camp was a resounding success, Lynx began making it a regular thing.
Later, in the Fall of 2003, Lynx arranged a bow-hunting experience in Western Montana
with the Yaak River Hunter-Gatherer Project.
During this project, Lynx and her small team of volunteers strengthened their hunting skills
by constructing bows and arrows from scratch and hunting the local wildlife.
However, due to unexpected rain and the inexperience of the people involved as bow hunters, the
project was called off early due to malnutrition risks.
Lynx later jokingly referred to this incident as the “Starvation Project”, but she wasn't
dissuaded from her stone age living cause.
In 2004, Lynx and another group of volunteers – all eager to escape the boredom and anxieties
of modern life – returned to Kootenai River, this time with the intention of learning more
about boat crafting and general river transportation.
With the help of a local from British Columbia, Lynx and her team managed to learn the secret
of making rudimentary canoes for travelling down the Kootenai from Canada to Montana.
Nobody starved, and the team managed to paddle an impressive seventy miles, so this project
was a success.
In 2005, Lynx experienced another major life change after divorcing her partner, with whom
she'd had a daughter.
This new emancipation inspired both a move out of Montana, and a new project dubbed “Nomad
Summer” out in New Mexico.
In this three-month session, Lynx and her team travelled across the New Mexico wilderness,
slaughtering buffalo, making buckskin clothes, hunting, gathering, and fishing.
Lynx was becoming a more consummate wilderness survivor with every project, and passing her
growing knowledge along to others in the process.
After that, the projects became more ambitious, and their names became stranger and more mystical:
Peace Creek in 2007, Mystic Mountain in 2009, and Sawtooth Ridge in 2010.
Lynx and the team sharpened their hunting and survival skills throughout, as well as
their abilities to build clothes and shelters from the natural resources around them, all
without using technology available to anyone beyond the Neolithic period.
Much like Lynx's time in the sweat lodge ceremony, many of her recruits felt as though
they'd lost some inherent connection with themselves and the earth as part of the modern
world.
Recruits have described Lynx's projects as being as much of a spiritual lesson as
a practical one.
People undergoing divorces or bereavement also seem to be an intriguingly frequent type
of customer, who – much like Lynx herself during the Nomad Summer – feel the need
to know themselves as individuals again, as well as reinforcing their connection to the
natural world around them.
Overall, the kinds of people who attend Lynx's projects are fascinatingly diverse – from
whole families with children as young as eight, to disaffected middle-aged businessmen, to
“elders” in their late seventies and early eighties.
Getting to spend some time off the grid apparently has universal appeal.
The only thing that Lynx claims unites her clients is a strong sense of motivation and
a deep desire to better understand nature and themselves, though people under eighteen
aren't allowed to join without parental supervision.
This is largely because Lynx's lifestyle can be extremely physically and mentally demanding
to first-timers who aren't used to it.
Lynx's projects became even more frequent in the 2010s, now that she'd developed her
skills in everything from making fires from scratch to hardcore mountaineering.
These projects include White Clouds in 2011, Hidden Lakes in 2012, Inward Journey in 2013,
Smoky Mountains in 2014, and finally Twisp River in 2015, where Lynx's current long-term
settlement is based.
After 2011, the Four Seasons Prehistoric Project became the Living Wild School – Lynx's
organisation devoted solely to passing on the knowledge and virtues of her naturalistic
lifestyle to others.
Through her over twenty years living in the wilderness, and teaching others to do the
same, Lynx has learned a broad range of interesting survivalist skills.
These skills include making fires and shelters from scratch, a recognition of edible and
medicinal plants and animals, hunting, trapping, fishing, tool construction, clothes-making,
horseback riding, cooking, pottery, and more.
People who've attended Lynx's intensive, months-long classes have nothing but praise,
citing the experience as life-changing.
One participant summed up the general feeling after attending the 2007 expedition, saying,
“It doesn't get much better than this.”
Lynx Vilden continues to provide these classes to this day, offering the opportunity to be
part of her Living Wild experience for as little as a two-hundred-dollar damage deposit.
In an age where modern life has left many feeling trapped in an inescapable box of routine
and work obligation, it's easy to see the appeal of Lynx's off-the-grid lifestyle.
Many would probably at least consider trading the long-term anxieties of mortgages, education,
and bills for the more immediate stresses of gathering or capturing the next meal.
Maybe Lynx is the smart one, getting away from it all.
Though we should probably remind you that there's no Wi-Fi in the wilderness, so you
wouldn't be able to watch new videos from The Infographics Show.
So, is it really worth the trouble?
Thanks for watching.
Check out “Surviving 72 Hours In The Forest Alone (CHALLENGE & EXPERIMENT)” and “What
You Should Do To Survive In The Wilderness” for more fascinating tips, tricks, and stories
about living off the beaten track.
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Person Who Lives 200,000 Years in the Past

35 Folder Collection
Summer published on August 14, 2020
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