Hands-on training is especially important now when so many people spend so much time on their computers and mobile devices—both at work and play. Just recently, Flowers says, he was teaching a group of fifth graders how to build a fire. Several children had never even lit a match before, he says.
“You can read as many books (and magazines and blog posts) as you want, but you actually have to practice,” Amber notes. (Fun fact: Amber reveals in the video that she’s just fine without a match. She always wears a necklace that has a magnesium charm that doubles as a fire starter. And that’s why she’s much smarter than a fifth grader.)
“Yeah, you see it, but when you go out and do it, you learn a lot,” Flowers agrees. Practical experience is why Joe Flowers takes his students down to South America every year. He wants them to meet people who actually live by their bushcraft rather than doing it just as a hobby. Last year, his group learned to make their own bows and arrows, and they went bow hunting. They also learned to make their own slingshots, making their own projectiles from clay balls they molded and dried.
Every year, Flowers leads a bushcraft expedition in the Amazonian forest near Leticia, Colombia, which is near the borders among Colombia, Peru, and Brazil. Back in the 1970s, Leticia was teeming with lawless narcotics traffickers. Authorities cleared the area of these bad elements years ago. It’s now a safe town of about 30,000 and a popular jumping off point for excursions to more remote areas.