Over the past few years I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time in luxury hotels all over North America. These aren't the hotels you see in magazines or on the travel channel. These hotels are far more exciting, enlightening, and economical. This video by Sir Alastair Humphreys (he has been knighted according to my blog) is inspiring to say the least.
Microadventure Hotel from Alastair Humphreys on Vimeo.
|This photo is a screen shot taken from the Discovery Youtube Channel|
So as many of you know, Cody Lundin is an experienced survival instructor from the mountains of central Arizona. He has been guiding since the late 1980s, written two books, been involved in multitudinous television appearances, and more recently he was involved with the show "Dual Survival."
While shooting season 4 of "Dual Survival" Cody was fired by Discovery, opening up an enormous can of questions in regards to why?! Why would one of the leading survival aficionados of our time be fired from what had so-far been a highly rated survival show.
In the midst of this, Discovery aired a show to attempt to explain why Cody is no longer with the show. If you ask me, the full show isn't worth watching. It's clear that Discovery tried very hard to make Cody look bad. Here, he clearly reaches a boiling point, but you have to look at what has pushed him to it. As Cody has mentioned, he was not only pushed by his partner Joe, but also by producers who cared more about the ease of editing than actually producing a show with legit survival skills.
Via Cody's Facebook page, he made 4 public announcements to set the record straight. Although these are a bit long winded, they're a good reference if you're looking to know the true motivations of why he was fired, and the events leading up to him being fired.
On top of the statements made on his Facebook page, Cody has recently done an interview with the blog MasterWoodsman.com
I'm a big fan of MasterWoodsman.com and I believe it's one of the top blogs when it comes to wilderness survival and wilderness living skills, so hop on over and check it out!
Here's the interview
"Dual Survival Update
Unfortunately, I have been fired by Discovery Channel for differences over safety and health concerns on the show and will no longer be a part of Dual Survival.
Although I’ll miss elements of the show, what I’ll miss the most are my fans and the opportunity to teach - on a global level – life saving skills, indigenous culture, and values of integrity and respect toward our natural world.
I have received numerous letters from viewers. Many are from kids, or their parents or grandparents, describing in detail how the show has changed their lives. It has brought families together, inspired kids to go outdoors, and motivated moms and dads around the world to take that family camping trip, many for the first time. If I can use a TV show to encourage people to turn off TV and turn on nature, I have done my job.
Thank you all very much for your support over the years. Be safe and prepared, and maybe I’ll train with you in the woods some day!
Cody Lundin"- February 17, 2014
Unfortunately, flurries of season four press releases by Discovery Channel have caused unnecessary confusion. Initial press releases implied that I was returning for the entire fourth season of Dual Survival. Not true. Later releases featured quotes from a new Discovery executive producer implying that I quit the show. Not true. Further releases implied that I couldn’t “hack” the show anymore and that I was unable to handle the survival scenarios. Not only are these implications completely false, they question my professional experience, expertise and integrity in a manner that I will not tolerate.
Given the promotional approach chosen by Discovery, I am left with no choice but to speak out to defend my reputation and career as a professional survival instructor with 25 years of experience. To be clear, the implications of my involvement in, and departure from, season four of Dual Survival in the network’s public statements have been inaccurate, uncalled for, unacceptable and untrue. It’s shocking to me that Discovery would treat anyone in this manner, and I am disappointed that this media organization would put its own reputation at risk by choosing sensationalism over facts.
Discovery is well aware of the actual circumstances that led to my firing from the show – circumstances that in no way resemble the message that the network has chosen to present so far. While I have not yet felt the need to address our differences in a much larger public forum, I won’t hesitate to do so if that is what is required to protect my integrity and my career. If the network continues to put forth a narrative regarding my departure, I expect it to do so in a respectful, fact-based way that allows us to part in a professional manner that will not harm either of our future interests.
The network should be aware that programming of this nature must be produced and marketed in a responsible manner with the highest level of regard for the safety and health of the hosts, production personnel, and members of the viewing public. I have shared this message with them many times. Failure to observe this standard could have tragic consequences that, with proper precaution, can be avoided. There can be no compromise when dealing with people’s lives.
It is true that I was scheduled to shoot all episodes for season four, but as I was fired due to differences over safety and health concerns, I filmed only four shows. The shows I participated in were filmed in Sri Lanka, Oman, and Norway. Matt Graham, one of the people from “Dude, you’re screwed” was hired to replace me. As Discovery moves forward with launching the new season of Dual Survival, I hope the network will choose a different tactic for the presentation and marketing of the show that is not at my expense.
On a brighter note, my farewell post was shared more than 720,000 times on Facebook alone with thousands of supportive comments from fans. I very much appreciate the continued support and hope this letter clears up any confusion.
Stay true and never waiver.
Sincerely, Cody Lundin" April 16, 2014
This is the post after the final episode aired...
Taking the high road does not involve letting disingenuous people dump on you. I have heard that Discovery Communications and Original Media (the production company) tried their best to defame me on last night’s program, even dredging back into season three. Like herpes, just when one thinks the last boil is gone, another one appears. A cease and desist letter for defamation was sent to both companies by my attorney weeks ago. It seems this was ignored. For executives to purposely pick and edit footage out of context at my and the viewers expense, all the while knowing the real back story, is without conscience. Once again, these actions are uncalled for and have forced my hand to defend my professional reputation.
What Dual Survival fans don’t know is that last night’s “behind the scenes” episode was Discovery’s “Plan B” at attempting to explain why I am no longer on the show. “Plan A,” which I refused to participate in, is far more interesting, informative and damning to those involved.
On a positive note, I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from fans. Thousands of you have sent notes of well wishing in letters, emails, voice mails, facebook, and on my blog. Many of you expressed sadness at my parting, but were grateful for the integrity. One couple who had used my role on the show to teach their children outdoor skills is now using my termination as a teaching point to remind their kids to be true to themselves regardless of the apparent cost. Brilliant! We can all lose jobs, we can all lose friends, but if we lose our integrity and honor, we all lose. I appreciate your supporting qualities that cannot be bought.
Remember, the Light never fails!
Stay true, Cody" May 22, 2014
In this final post you can really see how fed up Cody has gotten...
I’ve recently returned from teaching survival skills in Europe. While I wish to move on from the Dual Survival debacle, ethically and professionally I need to set the record straight.
As I wrote earlier, the episode where Discovery and Original Media purposefully defamed my character in an attempt to explain my absence from the show was not their “Plan A.” Weeks after terminating me, they wanted to hire me again for the “original” behind the scenes episode. For this “Plan A” episode, a Discovery Channel executive suggested several times that I tell fans that I quit the show in order to pursue my survival school. As this was a lie, I refused to participate. I would state this under oath in a court of law.
My refusal to lie to my fan base resulted in the hodge-podge of out-of-context footage used to explain my absence. Legions of people saw through this “explanation”. Others…did not.
The real behind the scenes in Hawaii is more telling about the leadership vacuum that plagued the show. As an example, seconds earlier, the Hawaii footage would have revealed to the viewer an inexperienced, twenty-something producer repeatedly telling me to throw fire-lighting supplies over water to make things easier for editors in New York City. When I left this scene my mic was still on. The audio they used was a confidential conversation I had with another producer about repeated frustrations with this producer. This scene and the off-screen audio were between me and the problem producer, and had nothing to do with the show.
This season three producer had mismanaged previous episodes and would go on to mismanage several more. Regardless of numerous complaints from cast and crew, the executive producer at Original Media kept his friend employed. Also, stating that I was responsible for losing shoot time due to this is not true. We did lose shoot time, but this was caused by the actions of another which the entire crew witnessed.
After four seasons, 38 episodes and hundreds of hours of unaired footage, their top picks to make me look bad involve the non-show related footage of an incompetent producer, a backdoor product endorsement, laughing, and a dead Norwegian rabbit held by a crew member…..before the rabbit appears in the show? I could expose much more serious and toxic actions further cataloging a profound and chronic failure of leadership. Hopefully, this will not need to happen. This chapter needs to end.
The survival skills community is very small. Many people have suggested that Matt Graham should have been paired with me. Unfortunately, I needed to end my friendship with Matt three years ago. He chose to claim that he was my “teacher” for several courses to a company in the hopes of getting a product endorsement from them. As this company had never heard of Matt, but had known me for years, they approached me to ask if this was true. It was not. I have a zero tolerance policy with people who knowingly compromise another’s credibility and experience to promote their own. I’m sorry it turned out this way.
On a positive, many of you have expressed your support and asked if I would involve myself with more TV. I have turned down four TV shows to date. Nowadays, as all the experience one needs to get on a survival show is the ability to take off ones clothes, quality programming that integrates self-respect and professionalism is rare. If I find a network that is interested in teaching survival skills I would consider participating. I hope this statement clears a few things up. Thank you for your continued support!
Stay true, Cody" June 5, 2014
I hate that survival TV has gotten to be like this. These shows should be about featuring experienced instructors doing what they do best. That being said, I still have hope for survival or bushcraft TV. I believe that there will someday be a show that teaches some legitimate skills, but until then, read good books, learn from professional instructors, and as always, spend time in the great outdoors!
Thanks for reading!
|Definitely worth selling the jeep ;)|
I recently received an email from a mother who asked me literally one of my favorite questions.
It basically goes like this.
My son is turning 11 and is interested in the outdoors. We really want to get him something he can use in the woods for his birthday?"
First off, thank you for being a great mom, and happy early mother's day. Now, let's answer your question. Here are my top ten items to get your child (let's say, 7-13 year old) for their birthday.
I prefer to purchase these through amazon, since many local stores probably won't have them.
1. A Good Knife
I recently wrote a blog post about which knives I think suit a young man best. I'll throw a curve ball here and suggest one that I didn't mention in that post! The Mora This is the knife I took with me on my first trip to Maine. It's inexpensive, sharp, and sturdy. I also like the finger guard for the inexperienced whittler. It may have saved my index finger a couple of times during my "not so experienced" days. I used this knife daily for a full month and never had to sharpen it. It's an excellent choice, and a steal at just $9!
2. A Good Axe
The Axe is the most useful tool for heavily forested areas, but it's difficult to find a good one. Many stores will carry axes or hatchets, but they don't usually cut wood as well as they should, since most are made solely for splitting, or general utility.
This axe, made by Snow & Nealley, is definitely a keeper. It's short, lightweight, and perfect for shorter arms. When they get older, longer, and stronger, they should upgrade to a larger axe, but still keep this one around for splitting kindling and camp chores.
This stuff is awesome! What can I say? Paracord is the outdoorsman's best friend. Some prefer using different types or cordage, but paracord is the perfect item to learn with. You can also choose from a variety of colors, which kids enjoy.
4. A Tarp
Any cheap tarp will do. You can get this at most department stores, hardware stores, sporting goods stores, or online. When they become lean, mean outdoorsmen, they may want to upgrade to a nicer tarp. However, this is not an item to spend a bunch of money on. I usually just buy tarps at my local hardware store, but I'll include an amazon link in case anyone wants to go that route.
5. A Ferro Rod
The first step to becoming a great fire starter is to learn a "one match" fire. This is exactly what it sounds like. Simply starting a fire using one match.
After that, I find that the ferro rod is the next stepping stone of one's fire skills. A ferro rod (or ferrocerium rod) is often referred to on TV as a "flint," but there's absolutely no flint involved. Simply put, ferro rod is a rod composed of metals which produce extremely hot sparks. The skill of using a ferro rod is a "must learn" for any young woodsman (or woodswoman for that matter!) They're also cheap. I recomend the one pictured below, since it includes many rods for the same amount you would usually pay for just one. This is also good since young woodsmen tend to misplace these!
6. A Recurve Bow
Growing up, I had a recurve bow that never left my side. I terrorized the neighborhood squirrels, became an excellent archer, and always used it in my robin hood haloween costume. I think I was robin hood every year from 7-12...
The point is, my bow led to so many great childhood memories that I feel the need to include it in this list. This bow is perfect for the young archer, and is even capable of taking game up to about the size of a raccoon. It's also the best bow available under $50.
7. Some Cheap Arrows
I like to teach youths how to build their own arrows, which cuts down on the cost. But until then, it's good to learn how to shoot with some cheap fiberglass arrows. The reason they should be cheap is because arrows are so easily lost. They can burrow into the grass, which can sometimes hide them indefinitely.
8. Mammal Tracks & Sign
I have had this book since my early teens and it can still keep me occupied for hours. The photos are fun to look at, and the knowledge within the text is top notch. It's a bit pricey, but it's worth the almost $30. I'm actually planning to do a full blog post just on this book alone. The really special thing about books like this is that they can involve the whole family. Finding tracks across your backyard quickly turns into an enjoyable family activity.
9. Field Guide to Birds of North America
This is essentially the bird watcher's Bible. Like this book above, it's fun to look at, and the whole family will enjoy using it to identify and learn more about birds! I paid $20 for this book at barnes and noble a few years ago, and it's now at $13.65, so that's a big plus!
10. Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski
This book is the primo guide to bushcraft, and survival in the north woods. It's written by a hyper-intelligent old timer named Mors Kochanski, who understands that every good book should have a bunch of fun illustrations! For this reason, I'd probably recommend this book to anyone age 8 and up. It's so essential that many professional woodsmen use it consistently as a reference.
The mother who emailed me specifically asked about hammocks too, so I feel the need to answer that specifically. For messing around in the backyard, just get the least expensive one you can find. For camping, you'll want something with mosquito netting, like the one shown here!
I have been teaching a group of 6-13 year olds in my wilderness skills class this past semester and it has been the blessing of a lifetime. There was just one problem. Most students had knives that were great for general use, but insufficient for most camping or survival tasks.
I expected this of course, but I didn't comprehend how difficult this would make class. Because of this, I'm doing a quick write up on the knives that I would recommend for young woodsmen!
Let's get started!
First, we need to determine what qualities we're looking for.
A dull knife makes carving more difficult, and leads to injury more often than a sharp one. When someone needs to use more force then necessary, they are far more likely to compromise their safe carving technique.
A good knife has a blade that is 3-5 inches in length. This makes them short enough to wield easily, and long enough to get the job done.
Most folding knives lack the strength and stability to accomplish difficult carving tasks. For this reason I recommend a fixed blade knife. Just be sure to keep it in its sheath when it's not being used! There are also a couple of folding knives that are quite useful, which I will show you.
Even if your child is responsible, I always recommend not putting too much cash into their cutlery. After all, lots of inexpensive knives perform great!
Here are the knives that I would recommend purchasing
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
Any knife by Mora is a good knife. This one is inexpensive, and comfortable in the hand
$13.31 currently on Amazon
(click the image for more details)
Green River Knife
This is the knife that I use on a daily basis. It's also the knife that your grandpa used, and possibly his grandpa...
It's basically an old-timey hickory butcher knife.
$21.59 currently on Amazon
(click the image for more details)
This is the folding knife that I recommend. It is sharp, solid, and proven. This one also includes a small saw, which is very useful.
$18.59 currently on Amazon
(click the image for more details)
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org