The recent death of Irish adventure travel leader Ian McKeever on Mt. Kilimanjaro is deeply moving to me.
I traveled in wilderness as often as I could when I was younger. I occasionally introduced friends to these adventures and observed the beautiful transformation from fear to inner peace and freedom, and occasionally spiritual expansion. In wilderness I always felt fully alive, peaceful and happy. I’m certain Ian McKeever died happy.
Wilderness brings you in touch with eternity and mortality. Wilderness shows you what is truly important in human life, the beauty of nature, the joy of being alive. You are a small part of nature, of the universe. Human contact and cooperation, staying warm and dry with enough to eat, are all important.
Wilderness makes danger very clear, but to be encountered with knowledge and skill, not fear.
In wilderness you may interact with simpler cultures. You observe what is universally human and what is shaped by culture. The Hagen tribe of New Guinea have a genital greeting. After the initial shock you find out it is totally non-sexual, but wishing you the gift of fertility in your life.
Wilderness and adventure travel have had a profound effect on my life and values, in the way I practice my psychotherapy, and in the way I wrote my new self-help book, John Wayne and the Fierce Kuga-Kugas: A Book of Healing and Transformation.
Henry David Thoreau said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”