Adventure, Amazon rainforest, Homeschooling, Our story

Bold, Brave and Unafraid

IMG_2692I get a lot of questions about our choice to lead the life we do. One of the biggest topics that comes up is safety. Living in the jungle, far from any other settlement is mystifying and frankly scary to many, many people. When I think about keeping my daughter safe there are a few subheadings that come to mind:

-wildlife (plants, animals and insects alike)
-accidents (’cause life happens!)
-humans (not going into details, but we all know that these are the most dangerous kind of animals!)
-mental (coping with anxiety and fears either factual of imaginary)
-media/cyber safety (not a huge issue yet as I’m always with her when she views a screen)
-city/town specific issues (not an everyday occurrence but still needs addressing)

First topic is of most interest to folks out there. Lets face it most of the world has moved to the city, the burbs or live in a village for a reason. More people, less foliage and a relatively clean walking surface means far fewer dangers from the wild. We live close to the forest and have not cleared a 10 meter radius around our house. Apart from being crazy how do we keep safe? Firstly, education and observation: we have found out about the ones to stay away from and we are always vigilant. No daydreaming through the woods! Secondly, I have researched anti-venom and treatments (and no sucking on a snake bite is not one of them.) I keep on hand essential oils and an indigenous root found right here. We also have the phone numbers of several truck drivers that can bring us to town in the case of an emergency._DSC6133

As for bumps, bruises, lacerations, breaks, concussions or illness in general well you can’t plan ahead for everything right? Seriously though, my first aid skills are extensive. My kit rivals that of most clinics. Most importantly we are as careful as possible. We treat tools with respect, and not as toys. I also encourage my daughter to climb and jump and run. Sounds crazy right? What if I said that it teaches her her limits and well, how to fall. So that when she does, and she will she has learnt to protect herself. We also take care of our general health. We eat balanced meals made from scratch, limiting our intake of chemical additives. Our best defense in prevention: with herbs, extracts and food as medicine we ward off disease. Helping to develop remedies for a number of ailments has allowed me to learn what to use if ever we should have a need.IMG_8569

The third sub-heading is the trickiest: humans. As a species we are not cool to each other (some are fantastic and some should not exist). The strategy I use to deal with this situation is I trust her instincts. If she does not want to talk, hug or kiss someone she does not have to. I ask her if she wants to and I tell her it is ok that she doesn’t. I teach her the next level of consent that she is in charge of her body and that no one, not even her parents, can do something she isn’t comfortable with. As a final precaution she will be taught self-defense.

The next item that I’ve pondered is mental health and stability. Some of this I’m still working on myself, I have a short fuse and I express a full spectrum of emotions. I’m hoping that if I may not be able to model appropriately 100% of the time (let’s face it who can?) that I will be honest and do things like apologize when I am wrong. I am always highly empathic towards my girl. I check in with her feelings and strive to widen her vocabulary so she can express herself. I am present and in support of her emotional development talking her through tough stuff like disappointment and rejection. I know too that being in the wildness will actually be one of the best opportunities for her have a balance emotional well-being.IMG_8576

My second to last heading on the list is about media and internet related security. I spoke about our habits in my last blog but I would like to address the need be conscious of what we watch and listen to. When my daughter was around 2 yrs old she started to experience movies. My way to protect her, shall we say, innocence
was ideally to pre-screen or at least gauge her reaction to ensure that the content was appropriate. What will not happen is for her to have her own device be it phone, tablet or computer until she is well in her teens—that’s my plan anyways. Later in life (thanfully this parenting comes in stages and we don’t have to master it all at once!), cyber safety will need to be tackled.

What in the world does street smarts have to do with jungle living? Well, we’re not that isolated and we do go into to town. When my daughter started to walk she held my hand or went in her stroller when she tired. When she outgrew her stroller and wanted to run things got complicated. We got to town monthly to stock up. This means we have a short amount of time to load up. I would be carrying bags in both hands while I jogged beside her! Well she got faster and I couldn’t always keep up. My child who grew up scaling trees and avoiding snakes had no idea about cars and traffic lights. We figured it out pretty quickly.IMG_5662

So far so good is our status quo. Along with prepareness and vigilence we’ll continue to navigate the scary creatures made of flesh, scales, exo-skeletons, urticant hairs or metal!💜

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