Exploring is tough. You might come home covered in sweat, mud, bug bites, sunburn, bramble scratches, and more. That means you’re doing it right. That means you accomplished something. You found out what was out there and you survived to tell the tale. It’s all part of the adventure! Exertion means you will truly appreciate your rest later. Sore feet make food taste better. Hot sun makes even plain water taste amazing. Injuries are a badge of bravery and prowess. I wear them proudly. Not much bothers me. Still, there are steps you can take to minimize your hardship.
Some Advice about Sunlight: I have found that no matter how well I think I have applied lotion sunscreen, there are always oddly-shaped spots that are missed. I have avoided this problem by using spray-on sunscreen. That always seems to work well.
Some Advice about Mosquitoes: I have yet to find a fly repellent that works well for more than ten minutes. The worst brand I have ever worn was Bullfrog. It doesn’t seem to work at all. Off is much better. Unfortunately, bug spray dries out my skin, smells bad, and is an absolute pain to carry with me. The weight of the liquid swings back and forth in my pockets, smashing into and chafing my leg, slowly pulling my pants down. On long trips when I carry sunscreen, bug spray, and drinking water, it is just too much. I could always bring a backpack, but those only make my back sweat and slow me down. It would be worth it if they actually worked to keep the flies away, but I find that even when it keeps the flies from biting, it does not keep them from landing. They climb in my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, making it hard to breathe or see where I’m going. I have to wave my arms so much that I scare all the other animals away. Sometimes I can outrun flies, but it doesn’t take them long to find me again.
Some Advice about Horseflies: It seems that they have territories no more than 300 feet wide. If you can get past the edge of a fly’s territory, it will stop following you, though chances are that you will be walking into the territory of the next.
Some Advice about Bees and Wasps: It is absolutely untrue that they will not bother you if you do not bother them. On more than one occasion I have been walking along minding my own business when one of them flew out of nowhere at top speed, stung me, and then flew away before I could have my revenge.
Pigs, Raccoons, Skunks, and Snakes: Most animals will not mess with you and want nothing more than to put as much distance between you and them as possible. Just give them some space and you should be fine. Understand that snakes that open their mouths and turtles that growl are not in the mood to be pet. There are always rare exceptions, though. I once met an alligator still young enough to weigh less than a third what I weighed, yet that did not stop it from climbing the bank and approaching me.
Humans: Humans are insidiously dangerous creatures. You can escape back home unharmed only to find out later that you are being sued or charged with some crime. They will pretend to be friends for years, only to betray you at the worst possible moment and often have the audacity to blame you for it. They will steal not only your supplies, but use legal documents to drive you from your territory, and put up fences so you cannot return. They can rape or torture you for the fun of it, or they can kill you in the name of religion. They can injure you from unfathomable distances while you are blissfully unaware of their presence. The best thing to do upon encountering humans is to shoot on sight, but make sure they are really dead before you run away or else they will track you.
Stay safe out there!
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.