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Odyssey is a set of 4 varied and challenging experiences through the year for young men aged 16-19 years old, in a range of exhilarating environments, guided and mentored by two experienced and inspirational outdoorsmen Chris Packe and Fergus Drennan (aka Fergus the Forager).
We shall be learning to live skilfully on the land, live off the land, travel across the land, and seeing what is revealed to us, and about us, as we go.
WHAT IS THE ODYSSEY?
The Odyssey is perhaps the greatest adventure story of all time, 2,800 years old but still perfectly relevant today. Odysseus’ ship gets blown away to unknown lands. The stakes are high, there is treasure and danger, but it is the beginning of a journey that is the making of him. He comes back changed, defined by his own values manifesting through his own actions, no longer defined by others.
Anyone up for that? Yes please.
WHAT THE COURSE IS ABOUT
How we walk through the woods and hills is how we walk through life; let’s aim to walk well.
The mark of a man is whether he is truly taking responsibility for himself and for others. To live life fully is to accept a whole heap of trouble and joy, and to walk with it, with courage. We need the influence of hearty struggle and worthy opponents in order to grow: it is in this way that we find meaning, and a large measure of respect. In order to develop as men, we need to step into the arena, and not just spectate. The warrior spirit needs a place where it can emerge.
This programme provides such an arena for a group of adventurous young men. You shall meet yourself – when navigating yourself on long routes through the hills and woods, when surviving purely off what the land provides, when sleeping in uncivilised locations, when sat in extended solitude in wild and beautiful places, and through the playful and deep experiences you will share with your fellow men as you travel. Self-reliance, self-reflection, resilience and a growing sense of competence are qualities that shall be called on, and sharpened through their use.
4 EVENTS (15 days, with an optional reunion event):
1: GATHERING UP (14-16 April) Location: Sussex woodland
Introduce the skills well need for the year, including foraging, bushcraft, fire by friction, navigation and expedition skills, as well as establishing certain juicy reflective practices
2. VENTURING OUT (24-28 May) Location: wild environment to be confirmed (Wales perhaps)
A 5 day trip, starting with a big walk out away from civilisation, followed by the 60-hour Hunter Gatherer challenge, where we will get by relying only on our foraging, firemaking, water purification and wild cooking skills
3. JOURNEYING IN (3-6 August) Location: Dartmoor
A 4 day trip, again starting with a big walk into the wilds of Devon, followed by a 24 hour solo fast in the remote Dart Valley
4. GOING FORTH (26-28 October) Location: Sussex woodland
A culmination event, centred around an ancient ritual: the Fire Quest
5. COMING BACK (December. Optional and not included in price)
A reunion event in the cold of winter (because well be so toughened by then), to feast, catch up and reflect on the year
– £1,500 (equivalent to £100 per day) if paid up front
– £1,600 if paid in 4 fixed instalments (£500 deposit on booking, £350 on 20 March one month before first event, £325 on 20 April following first event, and £325 on 20 May before second event)
– FUNDED PLACES: If this programme appeals to you, but feels out of reach financially, then please do not turn away. I have a patron, the Spayne Lindsay Foundation, who supports my work, and we can have a conversation about how we might be able to help. Get in touch with me and we can talk about it
– Whats included: all meals (when not foraging or fasting!), accommodation, mentoring, tuition, activities, materials, group equipment
– Not included: Personal kit and travel. For the Wales and Devon events, an efficient option is for me to hire a minibus and drive the whole group. I would expect this to cost £40 per person on each occasion
OTHER IMPORTANT INFO
– In order to be able to offer a programme like this, I require the full commitment of the participating young men (and their families). In a bonded group like this, an amount of synergy is lost by an individual missing one trip, and the whole group is affected, not just the absentee; each member carries a responsibility for the wider group. Interested participants will be able to meet or speak with Chris before committing, in order to be fully informed to make the decision.
– A degree of physical fitness is required, and a mindset to take on the various challenges. We will be carrying our equipment over consecutive days, often over rough terrain. We will encounter – by design – hunger, thirst, weariness, solitude and whatever the elements put our way (as well as all the treasure that can only be found on the other side of these discomforts!)
– Similarly, this programme requires a degree of social / emotional skill, and an agreed willingness to engage in such challenges, as they come hand in hand with the physical endeavour
If you are interested in this programme, do please contact me to discuss further, using the purple Contact Mentor button at the top of the page.
This course is the big brother to Chris Packe’s Wolf Pack programme for 13-16 year olds.