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Megan Hine survivalist

Character Building

Be The Hero Of Your Own Story

Megan Hine

Our columnist, adventurer and survival expert Megan Hine, writes about making your own life into a fairy tale by owning your own story, your own character development.

‘Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you can get a story from everything you touch’ – Hans Christian Anderson

Traditionally for girls, when we’re little, we get read these fairy tales of beautiful princesses or damsels in distress being rescued by knights in shining armour or by an amorous but slightly dim prince whisking them off to a life of riches and to the ‘Happily ever after’. When I was growing up, in my imagination I was always the one doing the rescuing. It would be me, this rebellious princess, defying the rules of the magical kingdom, knives strapped to my back, scaling castle walls, fighting dragons in an explosion of fire and sparks to rescue the prince. The one thing that really bugged me was the ‘what next?’ I’d berate the unfortunate narrator of my bed time tales ‘that can’t be it, what happens after the prince gets the princess?’ I’d secretly think how dull it would be to exist in the state of ‘Happily ever after’ which evidently was so boring it wasn’t worthy of a continuation of the story.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the wilderness, the usual direction where my ramblings take us. I promise after avoiding Sleeping Beauty’s poison apple and scaling the golden locks of Rapunzel’s hair, I’ll get there eventually. In the meantime I wish to share with you a belief I have. I believe very strongly that we have the power to write our own story, or fairy tale if you prefer. Sure, we are each given a slightly different scenario to start out with, a different set of characters to engage with, different resources available for our own character to utilise. But we are then handed the pen and ink or laptop (I guess we should bring this analogy into the digital age) to shape our own lives and steer our own story.

What many of us fail to do, or forget how to, is to take ownership of these stories. We fail at times to grasp the pen and take responsibility for the splotches and smears of ink as well as the moments of beautiful calligraphy. We fail to nurture our character and berate it for not being perfect. We look to the characters of others and feel helpless and hopeless, wishing and wanting their resources; a beautiful castle, golden hair, their princess or prince. It is so easy in the modern world to inadvertently step back from being the author of our own lives and let the behaviour and actions of the characters of others dictate our path. It is oh so easy to let go of the magic that controls the carpet ride and be tossed through the turbulence, so desperately trying to stay on-board that we don’t have the focus to actually take a look around at the shimmering world below, and we’re certainly not enjoying it. In fact, chances are we haven’t even acknowledged that we’re not enjoying it, so tight are we holding on.

This is where nature (aha!) teaches us a very good lesson. A lesson in writing, in ownership and in character development. In the wilderness, being a prince/princess awaiting their knight in shining armour will get one in trouble if not render one into a deep slumber that no amount of handsome prince, princess or frog kissing will bring one back from. The author has to step up, take ownership and become the hero of their own life. This can be achieved even by the action of going for a simple walk. Did you look at the clouds as you left the house and decide to take a rain coat with you? There you go, you’ve minimised the ‘miserability’ factor, level one hero status achieved! You actively took control of the situation. Better yet is to go camping or on a longer hike – not only has camping been scientifically proven to aid reset the bodies systems but it is a great way to disconnect from the stimulation of the modern world, chill the fuck out and actually be able to take control. Life hurtles past so fast in the modern world it is hard to grab a hold. Stepping out for a few days allows the mind to calm and to re-energise and also put things into perspective. It is time for the mind to actually deal with things and file stuff away neatly rather than tossing stuff onto the heap of disorganised crap that’s mounting up in the ‘to do’ pile. With spring creeping up on us it is a great time to rub the magic lamp that is the power of google and start researching hikes, explorations and outdoor guiding companies who can take you out or teach you the skills for your future adventures. Embracing the magical healing powers of nature will help ensure your ‘Happily ever after’ is worthy of a sequel.

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