Becoming Wild: Interview with Nikki van Schyndel
| December 9, 2015
What would possess a contemporary, urban young woman to throw off modern comforts to spend nineteen months in a remote rainforest living off the land?
Set in the Broughton Archipelago maze of isolated islands near northern Vancouver Island, Becoming Wild is a story of more than just survival in the pristine wilderness of BC. It is about thriving in a raw, wild environment, in the midst of harsh weather, hungry wildlife, threat of starvation and magical wondrous communion with the mysteries of this rugged Raincoast.
Nikki’s journey takes her on an adventure to develop her knowledge of BCs coastal flora and fauna and the ancient techniques of hunting and gathering. In this remote world she learns to skin bears, make clothes from cedar bark and take great joy in gobbling a fish tail whole. But her experience is so much more than the learning of primitive skills.
What struck me most about Nikki’s story is her ability to find magic and meaning in the simple challenges of living in deep connection with the wild. She is both innocent and wise, ordinary yet otherworldly. In our interview, we explored what it means to her to be a “wild woman” and her interpretation evoked my own deep longings to be at home in the natural world, as she is.