Mahdi's Bushcraft & Self-Reliance
Enjoy nature but leave no trace
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About me

I was born in the south of the Netherlands and spent most of my youth in a small village,  close to the Belgian border, surrounded by fields and huges forests and woodlands.
Being out in the nature was normal daily practice where I didn't have to think about.

At the age of 13 and 14 I went on summercamp in the far south of the Netherlands where I first found flint and drank water from a small well near a river. These summercamps were organized by a Scout Troop to support children from poor families who couldn't go on vacation. Memories about these camps are still fresh and would later influence choices I made in life.

Around the age of 20, I wanted to live in the big city so I moved Amsterdam. At that time I didn't realize that I left behind what I would later miss the most..
In Amsterdam I've had several jobs like Nursing, Security, Dutch Railways, public City Transport and right now at Law Enforcement. 
I've also done my Military Service in the Dutch Army.


In 1993 I joined a the Novastoshnah Scout Troop and became an Explorer leader. Explorers is the age group from 14 till 18 years old.
I did my basic leadership training, camp training and the Gilwell Woodbadge training.
The reason why I joined Scouting was because I still had good memories from the youth camps organize bij Scout leaders. I wanted to pass this good experience on to other young people and give the the same good time as I had in my youth.

Unfortunately the Novastoshnah Scout Troop died in 2000 because we couldn't get enough volonteers as leaders. I remained a Scouter and worked in projects for the National Bureau. At the moment I'm still a National Volonteer and qualified Explorer Scout leader.

I've also been asked to do several School Camps. I organized these School Camps in a Scout-like style which was very succesfull! (At least that's what the kids and the teachers told me..)

What I liked most in Scouting, School Camps and even during my Military Service, were the more primitive and basic activities in the woods.
I seased all my activities during the few years after my divorce in 2004, but later I picked up the basic activities again.
Just a few years ago I found out on internet that there was a name for it: "Bushcraft".

So that's how I became a Bushcrafter. I started to make my own videos on YouTube and entered a big community of Bushcrafters world wide. I got many new friends and I've even visited some of them abroad.
I'm happy to see that the interest in Bushcraft is slowly growing in the Netherlands and also several Scout Troups have introduced it into their programm.

In the Netherlands we don't have a lot of nature and finding even a small piece of woodland is very difficult, especially around big cities like Amsterdam.
Every day I wonder why i ever wanted to live in this city. Yes, Amsterdam is beautiful and you can find everything you want except the quietness of the woods that a Bushcrafter needs.


Here I put some of the most common questions and answers:


Q: Do you organize Bushcraft trainings and/or camps?

A: No, I don't see myself as an expert. But if anybody, alone or in a group, would like to join me for one or more days, I will be happy to pass on all the skills and everything I know.


Q: In most of your videos you wear military camo outfit. Why?

A: There are a few reasons. First of all it's because military outfit is much cheaper than other outdoor clothes and the quality is perfect. My complete outfit costs less than a pair of outdoor trousers from Fjalräven. 
Secondly I think this camo is perfect to blend in with the woodland envirement.
And last but not least I don't really want to be seen by other people. Many things like leaving the paths in the woods, wild camping and making fire are illegal in Holland so it's better not to be seen..


Q: So, when you're bushcrafting, you're doing illegal stuff?

A: Yes, if you interprete the laws and rule too literarely.

But laws and rules are made for a reason and the most important reason is that many people don't know their resposibility.
When I make a fire in the woods, it's just a small fire to prepare my food and/or to keep warm. I will never cut living trees, make a bonfire and let the woods burn down or other stupid things like that. I do all my things in a responsible and a cautious way.
So even when a Forester will find me, I don't expect that he will give me a fine when he sees how I do my things.
M
y choice for stealth camping is also to prevent people from following me in what I do without the proper knowledge and Bushcraft mentality.

Q: Who are your biggest examples to follow in Bushcraft.

A: Pffff, hard to say. I like Dave Canterbury, Cody Landin, John (Lofty) Wiseman, the author of the SAS Survival Guide, Ray Mears and several others. But know that I do not only follow the experts with big names. I'm always learning and I even learn from the youngest newbie's in Bushcraft. Sometimes they even open my eyes for things I overlook.

I case you have more questions, please ask  and I'll try to answer them.

Mahdi Vrielink


  www.youtube.com/user/mahdivrielink