This week, I step away from my Skype interview setup to head out into the urban wild with Los Angeles-based survivalist (and National Geographic Doomsday Preppers alum) Christopher Nyerges, who has taught wild food foraging, wilderness skills, and ecology awareness to nature-starved urbanites for the past five decades. Christopher was the editor of the former Wilderness Way magazine, and is also a prolific writer, having authored thousands of articles and more than 20 books on the skills of self-reliance, including How to Survive Anywhere, Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, Foraging California, and Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in the City.
In many ways, that latter title could serve as the theme of his life's work, as I learned in this forthright conversation with Christopher about our societal obsession with money, his School of Self-Reliance, and what’s driven him to live a (some might say, though I wouldn’t) radically spartan, even off-grid existence in a city where materialism seems to know no bounds. I also got a literal taste of Christopher’s vast wild food knowledge, thanks to the accompanying edible plant walk he took me on in Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park.
Here’s the breakdown of the show:
- My edible wild plant walk with Christopher, and how to avoid poisonous plants
- His experience being homeless and living as a squatter in LA
- Christopher’s wilderness/survival classes
- “Food was sacred”: Growing up not wasting anything in a family of six kids
- Why Christopher chose the path of minimalism
- Writing Extreme Simplicity and living off-grid for 20 years in the Highland Park neighborhood of LA
- Modern-world clutter versus owning things that have purpose
- Christopher’s thoughts on the apocalypse
- Bukowski and death: “[My] focus on death isn’t about death; it’s about life”
- The four illusions of money
- What we can learn from tribal peoples about functioning as a communal society
- Christopher’s thoughts on the future of cities
If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!