Whilst hitchhiking between Vancouver and Banff, AB, Canada, I was lucky enough to be picked up early one morning by a man named Jim. I had been camping at a small secluded spot near a town in British Columbia.
Jim was nice enough to be able to take me to the nearest town, Vernon, and buy me breakfast while we shared excellent conversation and developed the beginnings of a great friendship. A few days later I ended up staying with him for three nights in Lake Louise while I was looking for work. During that time, and on subsequent trips into the backcountry with him, I learnt a lot from a very wise, connected man.
Though I have now left Canada behind and am well into a much bigger adventure, Jim's story is one of connection to the land, and I believe what 1900 Footprints is all about.
I'd like to introduce you to Jim Wood, or Woodsy, as he is known to his friends. A larger-than-life character, Jim is well-known around town, both in Lake Louise, and in remote towns and villages of Nepal where he spends 5 months of each year.
In both places, he leads a life of life of simplicity: working to support himself a few days a week, and spending the rest of his time exploring the mountains, observing the natural history of wherever he is, helping out whomever he can and sharing his interests with everyone he meets.
When it comes to environmentalism, Jim's values closely follow the activities and beliefs of the First Nations people of North America. He grew up fascinated by their ways of life, which is how he learnt to live so close to the land; as a 16 year-old he was already surviving by himself in the wilderness for weeks at a time.
I hope to spend some more time with Jim in the future, perhaps when he visits villages in Peru.
Jim explains some of his philosophies around environmentalism and First Nations people in the following video: