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Becoming Wild: Living the Primitive Life on a West Coast Island

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Nikki van Schyndel is not your typical grizzled survivalist. She is a contemporary, urban young woman who threw off modern comforts to spend nineteen months in a remote rainforest with her housecat and a virtual stranger. Set in the Broughton Archipelagoa maze of isolated islands near northern Vancouver IslandBecoming Wild is a story of survival in the pristine wilderness ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Caitlin Press Inc.
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  136 ratings  ·  23 reviews


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Story Circle Book Reviews
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A fisherman gave Nikki van Schyndel some advice about following her dream to survive in the wild without modern day conveniences: "If you can find funny in the things most people complain about, you'll always be happy," he said.

It was the best advice the writer could have received, as she and a male partner had stranded themselves with a cat on a small island in the Broughton Archipelago off the coast of Alaska--and everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. At various times, the two humans f
...more
Andrea Paterson
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
I saw the author of this book speak at a recent conference and was completely hooked by her story of living in the wild and her demonstration of making fire with a bow drill. I have to admit that I just ordered a whole pile of books on local flora and fauna. Her memoir of her 18 months living with one other human and a feral cat in the bush was quite astounding and alluringly told. This is not just a story about the nitty gritty of survival. It's also about the soul and about a lost connection w ...more
Linda
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. It was a well crafted memoir of an amazing experience of living in the wild of British Columbia's west coast.

It gave me a peek at a remote community (Echo Bay) and wilderness survival. Just reading Nikkis prose made my mind more quiet. Now when I walk through parks in the city - I notice the flora more and take more interest in the natural fauna (such as eagles, heron's and other native birds of my area).

Anyone interested in wilderness survival, nature and the wilds of British Colum
...more
Neill Smith
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Becoming Wild tells the story of Nikki Van Schyndel's search for life in the wilderness of the Broughton Archipelago north of Vancouver Island with her friend, Micah. She prepared with wilderness courses, reading, and experimenting with a life in the wild but the realities of being in the wilderness, hunting, fishing, beachcombing, scavenging in the woods and on the beaches and on the ocean, scrounging for materials for tools led her to become what she both wanted and needed to be to survive in ...more
Christy
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick
May 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fast read. Written in an ADHD a lot of coffee drinking way. A lot of exaggerations, such as stating she could identify a plant by driving down a road at 70 MPH.

Contradictions abound by the constant humoring of being a city person and can barely function in a forest (see the plant comment).

Killing bears in a questionably humane way, questioning the legality. Catching fish and smoking it. Don’t see the need to burn so much energy smoking fish when they could go to the water and catch one anytime.
...more
Randy
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A dozen years or so ago an attractive young woman gave my wife and I a tour of some rural property that a land trust was attempting to acquire. She was teaching at a survival school on the property. Deep in the woods she showed us a shelter she had built by scraping an indentation in the dirt and then covering it with branches, sticks and mud. She told us she had spent five nights in the shelter. I was both appalled and impressed. But, as it turned out, that was nothing compared to what Nikki Va ...more
D
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Pass. Or rather, I wish I had. I found myself too curious about the nitty gritty details and ended up reading it to the end. The vaguely christian, explicitly new age approach just takes over the whole book. The serendipity, the platitudes, the it-must-be-destiny, the animism, was all pretty overwhelming and had me doubting the recollection of events. The writing isn't great and the dialogue felt forced. And the fact that she ends up owning her own eco business has me doubting things as well. Pe ...more
Colleen
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Readable, but I was appalled by some of the needlessly life-threatening chances they took. There were many times when they almost died from lack of preparation and knowledge. Her weird flaky spiritual beliefs and unbelievable stories about the supernatural and dreams she had turned me off.
Natasha
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book and was inspired by her story.
Grazyna Nawrocka
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful writing? The book read as easy, and had feeling of a fairy tale. I'll be missing it.

I worked in school in Indian Reserve. Many people there were completely confused and lost as to further education of children. They did not want their children to read books. They wanted them to be hunters and trappers, and were angry with the system.

Very strangely, the author is obviously of native origin, but was not equipped with all this traditional skills and knowledge. I still cannot beli
...more
Nowick
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Being still is about melting into your surroundings. It’s not vacuous staring. That creates boredom. It’s about shifting from a mundane mindset to one of wonderment. Enjoyable stillness comes from expanding one’s awareness and finding excitement and interest in even the smallest happenings."

"The pattern of blaming others for nature's crisis will continue until each of us feels a soulful connection to the wild world. With this profound understanding we will make informed decisions about how to c
...more
Olga
May 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
ok, jāatzīst, ka tas nebija tas, ko es biju gaidījusi. Biju domājusi, ka tas būs vairāk par puslīdz komfortablu dzīvošanu prom no pilsētas, bet te bija full-on izdzīvošana uz nosalšanas vai bada robežas.

Par izdzīvošanu runājot, autores uzvedība brīžiem bija bezatbildīga, piemēram, neapgūstot makšķerēšanas iemaņas, lai gan dzīvoja ūdeņu tuvumā un tas bija viens no pārtikas avotiem, ogu lasīšana blakus lāčiem, nezināmu sēņu ēšana (atstājot "pirmsnāves vēstuli"). Manai gaumei te bija par daudz botā
...more
Sue
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A very interesting read about a young woman and a friend who choose to live off the land in a remote area of BC. Eating wild food, using plant medicinals, trapping and killing a bear and building their own shelter, the two did something very few of us could ever do ( or perhaps ever want to do ). Their's is a story of resilience and good planning.
...more
Lael
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was enjoying this jaunty read until the third botched killing of an animal and then I was not.
Barb Kelownagurl
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always love books about living off the land and/or wilderness survival. If you enjoy the show "Alone", you might like this book. ...more
Patsey
Feb 15, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017
What an adventurer you are Nikki! This fraidy cat, only-in-my-dreams armchair explorer applauds and admires you. You made me think about consumption and waste, jealousy and desire, what I am doing to the planet and how I can be better and "good". I wish I could tag along with your mom and Sherri on their next trip to Echo Bay. Dreams are good too! ...more
Clewchuk
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the story of Nikki's travels to remote places and her ways of surviving and eventually thriving there.
The writing is simplistic and I would have liked a little more detail in certain parts of the book, but I did overall enjoy the book. It did make me wish to learn more about what she is doing now, and how she has continued on with her life. The vague description of the very last life events begs a little more explanation. Perhaps I will have to visit one of her eco-tours and see for my
...more
Unit of Raine
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I was afraid this was going to be like "Wild", but no, Nikki is skilled and knows what she is doing.
I am in awe of her skills with herbs, tracking, and intuition. I really appreciated her use of Kwak'wala, which is alluded to in my favorite book of all time (I heard the owl call my name), but never really used. And, of course, I'd love to explore the Broughtons.
...more
Peter
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting. a bit too much like Grizzly Man

Interesting how someone can live off the land but a few more practicalities of these 2 years would have made for a slightly more interesting read.
Elizabeth
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting true story of a woman who abandons all the amenities of the modern world to live "primitive" on an isolated island off BC's West Coast. Poignant in its illustration of just how much our once all encompassing connection to (and care for) the natural world has faded. ...more
Lee Roversi
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
this book was loaned to my by my son-in-law, who, along with my daughter, met this author in british columbia this summer. she is remarkable and her story is as well.
Jeff Day
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book.
Evalina Zamana
rated it it was ok
Dec 18, 2016
William Wingerak
rated it it was amazing
Jul 14, 2014
Terri Skulsky
rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2014
Pavel
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2018
Sean Godwin
rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2015
Miro
rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2015
Carol Verdolivo
rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2020
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