Tristan is a navigator, writer and explorer. He is the only living person to have flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic and now runs a navigation school. His most recent book is ‘The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs’
1.For you, what are the joys of natural navigation?
Natural navigation gently forces you to look and think more closely and more distantly than most outdoors people ever do. It draws your focus from a few centimetres to a million miles, literally. Is the clue you need in the delicate structure of the lichen by your nose or the planet emerging from the dusk light?
2. Who have you learned your skills from?
In between ancient knowledge and modern science I have learned as much as I can from indigenous and nomadic tribal people. I have walked with the Tuareg, Bedouin and Dayak in some of the remotest regions on Earth and I never cease to be amazed by the way each group noticed details in the landscape that would pass almost all others by.
In the West this type of observation can add a richness to our lives if we choose, but in the desert or heart of Borneo, it is truly vital knowledge – it adds to a person’s quantity not just quality of life, as these skills remain fundamental to safety and survival.
3. Given the title of one of your more recent books, how do you feel we can connect more profoundly with nature and the lands we travel in?
Don’t start by considering ‘nature’ as one big bag. Instead consider your personal and most fundamental interests and then use these to find a bridge into the natural world.
If, like me, you enjoy travel and shaping journeys, then natural navigation is a great way in. But many people find food and drink more intriguing and for them foraging is a great practical way in. If the home or property stir your imagination then learn about the quality of natural materials: will your home benefit from the clean light lines of pine or the richer swirls of cherry wood, for example. Very few people are able to get through a day without thinking about the relationships in their life and nature can offer wonderful daily counsel here. Nature might not enter your thoughts in your quiet moments at first, but once you discover the connection between your passions and the natural world, then both start to together.
To find out more about Tristan, visit www.naturalnavigator.com