We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Swanson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tim, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Some folks find lots of joy when they work a job inside, on a computer, at a desk with a comfy chair. I am almost jealous of those folks as I find sitting at a computer to be the hardest thing for me to do! I want to be out in the woods, surrounded by the trees, bird songs, and tracking animals. It sounds cliché, but my work IS my life. The more I work, the more I live my passions and interests. The more I live my passions and interests, the more I get to offer in my business. Starting up Owl Eyes Wilderness Survival was what I felt like I was meant to do. I forage for wild edibles, hunt, fish, head out into the mountains for survival trips, carve spoons from wood, and make my own buckskin clothing. Why not teach this awesome stuff to folks who wish to either get into it, or deepen their connections with the land? The funny thing is, ever since I became a full time wilderness survival skills instructor, my computer time has skyrocketed. Connecting people with the local flora and fauna requires website designing, accounting, marketing, tons of emailing, uploading photos to social media, land use permission letters, creating documents, and a lot of sitting inside! As soon as the emails are done, the shoes come off and I’m miles into the woods! Finding the balance between technology and the wilderness can be hard to achieve as the more time I spend on the computer, the more classes I could potentially book. Over time, I learned to set boundaries with myself: the weekends are dedicated to teaching all day, early weekday mornings are for 8 mile runs and emails, weekday late mornings/early afternoons are for homeschool kids classes, and evenings are for me to practice my skills, hit the rock wall, carve, stretch, and of course, play with the cat! There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person’s face light up when they see a magical fire get started by rubbing two sticks together! I’m totally willing to do the “clean, inside, blue light screen work” to experience that every day.-Tim Swanson @owleyeswilderness
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Owl Eyes Wilderness Survival is a “traveling” wilderness survival school that seeks to connect folks of all ages to the landscape in hopes to protect and restore our natural world. I firmly believe that in order to see the woods as “home”, we must experience hands-on activities that lead us to see the woods as a positive and safe place to be. These activities range from shelter building, fire skills, wood carving, foraging, animal tracking, and many other skills that ALL of our ancestors participated in. Through the practice of wilderness survival skills, we learn to connect with ourselves as we discover what is truly important to us. OEWS provides judgement free learning where you are encouraged to come to a class and be who you are. We all have gifts to offer, and the most learning I have gained is through teaching folks from all backgrounds. If you are an inexperienced nature lover and would like to gain intro level skills in a fun, supportive, and informative space, check out OEWS! If you are an avid hunter who would like to deepen your survival skills and be challenged, check out OEWS! Or even if you would like to gift your child a fun birthday party they will learn a lot from, check out OEWS!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
THE WOODS!!!! When my friends visit, we usually practice archery, head out on backpacking trips, or tan deer hides. I do not eat out much as I love to cook and am usually preparing wild foods such as acorns, fiddleheads, and violets! We are always scouting cool new places to explore in nature!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To the students who ask the questions I don’t know the answers to. You push me to learn as much as I can and to be the best version of myself. Thank you!!!