Mick Dodge is known as the Barefoot Sensei, the Walking Mountain or the Barefoot Nomad. He also spent six years of his life as a Marine, but decided to leave modern society behind to live in the Hoh Rain Forest. He isn’t a mountain man survivalist, mind you; he has some accoutrements of the modern world, like a cellphone and a home, but he tries as much as possible to barter for what he needs, avoids currency as much as possible, and tries to spend as much time in the forest as he can. His story is simple, straightforward, and dare I say inspiring? This is the story of the killing machine that became a hippie.
The Barefoot Sensei
The reason Dodge left for a simpler, more natural lifestyle was because he was having excruciating pain in his feet and back. Compounding this, he says that he used walking and running as a means to alleviate the stresses of daily life. He ditched the shoes with the 9 to 5 and went to the mountains to heal. Since then, he feels much better, but for safety’s sake, he sometimes has to wear buffalo hide boots when the weather is too frigid. He found out he had to do that after he almost lost a couple of toes because of frostbite.
He’s Even a TV Star
National Geographic have documented Dodge’s unique lifestyle in a series named ‘The Legend of Mick Dodge’, which follows him on the mountain as he lives off the land, and scavenges and sources food items from nature. He admits to the show being scripted in the sense that the director tells him what to do in some cases and editing does take some things that happen out of context, but overall, what the viewers see is pretty close to the truth.
Why No Shoes?
The feet have tons of nerve endings and small bones, and are also extremely sensitive. Mick believes that by not wearing shoes, you are forced to be more in-tune to the underfoot textures and the hazards that you will want to spot and avoid. It creates a much more intuitive connection with the earth and nature. He said that it has also cured him of the pain in his back and feet that he used to have when he used to wear shoes. There are many people that live off the land that believe in Mick’s shoeless philosophy, also.
As I said above, Mick isn’t completely cut off from society. He works with an organization that promotes a healthy, natural lifestyle and Mick conducts what is called an Earth Gym. Mick stashes gym equipment around the forest and as he ventures through with his group, they exercise, in addition to the exercise they get from the hiking and trekking through the forest. In turn, the company pays for Mick’s lodgings in the forest.
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Mick has lived like this for close to 25 years and claims his home to be the Hoh Rain Forest. He finds what he needs from nature, yet does not completely write off society because of this. He understands that civilization is always too close to completely detach from. Would you like to live like Mick? Let me know in the comment section below.