Scrolling through Instagram I came across The Silly Swagman. I instantly DM'd him to say g'day.
I've always loved outdoor adventure content. From Steve Irwin, to Bear Grylls to ET's fishing adventures - I've watched them all.
Crocs, fishing and drinking your own urine aren't really my thing. But, watching talented, fearless people take on the wilderness and seek adventure certainly is.
Today the world of outdoor adventure is exploding.
We are no longer confined to what's shown on the big TV networks.
There are hundreds (probably thousands) of people seeking adventure and recording, editing and uploading it for me to watch from the safety and comfort of my kitchen while I fry a beautiful rump steak.
A myriad of talented outdoorsmen (and outdoorswomen) are carving their niche in the world of outdoor adventure.
And when I say 'niche', I mean 'niche'! Pick your poison - Arctic survival, Alaskan bushcraft, Indigenous foraging, big buck hunting, the list goes on.
I clicked on a video titled "Surfing massive JBay in boardies with sharks!" the other day and was confronted by a screaming American jacked up on caffeine pills. He paddled out, didn't catch a wave but broke two boards. Screaming like a lunatic the whole time.
Not for me.
Then I came across the Jolly Swagman.
Now, I had experienced this genre of outdoor adventure before (or so I thought). Chris Bamman is an Australian YouTuber with just shy of 200K subscribers. He films his overnight adventures in a variety of locations (mostly South Coast NSW).
Bamman is a very talented camper and fisherman. What sets him apart is there is no added sound and no dialogue. You hear the wind through the trees, distant birds, the engine on his tinnie or, in the evenings, a small soundsystem playing his favourite tunes. The absence of any contrived or deliberate sound makes the videos meditative. You need to watch a video to understand what I'm talking about. Here's a good place to start:
Welcome back to civilisation. I'm sorry it had to end.
Now, onto The Silly Swagman. When I came across his Instagram page I assumed he'd taken the Bamman approach and tapped into the power of silence.
Not the case.
The Silly Swagman is a philosophical soul.
He recites his own poems about how the solitude and beauty of the bush makes him feel.
He goes deep without taking himself too seriously.
There is lots of humour and self deprication. Silly by name...
The Swagman is also a fount of knowledge on bushcraft having served in the Royal Australian Infantry, he genuinely know what he's doing. From fires to camps to navigation.
The videos aren't a rush of wild energy like the surfing lunatic I mentioned earlier. They are calm, often quiet, focusing on the beauty of the Australian bush.
When I discovered The Silly Swagman I wanted to connect with him right away. I DM'd him asking if he wanted some meat for his next adventure. Of course, lockdown meant there were no adventures in the diary.
Instead, The Silly Swagman suggested a cooking show filmed in his kitchen with some McKenzie's Meats.
His cooking show turned out great with some trademark Swagman humour and some kind words about our grass-fed rump steak too. You can watch it here:
When things open up again, the Swagman and I are heading into the bush to cook some McKenzie's Meats over hot coals. I'm not a camper/adventurer/outdoorsman, I'm a watch from the comfort of home kind of guy. But, I'm up for it. I want to experience the Swagman's deep bush philosophy in person..
I'll leave you with some words from The Silly Swagman:
Some people like to make lots of money while they’re young so they can enjoy it when they’re old and comfortable.
I’m a specialist in chasing curiosities and making just enough to get by. I guess I’ll spend my later years old and sore from turning all those stones. Not rich in gold, but rich in memories and stories to tell anyone who cares to listen. I’m happy with that.
If along the way I gather enough support to continue chasing these curiosities so that I can share these stories, then that just helps make those stones a little lighter. 👍
Here's your gateway to the world of The Silly Swagman: