|Nịnh Văn Sàu, a Sán Chỉ ethnic man in northern Móng Cái City, tends his vegetable garden. He has lived alone in the woods for eight months. — Photo nhandan.vn
HÀ NỘI — Fed up with the hustle and bustle of city life, Nịnh Văn Sàu decided to pack his bags and live closer to nature.
The 28-year-old quit his urban existence in Móng Cái City last year and moved into a forest.
For the past eight months, the Sán Chỉ ethnic man has been vlogging his daily activities, raking in thousands of followers intrigued by his ‘at one with nature’ lifestyle.
Surrounded by only trees, birdsong, rustling wind, and flowing water, Sàu has built a house, grown vegetables, raised fish, and gained practical experience on how to live alone in the wild with nothing but the elements to contend with.
He has recorded his daily activities and posted clips on YouTube, and his practical experience of survival under harsh conditions has drawn much attention, especially from youngsters.
Located 12km from the centre of Móng Cái City, Bắc Sơn is a border highland commune with mainly mountainous terrain and a sparse population. Sàu lives in the forest about three kilometres from the commune's Thán Phún Village.
Eight months ago, the 500-square-metre area was just wasteland in the middle of the forest, until Sàu asked the local government for permission to develop the area as a homestead.
The 28-year-old did multiple jobs in Việt Nam and China before realising that focusing on one career would help him settle down and find happiness.
When he returned to Việt Nam in 2019 after several years working as an electronics worker in China, he wanted to become a YouTube content creator.
Despite his family’s opposition, Sàu started making video clips specialising in forest survival skills.
He had a passion for technology and life in the wild, and the bushcraft skills to survive.
After one year of producing a series of clips on survival skills, he wanted to recreate the image of a farmer who gardened, grew vegetables and raised fish in rural life close to nature.
Since 2021, Sàu has shown his daily work in detail without dialogue in the video clips.
“I want to do more than what regular bushcrafters do. Bushcrafters mainly show off their survival skills, but I want to build my own life here in nature,” he told Nhân Dân (People) newspaper.
Sàu chopped bamboo to build a house and a kitchen, dug ponds to raise fish, brought water from local springs to drink, caught shrimps and crabs in streams, and now lives among the deserted mountains.
|Sàu sits in front of the house and the kitchen he built himself.
In the past eight months, the two jobs that took most of his time and effort were digging the pond and building the house. He said he learned the skills from his parents and other elders in the village.
“The economic life of people living in a border commune depends on agricultural production, afforestation and livestock development, so everyone masters some skills,” he said.
Initially, Sàu filmed and edited the video himself with the only phone he had, which took a lot of time, not to mention the difficulties of an unstable internet connection.
His footage on his Trai vùng cao (Highland boy) channel was well received by viewers with a high rate of subscribers and viewers. Thanks to that, his income from YouTube became more and more stable.
Sàu said the trend of returning to nature through forms such as tourism, camping and survival in nature was increasingly popular, especially due to the pandemic, environmental pollution and climate change.
Bushcraft is about survivalism, or the ability to adapt and improvise in the wilderness.
Bushcrafters must have basic skills such as foraging, hunting, finding water, building shelter and making fires. Each of these skills requires knowledge of plants and animals, as well as effective ways to harvest, such as building shelters requires knowledge of cutting down trees, gathering materials and tying knots.
They know how to use natural resources to survive, and how to combine general knowledge of plants, animals, terrain and weather with some basic manual tools.
These are all intense challenges for those who love to explore natural life and immerse themselves in nature. It helps them to be independent, confident, patient and resilient, and increases practitioners' ability to adapt to difficulties and challenges, and improves their ability to survive.
For Sàu, going into the forest is not simply about camping for a few days, but building an entirely new and peaceful life away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
He plans to implement culinary content such as wild cooking, as well as bushcraft skills, in the future to inspire the young in the way of living in nature. — VNS