Dr Žiga Ogorelec co-founded Gozdovništvo – Bushcraft & Survival School Slovenia, located in one of the wildest places of Central Europe, where sufficient wild foraging and a true remoteness are still possible.
Having the privilege of living in an area which is well known for vast wilderness, bears, wolves, and lynx, Žiga developed a passion for survival challenges already at a young age. In 2009 he went with some friends as a group of young greenhorns into the wilderness, trying to live off the land for four days. Despite the initial exhaustion, cold, lack of food and proper shelter, they learned how to find enough wild food and became addicted to living in nature. Every year since then, the knowledge progressively increased and the challenges were longer, more extreme, and with less gear, leading to multi-day survival only with a knife, winter survival without sleeping bags or fire rods, survival on an island without fresh water, etc. One of Žiga’s highlights is his 15-days solo survival, where he crossed Slovenia through its wildest part (270 km) eating only what he found in the wild.
Žiga has a great passion for nature and extreme sports. As a PhD in biology, he has a deep understanding of natural processes like bioenergetics, the carrying capacity of the environment, food web dynamics, and a good basis in zoology, botany, and human physiology. His adventures have a wide variety from backcountry skiing, spearfishing, training javelin, climbing, caving and other outdoor activities. He also finished Iron Man, was the best candidate of the generation in the selection procedure for military officer school and cycled around the world (19,000 km, 5 continents, 34 countries).
However, his greatest inspiration and passion is living in the wild, where nature dictates the rules and humans are just a humble part of it. Fulfilling your daily routine by providing shelter, firewood, and edibles, exploring vast forests, observing wildlife, and landscapes give him a true feeling of being alive. His ambition is to focus on bushcraft skills and best survival practices also at a scientific level.
His philosophy is that living on the edge is necessary to develop survival thinking. Whether only with a knife or with more gear – fulfilling your daily calorie needs with wild foraging is always a challenge. He is particularly good at primitive fishing, edible plants, wildlife, shelters and friction fire, but likewise enjoys primitive pottery, making bows, atlatl, etc. Among more interesting projects was building a dugout canoe and 4-days survival rafting with it down the Kolpa River.
Years of living abroad (Germany and Sweden), 1-year long world travel with a bicycle and other expeditions enabled him to test survival skills in a variety of geographical areas and to learn the new skills by meeting many survival instructors and native peoples. Nevertheless, the core of his survival experience, knowledge and enthusiasm comes from Slovenia, from the team of his brother and two other friends, who fulfil different survival disciplines and skills, either by profession or hobbies. Besides running a survival school for 8 years, Žiga also organised many national meetings and two competitions in bushcraft skills (2018 and 2020) to promote sharing the ideas and knowledge of living in the wild. He is one of the few persons who is bringing the local knowledge (from personal experience and literature, ranging from old Yugoslavian to modern German books) of survival in Central/East Europe to the global audience.