Luke has spent hours upon hours surviving out in nature, even competing three times in the Discovery Channel show, Naked and Afraid. Prior to moving to Asheville and starting Holistic Survival School, he worked as a Wilderness Therapy instructor for teens in Utah, living most of the year outdoors in tarp structures.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How Luke became interested in learning and teaching primitive skills
  • The story of Luke’s journey from teaching ninth-grade biology to appearing on Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid
  • Luke’s mission for holistic survival school and how it goes beyond simply learning primitive skills
  • Why Luke feels that knowing how to build a fire is less important than personal growth and trauma release
  • Tools and resources for those seeking to learn more about primitive skills!

Enjoyed this interview? We think you might also dig this episode with Zach Greenwald of Strength Ratio.

Show Notes

This episode is brought to you by Range Urgent Care an Asheville-based clinic that offers affordable healthcare, transparent pricing, and streamlined, friendly service. Learn more about Range Urgent Care.

*Enjoy your first month free of annual membership at Range Urgent Care. Use code ‘makingitinasheville’ at checkout. Offer valid for a limited time only.

About Luke McLaughlin

Luke is a naturalist, teacher, rewilder, mentor, survivalist, and founder of Holistic Survival School. His mission in life is to master and teach ancestral and indigenous living skills in order to help people find their balance and connection to the Natural World.

Prior to founding Holistic Survival School, Luke worked as a primitive wilderness therapy instructor in the West Desert of Utah. He also appeared on Discovery’s Channels Naked and Afraid three times, where he survived in the wild for 21-40 days.

About Holistic Survival School

Based just outside of Asheville in Wearverville, NC, Holistic Survival School (HoSS) is an educational primitive skills program that facilitates deep, Nature connection. By facilitating these connections to self, community and Nature, HoSS strives to change the hearts of people by re-establishing their lost connection with the Natural World.

Other Notes from this Episode

Naked and Afraid is a Discovery Channel reality TV show here two strangers, typically a man and a woman, work to survive together in the wilderness, completely naked. Luke appeared on the show three times.

Wilderness Therapy is a form of therapy that combines experiential education, individual and group therapy in a wilderness setting.

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a Wilderness Therapy program for teens based in Utah. Luke was an instructor here for a few years.

Earthskills Rendevous is one of the largest primitive skills gathering in the country (based in South Carolina). They offer two gatherings: River Cane Rendevous in the spring and Falling Cane Rendevous in the fall.

Seneca was a Roman stoic philosopher.

John Young – South African Writer

The Croods is a Dream Works animated movie about a pre-historic cave family that sets out explore a new landscape.

Braiding Sweetgrass (Affiliate Link) by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a book about plants and botany as seen through Native American traditions and Western scientific traditions.

Music by Commonwealth Choir

Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.

We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit