About Luke

Your journey begins here…

Luke McLaughlin is a teacher, mentor, and naturalist. Luke currently works as a Wilderness Therapy guide in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has committed his life to mastering and teaching indigenous living skills and is especially interested in brain tanning and primitive fire. Luke combines his non-judgmental approach with his humor to create a place where everyone can learn regardless of their skill level.   Luke is available for personal survival classes. Contact Luke at Holisticsurvivalschool@gmail.com

ac8a5972“For as long as I could remember I had always lived for others.  I did what society told me to do: get good grades, play sports, go to college etc.  However, my heart always told me to live a different life. My heart wanted to be in Nature and to live a deeper and more authentic existence.  Finally, after 25 years of living for others I decided to live for myself, drop out of grad school, move out West, and become a mountain man.  Although my journey and vision for myself has changed over time, I still strive to find a way to be more connected to nature, myself, and others everyday. In my journey toward wholeness, I have combined my love for teaching and nature to start the Holistic Survival School (HSS).

HSS offers survival classes that not only focus on the physical skills required to “survive” in the wilderness, but also the deeper spiritual insight that these skills and attitudes can offer. These ancient lessons have been at the core of our ancestry and it is our birthright to learn them.  With this more integrated view of survival, we are better able to see the beauty and interconnectedness of all things.

I hope you join me in this journey.”


Luke’s Passion

Hello, and welcome to my passion. My name is Luke McLaughlin and I am the founder of the Holistic Survival School.  I have started this school to fulfill my passion in life, helping people finding wholeness by connecting to nature.  I have so much to share with everyone and I hope that I can connect with you in some way.  Join me in my journey in understanding how to live a more harmonious life with the natural world.


Most schools come to nature in a fear-based, oppositional mind-set. They see “us” separate from nature, and believe we must overcome the wilderness in order to enjoy it.  To them, “SURVIVAL!” is fighting against the natural world with an anthropocentric mindset; “the world is here for humans to use”. Furthermore, most survival schools focus on physical skills exclusively, while they fail to connect those skills with the bigger picture of our lives, society, and our spirit.

I believe that there is a bigger and more important type of survival that we as a society must experience if we wish to continue as a species:The survival of the spirit.

It is important to know how to start a fire with sticks, but what’s the point? How does it relate us back to nature and show us how to heal the world and ourselves?  Holistic Survival School takes a more comprehensive approach on how nature can help us bring wholeness into our world. Tom Brown Jr., one of the most influential naturalists of the modern era, was taught tracking and nature awareness starting at age 8 by an Apache elder named Grandfather. With each physical skill, Grandfather taught Tom the accompanying lesson of the spirit. In his book The Art and Science of Tracking,  Tom talks about the importance of  of the physical and spiritual realm.

“Over the years I have come to realize the importance of all physical skills in the philosophy of living as one with the Earth. It was not just the skills of tracking and awareness that are important, but also the skills of survival….

As the sacred, religious skills were for the survival of the spirit, the physical skills were for the survival of the flesh. One could not exist without the other, for both were considered to be scared gifts from the Creator.”

-Tom Brown Jr.

It is our birthright to live in harmony with nature, but it is easy to forget that humans have lived a much longer existence in harmony with nature than in our current sate of disharmony, imbalance, and destruction. Ed McGaa, Eagle man makes a beautiful but ominous conclusion as to what will happen if we do not begin to change our ways:

“[One] might ask, as I do, what it takes to inject a sense of urgency into this country.  Do we have to tear a whole in the sky before we wake up?  Well, we’ve done it. Do we have to see the life giving rain be turned so acidic that it kills fish and trees and endangers human health? Well, we’ve done it.  Do we have to watch the great seas rise, inundate our coastlines, and disrupt agricultural patterns through global warming? Well, we’re doing it. Do we have to see the great Rhine River run with a current of death caused by a disastrous chemical spill? Well, we’ve seen it. Does cancer have to rise up like a modern plague because of radon and toxins? Well, we’ve seen it. Do the clouds of Chernobyl have to spew radioactivity around the globe for us to declare enough is enough?What does it take to inject a sense of urgency? What does it take to wake up world governments to the global environmental threat?  Can we not see that the miner’s canary is dying- that we must save the earth if we are to save ourselves?”

-Ed McGaa, Eagle Man

We are killing ourselves by killing the planet, and we are killing the planet by killing ourselves.How can we save the earth/ourselves?  It sounds like an impossible task, especially with such huge issues at hand such as climate change, nuclear waste spills and societies seemingly acceptance of such issues.  However, I believe that true change starts within individual people, and eventually accumulates to create greater change in the world.  People who wish to restore their connection with nature will find that there is no real seperation between “I” and “nature”.  When we realize the interconnectedness between “us” and the “natural world”, we can begin healing. Chogyam Trungpa, preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism gives us a glimpse on that interconnectedness that we have lost.

“When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven and earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment or how to rule their world-which is saying the same thing. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time that they destroy one another. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal world.”

– Chogyam Trungpa

We can save the Earth and ourselves by connecting to the phenomenal world.  Once we as individuals begin to connect to nature the illusion of separateness falls away, and we realize that caring for ourselves and caring for the natural world (other people, ecology etc.) are the same thing.  This is where Holistic Survival comes in.  For those people who want to see a change in their personal lives, their relationships, and their world, we offer ways to restore our relationship with the natural world.

Connect with Holistic Survival and begin to be the change you wish to see in yourself and in the world.

That is our journey