Surviving Covid, reflecting on the past to save the present - comment

2019 was a great year for Primal Adventures and 2020 was looking even better.

A Wild in Style experience held in rural Perthshire over the summer. Picture: contributed.
A Wild in Style experience held in rural Perthshire over the summer. Picture: contributed.

Coming out of winter, the team were ready, training, developing new ideas, firing up for a great year. And then Covid happened.

We knew that Covid was a thing, it had started in China, sweeping across Europe all the way into everyday lives. We thought, “Yeah, sure a couple of people will get affected and, you know, it will be alright, it will soon go away. It's just like the flu.” Three months later, the whole country was in lockdown.

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During the initial phases there was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of panic, anger and disbelief at what was happening. Then the reality sank in that it was here to stay. To survive, our business model had to change. Primal is a company that delivers unique luxury and wilderness experiences across Scotland.

Matthew Smith, founder of Primal Adventures. Picture: John Alexander.

Our way of life started with our ancestors, who were masters of plagues and pandemics, so it seemed only natural that we investigated the past and took the learnings to help survive the present, looking at ways we could apply these basic skills in our modern world.


As time went by people became used to working from home, with many disgruntled about the constant screen time meetings. Lack of social interaction became a bit of a social norm, there was a real need for people to re-connect. Connecting with nature, connecting with family and friends, and finally connecting through amazing experiences and passing this on via technology through social media.

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We were fortunate enough to come together with some incredible businesses during the easing of lockdown in July to create a Wild in Style experience in rural Perthshire. They included Glenturret whisky, Buck & Birch, Blast Design Group, Rosset Bespoke Butlers, Falkirk Piping, Glenbervie Folk Duo and freelance photographer Angus Blackburn.

The need for connection had never been greater and was enjoyed by all. No matter how bad things get there is always something you can give thanks and be grateful for.


Since then, social distancing, lockdowns and travel restrictions have made meeting up with people practically impossible. Removing one’s basic needs to connect and come together with friends and business colleagues has always been the norm.

Like our ancestors coming together in our tribes, we felt safe and secure allowing us to collaborate together with like-minded individuals to achieve goals more easily. Community has been key in our evolution and development throughout the ages. Building a trusted community in business is no different, whether through networking or via screen time the need to keep up to date with friends and business associates is essential for survival.

Now everyone is in the same boat, the playing field has been levelled. Building strong bonds, networking and collaborating in these tough times is a sure way to ensure one’s survival.


Coming together, connecting and collaborating with like-minded people is a sure way to grow in life and in business. For our ancestors, only by coming together and feeling safe were they able to finally let their guard down and relax, hopefully with some comfort. Comfort means different things to different people.

It could be something as simple as sitting warm and dry in a forest under a makeshift shelter with a hot drink as the rain falls. Or it could be chilling in a five-star luxury castle with a few cocktails and some good company. Whatever it is, having the ability to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work or treat your family and friends to an awesome experience is a sure way to finish off the day.

Another form of comfort is stepping out of one’s comfort zone. In reflection, after 22 years in the military, I found that some of my most profound experiences was when I was uncomfortable. I didn’t enjoy it at the time but once the event was over and I was comfortable once more I would often reflect and find that it’s only when we are out of our comfort zones that we truly learn and grow.


It is not the best but one thing is for certain and that is Covid is here to stay. All we can do is give priority to what we can control within ourselves. Our own thoughts and actions, looking after ourselves physically and mentally and taking care of loved ones. There is always positivity and good out there but in these dark times we just need to look a little bit harder to find it. Keep making those connections, finding those like-minded individuals who are going to help you grow and make you and your business stronger as you collaborate together in a positive way. Ultimately, we will survive, we will get through this.

Matthew Smith, founder, Primal Adventures

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