At the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob daydreams of living with the jellyfish in Jellyfish Fields. He accidentally starts a fire, and a fireman runs in and turns on the hose. SpongeBob though is in the way, thus fills up with the water and falls on the fire, putting it out. Mr. Krabs asks SpongeBob why he was not concentrating, and SpongeBob explains that he wishes to live in the wild. He moves to Jellyfish Fields, and gives Patrick mayonnaise, old phone books, and his special jellyfishing net, "Ol' Reliable".
He even takes off everything he's wearing, except his shoes. SpongeBob tries to fit in with the jellyfish, but just can't get the hang of it. Meanwhile, Patrick and Sandy have a set-up picnic to try to trick SpongeBob into coming back. They eat Krabby Patties, as an attempt to bribe SpongeBob, but he resists. A crazed and heartbroken Patrick then tries to catch him with Ol' Reliable while jellyfishing, but fails when SpongeBob jumps into the jellyfish hive, where he takes to eating the jelly inside. Upon the swarm's return, SpongeBob greets them in a friendly manner, but is then repeatedly stung and chased into a cave by them. Disheartened, but not giving up yet, SpongeBob tries to sleep in a cave, using a fern as a blanket, but ultimately ends up getting covered in poison sea urchins.
Finally deciding that the wild isn't as good as he thought, SpongeBob returns to Bikini Bottom and, after seeing Sandy's Treedome and the Krusty Krab, realizes his mistake; he had a great life and friends, and gave it all up. Upon his return to the pineapple, he is greeted with a massive "Welcome Home" party, the others apparently having been expecting him. All is forgiven, SpongeBob puts his clothes back on as a favour to Squidward, and everyone group-hugs. However, the poison sea urchin bacteria spreads, and everyone except SpongeBob becomes itchy.
A scene showing SpongeBob being nearly naked was cut, though his bottom was covered, but was deleted due to nudity.
The idea for the episode may have been based on the true story of American college student Christopher McCandless, who in 1990 abandoned his school, family, and material possessions to pursue a natural, solitary life deep within the Alaskan wilderness.
This is the first time the 11 minutes is referenced. After SpongeBob leaves, Sandy says she'll give him a week to come back, but Squidward says he'll give him eleven minutes. This is a reference to approximately how long an average episode of a cartoon is which could also say that Squidward broke the fourth wall.
Squidward makes another reference to 11 minutes in the episode "Club SpongeBob" with the line "Why must every eleven minutes of my life be filled with misery?"
In the episode "Planet of the Jellyfish," there was a title card that said Eleven Minutes Later which also breaks the fourth wall in a way.
This also happens in "Missing Identity," when "Betty" says SpongeBob managed to kill 11 minutes.
When SpongeBob says "Ah, my Jellyfish brothers are returning," he looking at the screen meaning he could've been talking to the viewers thus breaking the fourth wall.
The fire extinguisher disappears after the fire is put out.
When the giant snail meows, the original captions say "Wow!".
Sandy's head is smaller than it usually is.
Sandy shouldn't have felt the Sea Urchins because she is in her underwater suit.
The jellyfish hive appears to be smaller on the outside and bigger on the inside.
The side view of the Krusty Krab when SpongeBob was walking to it was wrong, it was a long length version of the restaurant with the (KK) Logo at the end of it, and the restaurant should have been shorter.
When the fire extinguisher hits the grill, the patties are shifted significantly to the left, with one floating in mid-air in front of the cabinet. This is corrected in the next scene (right before the grill bursts into flames).
When SpongeBob went to his house he appear in the back of his house instead of the front door of his house.
In the Latin American version of this episode Patrick calls Sandy, "Sandy," despite the fact that Sandy is called "Arenita" in the Latin Spanish version