Being prepared for the unexpected is what my website is all about. We’ve talked about what you should store and about becoming more self-reliant. We’ve discussed health and the evil agendas that appear to be afoot. We’ve bemoaned the ridiculous laws and the encroaching police state. We’ve made lists of what you should have, where you should live, and how you should fortify your home.
But what if you had to walk away from everything? Your food, your tools, your home, your currency – everything that you have spent years accumulating to prepare you for the worst. What if the worst is actually worse than you had imagined?
Real preparedness means that you could walk away with the clothes on your back and survive. It means that you could find a safe place to retreat to, you could put together a shelter, you could acquire food and water. It means that you possess both the skills and the mindset to keep your family as safe as possible.
I was recently on a forum where “bugging out” was being discussed. One of the people commented that if he and his family had to leave their home, they were dead. To me, that sounds defeatist, and I just can’t wrap my brain around it.
Think about this for a moment.
What if you had no option but to leave your home?
Things like chemical spills, nuclear meltdowns, confiscations, invasions, and natural disasters can occur, and if they do, your options may become: leave or die. Some folks say that they’ll die to defend their right to stay where they are, which is a valid choice. Personally, if it gets to that point, my children and I are leaving.
Bugging out is not giving up. If you can survive and live free despite every effort to the contrary, your continued existence is the ultimate form of resistance.
Your survival, if you choose to leave, becomes about two things: what you have learned and your mindset.
Skills: The Lightest Thing You Can Carry with You
What can you bring with you, wherever you go, without having to worry about the space it takes up in your bug-out bag? Without being concerned about the weight it adds as you hike ?
The things that you learn while becoming prepared are far more important than any amount of beans or band-aids that you can store. This is not to undermine the vital nature of essential supplies, however, with the right set of skills, you can still survive without them. It won’t be as easy, but it is possible.
To name a few:
- Finding water
- Treating water to make it safe to drink
- Creating a shelter from things in your environment
- Foraging for food
- Making a snare or trap
- Building a fire
- Finding your way using a compass
- Making tools
- Making weapons
- Self defense
Just having read about these things is no substitute for actually having performed the tasks before. When I first moved up to the North Woods, I blithely thought that keeping a fire going in the wood-stove would be a simple task. I was very excited about the concept of my upcoming blissful lack of dependence on the grid for my heat.
Reality stepped in and smacked me in the face when I was rarely able to keep a fire going for more than 15 minutes. The trolls, who were all born knowing how to build fires by rubbing two sticks together in the midst of an ice storm, scoffed and laughed, pointing out that this incident meant that I had no hope of survival in the future. Quite honestly, I started to wonder about it myself. After the first week of this, I was frustrated, but thankful it wasn’t really that cold yet. After the second week, I was starting to freak out a little bit. By the third week, I was quite certain that once winter had descended we would be discovered under a pile of blankets, frozen into human popsicles in our cold little cabin. Then, I figured it out. Fire happened. I learned the ins and outs, what to do if my wood was damp, and half a dozen ways to build a roaring fire in just a couple of minutes. Since then, I’ve built fires in open fireplaces, outdoors in a firepit, and even managed a little celebratory bonfire in the snow for some winter evening s’more-making.
Had this been an actual emergency that had me bugging out from the city, trying to start a campfire in the middle of the woods, we would have been in big trouble. But now, I’m fairly confident in my ability to build a fire whatever the circumstances.
I’m sharing this to explain why there is absolutely no substitute for hands-on experience. The most vital skills – those of finding water, staying warm, creating shelter, and finding food, must be practiced until you could perform them in your sleep. Books and websites are no substitute – they provide information. Practice provides skills, and your skills are the only things that you can rely on having with you when you need them.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy onFacebook and Twitter, and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org