Looking for goods and usable items during the war often meant I got myself in some weird situations and scenarios. I knew lots of guys who risked their lives just to get to some destroyed places because they knew they could find some items that meant a lot for them personally but actually those items were useless in given situation around us at that time.
But people often act like fools and if you find yourself in a survival situation it is the perfect time to lose your life if you act like fool.
Like a friend who lost his eye just because he went to his house and searched trough a closet full of audio tapes in order to collect some of his favourite punk band titles. Not to mention that electricity in that time was something like faint memory, and he could not do anything with those tapes.
Anyway booby trap exploded, luckily he survived but he lost one of his eyes.
When you have young people or in general inexperienced people and fighting around you it is the perfect combination for some people to act like fools.
There is something in dangerous (and new) situations that makes you want to act like fool, and to do stupid things, young folks do that mostly, but it can happen to anyone, it happened to me too.
Good old „stay out of the trouble“ advice is one of the best survival lessons one can learn.
Whenever I read on survival forums threads about gangs and how during SHTF people should get organized and simply defeat them I remember how young and enthusiastic I was about that too, but luckily enthusiasm went away quickly and I survived.
The problem here is holding onto old concepts and not accepting change. One day you have law and order and you can call someone when you see trouble because it is not right, next day suddenly there is no one to call and you might feel you have to jump in to make things right.
You may find it cowardly that man wants to stay put when bad things happen around him but in reality in most of the situationz you can not do anything without huge organisation that helps you and big personal risk.
My relative was outside the country when war started, he was working for electrical company in middle east. Contract was good, and he had monthly salary there equal to 6 months salaries here at that time.
On first news about fighting and war he returned to the country to join the army and fight. Blockades and battles already started and his trip back to his town took lot of time and troubles.
He was 26 year old back then and he told me that when he entered country at a small city where he and few other guys wanted to join the fighting forces he saw that war is not like in books and movies the first time.
Military unit that welcomed them asked who they are and what they wanted, they said that they wanted to join the fighting forces. He said he expected some kind of questionary about their military experience or similar but instead of that the small unit commander asked them : „Do you want some women?“
They starred at him like idiots so he explained „We have some enemy women in prison close here, so go there if you want first“.
My relative was raised by his grandmother, he was nice kid, no cursing, no too much drinking, he said to me that shock was so big that he could not open his mouth to even say „No man!“
He told me that later he find out that fighting includes doing lots of things in order to win fight and stay alive. He went through lots of fighting, earned the reputation of a tough guy, and one day they got caught up in ambush and he was one of the few who survived.
Machine gun from close distance destroyed his legs and belly. He was removed from the country for rehabilitation, legs are still there, but only for „pictures“.
He is „glued“ to wheel chair forever, and no kids, no wife either.
He lives today in small apartment that looks at big chimney of for years closed factory, elevator is usually not working, and nobody cares to lift him up and down.
Nobody visits him too much, he is no hero, he fought for something that is now considered „ wrong and not needed war“ as they say.
Now and then I visit him in his city and that apartment, and every time I conclude two things:
First how lucky I am even with all my issues and traumas from the war compared to him, and second is that every time when I left him in his misery and bitterness I am expecting to see in few days in news something like „old war veteran in wheel chair went crazy and start to shoot from AK47 at people in street from his apartment at 6th floor.“
I asked him once why he returned to the country at the beggining of the war while at the same time thousands fled? I expected to hear something patriotic or similar, but he said „Man, at that time it was something so exciting and new!“
So just listen to first survival and most important survival lesson: Stay out of the trouble. Life is very real and it is easy to forget how brutal “real life” can be. With real life I mean life without our civilized society or just life without all support and help we take for granted.
I hope I will never have to use everything I trained for or any lesson I share with you here ever again.
Do you have examples when staying out of trouble was hard and about consequences of this? Share in comments below or forum.
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Bugging out is something that I once failed to do, because I did not even realize that it needed to be done, actually I saw what was happening but I did not „proccess“ the information in correct way, so I stay and had to go trough whole period of watching, doing, and getting hit by violence, together with being cold, hungry, sick and everything else.
Because bugging out is so important and survival done right is often not getting into survival situations in the first place I stress importance of bugging out (if you are not already live in great bug out location anyway)
Consider the following couple of mistakes that I witnessed (more than one time).
Guy figured out that SHTF, something happening in the city, hears screams outside, shots, confusing news on TV, he rounds up his family, puts all bags in his car, they are armed and they go out in order to reach their bug out location in hills some 50 miles away.
After one mile of traveling angry mob who just plundering local mall stops the car, pull them out, and beat them, and then kill the guy, he managed to kill few of them before that, but they were hundreds.
He is dead. End of story.
If you woke up in the middle of the night, because something strange happens in your town, some event, maybe terrorist attack, or martial law put into effect or whatever, sit down and think for a moment.
Your mission is to leave the area and reach your bug out location, do not confuse that mission with any urge to panically run.
If you go into the panic you will make mistakes, and it is definetly not time for mistakes.
You would be surprised to know how many people are prone to panic, and how many of them end up dead because of that.
Try to gather some information, and act acordingly to that information, who, what, when, how long, where. Try to figure out what is happening before you start to bug out to your bug out location. What are problematic areas? Who is in control? You will never have perfect information but it is better than having no information at all. Speak to neighbors, listen to the radio and TV and look on Twitter and other social media.
Yes that often means you will need to postpone your trip, maybe for hours, or sometimes for even days. You need to choose the best moment to leave the area (if you already missed to leave the area before SHTF).
SHTF and family get in their pick up, with trailer full of good equipment for SHTF time.
They managed to go some 20 miles down the road, where few cars simply „get them“, block them and take everything from them. They manage to save their lives or maybe not. Who knows.
Real problem here is not having right and good equipment, and lots of it.
Real problem is that we are being constantly bombarded with information that we (preppers and survivalists) need to have right equipment (a lot) in order to survive. Because without it we are gonna end up dead.
We are being instructed that without „things“ we are lost, we are not even right survivalists.
So when SHTF we are becoming something like prisoners of our things.
Guess what? I am preparing myself to bug out in my sneakers, with pistol and plastic bag.
If I have to I will collect everything else what I need on my way to my bug out location.
Do not get me wrong, of course I have my bug out bag, my plans, and my useful stuff for trip to my bug out location, but the point is that I am really expecting that I will find myself in situation where I need to reach bug out location without all those things.
Do not accept philosophy that things will save your life. Things will help you to stay alive, but your (correct) mindset will mainly save your life.
Anyway, plan to have what you need at your bug out location (already prepared), do not rely too much on things while you are bugging out, you need to be able to get things done with minimal equipment that’s why skills are more important than equipment and in best case you have both.
If you are bug out plan plays out excatly like it should you are a very lucky man.
Consider the fact, that most of you are making plans to cover hypothetical SHTF scenarios, that you seen on TV shows, read about it somewhere, member of family went through somewhere, or simply you had couple of bad experiences. It is normal. We need to guess and it is best we can do.
You are building your plans based on that, nothing wrong with that. Except that everything may go wrong in one moment.
You have plan to go through the city from point A to point B then to point C etc, and then to reach safe point somewhere.
All good, but SHTF and your youngest son is still in school, your car is broken, and at point B in your plan something weird is happening, some kind of riot, let say with all chaos and confusion some trucks with money are rolled over right at your point B and now you need to find out a new way quickly, and your whole plan is gone, you do not know what to do.
Welcome to reality!
Reality usually likes to blow all your good plans to pieces.
But point of planning is to COVER as many problems as you can, so make sure you play through as many scenarios as possible.
For example if you have just one way out of the city it is bad plan, it needs backup and backup of the backup.
Prepare for the fact that your plan will be wrong right at the beginning, and that you need to make new plan very soon, (and couple of more new plans until you reach your bug out location.)
Do not end up dead because you wanted to stick to your plan because it looks good, while circumstances changed hourly around you. Survival is about quickly adapting to new situations. That is why it always helps to take a map and whatever else you need to have good sources of information to make new plans on the go.
These were just few of the most important things to consider when bugging out. How do you plan to bug out. Share in comments below or forum.
The items for trade during my SHTF very often changed value, and some of them became unavailable for some period of time, just to suddenly show up again much more expensive.
Yes, situation in the city dictated that, but also people, the black market lords made this happen. The whole situation was always changing where and if you can find what you were looking for.
Some of the items that were circulating in the city were completely new to everyone, one of the reasons was that all sorts of stuff from humanitarian aid was coming to the city through different channels and from all different parts of the world.
Some of those things became popular fast, others remained completely strange for us, but all had some kind of value.
Of course practical things like MRE were very good to have. Some other things like Turkish army crackers (salt cookies, or so called „Turks“) were strange for us. Taste was awkward, thats why they had lower value, but we were starving so of course everyone would eat it and trade it.
In one period there were big amounts of some French cigarettes in the city, we called it „black tobacco“.
It was very very strong tobacco, packaged in nice small boxes, and you simply did not need too much of those daily, even if you were very passionate smoker. Simply way too strong.
Some “smart” guy smuggled this into the city and it is perfect example of successful product besides weapons and ammunition for trading.
There were many new items for us, strange new kind of rice (was much too soft), canned meat without any declaration of meat type or expiration date (we called it „sick horse“). We ate it and used grease leftovers for lamps. Sometimes there were also big metal sealed boxes with dry cookies inside – some of the boxes had expiration dates that said it was expired like 20 years ago, we called it „Vietnam war cookies“ and we ate it and trade it as well.
Of course it was always a good few days when we had some sort of food. In many other periods (most of the time) we ate much much worse things. Often soup with anything we could find that could provide some energy.
One of the items in the beginning of everything that was very interesting for me was powdered eggs.
As I can remember, we did not see that before, I mean we heard it from the stories of the old guys who survived WW2 that they used it a lot in the years after that war (and they call it Trumans eggs) because it was coming in the area as a part of humanitarian aid since everything was destroyed and folks were starving.
Those eggs were interesting for me because we loved eggs, and obviously it became impossible to have real eggs. That is why food in urban survival is just a very bad version of food in wilderness survival. Rats and pigeons and some people probably also ate all dogs and cats. That was in the later months after we were surrounded without any way out and lost all basics like power and drinking water.
One day we heard that powdered eggs can be bought from some guys who had lots of stuff taken from humanitarian aid convoy.
Violence and shootings were already happening everywhere in the city, but it was period when we still believed it was temporary. There were three of us who went there to visit these guys. One of us had pistol, but that was not much help because none of us already realized how dangerous everything had become.
It was time when the police force still existed but on the other hand other „police gangs“ started to operate and you could not say who is who, and what will happen when you run into them.
We had German money for buying the eggs, at that moment you could still buy something with (foreign) money, but you could not expect any fixed price and price of everything was completely based on what happens in the negotiation.
Guys were in apartment on second floor in apartment building that was maybe already half empty.
Man who opened door for us took us to the living room of the apartment after we told him that we want to buy some goods from him.
There were 4 more guys sitting next to table there, actually one of them was sleeping with his head on the table.
One was trying to make some kind of sandwich with dry meat using a big old bayonet, room stank like someone died there.
All of them looked pretty rough and ready for everything, three of us with one pistol looked like easy prey for them.
Man who opened door for us asked us who sent us, we said name and he said:
„Who is that? I do not know him.“
Silence was ankward, I could feel like something is crawling over my back at that moment, especially when I noticed rifles standing next to the chairs where those guys were sitting, and on the carpet under the table there was big stain that suspiciously looked like blood.
Man started to laugh and said „OK, I am kidding, I know him, just say what do you need.“
Fear that crawled over my back started to disappear slowly, but still we were like sitting ducks there.
We said what we wanted and he asked for how much money we want powdered eggs.
My cousin stupidly took his money from pocket and said how much money we have.
Guy said „Give me that!“
Few seconds there was nothing, but when other guys from the table started to stare at us, my cousin gave him the money. From one of the rooms, we herad that someone shouted „Oh you m$@#!erf!*&er“ and then sounds that someone is being beaten.
Man started to slowly count money, looking at us with smile, after he put money in his pocket and said: „Ok, you can have one box of powder for this money“
Three of us knew that we were ripped off, but I just said „OK, it is a deal, we need to go now“.
We took the box and left the apartment.
On the outside hallway we noticed one more guy who was standing there as a guard for the apartment.
When we were entering the apartment we did not even notice him.
We came home safely that time, feeling that we were scammed there was gone very soon because we realized that guys could kill us very easily if they wanted to.
Luckily at that moment they maybe did not feel like it, or what was most probable whole situation in the city had not reached level yet where they could do that easy and openly.
Everyone still thought absence of rules and law are temporary. That changed soon, people started to kill each other as a part of trade scams. Later often just out of curiosity what other guy might still hide in his pockets and did not show.
The one of us who had gun on his belt during the trade said „Oh man, I completely forgot that I had weapon with me there beceause how those guys looked“.
Then we realized it was luck too because he did not pull the gun there in the middle of everything because we would end up dead for sure. Do you see a pattern there? Yes, in post collapse so many things can go wrong and often did.
Thats why learning about survival and preparedness is most important right now. Do not delay when SHTF it comes out of nowhere. We still have registration for limited amount of students for the Survival Boot Camp open for few days if you want to get better insights into this.
I remember that trade very well because we were scared, but much more important was feelings afterwards when we all realized that feelings of „kindness“ but also „fear“ went away. That day we realized we are living in new world with new rules and acting like we did in civilized times or showing weakness can have brutal consequences.
We started to change and learn. We started to look and act like those guys during our trades, and whenever we found someone who was even harder and better at trading we also did what they did to us. We were lucky or maybe smart enough that we learned new rules very fast. There was little room for error. either you end up dead, or learn fast.
That was one of my first trades after the collapse, I traded many times later again, and I often used similar setup of intimidation like those guys there.
But there I learned for the first time few simple rules about trading like: never go to (closed) places where you do not know who to expect, how many, how well armed they are and similar stuff. Never have all your goods (or money) for trade with you, have plan what to do in case of surprises, never accept offers so easily because it can be seen as weakness, and weakness is sometimes call for problem, and many more.
And one more rule that we learned and you should never forget is to never go and risk your life because of pure „luxury items“ like that powdered eggs were for us at that moment.
Please comment below, discuss in our forum or if you act now you can still join my Survival Boot Camp before we close registrations.