What Do You Think…?

Thinking

You have probably noticed I am trying to write more often these days, and also improve a little the SHTF School website.

I enjoy writing, but instead of an article, today I am going to ask you a question. What is it you would like to see/read about here?

If you have questions, or suggested article topics I’d like to hear them. Also is there anything I can add to the site? Would you like to hear podcasts or see videos? If so, what about…?

Here is your chance to tell me what you like or want to hear about…

Let me know in the comments below.

Under The Bridge…

under-the-bridge

 

After maybe 6 months of horrible violence in the city, and life without enough food, water, electricity… after months of shelling, shooting, screaming and crying and simply after months of collecting wood for fire, plugging holes in my (what’s left of) roof, I “stumbled” upon on piece of normal life.

Through some contacts of mine, I managed to meet some guys from some kind of international force.

I need to mention here, in the war time there were all kind of strangers in the city, going in and out, through smugglers routes or with rare international convoys.

Some of them were UN forces, other were mercenaries, spies, or simply folks who want to earn money in bad and weird times.

Anyway, one evening I met these guys from Spain. Three big guys with even bigger smiles on their faces. Actually they stated they are from Spain, we did not care even if they came from the moon as long as they were of some use to us…

I was with two relatives, Spanish guys knew some English language and we knew some, and we wave with our hands a lot as an addition in communication.

They wanted to know whey they can find drugs and women, just like most of the outsiders wanted, together with what they called “war souvenirs”, weapons of war and stuff, interesting to them, or I guess exotic to them, flags with blood, knives, personalized weapons etc.

They had small assault rifles that they carried under their jackets, pretty fancy for us in that time, but what caught my attention was a small portable walkman on one of the guys belt and headphones around his neck.

I asked him ‘can I take that for a second and check?’ and he said sure.

I put headphones on my ears, started the machine and when music started I just had to sit down.

It was so powerful to me in that moment that I kinda lost it, I was like drugged.

I was sitting down and listened to the whole song, while Spanish guys looked at me, I guess to them I looked like some savage who never saw a walkman before.

They could not get it…

There I was, dirty and smelly, I could feel my toes in boots are sticky because water get in, I had weird rash on my neck, hand made cigarette smell like hell… but I sat, smiling like an idiot…

Music brought me back all that I have lost in last 6 months, it brought me peace of mind for a moment, memories of normal life, cafes and girls, the beach and fun.

Somehow I forgot all that in only 6 months time, and turned myself to surviving mode only, which was not bad, but in the same time, I lost part of me.

Few days before I met Spanish guys, one of my friends gets killed, he find himself in the open during sudden shelling.

He panicked, and gets frozen behind some telegraph pole, instead of jumping behind wall of ruined house few meters from that spot.

Piece of shell gets half of his head almost with surgical precision, upper half. Scary sight.

And that morning before we met Spanish guys we were (already) making fun out of his death, I said something like “can you believe that idiot tried to take cover behind a pole, like this is a cartoon”? and we laughed like idiots and drink.

I had no emotions about his death.

After we end up with deal with Spanish guys we went home, and I felt like I am gonna cry. Because stupid death of my friend, because I want to listen music not to shoot, because I guess music reminds me on normal times and fact that I HAVE to be sorry because death of my friend, not to make fun of it.

And in the same time I was angry on myself how one song can turn me into sissy.

Later I had the same feeling when I found whole bunch of books and brought them home to burn on the fire, and took one and started to read.

Funny thing.

Point is that no matter how bad situation is, you just need to have some connection with “normal” otherwise you’ll simply turn yourself into animal.

It can be a book, it can be guitar and music, or simply chatting with friends – no matter how hard S. hit the fan.

Do not forget that you are human and you need to have and express emotions, or simply you may burn out.

Today I heard that song on the car radio, and it brings me back to those times and feelings, and I sat down and wrote this post without too much thinking.

It was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Under the bridge” song.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going it Alone… Some Things To Consider.

wolf

 

In one of my recent posts I wrote (answering one reader’s question) about perspectives of surviving SHTF between being alone in urban settings or being in wilderness settings and similar, and just like always, I concluded that it is very hard to survive alone when SHTF especially in urban settings.

I’ve written numerous posts about advantage of having a trusted group when SHTF.

Still I get questions about how to actually survive alone when SHTF, or how to be lone wolf. So it make sense to write a post about it.

Yes, people managed to survive alone when SHTF, but in much lower percentage and at much higher price (and effort).

So, based on the my experiences, of what I saw, and what kind of folks  survived alone (and how). Here’s some advice for all you lone wolves out there:

 

Mental Strength – Having A Cause

 

Being alone in hard times gives you much more chances to find yourself without emotional or psychological support when you need it.

SHTF situation will have huge impact on your mental state, your emotional strength, and since you are going to be alone, you will lack that everyday small and big support from your family and friends in group.

Do not underestimate the effect of this. If you forget, over time you may well just turn into an animal, or simply get yourself in a state where you going to make some basic mistake and end up dead.

I was in group during my SHTF, and I had support from other family members, but still I had moments when I had doubts about everything, when I was so deep down that I could not see and sense and reason to move on, I had my own method for coping with that, together with support from close family and friends.

What you can do if you are alone?

Find yourself a cause and purpose in the chaos that will unfold around you.

If you are believer, a religious man (or woman) you may have an advantage here, that can give you strength and sense in everything.

Other things help also, be sure to find out what helps in your case before SHTF, because remember – you are going to be alone with your fears and doubts.

I knew a man who was alone during the SHTF, and he wrote everyday a journal about things that happened around him , he told me later that he started with that without any plan, over some time it became almost ‘sense of everything’, to carefully monitor all what happening and to preserve it in written form. 

 

Mobility

 

I already mention that if you are planning to be alone when SHTF you need to be mobile, very much, what does that mean?

It means that you need to be ready to move more, in any case , much more then if you had a group.

Acquiring information, getting resources, scouting etc etc it all come to you only, you are everything in your survival circle.

That can change lot of things.

For example how much firepower you can have alone in defending your home against invaders, let’s say against 15 invaders?

It simply mean that there is much more chance that you can not defend your home because you are one man, that equals that there is much more chance that you ll be forced to leave (run) from your home.

All that means is that you must be ready to have more. More then one shelter, more than one secret stash with ammo, weapon, food, etc more then one option for almost everything.

You need more options because you are alone.

It is simple- lone wolf needs to pay attention on same things just like any other group of survivalist, but much more and much deeper. Because you will pay for your mistakes much higher, and usually only once and you are gone.

 

Skills

 

Every survivalist need to have certain skills, group or no group. Lone wolf survivalist need to have skills to, but again on a much deeper level.

He needs to be expert in at least one (Relevant) field.  As a lone wolf you’ll be forced (especially in prolonged SHTF) to form some kind of alliances to get stuff, or simply you’ll be forced to join (for shorter or longer period) to some group.

When all you other „valuables“ are gone (and you have more chances for it to be gone because you are alone) you will have that precious skill as a bartering value. Your skill will be much more important to you because you are alone.

Choose today, before SHTF, some skill that you feel and find best suits you and learn everything about it.

Think about weapon repairing, gardening, medical skill, herbal knowledge…

Become a real master in it.

One more thing about being alone and skills. Simple fact that you are alone asks from you much more effort and skills then having trusted friends or group, and it goes like that for every aspect of survival.

It take much more time to gather firewood, start fire and prepare food for you alone, than if two or three men do that. Not to mention how many skills have three men combined together comparing to one survivalist.

Let me give you example, and it is real life experience based, if two survivalist travel through urban area and decide to spent night or few hours resting in some ruin it is easy more or less, they choose building, check it,and take rest with one man on watch.

If you travel alone, you will look for building, you will do that with more effort, it will take more time, you will look for a bit different type of building because there is one defender (you), you will have to make some traps (warning or killing) which will take more time, and you’ll sleep with „one eye open“ and so on…

As I said, both examples are from my experience and my SHTF. Being alone is not impossible, it simply requires more effort and skills.

 

Other People and You

 

You are lone wolf, but you will be forced to deal with other folks, that is for sure. You will come in situation to cooperate with other people, or to trust to other people.

My survival philosophy when it comes to urban survival is that urban SHTF means more people, and more people means more problems, because you’ll have to deal with people more or less in order to survive.

That „dealing with other people“ when you are lone wolf is much more dangerous then dealing with them while you are in group.

It is simply because you are more vulnerable, less protected.

For example if you are going to trade deal it is much more dangerous for you alone to make safe trade setup, as opposed to having you and two more group members with you.

With that in mind you come to the point where you may conclude that you’ll be forced much more to avoid people because you are lone wolf. It is simply safer like that.

There is reason why most of the lone wolves who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people.

 

Aftermath and Consequences

 

Again let me explain through my experience and my example.

I survived SHTF.

I have PTSD for years, which drives my mind everywhere, from thoughts of ‘reasons for still being on this world’ up to the thoughts of writing the book.

I can say that I am pretty much not capable of living normal everyday life, I cannot stand crowded places, in nice cafes I look for possible exits… in exchange for this pain I am completely sure and ready for another SHTF.

But again that does not give me ease of living normal life, simply I have lost that ability long time ago because I went through SHTF.

I forgot names of people, or streets or places, I even sometimes forget when exactly my kid is born.

But I remember so clear how grown up people cried before they died, gaping wounds and blood that always gave me „how much blood is there“ thoughts, smell of building on fire, crackling noise of fire and glowing that mesmerized me.

And I remember much worse things, they are carved in my brain…

I am all that and I remember all that, even though I had support through my group of family members. We cared about each other, about mental state of each one of us.

I feel sorry for lone wolf survivalist who will survive SHTF, he is going to be mess.

There is reason why most of lone wolfs who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people before and have terrible time with the aftermath after…

As you might conclude up to now, there is no magic formula about how to survive alone when SHTF.

Rules of survival are mostly same like being in group, but much harder or sharper in a way, with much less margins for error…

 

*Toby Comments* – Selco raises a REALLY important point today about the ‘aftermath’.

So many of us are focused on surviving bad times, but we have to think, what ‘price’ will that journey cost?

One of the reasons we do so many of our physical courses in the Balkans is to clearly show people the ‘aftermath’ of such events. Even now, 25 years after the war, you will see people, ‘regular’ people, just wandering in the streets and the towns, still clearly struggling with what they went through. It is ‘normal’ in this area.

Every village, every town, has the people that are ‘known’ (by the locals) to be ‘still fighting the war in their mind’, to visiting outsiders it is a often shocking, very clear and sobering indicator of the cost of living through terrible times… This is an aspect you cannot afford to overlook.

 

 

 

Where to Start…?

grass-roots

 

 

There is never a ‘bad’ time to start Preparing (Unless it’s after SHTF 😉 ), but it seems that now is a perfect time to become prepper and survivalist. I’m seeing and hearing from a lot of folks, that for various reasons, are now interested in preparing.

I see numerous reasons for that, I do not think we really need to go into them…

Several times I had questions “ what do you suggest to a man/woman who wants to become prepper?” So it is about time to make some discussion about what prepper newbie need to understand about preparing for SHTF.

Why?

We all know why, for someone it is because coming economic collapse, for somebody else it is about evil government, or simply because a bad weather event is a strong possibility.

I like to think you are becoming a prepper because you want to take control over your life and actions. Remember, you do not want to be scared – you want to be aware.

You do not want to be dependent (more or less) on the ‘system’ because you understand (I hope!!!) that the ‘system’ is a complicated thing and can be disrupted or totally stop, very easily, because of many different reasons.

You are becoming a  prepper because you now see and understand how fragile all it is.

Knowledge / Skills

Arm yourself with knowledge and skills. Go into every pillar of survival and start from the basics. Personally I like the approach where you should cover all of the basic but pick up something where you are gonna be really good, a ‘master’ of that skill or subject, if you will.

That means you should have knowledge ranging from water (finding, purifying, storing) communications ( you really have to know to use map and compass and different types of signals) but also pick up one of the pillars that you like most (that means pillar where you can really be good at) and go in depth.

There is no man who knows everything, and also being really good in some field gives you possibility of good skill trade maybe when SHTF.

Do not go “Hollywod style” in your knowledge and skills and work too much on one pillar and completely forget other because you think it is “not important”.

For example, in my time it was perfection to find overnight urban shelter, because good thing was to find ruined building and hide it there in order to spent night (safe).

Now skill was (and sometimes luck too) to find perfect leverage in finding building that is destroyed enough (and look dangerous) but still good enough for you (so it would not collapse completely on you while you are sleeping), building that gives you enough chances so you can set up some traps without too much effort, start fire (not visible from outside) building with extra exit in case of danger etc.

Sometimes having set up visible trap outside of your shelter can give intruder sign that there is more ‘not visible’ traps there, and that there is no value in going there.

In what cases to use noise trap first, or simply alarm etc…

It is a game.

What I want to say is that “shelter” pillar is not only about having sleeping bag or putting plywood on your windows.

“Water” pillar for example  includes knowledge about alternate sources of water in your surroundings, or simply how big is water heater in your neighbor’s home? (maybe it will be abandoned)…

How many of you will really try to collect moisture from the grass and how much time you need for that and how much water you can get from that?

So to cover them again, we have the Seven pillars of Preparedness. Remember these are not in any order, your priorities in use will very much depend on what is happening:

1) Fire

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Food

5) Signalling/Communication

6) Medical/Hygiene

7) Defense

Your Setup

Most basic thing is to understand where and how you gonna survive when SHTF, and for what SHTF scenario you are preparing.

It is the foundation from where you are going to build everything else, everything you are going to ‘wrap’ around these seven pillars of survival.

Words  BOB, BOL, bug in, bug out are just that-words. You need to build your own setup that works for YOU.

You may have perfect Bug Out Location (BOL) 200 miles from your home, but that simply can mean 1 month of traveling by foot when SHTF.

In that 1 month I assure you you will be forced to use whole range of knowledge from everyone of the survival pillars.

Everything from wrong kind of footwear, not enough socks or gangs of psychopaths may be your problem then.

Do not end up dead because you exchange basic knowledge, for your opinion that you ll be able to easily drive 200 miles to your BOL when SHTF.

Remember your well prepared plan does not gives you permission not to know how to drive (stolen) manual drive car or how to purify dirty water on your way there.

Your Decisions and Plans

You may already get decision strongly to bug out because you are living in big city, close to the mall, close to the bad neighbourhood… and you have perfect BOL.

Guess what? You may not have chance to go there, maybe somewhere in the middle of the night you will wake up and figure that opportunity is gone, and you simply have to stay.

And only then you realize that you did not even calculate possibility that you may not go to BOL when SHTF.

And then there are you, your plan is gone, and all that you have is your knowledge and skills.

It is up to you how much of that knowledge and skills you’re going to have.

It gives me chills when I read how many preppers are taking for granted that they simply will have time and opportunity to reach their BOL.

Nothing is for granted and you never know. Very often you’ll have to adapt.

Maybe dirty bomb situation will find you in your office, in your suite, armed with pencil only and you will have to build your survival plan from that point…

Again I got chills when I read people putting all what they have in one place, stating that they will defend it to the last. Be flexible-adapt.

Knowledge and skills are something that you’ll always have with you, plan is something that will change all the time – for sure.

Thinking Out of the Box

In this region one of the regular scams that happens often. Your driving and suddenly you see a man and woman standing next to  what looks like broken car, there are few kids in back of the car.

Man is waving to you, you stop to ask what’s going on (it is daytime, kids and women is there, nothing suspicious on the first look).

Man says he is not from around here, his car is broken and needs money for towing service, but he is without cash, his house is far blah blah

He asks money from you in return he will gave you his gold ring because his kids are hungry, his wife is crying etc

He will give you $600 worth ring for a $100 for example, and he will give you card with phone number so after few days you can call him and return him his ring for your money when he get to his bank cards or whatever.

His hand is full of rings, cars are honking around you, kids are crying man is keep going “please please”.

You said yes (sometimes because you feel sorry, sometimes because you want something worth $600 for $100), man is taking of his gold ring, you feel it is heavy, you see there is gold mark on it (like an official stamp to show it’s real), and that’s it.

You just lost $100.

Phone number is fake, few hours later you find out it is type of heavy metal material, gold plated ring with false stamp on it. And you ask yourself how it is possible that you make fool of yourself in such a cheesy way.

Answer is simple actually: you were blinded by greed or blinded by your good soul and rush and outside influence (kids crying, cars are honking, man is desperate, he is in trouble, his wife is angry on him etc etc…)

It is similar when SHTF, you can do a lot, survive a lot of weird situations, or simply get shot (or mugged) because “outside” influences are going to be huge.

Confusion, lack of information, false information, uncertainty, bombardment of new things, constant need to adapt.

Simply you need to stay focused and learn to adapt.

And yes, one more thing, this short ring scam story can be used in your favor when SHTF.

I have gold plated rings with false stamps  as a part of my preparations for SHTF.

If you find yourself on check point it is good to give the man your gold “engagement ring” to let you go, like we discussed many times.

It is even better to gave him a fake gold ring. In confusion almost no one will see difference….

Conclusion

Simply, what do I want to say… Focus on building credible knowledge and skills, develop an adaptive mindset, yes buy some equipment and resources but this should not be the main or sole focus of your preparing…

Even for you that are ‘well prepared’ it is good to take a ‘step back’ and see what are you actually prepared for…? How well do you know, and how much do you train with your equipment?

I’ve said before some ‘strategies’ I see as very common cause me great concern. Make sure you are planning and preparing for the ‘realities’ of bad situations, NOT the Hollywood (or your own) fantasy…

If you are a new prepper say Hi in our comments below. If you are an experienced Prepper please share your ‘best tips’ in the comments for the new people reading this…

Prepping is not a competition, lets all help each other while we can…

For those that want a ‘step by step’ guide to Prepping, you can sign up for my excellent and unrivalled Online course. This would be an excellent ‘first investment’ in your preparedness journey, and we have ept the price low so it is accessible to everyone, click here and scroll down for course details:

https://shtfschool.com/

If I was in America, I would….?

divide

 

And then one day, finally, real democracy came!

We were feeling that after long time of the same old politicians who cared only for themselves or their own circles and families, suddenly there is a man (or people) who will bring something new for us, pride, strength, wealth or whatever.

Media was full of high hopes and praising, in order to bring new world for us, jobs, security and what not.

New factories are  promised, new liberties, patriotism and love for the country exploded.

Something beautiful was expected. We felt like it is dawn of new era…..

What a bunch of fucking idiots we were.

Then the polarization started. At the beginning it was something like “there are people FOR and there are folks AGAINST it” whatever that “IT” was.

Pretty soon we were “thrown” into situation where you have two families, they are neighbors, friends for years, decades even, but over the political reasons they started to see each other with kinda ‘bad blood’.

 And then one morning, SHTF and I found myself standing in my backyard like an idiot, still trying to find out what happened with great words of new era and better life…?

People were shot dead on the street for fun or wrong words, fire trucks were driven by stoned teenagers in weird uniforms, police cars burning, men with assault rifles walking on the street in cowboy boots and metal band T shirt acting like self proclaimed government forces, every group who had more then 15 guys and 5 rifles was self proclaimed police force doing whatever they want to do…

Whole bunch of people who had dreamed of times where and when they can do whatever they want emerged.

I forget together with bunch of other people high hopes and big words, all what was left is pure survival, day by day.

 

America

 

I got mail from one of my readers (thank you Mike!), and I really liked it. Mike and I share some opinions in exactly same time, I will cite his message here:

“My nation, America, is being abruptly dragged out of a deep and prolonged state of subconscious anxiety and depression. It is being assaulted with hope and this is beginning to produce a state of relief which will be managed into uncritical nationalism if at all possible. This euphoric state of national mind is the perfect cover from which to ambush a nation. The pressing for a one world government did not die under Trump, it simply got a new face. The danger to America and to the other nations of the world are more real now than ever. Extreme sobriety is warranted at this time. Most people I have spoken with cannot see this. They need to. Perhaps you could bring this to attention. Mike”

Yes, America is being “attacked” with hope, changes, trust in better life, new jobs, pride.

In the same time media is on the run for making “demon” out of people or political options, and polarization is there.

It all looks (sadly) VERY familiar to me.

It is looking so familiar too me that I have to say  I am afraid for the near future of Americans.

Stage there is “perfect” for violent changes and SHTF.

Stay sober, operate in your small circle, you will appreciate that effort when SHTF.

 

What Can You Do?

 

In terms of “big picture” you cannot do anything. It is like that, if big players are set to make shit, then it will happen, and timing and climate there in US is perfect for that, so no matter how hard I hate to shovel “fear”, you have to be afraid if that will at least mean you get into motion.

And again and again – think in small circles.

For example, I can say for myself that I am for human rights, protecting the weak and people who suffered, but more from that I am about respecting of my way of living, and if there is a bunch of people who wants to change my way of living with force because they are so different I want them out of my country.

Now this sounds nice and normal, decent.

But it does not have too much with storing food and ammo, learning new skills, knowing how to purify water or simply working on your survival group.

When real SHTF there is no no democrats, republicans, political options, right or wrong, left or right.

Everything is kinda blurred and at the end there are YOU and OTHERS.

You will find yourself standing somewhere, maybe in similar backyard like mine, 25 years ago, asking yourself where everything is gone and how suddenly bottle of water is more important then whole bunch of political options, parties, opinions, solutions etc.

And you had such a  high hopes in better life!

Stay on the right track of prepping, do not be mesmerize with current events. Monitor events, of course, but stay on the track, and please do not have high hopes that “everything gonna be OK”.

Also note, while America is the greatest example of this problem just now, other countries are , and will, experience very very similar things… Don’t believe it ‘Can’t happen’ where you are…

If you see worrying signs where you live, please share your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

 

‘Lone Wolf’ Life Expectancy…?

alone

 

Over the last couple of years I get many questions about „what to do when SHTF if you are alone, without network of people…“ kinda questions, most of my answers were pretty much grim about perspective of being alone when SHTF.

It is not impossible, but it is very, VERY hard. Over on our Facebook page Robert asks specifically:

Selco, What is your advice to people who have no family or many friends in there immediate areas if disaster strikes? Bug in where you are safest and meet people? Bug out in the wild where supplied is limited , harsh weather and slow decline of sanity? There are people out there without a support network. I look at it this way. If you are alone now with people around you then when disaster strikes then bugging in is really the best option. Why? Because you can pull resources together and form a group.Your sanity can be stable, you can learn new skills, have a structure to protect against weather, trade and can reduce caloric intake. What do you think the options are for the lone man? I think he is going to have to stay put“

But that discussion draws other interesting topics, and from the statement that „being alone when SHTF“ lot of folks might conclude wrong things or wrong ideas, so again let’s (again) consider few problems here if you think you are gonna be alone when SHTF (urban).

Being Alone When SHTF in Urban Settings

I must point out here again and again difference between romantic view of surviving in the city and reality first.

Every city is complex mix of services that needs to operate in perfect (more or less) harmony in order to let ordinary man live in it.

When those services go away, it is not city anymore, at least not as you understand it.

It is big pile of people, inside a big pile of not operating buildings and houses. To make it more simple to understand, when SHTF, city become too small to support that number of citizens, simply suddenly you are realize that there are way too many people around you and way too little water, power, food, security, medicines etc etc.

It becomes complex death trap and it will ask from you to implement your strength, your skills, your view of moral and right and wrong so badly that it is hard to imagine right now.

Of course, people will survive it, nothing new, but sometimes at very high prices.

Or to bring it to the examples for a moment.

You are alone, and your home is under threat. How long are you going to be able to be on guard, watching for the threat?

One night?, Day and night? How long before you are going to see things that are not there, or even worse not see things that are there?

Now add to the problem that you might be forced to be on guard for 48 hours while you are having diarrhea, or fever.

Who is going to watch over your place when you are out looking for resources or information for example?

Bugging in so good and safe inside city that you can stay „put“ for couple of days, or sleep whole night (without someone at watch) sounds great. But not so probable.

Bugging Out „Into The wild“

Maybe it is only me, but as I see it only few can go „out in the wild“ and survive for prolonged period of time.

Bugging out in the wilderness is not like camping trip, because camping trip is just that-trip- you go out in the wild with resources and you are going back into normal life, 5 days, 10 days or month, but you are going back.

Surviving in wilderness for prolonged period of time  is something completely different, because you are going to start a new life in a way.

Range of skills, physical and mental strength needed for that is way beyond skills of average prepper and most of the people could not last too long in the wilderness.

Most of the folks who bug out into wilderness without huge prior preparations (including BOL) will end up dead or simply as a unsuccessful scavengers and solo raiders.

Forming A Group

I am big advocate of building the network of trusted people. Simply because I saw what it means when you have someone that you can really rely on when SHTF.

Now there is difference between forming the group before SHTF and after SHTF, because for good group you need to have enough time to build confidence and have all things set up for SHTF.

Common sense because that is that you need to build group BEFORE SHTF. It takes time.

Building group after SHTF usually means that you for „alliances“ with people that you do not know good enough-that equals fact that you simply never know when they are going to turn against you.

Conclusion

As a answer to the original question at the beginning of this post –

Robert,

If you asked me several years ago what to do I would advice you to bug out into wilderness and take your chance, but after years of learning about wilderness there is one possible choice for you here- bug in.

No friends, no network, no family, no BOL, no absolutely perfect skills and knowledge and perfect mindset for wilderness you just have to take your chance by bugging in.

But consider mentality that you need to be really flexible and ready to be really mobile in city. Staying bugged in one „shelter“ is quite hard.

You need to consider alternative shelters, close to your place, secret stashes with preps (food, ammo etc), people that you will use as a help, not trusted network of people, but kind of ‘associates’ in order to get what you need to get.

Do not expect to find 6 good people on second day of SHTF. Use people from situation to situation, do not trust to anyone.

My advice here in short is to bug in, but not type of bugging in that people imagine, with tons of everything ready to die for that. You going to need to be highly mobile, with lots of choices prepared where to spend night.

Final Note:

Help me to help you…

Guys I really enjoy writing these articles and spreading quality information that helps you prepare. You will see I have added a new feature on the right hand side of this page. It is a ‘donate’ button. I’m not going to lie to you, times are tough down here in the Balkans and getting tougher in many ways each week. If you find my articles of help or use, please consider buying me a drink to say thanks, or leaving a donation of any amount. Every little helps! Thank You.

 

 

 

 

Reality Check – What You Maybe Doing Wrong and How It Will Get You Killed

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Over the years being in the Prepper and Survival community,  I realize that my favorite topics for writing are about survival myths.

There are two reasons for that. First I have been through SHTF, so it is obviously clear to me what are the myths about survival and what are the truths, in other words it is kinda easy for me to write about it.

Second reason is because at the same time it’s hard. It is not hard to write about it, but it is hard to explain to people what it’s all about.

Reason for that, is not because I consider most of the Prepper’s idiots, it is about the preconceptions inexperienced people have about survival, or being ready for SHTF.

That preconception is so huge, and so deep, it has been plugged or conditioned into a lot of Preppers so hard, over so many years of bombarding from youtube, blogs, forums, movies and similar that sometimes it look simply hopeless too fight.

 

Where to Look?

 

I remember for the first time seeing and teaching a group of students who considered themselves survivalists and Preppers. After few hours of talking with them my first impression was to tell them, or to yell at them „ you are so fucking dead when SHTF, on second day you are dead!!!“

Of course I did not tell them that, but the point is that their survival mentality and mine were like two completely different worlds.

No they were not idiots, just regular folks who look and checked for the most common information about survival out there available, or most commercialized, or coolest.

And no, I do not think that everyone needs to go through years of war in order to become survivalist, just some common sense and some effort.

It is like they learned everything they knew about survival from the guy on youtube channel, who read it from the book, which was written by a guy who heard something from a friend some time ago. So many of the sources they ‘relied’ on or trusted were dangerously worthless…

Folks, there is much more to learn from let’s say a diary of holocaust survivor, than from youtube guy who is testing his new BOB in his backyard!

Actually I would rather have memorized the diary book, instead of owning the BOBs that most of the youtube guys are testing and recommending!

This whole topic is huge, but let’s address the more common mistakes I see all the time. Each of them is not a mistake by itself, but if you put these as a ‘priority’ it is something that definitely will get you killed when SHTF:

 

The ‘Cool’ Factor

 

Here is a scenario that happened. A student on my survival course has been offered to choose some equipment to complete a survival training task, the amount of equipment to choose from was limited.

He is trying to ensure he has covered all of the ‘seven priorities’ of Urban Survival. When he gets to the water „section“ there were two items, a camping stove set (The Trangia model), and an old dirty plastic bottle, he could choose one.

He choose the plastic bottle for the section „water“.

I asked him ‘can you tell me why did you choose plastic bottle instead of the camping stove set?’, his answer was: “I saw on youtube that plastic bottle can be use for boiling water and making it sterile“.

I asked him:“ why did you not choose the camping stove set, it can do same thing, much easier, can do even more things, and last much longer etc etc“?

He did not have an answer for that, other than his previous one.

Folks, watching something on youtube (believe it or not) that looks cool, does not necessary mean it is right, or right for every situation.

I believe that youtube video was about using plastic bottle in survival when you do not have anything else, but taking it instead of something really useful just because looks cool or it’s a ‘good trick’???

This Plastic bottle story is just one example, many other times on various courses I see very similar things.

Internet is full of good advice about tactics, techniques, and equipment for SHTF, problem is, that in the same time internet is full of s..t, so choose carefully where you look to learn something, Check for guys who CREDIBLY tested something or experienced it, or you test it yourself before real SHTF.

I know, it is big industry and big money out there about let’s say „ how to survive end of the world with cool equipment and looking cool“, but from my experience I did not see cool equipment in my time, and the ‘cool’ people died very early on…

Folks who survived had stuff that worked and mentality that worked. ‘Coolness’ was not important in that time, even if someone had some ideas about looking and being cool, those ideas gone with first bullets hissing around their heads.

If you’re preparing to have cool equipment (only) and look cool when SHTF you are doing something wrong. Seriously.

 

Commodities, Peace of Mind, and Degrees of Knowledge

 

Again, having a commodity by itself when SHTF, on it’s own is not a problem. There is nothing wrong in preparing to be in as much comfort as possible when SHTF.

But huge number of Preppers are preparing only for that! And that is wrong.

Simplest example here, is man who is preparing for SHTF by buying good generator, in order to have as much comfort possible when SHTF, but at the same time he does not know ways to start a simple fire.

Generator here is something like an upgrade, fire (knowledge) is essential.

Nothing wrong with owning a generator, if you also know and have supplies up to the level where a generator ‘fits in’.

Or you have man who has 5 assault rifles, and a lot of ‘knowledge’ (youtube again) about tactical movement – but he has NO clue how hard (noisy) it is to move through partially destroyed buildings, or he never fired the rifle inside an enclosed space (room, empty corridor) and did not experience the impact of that event on his ears.

Nothing wrong with owning 5 rifles, if you know everything up to that level.

Five rifles alone does not mean s..t.

Internet is full of advertising that if you do (or buy) whatever they offer you, you’re going to have something like ‘best time of your life when SHTF.’

Of course it is a lie, even if you are fully prepared it is not going to be a joyride, it is going to be hard and life changing.

And by ‘buying solutions’ then you are just buying peace of mind, nothing more. Worse still, you are seriously underestimating SHTF.

PLEASE make some common sense decisions in your preparing. Do not find yourself in situation where you have 30 spices in your pantry but you do not have duct tape or an axe.

Start from the basic in every „pillar“ of survival, evenly, then build on that base with logic and sense. Build all pillars up at the same time, don’t take ‘defense’ for example and focus and build that to the highest level while ignoring the six others…

I’ve written about these before, but just as a brief re-cap, the seven ‘pillars’ of Urban Preparedness are:

1) Fire

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Food

5) Signalling/Communication

6) Medical/Hygiene

7) Defense

Use the internet to help your preps, but confidence check your sources, and do not believe everything you read/see!!!

I see and read to many people treating Prepping like some ‘fun game’ as opposed to the serious matter it is. Please choose your approach wisely folks…

 

 

A Season of Hope…?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.” – Chinese expression

 

Terrorist attack in Germany, problems in Baltics, Syrian conflict with its all aspects and complications, everybody afraid of Russians…

The Balkans is suffocating in its own small „race for weapons“ and trying to find out is it better to look to West or East…?

Immigrants are changing complete fabric of many countries and yet there are more waves of them to expect probably…

Folks in US who expecting and hoping things go better after January, but there are no guarantees.

 

We are living in the world where it is huge risk to go to the open and celebrate something, because one truck with brainwashed man inside can do chaos and bloodshed.

And there are way too many trucks and way too many brainwashed lunatics.

 

Europe is falling down slowly, but for sure in series of events that may look like nothing too serious if you look at it one by one problem, but all together it is something that is bigger than us.

It is something that is going to be learned (hopefully) in history lessons in future something like our time now was a  „big turning point“ If there is gonna be history and people to learn it in the future.

People more and more get into the state when they realize that being something like prepper make sense, and that is good.

On the other hand, most folks do not realize how bad and long it is going to be, but it is fine. Any work in a direction of being aware is good for start.

I wish to people to stay prepared and learn all the time together with their families and good friends.

I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Enjoy the celebrations, but do not relax to much. Keep on with your prepping efforts, now is NOT the time too ‘ease up’ on things…

2017 is probably going to be an interesting year…. What do you think might happen?

Top 5 SHTF ‘Surprises’

I recently ran one of my newest courses, called ’A Mile In My Shoes’. This is where I take a small group of students to the city where I survived the war and take them around and physically show them the realities of what was faced. A lot of lessons, of course, are learnt during the course and most importantly (and what I hoped for) Students come far closer to realizing the ‘reality’ of a true SHTF situation.

I thought I would share you the ‘Top 5’ surprises that the students faced, meaning things they had not thought about or realized before the course, but had to accept and come to terms with during…

1) How ‘Close’ the fighting will be.

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This picture, taken very close to my house, was one of the ‘front lines’ for some time. One side was in houses on the left of the alley, other side (enemy) were in the right side houses. This seems INCREDIBLY close (and it is) but then realize, there were times when the ‘dividing lines’ were even closer than this.

When you put that into the perspective then you can start to think about new reality because there is nothing very static and sure when SHTF, one day the house next to you can be completely safe, other day there might be someone inside who wants to harm you, or simply you’ll never be sure how safe and secure are your surroundings.

It is the most dangerous aspect of urban SHTF, because you’ll have lot of people in a relatively small area and you’ll have higher demand for (very limited) resources because the ‘system’ is gone.

Now when you add to that calculation the fact that lot of houses are going to be be destroyed, you get to the point that you never know anything for sure, where is someone and what intention they have.

That is especially important if you planning to survive urban SHTF alone (lone wolf theory) so you can get a feeling how hard that’s going to be.

 

  1. The ‘Enemy’ will look, sound and speak like you.

 

They may even have been your longtime friends, but are now on the ‘opposite’ side. Fighting here was divided by all sorts of reasons, race, religion, affiliation, heritage, politics and often a big mix of all these things. ‘Sides’ were always changing as well. That’s just the ‘enemy’, when it comes to Survival you will fight to get what you need or protect what you have from whoever…

Having thoughts that some foreign forces will invade your country, forces that will look, act, speak completely different then you and people from your surroundings are mostly just fantasies, especially when we talk about USA.

That may be case, but you’re going to have a lot of ‘local’ fighting and surviving before that.

Strong systems are going to have a “bigger and longer” fall, there is way too many people and weapons in the US for some some foreign force to choose to invade and pacify the country… it is impossible.

What is possible is to “push” some country into the chaos, in order to turn on themselves, suffer hunger, prolonged chaos and similar, and maybe then to invade.

At the end it all comes to you and people who want to harm you. The fact that the people want to harm you were people who you use to know does not make it easier.

Do not expect martians or Russians, expect people who look, act, and talk like you, who want to survive just like you.

Again we come to the point that you will be forced to fight with your neighbors, fellow countrymen for resources

 

  1. How ‘busy’ an average days was.

 

Fighting for survival is an all day, every day task. You are constantly hunting, scavenging, gathering, finding information, looking and checking things. All while the most stressed you have ever been and under constant threat, all while being hungry and thirsty.

There is no ‘day off’, or ‘break’. This is the big difference between a soldier and civilian in war. A soldier has a job to do, and all his other needs are taken care of. He can just focus on his one job. In a civil war, you (and your group) need to cover all tasks, all the time…

If you served in Army, you had clear orders, topics, outside of that you did not (need) to think about too many things.

You had “backup” or “rear”.  Your job was to do tasks, and someone else take care of all the other things in order for you to finish your tasks successfully.

In SHTF you are the first unit, rear and back up. If you fuck up and break your leg there is no medical evacuation. If you did not find food (or any other resources) there is no service who will do that for you.

It is hard time, and day is full of “acquiring” things and finishing jobs.

Shooting at someone may look like a fun idea today, or romantic in some way. It is maybe more romantic then to think how to manage your waste, or do bath or lower your kid’s fever in the middle of SHTF.

You are everything when SHTF, because system is out.

 

  1. The level of the threat.

 

In SHTF almost everything is a threat to you. Yes, easy to understand threats like sniper, gangs, angry neighbors etc, but the lack of food, complete lack of hygiene, level of contamination, risk of illness and injury, being found, being informed on, being tricked, getting captured and many, many, more make up a larger amount of threats than most ever think of.

Just even start to imagine every ‘supply’ you take for granted (Fuel, electricity, water, stores, emergency services etc) being taken away and not knowing when it will ever come back. Then imagine the worst person you have ever known, someone you would not trust to help you in any situation. Now imagine everyone around you is like that person. Then imagine everything you climb on, through or over can hurt you, and that everything you touch has the potential to make you ill… You got all that? If you do, you are maybe about 40% of the way to imagining the reality…

Level of threat is going to be a BIG shock to you in the beginning, if you survive that shock it is good because then you get yourself into the mode of real surviving.

No matter how well you are prepared you will go through that shock, with good preparation and correct mentality you can minimize that shock and make it shorter, and that is the point of preparing.

 

  1. The reality of defending/keeping your assets.

 

I know. All the points mentioned don’t bother you that much, as you have nice house, lots of supplies and ready to fight. But how is your plan working once your house or apartment looks like this…?

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And inside like this…?

3

And anyone who is ‘fit’ must go out a lot to find things for every day survival. How you protect all your ‘stuff’, who is going to protect all your things…?

What, when one day a group so big comes to ask you how you’re doing so OK, and what you have there, that to protect your stuff from them is a clear death sentence.

Having right mindset about difference between defending something and get killed, and adapting yourself in order to survive without it make sense here.

You have to adapt fact that maybe you’ll be forced to survive only with your skills. You do not know, and cannot be sure.

Understand, in SHTF, every house in the city is going to look like this, or worse (not be there). In my city there are many houses you see like this. You see them because they are made of stone or concrete. You don’t see the wood buildings because they all burned down…

There were many, many more things realized and discussed during the course, and I want to say well done to the students for coming with such enthusiasm and asking such good questions in the course.

Soon I will write more about the big problem of really ‘misunderstanding’ the reality so present in the preparedness community just now. Until then, you can read more about the ‘Mile In My Shoes’ course here:

https://shtfschool.com/a-mile-in-my-shoes/

We are making these courses as affordable and accessible as possible. If you want to join, you can either add your name to the waiting list, and as soon as we have enough students we set the date for the next course, or you can book a ‘private’ course for exactly the same price, all you need is a minimum of you and two friends.

Trust me when I tell you there is not a course like this anywhere else, and you will learn many things that you hadn’t expected when you join me on a tour of the place I survived…

Dealing With Differences

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One very overlooked aspect of preparing, in my opinion, is being ready (and willing) to adapt to different social circumstances.

We are living in world where there is a big mix of nationalities, customs, religions, social ‘rituals’ etc.

So clearly it make sense to know your surroundings in order to adapt or blend in, or at least to know stuff to make your life easier when things go bad.

Forget right now about hating something or someone here, it is about knowledge that you can use in hard times. General hate is a wrong attitude, and can dangerously cripple your judgment.

Let’s use couple examples to make it more clear here what it is all about:

Scenario 1

You are living in peaceful neighborhood, but after couple of days of political instabilities in your region there are riots outside, and you see bunch of folks carrying signs about some political candidate (or party, or whatever) that you do not like, actually you hate them. But they are rioting, going through your street, smashing windows, setting things on fire etc.

You are outside, and you want to shoot them, you are angry. You attack them and after 5 minutes you are dead. End of your survival story. All plans about bugging out, BOL and everything are gone, you are gone right at the beginning of SHTF.

The real solution would be to hide or if not possible to join them for hour or two of yelling on the street, rioting and similar. When the mob has gone through your street you can bug out.

Scenario 2

Shit has hit the fan. It’s been some time and you have resorted to trading. You are in the middle of a trade. The trade is going good with the guys, they are dangerous bastards but you made a good deal with them.

After successful deal, they offer you whiskey (or whatever drink) but you offend them by refusing it, because you are principled and have been clearly  ‘anti alcohol’ for years, things go bad, and deal is off, or even worse you are dead.

Is it so hard to take one shot (of alcohol) if customs or expectations say it needs to be like that?

Scenario 3

You are bugging out, your BOL is 400 miles away from your home, your way their leads through another state (or even country) and on some vehicle check point you clearly show yourself as ‘different’ by wearing wrong baseball hat or T-shirt, or a small flag on your car mirror (You get the idea) or showing different political opinion, or simply some other difference than people who stop you.

And then you are in trouble. At the very least your bribe through that check point is going to be much higher, or you can have even bigger problems.

Conclusion

Sad truth is when SHTF first one who are going to be in danger are people who are different from the ‘majority’ in that moment and particular place.

It can be race, religion, political opinion. But it can also be much smaller and trivial things.

I saw people being beaten when SHTF just because they had long hair.

A book can be written about this topic, and examples are different for different regions in the world, but concept is completely the same everywhere . DO NOT attract attention by being different.

DO NOT say “I will do things only this way“!

Adapt and do what situation asks from you.

The point is about attracting attention (or trying not too) in the wrong time and place.

It make perfect sense to know customs of people around you, political opinions, social rituals etc. It is good to know languages, or at least accents, it pays to know, for example, what will attract attention to you on your way to BOL, maybe it is simple car sticker on your car?

Does that „vote (Insert name here)……” sticker still make sense on your bumper?

Stay “grey“, blend in. But being grey is not just about how you dress. it is how you move AND interact with people

Learn about people that you will have to deal with when SHTF. This does not mean that you need to ‘love’ or ‘hate’ them, not even like them, BUT know what will help or hurt you when dealing with them.

Knowledge is (again) key to survival.