A Typical Day During SHTF

Konrad suggested in comment on recent blog post I write about typical day during my time in SHTF trying to survive. Usually I think about what topic to write about first and write, this time I did other way around and just wrote. So while there are lessons to learn, this is just typical day during my time in war.

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I woke up with feeling that I do not have legs under my knees, only some strange feeling, something between numbness and pain.

Second feeling after that was that something wrong with my head, and definitely something wrong with my room because ceiling was pretty much black instead white. I sat up in my bed too fast, and it was mistake, I forced myself not to throw up, barely. And then everything came back to me:

There was war outside going on, for last couple of months.

My legs under the knees were numb because I slept with my boots on, not that it was something unusual, I did that whenever I felt that there is big chance to be forced to jump from the bed completely ready, but mistake was that I did not ease laces a bit before I fell asleep.

Ceiling above my head was black because we used oil lamps for months, with bits of old laces dipped in oil. It smelled bad, and leaves nasty black greasy spots on walls, clothes, probably lungs too.

And finally my head was about to explode because again I drank some homemade booze last night during the trade with folks from 6th street. I remember that after we finish deal, guy from 6th street pulls a bottle somewhere from behind the back, and we all felt little bit more comfortable because something like old custom that you are not going to share drink with the guy who you want to kill or cross. Old habits.

Guy was banging on box of tomato juice cans yelling: “this is good first class stuff, it worth a lot, healthy for kids …” like he personally handpicked the tomatoes in Italy, and then make the juice in his refinery which is in his family for centuries… In reality that case was 3rd class stuff, probably bought some 100 kilometres from there on some bargain market and then brought to the dude through weird black market channels to be traded at 50 times its worth.

I was there with T. and after we traded some alcohol and baby food for that package of tomato juice cans, he saw some piece of machinery. It looked to me like big old part of car engine, completely not useful for anything. (Want some ideas for items for trade? Join our discussion)

But T. was obsessed with making homemade grinder that he could use for all kind of stuff.

“What do you want for this?” he asked.

“Oh , you see it is perfect for…for… you see you could use that for…” guy from 6th street tried to rise the price trying to discover for what T. is planning to use that piece of junk.
“I want to use it for making the grinder” T. said again, ignoring my leg signs to be quiet and let me finish the deal.

Finally guy from 6th street put big fat trading smile on his face, with more holes than teeth in his mouth.

We all were missing teeth in that time, but somehow always surprised me when I saw it on someone else. Funny and disturbing at same time. I did not want to confront T. in front of the guys because it was not smart idea. When you trade you must look and act confident, giving the other side clear picture that you are know what you are doing.

If two of us looked like we are not agreeing, or we have something to argue, or that we are not confident, other side could get the idea that we are weak. And that could be dangerous.

So T. traded some stuff for that thing. We drink some more stuff and went home.

Now, after I woke up and sat in my bed I was trying to remember how much tomato cans he gave back for that piece of machinery but I could not remember.

It was pretty dark in the room with all junk moved on windows and I started to carefully look for rifle. I had ritual of leaving my rifle always in same position next to my bed, at the reach of my hand, loaded and ready, but not too close to me.

I remembered stories about incidents with weapon, guy who slept with his loaded rifle next to him, so after his friend storm into the room and yell at him “Wake up! They are attacking” he panicked and blew his own feet into the pieces.

Other folks would do opposite things and store weapons at “secure place” so after someone attacked them they had trouble to “unsecure” it and make it usable. There were lots of funny situations in world where whole bunch of folks trying to shoot and fight but without too much previous experience with weapon.

I get up from the bed, and search my pockets for cigarettes. Could not find single one. Then I turn my pockets out and collect tobacco dust.
I found enough for one cigarette. In corner of the room I picked some paper from newspaper and roll one fat cigar.

While rolling dust in paper I checked what was printed on that piece of paper : “…and we must all be patient and do everything… some people want to use panic…I promise you…” some political bullshit from peace time. It looked so far away now.

I went out to the yard, pulling the small pieces of crap that would make cigarette taste bad from the cigarette, carefully watching to hold it in vertical position all the time, otherwise tobacco simply would go out from the cigarette in split second.

Skinny was on the balcony, doing something like watch, but in reality daytime was peaceful time in the terms of the surprises and dangers at the front door of our yard. He was just trying to catch some sun there.

T. was sitting on the old car wheel with screwdriver in his hands while small fortune of tools were around him. Old piece of steel that he traded last night was in his hand, he was trying to attach it to complex mix of stone wood and steel that he worked on for last few weeks.

“And how much food you gave up for that piece of shit?” (pointing at the steel) Skinny asked me.

“I did not give anything, he wanted to take it, he took it, he give it leave him alone” I said, at same time thinking that he gave that food for nothing.
T. put some oil on that part and continued to work, and talk to us:

“How long already are we living like animals? 4 months? 5? How dirty are we? All that we can do is to shoot, sleep and find food to eat?
Did you even try to really DO something? I am building something here.”

Skinny completely ignored him, he made “kids binoculars” with his hands (fists) and watched plane barely visible high in the sky. In last few weeks foreign fighter jets flew high in the sky, as a part of the effort to stop civil war under them. I guess the thought they gonna somehow scare folks and armies under them to stop fight with simply showing the force.

Only mistake in whole thinking was that they forget that they deal with Balkans. We slaughtered each other here for centuries with unbelievable rage, and then lived together in big love with silenced hate. No too much sense.

Most of the folks watched those jets like they are some kind of magic or not even real.

Interesting and maybe dangerous magic, but far away and in some other dimension. Much bigger transport planes flew at night, throwing food for us, in the form of MREs (we called that “lunch packets”).

Skinny still looked at fighter jet high in the skies, and asked me “how high you think they are flying there?”
“Why you ask?” I said.
“I just ask”.

I kept looking at him suspiciously, because I remembered our neighbour who stated (OK he was completely drunk) that he had brilliant plan to end this siege. When we asked him how, he explained that he will shoot at the airplanes, and when they respond to that they will bomb whole area and everything will end.

One of most stupid things that I ever heard. It was like shooting the man who brings you sandwich when you are hungry but desperate folks will talk lot of nonsense.

“I am just thinking how funny and how far away we are to that pilot up there. He looks down and sees some buildings and smoke, some shitty place, and then 15 minutes later he is out of the whole area, going home, or wherever out of this mess. Can you imagine how cool is that to be out from here in 15 minutes?” he asked me.

“No I do not” I hated discussion like that, “what if” or “imagine if we..” or “only if…”

We were here, and thats it. I learned or trained myself to live and think only for today or only few days into the future. I learn not to hope too much.
Hope can be shitty thing when it proves to be false.

In first period we all thought like “oh this is temporary” or “someone gonna solve this” pretty soon people realize that nobody gives a damn about us, and that we are on our own.
After that realization some folks just lost touch with reality, some else use their skills, brain or imagination to survive.

T. always was doing some projects, trying to make things easier, to create tools for easier living. Usually it was useless. Skinny was dreaming all the time, about when “all this come to the end” and “what if” scenarios.

I learned to stay in present moment. Each one of us had some kind of mechanism of coping with new reality.

Later that same day guy from the neighbourhood came with info that chemical gas was used in one part of the city from some unit so we pretty soon forgot discussion about planes and everything.

And what about the project that T. Was trying to finish?

Yes he actually made it, he did made some kind of grinder, but much later. And funny thing was that few days after he finished that siege was over, so there was no need for that anymore.
Maybe he was building that grinder so slowly with purpose to keep some sense for him, I do not know.

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This was how one of my days went. Lessons here are keep yourself busy and what works for others does not have to work for you. If you have also experienced survival situation head over to our Personal Survival Experience & Lessons Learned forum and share your story.

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Recent Topics

Keep them fed and entertained

People who are in survival and prepping „movement“ all around the world and around the web are doing lot of stuff in order to prepare for SHTF.

Numerous blogs and forums are there, and they all trying to figure when s. gonna hit the fan and how it is going to be. My time in war was like worst case scenario but hopefully only few people will have it that bad even when there is total collapse and no law (at least you are not gonna have snipers and shelling if your government behaves).

1 million dollar question is: „How is the collapse going to look like, and when is it gonna start?“

So there are numerous opinions, and also numerous ideas about how it is gonna look, when it is gonna start and whatever.

And big truth is that „sheep“ people (non preppers, non survivalists) are not gonna see it coming and it is understandable, but also lot of real preppers are blind.

Some of us are „too deep“ and „too blindly“ buried into the BOB, BOL, SHTF, WROL and other discussion and arguing about „what knife to have when SHTF” and God knows what else. Many think one day lights go out and darkness all around, hell breaks lose. But this only happens when governments make big mistake or nature finally gets back at us.

I believe government and corporations just turn off light slowly. Hand out pocket lights that people can see small area around them but not big picture.

When you put people slowly in misery they think it is normal. Humen get used to everything around them if they have enough time. So they take away air to breath but leave you just enough you are still alive. What I mean is that s. already hit the fan, it hit quietly and it is slowly rumbling towards us. Most people gonna realize that only when it blows up in their face.

What is the state of your local infrastructure? How about criminal in your area? Gas prices, food and utility prices?
How many of you having decent jobs and if not what are the chances of getting one?

How about your health care? Are more people dependent on government these days? Is all this mentioned getting better or worse over the years?

I saw a guy, few months ago. He is alcoholic and homeless. His hygiene and way of life is of course on some low level.

After some time I saw that his foot is gets gangrenous. I helped him few times. He died later. He did not get proper medical care, he did not had proper social security, no money, no friends. He died on the street. Even when he died he was laying there for some time under the some rug before someone notice that he is dead not sleeping.

Now you could say that this things happens everywhere, and you are right of course it happens all around the world.

But I remember the time when that same dude would be taken care of (medically) and he would be taken to some facility that state (government) would pay for his medical bills food etc. This does not happen here anymore. Normal people would CARE about this guy but now they stopped because air gets slowly choked out of everyone. It is time to focus on yourself.

How does this slow collapse look like?

Places you live in get smaller, you work longer and get paid less. You eat cheaper lower quality stuff and have less time for other things. You expect less and less from things around you. Quality of things get lower. You cant expect to have secure job or secure anything. You get used to live with worry.

Luckily there is entertainment like tv series, video games and the Internet to get into fantasy land. This helps to escape real world that keeps getting worse. You work, live in small shitty place, eat bad food and escape to some place that entertains you and lets you forget reality.

Because you feel bad you get deeper and deeper into “comfort zone” and your comfort zone gets always smaller. All this makes you feel very powerless but do not worry. There are big organizations and your government who make you feel part of something, something bigger and stronger, you just have to pay to be part of this.

Slowly the forces in power make average man weak. So weak that revolution becomes very distant idea. Life got sucked out of regular people long before they realize what happened.

S. is already here, it already hit the fan for many but they do not know and might never know. Wake up, go out and smell the real world, I can bet that you smell it, you gonna see it if you look in right directions, and right places.

My time in war, my SHTF was bad, and it was some real experience. Wars are happening around the world, economies going down, new forces going up… and you can say again that it happened before and it is gonna happen again. And you could be right too.

But dont think this is only way how fight for survival looks like. The forces in power are smart and no need to rape someone with force if you can drug them and make them do whatever you like.

It is just common sense.

Question is also how long can they keep masses drugged before they wake up and realize the abuse?

This is what I see happening in future. Forces in power keep people drugged, fed and in fantasy land (entertained) and they do not realize whats going on until one day they wake up. But this might not happen in our lifetime and if it happens the masses are probably to weak to do anything. Only if something goes wrong, the powers make a mistake or nature strikes, then we have total chaos from one day to another.

Otherwise we have slow descent until we get to point of complete anarchy.

If you thought about moving to countryside do it today and not tomorrow. If you thought about forming group of preppers in your area, do it today and not tomorrow.

Faith and religion during my fight for survival

I had many questions and comments about faith, religion and God. I did not answer many of them with too much details just because usually this would started discussions without too much connection to survival, but with lots of hate and anger.

Today I want to talk a bit about this.

Of course faith and religion played big part of survival when SHTF, but maybe not like most of the people would guess.

One of the questions that I had few times is „did the folks who had faith cope better with everyday problems?“ Answer is probably „yes, most of them“.

But I also must say that lots of people who had lots of faith and were good folks died with terrible deaths too.

I knew more than one man, some whole families who died, or lost family members simply because they had attitude „it is gonna be what God wants it to be, and we can not do too much“.

I always prefered attitude that „ I ll do whatever I could and rest is not in my hands anyway“.

Just like everything in normal life and especially in survival situations you have to put effort in to make it. In survival it is not about a promotion or more money, it is about seeing one more sunset or making sure your kids have chance to grow up and see adulthood.

I know guy who was real warrior and tough dude, he didnt care too much about rules, what is right and what is wrong. So you can imagine that he did whatever he wanted to do in that time, including some very bad stuff.

He survived and later I heard that he completely devoted his life to religion. I see him from time to time, standing in front of the local center, with religious literature in hands, trying to talk with folks.

He looks 20 years older then he really is. Small guy talking about salvation.

His tattoos on fingers look strange compared with literature that he holds with those same fingers. I talked with him, he said that every night people who he „sent“ to other world visit him, and he talks with them. Every night.

He said that he accepts that as a part of punishment, adding that he is aware that bigger part of punishment is waiting for him on „other side“.

You need to have faith in something when SHTF. It does not matter what religion or what you believe in, it can be you. You will experience situations where you have to make very hard choices and others where you experience things that are hard to imagine. Without some believe it would be very hard, and simply you risk to turn yourself into animal.

One thing is for sure: be ready to pay for whatever you did, sooner or later. I tried to stay on right „side“ and to do good only.

But you ll see that doing only good when SHTF and survive is impossible, so you gonna be forced to to some things that are wrong, and that you do not like.

And be prepared to pay for that, maybe day after, or maybe 20 years after. But those demons gonna find you.

Groups of people during survival situation and religion

In the beginning days religion had important role in creation of groups. Religion also had strong impact on how groups reacted and what kind of things they did.

But here is few very important things to be aware of. To have group strongly based on religion did not always mean that they were good guys.

Actually very often I saw and had „bussines“ with different kind of groups who called themselves „strong believers“ and still they were doing very bad things, just in the name of God.

So you could easily see guy who considered himself strong religious man, who killed children.

I am talking here about all kinds of religion. I saw all kinds of examples. Do not (always) mix good things and religion. In normal times it means the same maybe, but when SHTF things gets twisted and some groups gonna use religion to justify attrocities they commit.

Of course I saw also examples of religious guys who died trying to save someone, because they tried to do what is right.

Aftermath and religion

As I said many times, people cope with bad things from the past in many ways.

And I must say here that I know lot of people who find their peace in religion. Most of them who I know from SHTF and 20 years before who become really religious guys are real believers, and kind of people that you can call in short „good people“.

Another guy who has become involved in religion based center for addiction recovery told me that as more as he work with worst kind of addicts, he is becoming more free from listening to screams from the past every night.

I am quite sure that he was reason for some of those screams that he is still hearing. Simply on one or other way you gonna have to pay price for what you did.

In short I think religion can be very helpful if it is not twisted. It can be like set of personal values guide someone and help to see light when all world around has turned to darkness.

What role does religion play for you when you think about coming collapse?

The end of the world

end of the world

„Fields were covered with dead bodies, no man, woman or child were seen in the open, smell of burning rubbles covered the land, crops were laying „unpicked“, still people were hungry, people had abandoned their homes and ran to the forest or hills.

Society crumbled and everything that stood for a strong state stopped to exist. New alliances were forged, old cities ruined. Hoards of mercenaries who lost their employer shrouded the land in terror…“

This is not section from some some science fiction post apocalyptic novel, or movie. It is taken from a book of medieval history where the author speaks about years after the fall of Roman empire.

One very strong empire crumbled, and suddenly chaos was in motion. The dark ages followed. Reason why empire falls is not important. How it looks when it falls is interesting.

Even more interesting is that there are not too many descriptions how it looked. Lots of years from that period are just „lost“ in historians books. Lost years. Chaos.

Do we think that if today society falls that we gonna be better than people hundreds years before. I have seen something similar in my time and I am not so optimistic.

Asteroid hitting the earth, “death planet” Nibiru, magnetic pole shifting, aliens… what is gonna happen tommorow?

Before I write more about what I believe will cause collapse of society, Jay has assembled what scientists believe will cause end of the world and humankind.

How the end of the world will happen according to science by Jay

The bad news is this planet won’t stay inhabitable for us humans forever. This is something all scientists pretty much agree on. But how will the end come?

In the last couple of years we saw increased major natural disasters, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have killed thousands of people every year.

It’s quite obvious that hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes won’t cause the end of humankind because they are local phenomena. They might kill thousands or even millions of people but not all humans on this planet.

But what about volcanic eruptions? In the past many massive volcanic eruptions like the eruption of the supervolcano Toba on Sumatra about 73.000 years ago lead to bottlenecks in the evolution by killing off many species and some theories claim this event reduced the world’s human population to just 10.000.

Why are volcanic eruptions so problematic? The huge amount of ash that darkens the atmosphere leads to volcanic winters and temperatures continue to drop as this goes on.

Theories claim the eruption of Toba led to a 6 – 10 year volcanic winter and a decline of the average temperature in some areas by 15 °C / 59 F that changed life on earth dramatically and killed off many species.

This sounds bad, and there is another supervolcano bubbling under the surface in the Yellowstone area (that is unlikely to erupt during our lifetime) but even if this supervolcano would erupt it would not cause the end of humankind.

Add to that, the fact that the volcanic activity in the world is declining as the world cools out. Scientists do not believe an volcanic eruption will end the life of all humans.

Will the end of the world come from outer space?

There were rumors around that a planet called Nibiru / Planet X / Eris is heading towards the earth to smash it into pieces by the end of 2012. The problem is, it does not exist. If it did, it would be visible in the night sky right now, and astronomers (even hobby astronomers) would have seen it even decades before.

The US astronomer, Philip Plait, talks in his book about a variety of cosmic events that could mean the end of all life on earth. Most of them are so unlikely we do not even have to worry about them but… overall scientists agree the end of this world will come from outer space.

Astronomers compare the impact of asteroids with the same of other localized natural disasters.

If asteroids are big enough to cause trouble, we can spot them decades before they hit and alter their path to avoid a collision. Planets that might collide with us can be spotted centuries before they might hit with todays technology, so there is plenty of time to take action.

There are more nasty things lurking out in space though. When gigantic old stars implode, supernovas or even more massive hypernovas can shoot gamma rays millions of light years into space.

If we were hit by this, the atmosphere would suffer severe damage which would increase the mutations caused by UV light on earth and could mean the end of humankind.

The good news is that all stars in our “proximity” aren’t big or old enough for that. So this is extremely unlikely to happen anytime soon (we’re talking about millions of years here).

Time for bad news now… in one to two billion years the earth will be most likely a barren place without humans on it. The reason for that is nearby, just 8 lightminutes away… the sun.

The sun, like other stars, goes through different stadiums and will become what is known as a red giant. The mass of the sun expands and will increase the temperature on earth to over 100 C / 212 F and finally about 3-4 billion years later consume it.

That’s still plenty of time for us to find other places to live, of course. Some theories  claim that the loss of the sun’s gravity also alters the distance of the earth to the sun, but when it comes to external forces that mean the end of humankind, then the expansion of the sun is the most likely.

We’re still talking about huge periods of time here, and to be honest, looking at the mind-boggling stupidity humankind showed in the past and present we humans will find a shortcut to erase ourselves from this planet.

Either we start blowing up things with our 26.000 nuclear warheads, we create some virus we cannot fight or we deplete the earth of all its resources and a sustainable life becomes impossible.

Pollution and the chain reactions it triggers in our environment might also cause the end of the current edition of humans we have right now, the homo sapiens sapiens.

Looking back at the past, genetic bottleneck situations like the Toba supervolcanco eruption create another scenario more likely.

That is that we humans evolve and become a better, smarter and more adaptable species.

Those who survive genetic bottleneck situations are first and foremost lucky being at the right spot and the right time.

Then of course the ones that survive are the ones that are prepared and know how to live life outside of our civilized bubble we live in right now.

When we didn’t record new course material last month Selco and I had a few beers and spoke about this.

Preserving and furthering the knowledge people have about survival (which is the root knowledge that came before everything else) not only helps people who might suffer from irrational fears but actually shapes the future of humankind.

Collapse of our society by Selco

collapse of society

After Jay showed big picture, and that nothing gonna kill the earth tomorrow, back to what will cause us problems. Humans.

It is something in human nature, something that we like to think and imagine that we need some huge and big event to happen and then we gonna be in deep problems.

Truth is that we are already in deep problems. We need some small event that gonna set in motion huge trouble.

We already live in society where most sheeple trust more to TV then to their own eyes. But most of us are guilty in one way or other. How many of us are addicted to „modern“ life where is everything accessible with one click.

Food, water, heating, entertainment… We get everything ready, packaged, nicely wrapped, delivered to our hands. It is so comfortable, I love it too.

If credible looking politician on TV say to us that he can fix all problems people are happy. This nice looking guy takes responsibility for everyone so nobody has to take care of themselves…

Slowly but very effectively politicians and modern society is taking everything away from us: ability to defend (act by the rules and society will defend you) our skills (you gonna have food, heating, house, car… all you need is to act by the rules) … and most of us are grateful because we think we are doing fine, we have our needs covered.

But at what cost?

We become lazy, ignorant idiots. Most of us. We are already zombies, dependent on a system full of promises. Not everyone but most of us.

There is a small number of people who like to ask questions, who like to think with their own head. For that small number of folks there are names reserved by society: weirdos, conspiracy theorists, lunatics… you… readers of shtfschool.com

I mean in what kind of society we are living if it is strange when man wants to know how to survive in urban environment when disaster hits, hunt for food, make fire for heat, have means to defend himself, know how to live in wilderness. How crazy (or sane) is that?

Now we can just wait for some event to set the chaos in motion. It can be widespread unrest or long term power grid failure because of EMP, or some bigger pandemic. Or simply one nasty economic crisis and we are gonna be in full scale SHTF situation.

But real killer is that simple and ordinary guy who is sitting in his chair, watching soap opera, eating popcorn. Ordinary man who trust mainstream media and cares only about his own little world.

He is our Nibiru.

He is gonna stay by TV watching the announcement that something terrible is happening in town 200 miles from him, some epidemic maybe, and he is gonna believe in smart looking guy, „pandemic expert“ that everything gonna be fine, that government can contain that.

Days after he is gonna believe in good news even when he can not get his relatives on phone in other part of country because some „glitch“ in phone company.

Then he is gonna reassure his family and friends that everything gonna be OK, there is a folks who are gonna take care for that. They like to hear that because everyone likes good news.

Even when power goes out he is gonna keep good faith in future, „they gonna fix that!“ Maybe he is gonna be slightly disturbed without his favorite news station on TV.

After he realized that there is no food anymore in house, maybe then he gonna go out and check things, and be probably shot by someone in front of the empty and looted supermarket.

I was like that guy when the war started and I trusted the experts. I’m wiser now.

There are 95% of people who will figure out too late that they do not know what they gonna do when SHTF.

When people are left alone without system and forgotten all ways how to take care of their own lifes then we have real SHTF.

So in one sentence what will bring end to humankind? That human individuals gave up their independence and lost their ways.

Most of the world is living in over-inflated bubble which runs on resources, and resources are running out faster and faster.

Problem is that most of the people do not think too much about how food water energy etc. comes to them. Most of the people think it is going to be like that forever. Most people are stupid (unfortunately).

Once when bubble is gone, everything changes. And we do not need asteroid for that. Simple thing like greater military conflict in middle east can be trigger to lead to chain of events that can result in chaos.

Or how things would look if power grid goes out? Can you remember chaos when electricity goes off for few days in bigger cities, sometimes even few hours without electricity in city brings everything to halt.

How it would look if electricity disappear for few months. It would bring world to chaos, and it would be very hard to go back.

Whatever triggers this results will be same, civilization will be pushed back in dark ages. Forget about emergency services, hospitals, community… People will be divided to those who are gonna survive, and ones who are gonna vanish.

We do not even need a killer planet crushing us to bring us chaos, we will do it alone. Take care of ourselves.

I am gonna describe how things could unfold, from real life, from my experience, very shortened and simplified:

  1. People trust their government. Trust the system.
  2. Common people are unaware (great majority) of real agenda of politicians, they follow them, they liked promises about more wealth, more jobs, more security , democracy…
  3. Some rumors go around of how government just helps few business to get richer, about selfish motives of people in power.
  4. Leaders want to make sure they stay in power and start with installing fear in people, fear from others, different (in the same time they insist on differences even where there was not differences).
  5. Leaders insist on thesis that they gonna defend people from whatever and whoever, as long as they follow the leaders. People do not think about personal security, personal wealth etc. Leaders (society) gonna provide all that. Protect the system and system protects you.
  6. Suddenly people wake up in world without job, security, safety etc. People realize nobody takes care of them when things go really bad. By that time leaders and their networks have gained tremendous power and resources from that chaos in all kinds of ways.

Any of this sounds familiar? Welcome to today.

Governments job today is to balance suffering and promises. To balance beatings and compliments and when some event changes that balance and pain for people get too much, welcome to the end of the world as we know it.

What event do you think could trigger this? Please share in comments.

Dayz – the first real survival game?

This week I spent some time playing what some people call the first real survival game on PC. Here is my short review of the game and what I like and what not. I’m not much into playing games but this game looked promising.

In this game, called Dayz, which is just extension of another game called Arma II: Combined Operations you have no goal but survive.

You start the game on a big map of 225 square kilometers with nothing, besides some basic bandages. No weapons or anything like that. The game is hard and more or less realistic. When you die you lose everything you collected.

Bad situation. To make things worse there are zombies at each settlement. So if you want to get anything and scavenge place you have to sneak past those zombies. Don’t stop reading now because you hear zombie. It could have been also gangs or anything else to make things a bit harder.

Scavenging / gathering resources

Scavenging is pretty much what you do all the time. The game does not have real goal, just get enough resources to survive. Because you keep running out of food, drinks and other things you are under survival stress all the time. I think this and interaction with other players is most interesting part of game.

You can live off land but before you kill wild pigs, make fire and eat their meat you need hunting knife for butchering them, axe to cut wood and matches to light fire. So first thing you do is to sneak into places and take whatever you can. You can not carry that much so you have to pick wisely.

What I like about this part of game:

  • That it is biggest part of game and it is biggest part of survival too
  • That you often do not find what you look for which increases stress
  • Finding small things like matches make a difference
  • The relief when you find for example something to drink when you almost die of thirst
  • Some places, like hospitals, are very few and create more than usual dangerous areas which is realistic too. Places with resources are highest risk

What I dislike about scavenging part of game:

  • That it takes no work to get stuff. In reality you have to sometimes spend time on getting things from pile of trash
  • That there is no way to hide something. You can set up tent with some things in it but it is so easy to see that others find your things and take them most of the time. During war when I could not take something useful I often hide it to come back another night.
  • You can not enter many buildings. Would be nice to have option to kick in doors.

Interaction with other players

This makes big difference and game much more interesting. Other people play in the same world and also hunt and fight for survival. You can team up with them or, like more often someone will just try to kill you and take what you have.

When I heard about this part of game I got interested. If you play it you get a bit of feeling of why shoot first ask question later also was normal during war. If you meet someone you are very careful and if in doubt it is better if you are first person who shoots.

If you do not have any weapon you are just prey for others. You have to hide and sneak and stay hidden until you at least find some weapon.

What I like about this part of game:

  • If you die, you lose everything you collected. If you have much good stuff, you fight harder to survive. I had AK47 and some other good stuff and broke my leg because I jump from ladder. I did not want to give up and crawled to hospital in next town. That took me half hour.
  • You can save friendly players and give them first aid. Teamwork against others helps a lot as well.
  • It might help people to understand how you think when you have to trust someone else with your life. If in doubt you want to be the one shooting first…

What I dislike about this part of game:

  • You can not fight without weapon. In reality there were many fist fights for things because people did not want to kill others.
  • Many players do not talk they just shoot.

Conclusion

So overall I can say it is nice try to give people feeling of how survival like this feels. You often feel desperate and have to be careful all the time. It is far from perfect but creates clearer picture of what survival is about than any movie I saw in the past. Movies are usually “romantic survival”… lone man on the road fights and wins against everything.

How to play Dayz?

You need Arma II: Combined Operations for $29.99 to play the game. Then you download the Dayz Mod for free and install and play. It is a bit tricky but you can find detailed instructions how to install Dayz here.

Dayz reviews

(ignore hysteric screaming)

To get an idea how the game is after you have found some gear have a look at this:

If you play the game let me know what you think about it in comments. I’m happy that this is at least fair try to make realistic survival game. It can be very frustrating but that is how survival can be.

The Global State of Survival & Preparedness Report

Survival Report

We are really happy how many people participated in our survey. Over 1800 of you have answered the questions and I have spent the last few nights to whip all the responses into a presentable form. This is done now and I think it gives everyone a good idea what is on most people’s mind, why people prepare, what they prepare for and where you are standing compared to others.

The Global State of Survival & Preparedness Report comes in four parts but I strongly suggest you start with the first part.

Global State of Survival & Preparedness Report I

  • How long have you been preparing / into survival?
  • Please describe in a few sentences what scenario you are preparing for and what events might trigger it.
  • Do you currently prepare for a long term survival scenario? (5 years + / sustainable living)
  • (Optional) Why don’t you prepare for a long term survival scenario?
  • How long would your current food supply last? (Just the food you store)
  • How do you buy your preparations?
  • Where do you buy your preparations?
  • What made you start to get into survival?

Global State of Survival & Preparedness Report II

  • How threatening are the following scenarios for you?
  • Natural disasters
  • Economic Collapse
  • War between countries
  • Civil war or rioting
  • Totalitarian regime (new world order)
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Pandemics / widespread health problems
  • What kind of natural disaster might affect you?

Global State of Survival & Preparedness Report III

  • If you could take only 5 items with you in a bug out bag what would they be?
  • How experienced are you in the following areas?
  • Self defense / hand to hand combat
  • Weapon handling (guns, rifles, knifes..)
  • Homesteading / sustainable agriculture
  • Medicine / first aid
  • Trading / bartering
  • Food preservation / water storage
  • Wilderness survival / bushcraft
  • Hunting and trapping
  • Financial preparedness
  • In what areas would you like to improve your skills?
  • What was the most helpful survival skill you have learned so far?

Global State of Survival & Preparedness Report IV

  • In case of SHTF how many people do you have to take care of?
  • Does your group include children or people who depend on assistance or support?
  • Do you try to network with other preppers in your area?
  • How many other preppers or survivalists do you know personally?
  • What is your plan if it comes to a total collapse from one day to another?
  • What factors do you consider to be the most essential for your survival once shtf?
  • Summary

First Article of Selco’s Survival Guide

*The upcoming course that launches next week consists of several elements such as interviews, some videos, Selco’s supply list and a guide about what Selco thinks is important when it comes to survival. This article here is the introduction to the guide. If you have subscribed to our newsletter you will get early access to join the course that will launch next week. (This post was written by Selco but edited by Scott, a native English speaker)*

shoot

Scope of this course

This course is about the simple and raw side of survival and not the fancy bells and whistles part. I believe this raw and very basic side of survival sometimes gets forgotten. But in the end it is not things like fancy freeze-dried blueberry muffins that will help you survive when TSHTF (The Shit Hits The Fan).

There is nothing wrong with trying to prepare to keep your living standard even if TSHTF, but that is not the point of this course.

No matter how many freeze-dried blueberry muffins you have stocked, the day will come when the last one is gone and all you have is your big sacks of rice or grain, if anything at all. This course begins at that day. The focus here is on the uncomfortable, stinky, brutal and depressing side of survival. This is what I can talk about best, because this is what I experienced.

This course is mostly about what I experienced in my time during the Balkan war, how I coped with it and what helped me to survive. Often in life, we learn only when we are forced to, and in this course I will share what I was forced to learn during my year in hell.

Fewer rules, more principles

Jay and I sat together and tried first to establish some basic principles. Because unlike rules, principles are universal and in all sorts of unexpected situations they will help guide you toward right decisions and right actions.

There are many great books and resources concerning technical aspects of survival: so no, you will not find recipes for candle-making in this course. It is simply better to get a book about that.

The three parts of the course

The first part of the course consists of the interviews Jay did with me. These will introduce you to the experiences that taught me the tough lessons I am trying to pass on to you. You will come to understand the mindset that helped me survive and stay sane during my year in hell . Walking in my shoes a bit will prepare you to better cope with unexpected situations that may arise in your own life.

In the second part of the course, you will find several chapters of advice on topics such as security, trading, movement, water & food, and first aid & hygiene. While the interview part of the course lays the foundation and helps you to see things from my point of view, in this part of the course I offer concrete and practical advice. I will talk about the lessons I’ve learned, and how I might approach the next crisis differently.

In the third part of the course, I go through some of the equipment and resources I keep on hand, providing you with a detailed list of what I stock and why.

Been there, done that.

In the end, this guide is a set of personal opinions, based on a set of personal experiences. There is no one single way that works for everyone. If this course can help you to anticipate and adapt to any unexpected and dramatic upheaval that may come your way—the kind of disaster we all hope never comes but must be prepared for anyway—it will be a success in my eyes.

Since my experiences during the Balkan war I have been preparing for whatever might come next. I have never stopped. It was first all about weapons but my focus has changed over time. I have settled on a way of preparing which I’m confident is the right way for what I expect to happen in the future. As a member of this course, you will be informed whenever I modify my setup or plans. So as long as we all have the Internet let’s enjoy the ride into the darkness together.

You will learn a lot of things in this course, but like learning to play a guitar only practice will get you ready for the challenges that might await us in the future. Please use what you learn here, think about it and put it into action. Just having a map that shows you how to get up the mountain doesn’t mean you are ready to get up there. The only way to know this is to get out and try things. Throughout the guide I will recommend ways of practicing the techniques I have shared with you.

Finally I want to send a big thanks to my family and friends, to Jay for contributing his psychological knowledge and coming up with all those hundreds of questions that helped me to remember, Scott for editing this guide, and also to everyone on the Internet who has encouraged me to share my experience. Thank you and now let’s get started.

*To learn more from Selco, check out his online course.*

Getting to know Selco

*Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Jay, the guy who does the site with Selco.*

Like many of you I know Selco from his posts at a big survival forum. I thought his story is a story that must be told and if possible in great detail because who can we learn better from than someone who has been through the end of the world as he knew it.

If you would like to climb Mount Everest would you listen to someone who has been up there or someone who just imagines how it is up there?

I live in Thailand for most of the year and just a few days after Selco agreed to do the interviews and online course about his experience and preparations, I was already on a plane to Europe. A long bus ride later, I was in Selco’s country. It was quite depressing to still see the scars of war on almost every corner… literally because usually people looked for cover behind corners so they were especially riddled with bullets.

I met Selco in my hotel and he surprised me with a nice Browning folding knife as a gift. I had a shoulder holster for his Glock 21 as a surprise for him… so it seemed we kind of understood each other and hit it off well. We went out to get some coffee. Coffee is really big there and you see people drinking coffee like people in other countries drink water.

In the mall I was surprised to see so many security guys. Selco explained that’s normal, and it makes sense because so many people carry weapons and the tension and people with post war mental problems don’t make the situation any better.

We went back to the hotel and started the interviews. I had 17 pages of questions prepared but while we spoke, many more questions came up. Before I met Selco I also had friends from the US Army and even a SERE instructor who added a few questions. While I did my best to ask “everything” those of you who join the course early on have the chance to ask even more questions. We have planned to do another four interviews in the weeks after the course launches with your questions.

I stayed a whole week with Selco, and this week was a bit like time traveling. He showed me some of the real places. We recorded a lot, and the more I heard from him, the more I understood his survival mindset that enabled him to overcome something so bad and terrifying that it’s hard to imagine.

I was amazed by how he was able to speak about so many devastating experiences and personal tragedies and still remain alright. He is really someone who has processed all that happened to him and the people around him and can live with this experience in peace now.

It is a bit weird but if you hear his story in detail, it just changes your perspective. If you compare this with food then most of the survival books and advice I read so far tasted like frozen pizza with lots of artifical ingredients to somehow enhance the taste, while what I learned from Selco was like a good juicy grass fed beef steak from the grill. More natural, more real and in the end simply better.

What Selco has to share is honest, it is real, it is brutal, dirty, smelly and unpleasant. Welcome to one of the toughest real survival experiences… that lasted a whole year…

I’m not sure about you but I had so many “aha moments” when reading what Selco wrote. I had many more of these defining moments where you gain real wisdom and understand something during this week with him. Many things I understood and learned are things that are better learned from someone else, because if you have to find that out for yourself through trial and error, you might simply die in the process.

Maybe you know some people who had a really hard life and who overcame a lot of massive problems or went through extremely tough times to just come out of it stronger, wiser and more balanced? That describes Selco. There is no hate and no anger, but determination. A strong, pure will to do what it takes. He is a go-getter and this is also what helped him to survive this year in hell. He is really not a person who would start a fight but also not a person anyone would want to fight. He just does what has to be done.

We expect the course to start in the first week of January.

Clarification: Survival only

I write on this site to share my experience I had during the war time. Of course I was not the only one there and some people had to do things they usually wouldn’t do. I will not name anyone, no locations, no specifics. The times were tough and that’s it.

Please do not ask for any specifics regarding people, locations, religion or politics. This has nothing to do with survival and will be ignored. If you have any questions about survival I’m happy to answer them. Simply write and ask me.

And I have a new article coming up tomorrow. Was just busy with some life stuff.