Selco survived one year in a city surrounded by the enemy army and cut off from the rest of the world. He has been through hell during the Balkan wars 1992 – 1995. Learn what it took him to stay alive.
How do you imagine real survivalist?
Is it a man hidden inside underground bunker with food for 10 years, completely cut off from outside world? Or is it guy with crazy haircut driving bike on methan, in full leather outfit with communicaton skills not more than screams and some strange gurgling noises, armed with swords from fantasy games and maybe a chainsaw on the back?
Both examples are something like strange fantasies or for some even wishes („I want to be like that“) that I saw on more than one survival forum, or TV shows.
There is also picture of the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks when SHTF, and survive everything. There is strange opinion in some people that having stance like „I ll do only that when SHTF“ either only good, or only bad in terms of pillaging and robbing will keep them safe. If you look at things are going in nature, you know, natural way does not mean happy end.
Lots of regular people in todays society see us prepper and survivalists as weirdos in camouflage suits, conspiracy nuts and similar. Most of them are right, lots of „survivalists“ also help in building that image of survivalists. It is hard for some people to just shut up and prep, what they should do to keep low profile. But some people make survival so much part of who they are they want to show off. Their choice.
Point is that there are lot of definitions of survivalists there, and each one of them is like „written in stone“. I think survival is more about how you are as person and not what you expect. Once disaster strikes, you will see tough guys helpless and regular guys become strong forces. True nature shows up.
Several days after the shooting started I arranged with friend that he will pick me up with car so we can go and finish some job. We went to relatives apartment to look for useful stuff but everything was looted already. In that time vehicles could still drive, but shootings were everywhere and checkpoints too. So violence within the group of people who were caught up in the city was on top of shooting and shelling from enemy army.
At this point in time, nobody knew who shoot who and why, and what groups stand on checkpoints, but people already got killed.
When he came to pick me up I noticed that rear lights on his car were smashed, broken. And inside car he had some kind of steel plates with hooks and wooden bars that you could kinda attach to the inside of the door.
He explained to me that he smashed rear lights when he concluded that people get killed when snipers and machine gunners spot them after they hit the brake in the middle of the night during driving (lights are not used anyway during the drive).
That driving with him was closest thing to the apocalyptic Mad Max version of driving. It was still possible to drive through the street, but it was full of junk, debris, and bodies here and there. He used big lights occasionally when he really needed to see something, but only for sec or two, other than that he was driving in the dark.
On our way back he changed position of some steel plates inside car because he expected different directions of possible incoming bullets.
We survived that drive. That dude was not ex special forces member, or guy that you imagine, some strong tough dude. He was simple family guy, he worked as a postman before everything.
He had no experience with violence, gunfire or anything similar other than dogs barking at him while he delivered mail.
You may say „oh, nothing too smart, it is common sense to not use brake lights and put something between you and flying bullets“, and yes you are right it is common sense, but point is that you need to know WHEN you need to start to use common sense.
Great number of people got killed because they „waited to see what is gonna happen“, other folks started to use common sense early and survived (at least more of them, because no matter what we do there is always factor X that you are simply at wrong place at wrong time).
Those who can switch fast and let ideas of normal life go, increase their chances for survival a lot! Many “fantasy” survivalists will wake up to big surprise that things are not like they thought. It is true you should understand and know what to expect but even more important is to quickly change your way of life, how you think about security. Flexible thinker survive because they have many options to do things and react if they have to.
Other time shelling caught us on the inside of one of the apartment buildings, group of some 5-6 of us. Whole floor collapsed around us and on us.
Few seconds later we get on our feet, and find out that one of us is half buried under the rubble, other ones get minor wounds and scratches. We started to dig to uncover the buried guy, after that we realized that he was almost shredded from his thighs down, and his feet were under the piece of concrete wall.
After one try to lift him, we realize that there is no way to do it.
His legs were in so bad shape that while I was trying to do some kind of bleeding control I realize that actually I do not have clue what leg is left and what is right. It was simply all messed up and mixed from thighs down. Under the knees I could see that all was mixture of white and red, pressed and mixed. And he was screaming big time.
Shelling started again, with pretty big chance for all of us to be buried under the walls. I would be liar if I could say that I did not wanted to leave that dude there stranded, and just get the hell out of there, but somehow I still stupidly was trying to stop bleeding with straps from the shirt.
Then (luckily) one of the guys stepped out and push me, then with rifle bayonet he simple cut of almost amputated feet from stranded guy who luckily passed out, took him on his back and said “OK, lets go“. After we left the place, it collapsed from shelling. And strangely stranded guy survived everything.
If that dude did not cut his feet off we probably all got killed, or would have just left that man to die there.
Luckily one of us had common sense to do what has to be done in very quick and efficient way, and he did not have any medical knowledge.
There are many more stories how people got killed in very stupid ways and stories how people who have common sense survived (more of that in my course), but you get my point.
Real survivalist is man (or woman) who know what to do in certain moment. Everything else is just talking and wishful thinking. If you want to increase chances to survive, learn to take action quickly. Your knowledge and your skills help you to make right decision and execute action better.
It is 2014 now. Another year further away from my survival experience during war, another year closer to the next SHTF situation that can happen anytime. Last year was wild year for me. I enjoyed all discussion and feedback I got for my survival course and here on the blog. At the same time I went through very dark times again. Depression and some anxiety caught up with me.
Most of you here are more experienced survivalists and preppers and many of you have great bug out plans, have good amount preps in their storage and understand what signs to look out for. At some point, when you have things in order, I hope everyone does not forget to live life in current moment, without worrying about SHTF.
Survival is double edged sword. You want to be mentally prepared for worst case scenario but nobody can without having been there. Sometimes when I read survival forums I see people living in fear, even life is not bad for them at the moment. If I have wish for everyone for 2014 it is that people get serious about survival and preparedness but also enjoy good times as long as they last.
Anxiety, depression and negative thinking can take your energy away before anything starts. This here now is post I wrote some months ago, to put my feelings and thoughts in words, but Jay thought it was too negative to post at that time. I agree but now it makes sense to highlight the price I had to pay for becoming “survival expert” without wanting it. I’m better since some weeks now but this post gives you maybe idea of what kind of scars constant struggle for survival can leave. Celebrate the good times in 2014. Nobody knows how long this lasts.
I am kind of dead man. Emotionally I guess. I caught myself during my regular walks yesterday evening 2-3 maybe 7 year old girls looking at me and giggling.
I needed few seconds to realize why. While I was walking next to playground something just caught my eyes. 30 centimeters long green grass was slowly moving because of breeze, and smell entered my nose. I guess I froze and stood paralyzed.
I did not see the joyful and noisy playground anymore. Instantly I was moved back, 20 years ago and one other picture was in front of me. Me and my cousin are walking through the wet green grass, there are maybe 7-8 dead people around us, freshly killed in that grass.
And smell from the grass was so powerful and it is a good smell. Like spring, like freedom, it smells like youth, like young girls and boy teenagers drinking wine and listening to guitar playing.
It was impossible to comprehend and put together smell of grass and dead folks in the grass at the same time.
I do not know for sure for how long I stared at the grass next to playground, but I had strange look probably, because kids were giggling. One man, father probably, came and looked at me then quietly moved kids from my vicinity. I figured that I probably also had strange and not so nice glare in my eyes.
I never know what is gonna be, and when. I met guy from the same area where I was during the one period in war, guy was looking young, but he wasnt a kid. We were talking about war, and hard days. I asked him „do you remember Siljo, he died from wound infection?“
Guy was starting to look confused. Then he told me „damn man, I was born that year when he died“. I mean damn, he was something like 20 year old dude.
I am still living kinda in war, 20 years have passed but I still see myself as a guy from that war. I remember everything. Every dead guy. Right now I can smell that rotten smell of gangrene that took one guys leg, and his life later. It is still in my nose, and 20 years have gone by.
That 20 years are gone like in dream, everything after that war is like dream, in terms being blurry, and I keep catching myself asking „what was that yesterday?“ about something that happened yesterday, and I do not have clue.
When I walk out every second guy or woman I see remind me of somebody from that time, someone dead. When I hear kids laughing out, I hear screams inside me.
Loud music from the car that just passed me reminds me of song that was played on big speakers after calls for surrender as part of enemy propaganda.
Hell is not burning fire. Hell is impossibility to forget things. Hell is seeing these things in front of you again and again.
I caught myself thinking that best days of my life are over, not because I had it, oh no. It is because I am not able to feel real joy anymore. My tasks in life are blurred, and I think all that I want is to go somewhere next to sea and lay down and watch how clouds are moving and then sleep and sleep.
Man, something entered in my chest 20 years ago, and it is burning like hell from time to time, it is literally choking me and terrifying me. It is rage, it is sorrow, and it is tiredness. Pure horror it is. It is there and I can not kill it, I can somehow fool it and cheat it for some time. But even when it is not burning I can feel it.
When it burns I live through all again and again. Sometimes I use walking to kinda exhaust it. I keep walking and walking or go to gym and move weights to exhaust me. Sometimes I notice my kid na that my empty stare is scaring her.
I do not have friends because there are no common topics. I am alone. I am afraid of rage somewhere hidden inside me, I can feel it but I do not have clue when it will erupt and against who. I have feeling that it will be blind rage when it comes out.
I think about a good friend. He was one of the toughest people during war. He lived for some time good after war and we went shooting together in forest. He was preparing as well. He did not do anything that made his life worse. But suddenly, just few months ago he simply stopped to care. When man get caught in wild river and there is danger of getting drowned, without any help he can fight longer or shorter time, and eventually he will simply get released – flow free in the river, then he will get few short but tremendous moments of peace, of watching to the sky, then he will drown and die and is swept away.
My friend did just that. He just surrendered, I still try to swim.
I can not eat, all food taste same, actually no taste at all, my mouth is dry, I feel like I chewed sand.
It is what it is.
What I want to say is that there is enough darkness out there. Whatever puts you down in 2014 and future, remember to swim and not give up.
For man to have family means lot of things. Family means a lot of work and worries, but also a lot of happiness. A good family means support when you are having problems or you are in some difficult periods of your life of course.
When SHTF it can work in both ways too, bad and good, but definitely having family will help you more than being alone.
I mentioned many times why it is better to be with other (close) people when SHTF then to be alone. My course where I talk in detail about my experiences in war has many situations that I would not have survived without my family.
There is one other side to that, during SHTF when anarchy and fighting for survival means violence and you see people close to you get hurt or killed.
Lots of people here in my country have gone through that, including me, and of course after first reactions that are common to all of us (grief, anger, sadness…) we react different.
How we managed to cope with the pain, formed our whole future life, it formed us, destroyed some, and even gave strength to few.
When you lose someone because of illness or old age or traffic accident, maybe you may accuse bad health system, or similar, or even God, but eventually you will say „It is life, we all gonna die, it is how it is supposed to be“.
But when you lost someone close because someone shot him during a fight between two opposite groups (because they different, or because the hate each other, or just because one group wanted resources from another group) it is different.
Or let s just say that you are watching your close friend or family member dying because you lack some medicine after everything collapsed, but you know that there is medicine for some people there, and no medicine for others, because of power, wealth, politic or religious reasons.
It can change your whole perspective of life. It can put lots of RAGE in you.
And it is RAGE written in capitals. It lasts for years, and it can drive all your decisions, it can consume you at the end.
I’ve seen (and still see) lot of people here with it.
One example would be guy who watched how his family was killed just because they are different nationality from the killers.
He survived because he played dead, later he said that actually it was not about playing, he simply was shocked and paralyzed. He was 13, he survived his wounds and grew up into man whose mission is to prepare for the next SHTF event, next war.
He finds his meaning of life in preparing for the next SHTF, but with lots of hate and rage, he became obsessed with hating other groups of people, who killed his family, and actually at the end he became like them. He is alone now, no family, just hate.
All his life has become about preparing for revenge. Rage and hate is driving him. He keeps talking about big day of payback. His mission is to make other people lose their families like he lost his one.
Other example is man who lost his daughter who was 9 years old. She suffocated inside burning house that other folks turned on fire, he survived.
He had some period of hard drinking, after that he turned himself towards religion. His life is now about love and forgiveness. He is in some NGO that is trying to create dialogue between victims from all sides. He is alone too and obsessed with his mission.
I drink coffee with him sometimes, he is all into love and forgiveness. He is not really preparing for next SHTF event because he is believing in „non violent solving of problems“ and similar.
Both guys, stories, and examples are how things can end up.
I drink sometimes coffee with the hateful guy too. Where he gives me „adrenaline“, other guy gives me „peace“.
I like both of them for what they are but if you ask me now, I think that for the future SHTF event, they are both running into major problems with their ideas.
First one is blind because of his hate, other dude because of his love. I think (and that is only my opinion) that they both take wrong lessons from their experiences.
It is not all about love and not all about hate. You may call me idiot but yeah too much love and faith into the people may (and will) kill you eventually too.
As I said, I ve lost family members and friends too, and I had my portion of coping with that. And it was not perfect, I had periods when RAGE „colored“ my life dark red, when all my actions were driven by it.
Luckily I overcame that. I have not get ridden of my RAGE but toned it down, so rage now. Probably it is not even possible, but I kinda learned to control it. Sometimes it still controls me, but it is rare.
I like to think that love and hate are parts of life (rage too) and too much of each one can misguide you actually. It is just me, maybe I am wrong. At the end of day, survival is about having options.
Use your love to form strong connections with your group, use your hate to have energy and motivation to reach your goals (but do not let any of these emotions control you).
Have good time with people close to you in coming days. No matter what your mission is, nothing is worth to be alone.
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