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Best way to survive is not being close to any problems. Like I describe in my survival course about my experience in Balkan war I missed my chance to bug out in time. I ended up surrounded by enemy army and trapped in city for a year without power and regular resources. Everyone fighting for the little what was left and being shot at by snipers and artillery from enemies did not make experience any better.
There are many reasons why people fail to bug out. Last week Jay (guy I run this website with) left Bangkok because of military coup. He first did not want to leave right away but then common sense won and he left. You can read about what happened in our forum. Nothing bad happened after he left, but it could have.
There can be many reasons like failure to recognize that S. gonna hit the fan, blocked streets on the way out of the city, problems convincing everyone to leave or just some special events you want to stay for.
I mention many times why I failed to leave city before everything became blocked. So I said that simply I did not see signs, or even if I saw something that looked serious to me, I assure myself that everything gonna be OK in short.
And of course media was there to told us that everything gonna be fine, nothing gonna escalate etc. and all of this above is true, it was like that, but as the time goes by I am able to see one more mistake that I have done that contributed to the my choice of staying.
Actually it was not really choice, I failed to see that I had big choice to make back then. We humans like to go with the flow and that is what I did. There was no choice, just years later and when your freedom is taken you realize you failed to make right choice.
So the big mistake I also made was the fact that I was simply thrilled and excited how events are unfolding in front of my own eyes, it was kinda mesmerizing.
You know that feeling that you are going to be part of something big, something that it is gonna be part of history books?
I had that feeling on some subconscious level I guess.
It was like being part of event that goes like this:
- Day 1: Today we lost ability to phone outside town, sporadic shots were fired whole day, on the TV there is no news from our city, which is weird…
- Day 2: I just saw tank on the street, went to check is there anything left in the store to buy or take, but actually there is no store anymore, tank was slowly rumbling over the street, guy who was standing next to me said „they gonna ruin the asphalt with that beast“ like that is important, but that guy still thought in old terms, like we all did. I think he thought that it is temporary, and tomorrow city gonna need to repair that street because tank ruined it, and we all pay that through our taxes, and so on, and so on.
- Day 3: Our first neighbor shows up with rifle and said „I ll gonna shoot those mother……s „ I ask him „who?“ he said „anyone who approaches my house.“
At the beginning it was like being in movie, but pretty soon we all were like „f..k, people get killed for real here“.
One day after another day, events simple unfolding, more dramatic after dramatic. It is a bit like slow collapse that we experience now, changes come step by step, even in short time but it is all exciting until one point and then it can be too late.
This is what happened, one day it was simply too late to leave.
Now you need to understand me that this was not the only reason why I stayed in the city, it was not even most important, I speak about everything in detail in my course. But still it was the one of the reasons and one of the reasons that can be easily overlooked.
It is important to be mentioned here, simply because I can see and read in many places that lots of people still make similar mistakes. It is simply interesting for them to stay and see what is going to happen.
For those of you who were part of some SHTF event, whatever it was, some natural disaster or similar, you may understand what I am trying to say. Arrah who lost almost everything in devastating hurricane Haiyan in Philippines writes about this too.
It is the fact that timing of events is not goning to wait for you, it is going to unfold on its own, and at the end it is simply gonna overrun you if you are in its path.
You will be left behind to sit through consequences or destroyed.
People often act like world is spinning around them, and like nothing bad is going to happen to them, while in reality you (and me) are nobody in bigger picture. When you get more experience as survivalist and prepper you maybe even become arrogant and think you know what you deal with and can stay and wait.
I was young then, and my blood reacted different on gunshots, screams, or hearing about attacks or defense, or pride and similar, so I can blame that too. But still, it is easy to fall into the thinking of „staying to see events“.
Oh it was interesting for sure, especially in the beginning, before I realized fact that people died in great numbers, and that there is a huge possibility that I could be killed too, and it would not be some big event and very soon it is over.
Later it was all about trying to survive, something like constant running for your life. You become very humble man if you almost lose all control over things around you.
And remember the saying: “May you live in interesting times”, but also remember that it is as much curse as it can bring you excitment in good times. So if you see that „interesting times“ are coming to your neighbourhood, just leave the area, it is much better to be „bored“ but alive somewhere else.
Did you draw clear line for yourself when you bug out or bug in? Discuss in our forum or in comments below.
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It is OK if you think that government is corrupt and incompetent, I think that too.
It is OK to have weapon in your home, and will and knowledge to use it, and it is very good if you think that TV is full of crap.
I think too that S. is gonna hit the fan, and that it makes sense to have bug out location and bug out bag, and lots of cans and ammo.
So we are clear that we agree that all of the above (and lots more) make perfect sense. But one thing does not make sense and that is to let everyone else know that you are thinking like this.
Because it makes you different from (great) majority of folks around you, and what should be one of the basic and first imperatives?
To blend in, to look and be like everyone around you!
Do not ruin your chances to be safe at home even before SHTF.
Since last week we have ongoing discussion if survival in urban environment is even possible at all.
Under some circumstances it is, my experience during war I talk about in my course and how many others survived trapped in cities during war shows it is possible.
But you have to be prepared and do things right even before any collapse happens. Here are some more important things to keep in mind when you try to fly under radar and increase your chances for survival.
Survivalist Hate: From nice guy who helps to guilty man
Did you ever hear of “survivors guilt”? Feeling of being guilty because you survived but many others you know did not. There is something else that can “help” you to not feel that, because it can kill you. It is what I call “survivalist hate” by people around you.
I often read how people want to help other folks when SHTF, and it is really good, but in reality it works different.
When SHTF, I mean real SHTF, most of the people will not like you because you are prepared, people will hate you, even if you help them. They will hate you because you are prepared and you have food, water, weapon and shelter for you and your family, and they do not have anything like that.
I have seen how people robbed man, and his family, torching his house because he had lots of goods (he gave some of that stuff to some folks week before) and by that logic folks said that he knew that S. is going to hit the fan, and he was like guilty for them. People were angry that he prepared but did not tell them.
This is what you can call “survivalist hate”. Think about it, sentences like “he could have warned us” or “he must have stolen this from somewhere, otherwise he would have not that much”. Do not expect normal logical thinking. It does not happen much in normal times and is less in survival scenarios for most common folks.
Being a Stranger
To be stranger in some area, for whatever reason is dangerous thing when SHTF. Let say for example that you move from your country to some other, permanently, and you want to continue to live there. And you are obviously different from people around you because how you look. It is dangerous place to be when SHTF. In some places just because you are from different race people consider you rich.
Do not be fooled by everyday “ease” now in normal times. You may think that you blend in perfectly, and people like you, you go to the church, contribute to charity etc.
But when SHTF you are going to see that you are outsider, and in some cases you could be even accused for bad situation, and you could be in danger.
Of course it is not always going to be like this, but I saw many times people being attacked in SHTF just because they are different. When SHTF people want to look for guilty people for SHTF, and it is easiest to “find” them in people who are different.
Being a “Smartass”
Do not be smartass. This is advice also for normal times of course. For example people here (I guess just like everywhere) are completely addicted to retarded TV shows.
For hours they sit in front of the TV and follow that stuff, and they comment on it everywhere. I never discuss with them my opinion that I do not watch that s..t and that it is retarded.
For them, they believe I watch it too, I am just like them. Now this may look like stupid nonsense example, but it is only example.
I go like that with all other things, very very rarely I go into the discussion with people and try to prove that they are wrong. They deserve to live their life like that and it is OK.
Sometimes when I found man who is worth of “saving” I try to discuss with him my way of living, values, etc. Maybe there is future prepper in him.
Point of this is to understand: there is no sense in going against majority of people around you, you just gonna stick out like that, attract attention, be smart ass because you are trying to go against majority.
Just leave them, blend in, look like everyone around you. It is satisfying for your ego to proof other people wrong when you know better, but what do you win? Nothing and most people do not even want to know any truth that does not fit in their world view.
What are your ways of blending in? Please share in our forum thread about this topic or comments below.
If you haven’t already you can register for our forum for free here.
When I write about SHTF world and interactions between people in that time, I always emphasize that you cannot trust in people any more. There are many examples why in my course.
Your neighbour that had been always nice to you in normal times is simply not same guy when SHTF, because now he may have hard time to keep his family fed, and comparing to his family you are nothing.
So simply trust no one outside your group.
Your group matters, you need people who you can trust, people that you can put your life in their hands. It is your group of people that you are preparing with for the time when SHTF.
Loyalty is one thing that you need to “grow”, and it needs time to grow, that is why it makes sense to have prepared your group before SHTF, it may be slow process, and you need to be sure what kind of people you have there.
My SHTF experience was very bad from the perspective of what I saw when it comes to loyalty.
When you have big number of unprepared folks thrown in really hard situation like war, you can see all kind of examples, mostly bad one.
Yes, I saw people betraying their friends, or even families. Sometimes for the few more hours of life.
Sometimes even for food.
But I have seen also people getting killed trying to save their families, sometimes they were almost sure that they going to get killed.
My old school friend get killed at the beginning of the war simply because he did not wanted to leave his wife under the ruins of collapsed house, he was trying to save her until the moment when rest of the building collapsed and kill them both.
And I already mention people trying to help friends or family members who get shot and wounded from sniper fire, only to get themselves killed from the same sniper.
Once I was pass out from the explosion (detonation) and my relative drag me to safety, while shells were still exploding.
You need to know what kind of people you have with you when it comes to loyalty.
Before you expect loyalty, ask yourself, are you loyal?
What kind of man you are? Do you have feeling of belonging to the group and what that group mean to you?
Of course there is your family or your friends inside the group, but what kind of the things you are ready to do for them? Do not expect more from them if you are not ready to do similar for them.
What keeps your group together?
There s few answers to that, fear can keep group together, or temporary circumstances too can keep it together when SHTF, but both of those examples will keep it together on very short run, and be sure that group not going to function good.
If members of the group are loyal to each other group will function much better, loyalty will be thing that keeps it together when things get tough. Creating a shared goal, idea and identity everyone feels part of, is another way to create more loyalty. You want as much things to be loyal to as possible. Patriots are examples of people loyal to something bigger.
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
I would slightly modify the quote for survival groups and add “loyalty to the group and cause” and not the government. Some of us also do not feel loyal to country anymore because most important ideas and values that country was build upon have been lost long time ago. Just look in your group who is loyal to something. These people can be loyal to your cause or group as well if they want to.
Just try to be realistic when it comes to the loyalty of the people in your group. They are people, not machines. Do not ask from them impossible things.
Everybody has a breaking point. It is important to know EXACTLY where (or when) that breaking point is in every man. Observe people and see where their limits are in low risk situations.
Expect some weird things when people get to that breaking point. You may be surprised when you find out that some “tough” guys have much lower breaking point than you expected. When people break they often forget to put group interest first and just think about themselves. So a loyal weaker person can be much more worth than tough guy who is very selfish.
Point is to understand loyalty ends somewhere for most people. Try to find out that breaking point today BEFORE the SHTF so you can know what to expect.
Vision, goal and causes in your survival group
I saw some groups turn to gangs simply because it was easiest thing to do and took not much effort besides lack of compassion for others. There was no shared cause, vision or goal. Just selfish people who want to survive. Same groups often fell apart because of internal fighting.
In other words what makes group of survivalists different from the simple group of scavengers and thieves? Vision, goals or a cause.
While one group is simply going to use the opportunity of lack of law to do nasty things, other group will try to survive in order to make some sense in all of that chaos. In short you MUST have goal or cause however strange that can sound. Our simple shared cause was to keep our family save. Very simple. I went out and risked my life every day for people back at our place. Think now about shared cause or goal when you are with other families or friends in survival group.
For someone it may be trying to survive in order to build better society afterwards, for other trying to teach folks good things. Do not ever let your group get lost without cause or vision of better tomorrow. A cause or vision can carry group like picture of a loved one you look at when you are held hostage.
A cause can be simply to survive to tell others how it was back then. In this sense I found another cause years after, writing here today.