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