‘Selco’

 

End of  the year and start of the new year is usually time for some new decisions, changes in your life and similar.

Usually in this time of the year I write about some expectations in „prepper terms“ about what for and why we should be prepared.

Nothing really changed in what we should expect, the world is going faster in some wrong directions and so there is no need for me to repeat that now.

 

For New Preppers

 

I would like to take this chance to just surmise what we at the SHTFSchool are doing and why, because in last months we have quite number of newbies here, new on my blog but also new in prepping.

Many times I read that Selco is „guy who survived year under siege during war“ and that I talk and write from that perspective.

I should mention however It was a long process. This ‘one year in hell’ is the literal tip of the iceberg.

From the moment when I was an ordinary guy prior to the war who did not have a clue about survival, up to this moment now at the end of 2017, a whole bunch of things happened.

Of course from the survival point of view most important thing was that I was part of the 4 year Balkan war, that includes that 1 year under siege, but also other things like being soldier and being a refugee in that time…

It is a process that lasted many years, before the war, during and after. An important part of it is meeting and talking with other preppers through my courses in ‘real life’ live or online, because I have learned, the hard way, that it is impossible to know everything and that you are actually learning all the time.

 

„The Truth Will Set You Free“?

 

One of the let’s say „sad advantages“ why I know few things about SHTF in such well rounded terms, lies simply in the fact that I’m still living in the middle of it right now, for years, because post war society is exactly that.

War for me was one experience, it was fighting, hunger, air raids, being dirty and sick… complete absence of system.

Post war society is another experience: life now is life in a corrupted system, political homicides, car bombs between different fractions, teenagers being drug addicts and prostitutes because there is no other way to find food…

It is life where ex war lords (or their children) are political party leaders with their own private armies of mercenaries „disguised“ in security companies, it is life where every (decent) home have AK 47 hidden somewhere, and bedtime stories for kids how „they“ just waiting for next chance to start new war, so we need to hate them… (who ever „we“ or „they“ are, really we are all the same)

It is life where I have to have different amounts of money in different pockets all the time, either to bribe the policeman (if I calculate it’s worth it) or to give it to drug addict with knife (if I calculate not to shoot him)… To repeat, this is EVERY DAY life here…

It is life where I need to have a registered and not registered pistol, based on what I am trying to achieve…

In very short, I am living in the middle of collapse, compared to war this is comfortable, but it is STILL SHTF.

So for all newbies here, and for guys who following me for years, you need to understand one thing: Selco is talking and teaching about real things, and to live here and talk openly about truth means that you may end up in deep s..t really fast, so that is the reason why you won’t ever see my face in an interview, or read my real name, I am not gonna show up in a youtube channel.

People from the events that I am writing on my blog are here, alive, and mostly in power, actually they rule here, they give you job and salary just not to be hungry, they and their people will find school for your kid, or simply find medicines for your mother cancer…

Otherwise a drug addict may ‘find’ your kid from the way back to school, you may be labeled as a „traitor“ maybe, or simply you may one morning when you start your car engine end up in Heavens…

You may watch at your dying mother who was told that „she need to wait for the specialist oncologist appointment for 16 months…”

This is EVERY DAY life here

You must be invisible and not interesting, you need to be small all the time.

You need to be gray. Not in the tacticool interpretation of the word, genuinely, completely blended. This ability to go unnoticed goes WAY BEYOND just the clothes that you wear…

Many times I read that I am ‘not real’ or ‘fraud’ or ‘Russian troll’ because I am staying „hidden“, but it’s like this, I share my advice under this assumed name, take it or leave it, but don’t think these comments are going to change it.

For all my new and old readers, Happy New Year!

Selco

 

 

 

SHTF Christmas… What was It Like…?

Just this last week I completed an interview with Daisy from the Organic Prepper Blog. It was on a timely subject with Christmas being here, so thought I’d share it here as well.

 

 

Have you ever thought about what an SHTF Christmas would be like after an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it event? I’m not talking about a minor issue that just affects a few people, but a full-on disaster that changes everything.

Today, we have a first-hand look at what a post-collapse holiday is really like. I interviewed my friend Selco, of SHTF School, and his answers are really food for thought.  I have learned more about long-term survival from Selco than probably anybody else and have based a lot of my own plans on things I’ve learned from him. For most of us who write about preparedness, it’s research and theory. For Selco, it’s real life.

This interview is in his own words.

I read over the answers to his questions at least a dozen times and thought about how fortunate we are. Even our most difficult times here, in our society, would have been the height of luxury during the war in Bosnia.

But will we always be this lucky?

First, give us a little bit of background. What was going on? Please describe the circumstances in Bosnia during this time.

War in the Balkan region (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia…) started during the 1991 and went on until 2000 (if you include war at Kosovo and NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999), but historians mainly narrow it to a period of 1991-1995 if you do not count Kosovo war and NATO bombing. In some literature, you’ll find the name “Yugoslav Wars“ which is same (all above-mentioned Balkan countries used to be states in Federation of Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija or roughly translated to English it is “country of south Slavs“).

…Yugoslavia (as a socialistic-communist country) founded after WW2 in 1945, and stop to exist in 1991 with the start of the wars. Shortly prior the war socialistic system (communistic) fell apart as a part of bigger events (fall of Soviet Union, fall of Berlin wall…) and democracy came, together with democracy, rivalry between states that wanted to stay in the Yugoslavian union and states who wanted independence raised sharply, that resulted in riots and small and isolated fights, leading to full use of Yugoslavian army (JNA) which was 4th largest military force in Europe in that time.

Wars had all features: Independence fights, aggression between states, civil war, genocide, re-alignments, or switching of allegiances as the operational situational changed, backing up from foreign forces (Such as US and NATO)… through periods of it  you could say that it was an ethnic war or even religious in parts, but in the essence it was war for territory and resources between factions who were in power, based on personal gain of wealth and influence only.

I went as a civilian and later as a soldier through the whole period of wars, I was in different regions during that period. Harder period of those wars (because of numerous reasons) happened in Bosnia, and one of the main “feature“ of that period were “sieges“ of a couple of cities that lasted from few months to a couple of years.

I found myself in one of those sieged cities. I lived like that for a year and I survived.

Every day, for almost a year, for me was a constant fight for survival, I was constantly either trying to defend myself or to look for resources, for usable water, food or simply firewood. We scavenged through the destroyed city for usable items because everything was falling apart and we have to “reinvent“ things in order to survive, like the best way to stay warm, to stay clean and safe or simply to make home medicine for diarrhea or high blood pressure.

When Christmas rolled around, it was obviously very different than any other holiday people had ever experienced. Can you tell us the usual Christmas traditions in Bosnia BEFORE this all happened?

As said, I grew up in Yugoslavia, which was socialistic and communistic country. One of the thing in that country and system was that religion was not forbidden, but it was strongly, let’s say “advised“ that religion is way down in the list of life priorities.

On the other side, it was strongly “advised“ that we put aside our differences (we had many different ethnic groups in Yugoslavia, and a couple of main religions) in order to build one “ethnicity“ – Yugoslavian. As the result of that all different religions kinda know each other very well, and people from different religions celebrated more or less or know all religions.

Christmas for most of the folks was very much connected to the New year holiday (again something that is connected to the official socialistic system) and it was just like everywhere in the world I guess, holiday of presents and gathering of family. For example, going on midnight mass was matter of being together with family and friends, and meeting each other-not so much matter of religion not too many “real“ religious people).

I was a teenager more or less, but my memories of that holiday prior the war are: peace, good food, family gathering and presents, and of course Santa.  It was huge and “mandatory“ thing that kids gonna get big presents then.

I’m sure that then, everything was very different. What were some of the changes? How did you celebrate?

Everything was different when SHTF, yes. Living was hard, comfort was gone and everything was stripped“\ down to the bare survival. Lot of small commodities that we usually do not think about (we take it for granted) was simply gone because of obvious reasons (the whole system was out) but also because simply life becomes full of hard duties, to finish simple tasks and obtain resources becomes hard, dangerous and time-consuming.

Celebrations become rare and not so happy and big (not even near) but in the same time they become more precious and needed too.

Get-togethers (family) become even more important because people lean much more on each other between group or family, simply because they needed much more support – psychological. too – than in normal times.

A lot of religious people lost their faith when they saw family members dying. On the other side lot of people found God in that desperate times – as an only hope.

Being together with family members for small “time off“ become almost like small rituals, like a ritual of finding inner strength and support in order to push more through hard times.

Yes, religion was a big part of it, but it was not only about religion, it was about finding strength in you and people close to you – family, and sharing it between each other.

Without access to storebought presents, what kinds of gifts did people give?

It could be divided in two groups:

Things that help you in the new reality:

All kind of things that helped you to solve all kind of problems that SHTF brought. For example, people who were skilled in handcrafting used to made cigar holders out of wood and bullets casing, it was very popular for smokers and the reason for that was because cigarettes were rare, and people usually smoked bad tobacco rolled in bad paper and good cigar holder (as a combination of cigar holder and pipe) was essential for smoking that stuff.

It was small thing but really important if you were a smoker in that time.

Another example was small handmade stove. It was made from thin metal, and in some cases it was portable. Point was that kind of stove needed really small amount of wood ( fuel for fire was important and hard and dangerous to get in urban settings) to make it really red hot and cook something quickly or boil water.

So cool and usable kind of inventions.

Things that connect you to normal

In this other group were all kind of things that connect you to the normal (prior SHTF) life. It was not only cool and nice to have those presents, but also it was important psychologically to taste something that actually makes you feel normal again.

For example after living for months through collapse, one simple bottle of beer could make you feel human again, and it would somehow gave you strength.

Sweets (Candy), beer, spice, or even few songs that someone play on guitar for you were precious.

What did you do for the children at Christmas to make it special?

Kids were somewhat “forgotten“ in the SHTF times. Quite simply not many people paid attention to them other then keeping them safe from dangers.

People did not have enough time to take care about their needs.

During the holidays people usually wanted to give some kind of joy for them, or to “keep the spirit“ of holiday alive for them.

In majority of cases it was very poor imitation of holidays in normal times, for example I remember that making pancakes (jam was made out of tomato juice and very expensive sugar) was considered alone like a holiday. Special food, or attempts to make some special food, for kids, were usual holiday presents for kids in that time. Today that kind of food would look ridiculous and not even edible probably, but in that time it was precious.

What did families serve for Christmas dinner in Bosnia during this time?

Traditionally for Christmas and New Year holidays in this region here, we ate huge amounts of meat, and drink wine, so people during the collapse tried to keep that tradition.

Again it was mostly unsuccessful in terms of normal, but in that time having hot stew kind of meal from MRE was considered holiday dinner, and actually it was very very tasty and a “holiday spirit“ dinner considering what we usually ate.

Wine was out of the option most of the time but hard alcohol was there.

In general, were people happy and joyous to find a chance to celebrate, or was it grim and depressing because it was so different?

General picture looked like this: we were cold, more or less hungry, dirty, tired and unsure in future, but yes we appreciate feeling of getting together for holiday and we were trying to keep “spirit alive“.

Truth is that sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

But generally yes, psychologically it was important, it had its place, it had a sense to get together, take some time to try to feel normal again, to remember that we are still humans.

Definitely those moments were not bright and happy, like in normal times but on the other hand those moments were appreciated and were much more real than in peacetime.

Do you have any holiday stories you can share from this time? (Doesn’t matter if they are happy stories or sad – I’d really like to show the reality of post-collapse holidays.)

It is big thing (I guess just like everywhere) to leave presents under the tree for Christmas and New Year here.

It is custom here to buy big bags (kids motifs of cartoons, fairy tales and similar) and fill it with favourite snacks, sweets and toys of each kid and leave that bags under the tree (we did not had custom of socks and similar, we had those bags, to literally translate the name would be “kid package“).

Of course, it was out of the question to have the bags and sweets and toys in the middle of SHTF.

My uncle in that time came into an opportunity to make a deal with local small “warlord“ or gang leader if you like.

The deal was about giving some weapon for food (the guy had a connection with outside world) and my uncle “made a condition“ on the whole deal with the term that he will give a weapon for food but the additional deal was that he also need 3 “kids packages.”

In that time and particular moment, taking into consideration with what kind of people he was making a deal it was like he was asking a serial killer, to his face, to sing a gentle lullaby, and my uncle said that those guys simply could not believe what he asked.

Everybody was looking for or offering weapon, drugs, violent contract deals or even prostitutes from those people but he was looking for “kids packages“.

But they indulge him, and my uncle said that he thought they indulged him simply out of the fun, and out of the fact that it is gonna be a very interesting urban legend that someone could obtain kids packages in that time.

The guy even wrote down the list of sweets and toys that my uncle asked from him.

I think those sweets and toys when they came were one of the most unreal items in that time and place, but they were worth the effort.

It really gives you something to think about.

What a reality check. And how fortunate we are. Our version of “things were really tight this Christmas” is laughable in comparison to what is described above. I can’t thank Selco enough for sharing his stories with us.

I’ve often recommended prepping with things like cake mix, birthday candles, extra Christmas cards, and items that support your family traditions, and after reading what Selco had to say, I believe it’s even more important. You can’t overstate the psychological aspect of being able to provide that sense of normalcy.

More information about Selco

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations like Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

Read more of Selco’s articles here: https://shtfschool.com/blog/

And take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge and advice by signing up for the outstanding and unrivaled online course. More details here: https://shtfschool.com/survival-boot-camp/

————————————————————–

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com

She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menarie.
You can find Daisy on 
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Top Tips – Items to Stockpile

 

I’m constantly seeing articles with titles like“ things that gonna disappear when SHTF“ or“ things that you need to stock up when SHTF“, better still, “Top 10/50/100(!) Items to stock before SHTF” or something in that way.

And then, in the article, author goes with huge number of items that will be gone when SHTF.

These articles, like many, are not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, but it can be used more as an reminder what amount and number of things we are dependable on in everyday life, other then a list what to buy for SHTF. Unless of course you just happen to have a spare $20,000 to immediately to buy everything on the list.

It is so obvious that when SHTF, electricity will be most probably gone, but does that really mean that you need to run today and buy a generator and huge amount of fuel?

Maybe there are smarter, cheaper things to store, more usable and more „desirable“ (for trade) when SHTF….

And again you need to think about difference between what you really need and what would be really nice to have. Necessity vs. Comfort.

I am not saying it is wrong to buy a special bug out vehicle, only for when SHTF, I am saying that I want to give advice about what to store and that items anyone of you can store.

I had always opinion that millionaires do not read my blog (if you do, please feel free to click on my ‘donate’ button, over there on the right hand side of this page ;), so my advice is aimed at the people who need to take care about every dollar, and who need to invest in a smart way for future SHTF.

Here I will write about two items only that you can and if possible need to store, and reasons why.

Antibiotics (In inject-able format)

Of course, antibiotics are like „must have“ items for the time when SHTF.

It is not unknown item for preppers storage, but still there is maybe slight misunderstanding about antibiotics.

I know there are thousands of pages about „fish antibiotics“ out there, and I can only say that if you can not buy antibiotic in better forms then buy that one and have it.

But you need to know that sometimes, actually when SHTF very often only real antibiotic is Penicillin in a form of injections.

There are numbers of reason for that, like severity (prolonged time) of infection, needed levels of antibiotic in blood…etc

You really really need to know that very often „attacking“ infection with „fish-mox“ for example or even real Amoxicillin  will be like you are pissing on the forest fire in order to put it out.

It is useless.

 

I just took this photo, it is „one round“ or one dosage of PNC for a fully grown adult, it covers huge spectrum of infections, (of course you would need several shots), it is small, easy to store and easy to carry.

One „full treatment“ of several vials + water for dilution can fit into your jacket pockets and in your pants pocket you can fit needed syringes and needles.

When SHTF, in those pockets you have the means to save somebody’s life, yours, or your own kid, or simply you can trade it for really cool items.

Now imagine that you have big stash of these.

It is hard to get it there where you live probably, I understand that, but simply I do not believe that it is impossible.

You are preparing for end of the world, for chaos, for violence… I just can not believe you can not try to look for the info. where you can get these without prescription and cheap.

Try!

You can store it only for trade, but you can learn how to administer it too.

Procedure for administering PNC (and other injections) can be taught too, and actually it is pretty simple ( I will be teaching this as a module in our new, soon to be released, course).

There are possible complications, possible mistakes of course, and I am aware it is illegal for non medical personnel to administer injections of PNC, but again, you need to think outside the box – it is better to have something and to learn some technique and then never use it, than to not know it and be in dire need of use of it.

Invest in reading about antibiotics; types, allergies and substitution, and ways of applications. Buy a Nursing drug reference book, and find some nurse or medic who is willing to show you how to do it, you do not need to fly to me in Croatia only to learn that particular technique. That said, this and the other things I will be teaching in that course will be worth it…

Condoms

Yes, other item are condoms.

I watched a video about a week ago, about what condoms can be used for in survival situations, and actually I liked the video.

I did not know lot of those uses mentioned.

But here I am talking about best survival use for condoms, and it is what they are meant for actually.

Maybe you think that sex will stop to exsist when SHTF, but actually it is not true.

Sex was there in my SHTF, actually it will be there always, it is natural, and it is in human nature to be there.

Now one more thing will be there when SHTF, and it will be much bigger problem then in normal times –  sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s, especially in prolonged period of collapse, it is simply again thing of human nature, lack of hygiene and medical care etc.

So after some time condoms will be valuable.

And again, they are small, easy to carry and store, and cheap as of right now, today. It is not a huge investment to buy 1000 condoms and store them somewhere.

So as a conclusion, it is not about what things will be gone when SHTF, it is about what of those things make sense for you to have, what you can afford to stock today, what will „pay off“ the most when SHTF…

But most importantly – again it is about thinking out of the box.

Out of interest, what items have you been stockpiling for ‘trade’ and such? Let me know in the comments below. More importantly let me know WHY you are stockpiling these things…?

 

Stuff – Concerns on ‘Over Attachment’

In one comment on my previous article I received an excellent comment (thanks Nick!) about what lessons he learned while going through Hurricane Irma, and how that event change some of his views about prepping.

He got the points that I wrote about for long time ago, and I still repeat it from time to time, it has to be repeated because you see it as my words only, and most of the people will understand it only in the  proper way after they experience some serious event, only then you can put it in correct perspective.

Nothing like real life experience learning.

And there is nothing wrong about changing your (survival) system, I do that too when I figure that something works better then plan (or equipment) that I have.

If you are prepper for years and you did not change your setup and plan from day one of your prepping until now, then usually something is wrong with your philosophy.

„On a Good Day I can…“

 I think it was on some forum or in some blog comments, discussion was about some particular weapon as far as I remember, and some guy said like „ (when SHTF) on a good day I can shoot (kill)…“

In that short statement („on a good day“) is condensed one of the biggest mistakes about prepping in survival movement.

There is not too many good days when SHTF. It is simple like that.

In short people are prepping based on imaginary perspective how SHTF gonna look, and that alone is not problem (you do not necessary have to go through serious SHTF event in order to be good prepper-survivalist), problem is that people stick so hard to their imaginary perspective of how SHTF gonna look like, and what they need for it, that they are simply not willing to change their plans.

They are sure.

Whenever I read that someone change his plans based on his experience and thinking and that he recognize that in my articles or courses where he was wrong I feel great.

By the way, on a good day you can sit down and shoot 6 magazines from AK in 5 minutes and shoot 5 people who wants to break in your home while you are singing „Hey Joe“ without too much problems.

You are fed, secured, comfortable, warm, healthy, probably police gonna come in 10 minutes, you’ll get professional psychological help later, maybe you end up in local newspaper as a hero…

On a ordinary day during real collapse, chances are that you’ll be tired from days and nights of not sleeping well, more or less hungry, maybe you gonna have weird and painful infection in your groin from lack of proper hygiene and serious case of diarrhea, your younger kid having pneumonia and of course doctors are gone, and your friend who is a veterinarian gave you some pills and you are not sure is it working, your wife had nervous breakdown and you do not have clue what to do with her…

You were listening to screams from town for weeks while gangs were killing and raping, and your bones melted from horror.

Several times strange idea of killing your family and then yourself struck your mind, because listening to screams for weeks put pictures of what kind of things are happening there, and you can not cope with that pictures.

And then there are 5 people attacking your home, they even yell that they gonna spare all of you if you give them all your preps, but you’re thinking about screams, but still maybe they spare you…

It is definetly not your „good day“.

You need to hope for good days when SHTF, but you need to be prepared for bad days when SHTF.

„Heat“

It is equation that takes in consideration your skills, preps, event, circumstances… and given heat (SHTF).

If you show me man who can have all prepared perfectly well for any kind of possible scenario I will bow to him, but, in my mind, it is simply impossible.

If you understand that then you’ll understand two things:

-you’ll need constantly to adapt to the given situation

-you’ll have bad days and fails

But you’ll have a good chance to survive. To show that in an example I’ll use very widespread and popular topic: Bug Out Bags

It is something like holy grail of survival, and it is like a minefield to go into that topics against widespread and popular opinions in survival community, but I’ll survive, and you just need to think about it. So here goes…

Bug Out Bag (and equipment)

Bug out bag is something that is considered you „absolutely need to have“ or otherwise you are not a prepper….

So there you have situation where people (family) have bug out bags, each member of family have his own BOB.

Yours might weigh 25 kilos. You have everything there, food for three days, toilet paper, axe and knife, tarp and small stove, extra ammo, first aid kit and lot of antibiotics.

You have maps and radios.

It is heavy duty military grade backpack, waterproof.

All members of your family have BOB with good and usable stuff inside.

And then city erupt in violent protests for whatever reason and you need to bug out immediately.

You all grab your BOBs go out and get shot after 300 meters just because you have such good and cool looking stuff on you (and in huge amounts)

Or simply you drown in the river because your backpack is too big.

I understand that this example is very rudimentary, but you need to stop thinking that you can cover everything for every scenario, otherwise you end up covering nothing.

BOB is become almost burden because we are being bombarded with info „what we really need to have in order to survive and thrive“ or „you must have this or othervise you end up dead for sure“.

BUT it really needs to be about necessity, not comfort.

There is „prepackaged first aid kit for your BOB“ with nonsense inside, there are stoves that are heavy and give your position away to everybody from 2 km distance, there are ways to start your fire that takes like half hour to start fire and require like 1000 calories of your work… does anybody use lighter anymore for starting fire?

„what if lighter fails“?

Can you have 2-3 lighters for that case?

There are powerfull torches that make“ night look like day“ for only such and such amount of money…and if I want to read my map in the middle of nowhere using that torch I’ll be blind for next half hour, but if there anybody within 3 kms of my position they all will know where I am.

Again, all above are examples, and torch lamp and flints are great stuff,and definitely they have its place (I have it) but did you think to include lighters and micro lights too?

Example of solution would be „shelf“ system. You need to have lot of stuff ready to take really quickly, but based on given scenario.

Some things can cover all scenarios, basic things, but why in the name of ‘everything covered’ anybody would drag big heavy bag when you need speed and „blending“.

Is having sport bag for a given scenario not make more sense than a camping backpack or military type backpack?

Is carryng rifle in your hand having more sense then hiding under coat in given moment in scenario?

Maybe simple sleeping mat being visible on your backpack clearly points you as a target in given moment? Maybe moment demand only heavy duty trash bag in your pocket (as a mean for sleeping on a way to your BOL)

These are only examples, but hopefully you get my point.

Sit down, pull all your gear out, and think about 5 possible SHTF scenarios, and that you have 10 minutes to choose only 30 percent of your BOB stuff, see the difference in equipment selection for each scenario.

It is good practice.

It is reality – you cannot have everything.

Find The Balance

You may find that at the end it is about balance how much preps you have in your home (or willing to carry) with you.

Sometimes it affects your mobility and adaptility.

Sometimes you grow huge connection with your stuff and you are not willing to leave everything and run to save your life (because you have valuable things)

Sometimes all your cool preps will save your life!

Metal container with 300 $ worth of preps inside that you took and bury in woods as your secret stash can worth much more then 50 000$ worth of preps inside your home, simply because you maybe had to leave your home in 10 minutes in order to survive…

It is balance that can not be taught, because you need to put it in perspective of your given circumstances.

There is no magical solution to „survive and thrive when SHTF  (for only $99.99)“ there is no „prepackaged perfect solution“ products.

YOU need to pack your solution!

 

Answers to Readers Questions (Part One)

question

 

I asked you in one of my previous posts what you would like to see or read here on blog and your answers were great, actually I did not expect so many comments and questions.

There are some comments and demands about topics that I already wrote here yes, and there are some new. Since number of questions is huge, I will every now and then, publish one post with my answers and comments on some of your questions.

Some questions will require an entire post alone.

So here are few:

Selco,

Respectfully, I would ask three questions:

  1. How did people most often arrive at the decision to give up, and stop surviving?
  2. How did others (family, group, squad) etc. handle that when became apparent?
  3. How was it most competently handled by the group when a member did that?

Regards.

Ivan

Thanks Ivan.

When you are thrown into a survival situation, decision to give up is not so much connected with the lack of food, safety, water, services etc.

Usually it is connected to the realization (of the person who is giving up) of the fact that there is no clear clue when all things will come back to normal (when he again gonna have food, water, security etc.)

When you go days into fighting, starving etc- surviving is a process where you push your body and mind more and more, and if you “look too far into distance” and there is no clear evidences that things will get better – your will can be crushed very easily.

You may conclude that “it is not worth it”, and then that’s it.

I know it is generalization but yes, you need not to look too far and to have high hopes, you just need to operate in your small circles and push day by day.

It was bad thing to see, and it happened, often. Good “cure” for it was that you need to find use or task for that person, you need to bring back a sense of purpose to them.

Easier way was to find job for them -taking care for food, watching for the kids, anything  that would make them feel useful.

If member of the group “ gave up” and if the group structure was ‘family’ then usually other members try to give some support or if that failed then just leave him alone in terms of duties and everything, nobody had too much time for psychological help in that days.

If group meant several people “bonded” together by chance or temporary need (no big and strong connections between them) then other, harder, measures were in place.

 

 

Thank you once again Selco for showing us that the positive side of humanity is always capable of returning and surviving.

What I have always wanted to really know is; what is it like to be in a SHTF situation when the UN troops are there?

What are the UN troops REALLY like?

How to best act / behave / handle UN troops?

I ask because I have heard both positive and very negative things about UN troops. I simply ask for the truth here.

Thanks Again !!!

GRA

 

You heard good GRA.

UN troops were patched together from the different Army contingents, so there were British contingents, Spanish contingent, Pakistani,  Portuguese, Dutch etc.

Looking at the big picture they did horrible job because they were under armed, desperately badly coordinated between different contingents and without clear cause and function and political support.

So in reality we had situation where two opposed local units are in the middle of fight and each unit is around 2000-3000 men strong with tanks and artillery and suddenly there is UN unit moving in with 5 APC’s and 50 men in order to make ceasefire, and of course everybody shoot at them or simply take their stuff and make hostages of them.

They did not have clear tasks, political will behind them and firepower.

On the local level, when it come to individual members of those UN forces, I have seen cases where they simply break the clear orders and attack some guys in order to save civilians.

So there were good people there, but horrible organization behind them.

They did save people, evacuate injured civilians or get shot while they tried to bring food in areas where people starved..

They smuggled food sometimes sell it to us for different kind of things (or services)… All different kind of things, but I like to think lot of people among them were trying to do good stuff.

When it comes to fighting capabilities I remember the British army as a tough guys.

Those were UN forces, they failed to make peace, later came International forces (US led) with clear will and duties and we all here were fed up with slaughtering already, and what was most important with huge amount of force, and by the shear amount of force they succeed to bring peace, it was philosophy of : “who ever keeps firing after this date will be leveled by us”.

And it worked.

How to handle UN troops?

Every “UN troops” deployments are doomed unless they are coming with HUGE amount of force and in great numbers, or they coming  into the region where any kind of will for resistance is crushed long time ago.

As an addition to your questions and since I am aware of other comments (and worries) about “UN forces on US soil” I really have to say my opinion- it is kind of fantasy.

Numbers in US, numbers of weapon in US make any kind of “UN troops coming to US to pacify us” simply and clearly impossible.

To “pacify” somebody you need force several times bigger then opponent, and you need it on the ground usually, and you need some kind (to some extent) will to be pacified.

 

I’d like to hear about how you bartered for things you needed.

What were valuable items for barter? Was the local currency still worth something?

Were foreign currencies used? What about gold or silver jewelry or coins?

How were you able to ensure your safety during barter transactions? What did you do if you found out you had been cheated?

Little L

I did write about this topic already, but since it is important topic (and one of the favorite on blogs and with lot of myths too) I will answer it in short.

First and most important is that nothing was pre-set, nothing was constant and that include basic factors like values of items, security of trade, rules of particular trade etc.

As the situation worsened more into the direction of real SHTF situation people started to appreciate (and look for) usable items, and when I say that, I mean items that solve your immediate problems.

So for example if you had precious artistic picture that in normal times is worth around 10 000 Euros you could not do to much with that in terms of trade because simply people did not care for that, they were hungry, wet, cold, dirty, without enough weapons and bullets.

Maybe you could find some war lord who had connections with outside (normal) world and he could maybe give you 20 cans of meat for that art because he know you are starving.

Or in other case he could simply take it from you (and maybe kill you or not) because he is warlord and you are nobody.

Now this is something that can be transferred also in terms of owning precious metals for SHTF.

When SHTF it will worth much less simply because you can not eat it, or you can not shoot from gold coin to someone, yes you can try to buy weapon with gold coins or food (at outrageous price, and with danger of getting killed) but what is the point? Why not store food and weapons in the first place?

Gold and silver jewelry or coins in form of small rings and necklasses as a temporary bribe in some situations works really cool, and as a stash when some kind of society jump back in (when SHTF ends) is good idea too.

But in the middle of SHTF I prefer more usable items.

In my case local currency worked in the beginning stage of SHTF, but it was very short period, then foreign currency jumped in (US dollars and German marks) and as situation worsen prices of things for marks and dollars went up very sharp, and also situations where you could buy something with it become rare-people started to trade.

Ensuring safety during transactions (trade) was problem, but common sense was to never go alone on trades (3 is good number) to trade with known people (returning trades) or to go to trade on confirmed information (you get information about trader from trusted person who already traded with him)

Of course very often you could only go in 3’s, all else was unknown, so you took the risk.

To have rumor (or information) about you that you are bad trader (cheater-you gave bad item to someone) was bad because rumor then goes around and no one want to trade with you.

Also revenges for bad trades were hard and sometimes final.

But for example it was not always about physical punishments, guy cheated me once with some things and I simply “spread” out information on correct places that he mixed plaster and similar things in his wheat (for trade), and soon he was simply “scammer” and nobody wanted to works with him.

By the way it was lie, his stuff was good, but it is an example of how things worked.

 

I hope these answers help? Let me know in the comments below if anything was of specific use or interest to you…?  I’ll be answering more of your questions in future posts!

 

 

 

 

Under Pressure

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A month or two ago or so I made (promise to myself, and others too) a decision that I will write posts on my blog more often, because of a few reasons, first and most important is that you folks react positively on posts and want to read new posts more often, other reasons are simply because there are always good topics for writing, and I simply want to write more often.

But just like with lot of other good (and strong) decisions, very often real life jumps in and asks for all your time and attention. ‘Life pressure’ gets you and you are simply living day by day under it.

Pressure dictates all your actions because you have to live, and sometimes writing blog post is a fine luxury…

Point of this short intro. is that I have learnt, a long time ago, how to operate under the pressure, and it is simply about switching off some of your functions and pushing on and on, until you get again into the position of normal.

It is one of the most valuable lessons of surviving the SHTF, because if you do not do that when SHTF you will fail to operate properly and that will get you dead…

Anyway, now I (finally) have some time to write a post, I want too share with you this story:

 

The guy was about 45 years old when I met him. The SHTF maybe two months before that, and I met him while we were trying to make sense of some military power generator that we found in abandoned army storage.

It was hopeless attempt to make it useful, we did not had any clue about how that thing worked, what fuel it used, or even how to drag that beast to our home.

Even if we solved all that problems, starting it at home was like invitation for bad folks. But we did not know any of that in that moment.

That guy was something like “guy who knows stuff”, because decades ago he served in the Army and his duty was to operate that things, so he was there to explain to us what we actually found.

Generator was partially buried under rubble of collapsed roof and all kind of junk and we spent a lot of time to clean all that away, he helped us, and while he did that he was murmuring something all the time, like he is talking with someone, or arguing something with someone, I did not pay attention to that.

And then he started to explain to me what we have there, he talked slowly, I could see that he know that stuff.

But then he went quiet and turn his head like he carefully listening to something. My senses immediately go up, I crouched and look at him and whispered to him “what, WHAT”? because I thought he heard someone is coming, because then that could easily mean danger.

He raise his hand to me wanting me to be quiet, and I go quiet, then he kept his head in that position for couple of seconds then said to me ”all good man” then he continued with explanation about the generator.

Couple of minutes after that, he again go quiet, raise hand giving me sign to be quiet and turn his head like he is hearing something suspicious.

I started to sweat, something was moving in my guts and had feeling like we are gonna be jumped from someone there, I almost wanted the shooting to start just to have a target to break down the fear.

Then he continued and asked me ”you do not hear anything”?

I said “no man” actually I heard lot of things, water pouring somewhere inside, ruins tapping very slowly, probably from destroyed roof on some piece of broken glass, some piece of metal shivering somewhere in the wind, shots in distance, explosions somewhere far.

But I did not hear anything suspicious or I was not sure.

He said “ sorry man, I often hear things, now I hear someone calling my name”

At that moment I froze and  a tingling slowly went over my back.

Here we are in the middle of huge military complex, in almost pitch dark, all kind of noises that you have in destroyed buildings are there, probably other folks are somewhere scavenging for useful things, everyone have some kind of weapon, something smells awful-clearly there is corpses there,there is no law and punishment and I am sitting in middle of that with a psychopath…?

He was smoking a big, fat, handmade cigarette and when he “pull the smoke” I could see his face, it was completely peaceful, but all what I could think was did he have knife close to him?

I remember seeing that knife while it was still little bit light from dying day, it was on his belt, a big kitchen knife.

My friend was somewhere around scavenging, I was alone just then with this guy.

Guy continued “sometimes I hear music, but mostly I hear people calling me, usually I know and I am aware  it is only in my head, but from time to time, I just have to ask if someone else is hearing it, because it is so real and I know I am not crazy. I like when I hear music, usually there are my favourite songs”

I said, smartly” all good man, it happens” but in my head I was waiting for my friend to come back and I was thinking “fuck the generator, fuck the barracks, this dude is crazy…!”

Then guy said “yeah, forget it, you do not hear it” and continued with explanations.

My friend got back and we moved from there, anyway generator was junk.

I was angry at my friend because he connected us with that crazy dude, I yelled at him “ I almost shit myself there in pitch dark with him and voices in his head”

My friend said” oh, he is fine, do not worry. He is fine guy, he is electrical engineer, when war started militia imprisoned him a week, and beat him all the time for fun.

Every day they would bring him in front of the prison and put a blindfold on his eyes and make a firing squad and acted to the last moment like they gonna shoot him.

After one week they released him, but he then started to hear voices, he is genius, but with a bunch of people inside his head.”

After that story I just said “shit”

 

Months later, I was on the upper floor of my house, drinking and smoking, having a moment of some kind of weird personal peace.

Noises of explosions and gunfire were there, mostly in distance. The moment was fine for me.

And then I heard music, and it was one of my favorite songs actually.

My first thought was ” great, my favorite song!”

5 seconds after that I jumped like someone stabbed me, remembering thinking” oh God, I am losing my mind, oh no please…”

I run down, enter my house, scare my family and pull my relative out from the house asking him “do you hear it, do you fucking hear it man”?

He was angry on me because I pull him out violently, he said “do I hear what”?

“song, do you hear the song”?

He said “ yes, it is Drago man, they probably drunk there”

I was staring to him, not understanding what he is trying to say. Then slowly I realize things:

Drago was the nick name for Army Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) with speakers on it – propaganda vehicle. Usually they blow our brains out with propaganda all the time, public declares, calls to surrender, all kind of junk, sometimes patriotic junk songs, insults and threats what they gonna do to us all the time, but never good music.

It looks like someone in that APC get bored from propaganda and junk and finally put some good music, or simply he got stoned.

I asked him again “you hear it”?

He said “ yes man, I hear it, you are fine, you are just drunk”!

I repeated to my self “thank you , thank you, thank you, I am not get crazy”

 

Later, in next couple of months I met more folks who “lost it”. Couple of times I personally heard strange things, saw people that were not there, usually when times got really bad.

Pressure on human body, and particularly human mind in real SHTF is usually huge and you can expect weird things sometimes. Brain will play tricks with you, and sometimes you just can loose it.

Prepare not to loose it.

Just in case, in my physical courses, I point out often that real survival things and skills are tested best in cicrcumstances when you are scared, and when you think that you saw something that is not there or hear something.

I am trying to test you in those circumstances.

That usually means you are so overwhelmed with events, and pressure is at the highest level, and the real art is to perform perfect on that level.

It is up to you and your well prepare mindset are you gonna “loose it” or not.

In the shortest summary, you need to prepare Bullets, Beans, Bandaids and Brains (mindset).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Thoughts on ‘Reality’ TV

on-air

 

A long time ago (years ago now) I wrote a blog post on something like a ‘review’ of one of the popular survival shows, and I kinda “crushed” that show because it was full of techniques that looked cool on TV but will get you killed in reality. Later I decided that I will not do anything like “show reviews” because it is industry that you cannot beat, that said, I have to say my piece again…!

I read a few days ago (maybe some of you read it too?) about the newest survival show that supposed to start. This time in Russia.

It is gonna be placed “on a large island in the Ob River, the seventh longest in the world, chasing a 100 million rouble ($1.7 million) prize on a nine month survival mission in winter temperatures as low as minus 50C.”

And he continues:” “Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”

And:The survival race on the island will be filmed and broadcast 24 hours a day on an internet TV channel, Pyatkovsky said.”

While I do understand how survival shows attract attention and earn good money, simply because they are interesting (I guess) to average folks who do not have chance to test there survival skills, I still do not understand amount of stupidity in majority of them and lack of common sense.

Does anyone have the thought that people are gonna die because they learned something the wrong way from those survival shows?

This newest Russian show I think beats them all, do they think it is game? Rape? Have we gone so deep down as a society and humanity that we throw in rape as an option in survival show? And we put it down in same level of “wrong” as an alcohol and smoking? (“Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”)

Anyway I do not have high hopes in survival shows when it comes to learning something, from the whole bunch of shows  there is couple of shows that are usable, and people in those shows do not run, jump too much, or do things the ‘hard way’ (when there is an clearly easier way).

People in good shows usually showing good survival techniques for survival, not fancy and dangerous that attract views and numbers (and earn a lot of money)

Also, “real survival shows” that are recorded and broadcasted all over the internet live are not real, people usually do not act real when they live all over internet. It is pure show, not survival, folks somehow tend to forget that.

One more interesting thing about this Russian survival show is that one of the possible contestant says:” I want to do something so mad and unforgettable so that people later say “do you remember that girl”… we only live once and we must make the best of our lives. I am ready”

Mad and unforgettable? Best of your lives? you are ready?

Some things can not be part of the game, not even in hints…

 

My friend told me a story long time ago, he was a part of small squad unit who gets ambushed in street and shelled with mortars.

House wall collapsed on him and he lost conciseness.

He woke up in the middle of the night, under the rubble of wall, alone if you do not count his fellow next to him- his buddy that had only torso, everything under his belly was gone ,he was dead of course.

Everything was peaceful, nobody else was there, his comrades from the squad were not to seen or heard.

 He started to try and dig himself out of the rubble when he heard noises of people approaching.

Group of some 20 enemy men, together with 5-6 women approached and entered house across the ruined house where he was lying.

Only thing that separated him not to be seen is partially destroyed wall with window opening on it and the fact that it was night.

Behind that opening he was lying under the rubble.

He said that armed men together with imprisoned women entered house leaving one guy in front of the house.

After some 20 minutes screams started from the house, together with laugh of the men, it was clear that they were torturing and raping women inside the house.

My friend said he heard comments like “bring her here” or “move her on table” and stuff like that, and then a few gunshots.

It continued like that for couple of hours. My friend tried to remove dirt and rubble from him, but it was impossible, piece of concrete wall was on his legs, and he was afraid to death to make too much noise, guy on guard in front of the house was standing maybe 10 -15 meters from him.

His mouth were full of pieces of dirt from wall and broken teeth, and he said that night he suddenly become man of faith-he prayed so hard not to cough, not to be heard, because he knows he would be shot to death-maybe tortured before.

Out of the couple of women he remembers one of them refused to “cooperate”, they gave extra attention to her, he said probably with a knife…

He had rifle next to him, and he said that he started to pray to God to give him a strength to shoot himself because he could not stand it anymore. But he did not have courage for that.

Then he wanted to use rifle to shoot the guard and to try to shoot at the others when they rush out, but he was even afraid for that because he would end up dead.

Then he cried silently.

 

He says he was listening to screams almost all night, he also said that he literally shit and piss in his pants out of the horror from the screams, and out of fear for his life.

Then he heard a couple more gunshots from the house. Guys went out from the house, and leave the area without noticing him.

He said everything went calm, only sound in that moment was very distant sound of jet planes very high (NATO coalition regularly had high attitude flights in order to maintain no flight zone above war territory)

Before he pass out, probably because shock and loss of blood, he said two thoughts formed in my head, first was “ I am coward” and second was “thank you God because I am alive”

 

He woke up couple of hours later in a British UN forces field hospital, their unit found him in the morning and took him inside an armored vehicle.

War ended, he took down his uniform and left rifle.

He married and got kid, he went through a serious drinking period, he “touched” some drugs too, he divorced, lost job. He become more or less a ‘not functional man’.

But he never forgets that night when “God gave him life again” but also when he realized that he is coward too. And what he did not say is that night actually destroyed his life.

 

Up to now, you probably realized that some of my articles are just memories, without clear message or point, it is up to you to draw point or see message.

It is like that with real life-often there is no sense and message, or there is different message for each one of you.

But real survival usually is not “Best of your lives” and you may conclude that you are simply not ready for some things.

 

Some things cannot be “played” before you experienced it in reality.

 

Do you think there are problems with these ‘Real’ Survival shows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

Some Thoughts On Food…

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I just want to start by saying thanks for all the comments and suggestions on my recent question about ‘what Do You Think’. I’m going to go through the comments and choose some questions to answer in these coming weeks. I will highlight (as some people said in the comments) that a LOT of these questions are already answered, in a LOT of detail in my online courses.

I have two separate courses. ‘One Year in Hell’ which goes in to a lot of detail about how I survived in my city during war, and ‘Survival Bootcamp’ which is a great step by step guide in getting prepared. Both courses are popular, informative and unrivaled and, as always, I am giving it to you for the most affordable price I can. You can see more details of the courses and join here:

 

OK, today I’m going to look at something very specific. As you know I like looking at the aspects of survival mindset, and I find it most important when it comes to surviving hard situations in longer or shorter periods of time, but yes, I agree that you may have the mindset of a warrior or really hard survivalist but still some basics need to be covered.

Basics like food.

Food

Food is something that you cannot live without, and just like about any other basic survival topic a whole bunch of books are being written about it, what and how to store, prepare etc.

While I am not going to write book about food, I will mention few basic things that you need to consider, based on my SHTF experience.

Have What You Like to Eat?

Yes, it make sense to store food that you kinda like to eat. But on the other hand if you hate canned tuna, for example, and there is sudden huge discount of canned tuna why not buy it and store it, you can trade it, or simply (trust me) you will eat it if you have to.

Do not miss a great deal just because you do not like some food (or you think you do not like it)

Other point here is that SHTF is stress for your body (and mind), huge stress.

Your body will need food that is balanced and good (healthy) for you more then ever. So if you have wrong eating habits, eat too much unhealthy food, maybe it is about time to change your habits, learn some stuff, start to eat good food, and start to store it.

When SHTF you will need your maximum strength, and since you ‘are what you eat’ you can conclude that stuff in your pantry will have a big role in how tough you are going to be when SHTF.

What Food?

It is matter of being practical, or having common sense (again).

You are storing food for SHTF, so it make sense to think about few things that food needs to “cover”:

1. It needs to be in amounts big enough to cover your or your family needs over a certain period of time, so do some calculations in order to have clear picture what amount of food will get you through how long a period of time

2. Needs to be packaged in a way that gives you options to move it quickly or hide it in different places (small packaging, cans, vacuum sealed, MREs, sealed buckets, small packages of sugar,and similar packaging is preferable), that also gives you less chances of spoiling whole storage if something goes wrong (water, infestation etc.)

3. Preparation of the stored food preferably needs to be as simple as possible, not time consuming, and need to have as little impact as possible on your other resources (for example if you store food that needs a lot of time to be prepared and lot of wood to burn in order to make it ready for eating you are doing something wrong). MRE’s are a good example of foods that require ‘minimum’ preparation.

In lot of cases you will have just enough time to eat something quickly, not to spend a couple of hours to make complicated meals.

“Fancy” items

Yes and no. If you are preparing on a budget then forget about fancy items, stuff like junk food items, useless candy stuff and similar.

On the other hand if you covered your basics really good then why not. Have things that you can use for trade, because in any situation there are always going to be people with extra money (or resources) who will want to spend it on “fancy” things.

Also think about items that may be kind of “comfort food” for you and have some of that stored too. There will be days when piece of food like that will make a huge difference for you.

I just want to be clear, make sure you have all of the ‘basics’ well covered before you worry about adding ‘fancy’ items to your food supplies.

 “It Is All In Your Head”

 

But still, do not forget about mental aspect of everything.

Here is one small memory from the war, from the first period of “adapting” to it, it is not a pleasant memory, but I cannot erase it, let s try to use it here in order to make my point more understandable for you:

 I was visiting my buddy, his father had broken ribs as a result of being partially buried under the rubble after shell hit house.

After checking his ribs, and giving some advice, they offered me meal, and of course I took it.

Me and my buddy went out at the yard with two bowls of macaroni, we sit down in pitch dark with our backs to the house wall and we ate and look at the city with sporadic explosions and fires in it.

At the moment we had Czech 22 sniper rifle so we were trying to see something in dark, hopeless, but we simply were eating in the dark, chatting, scoping… some kind of weird SHTF break I guess.

It was hot summer weather, and when you close eyes and “catch” break between explosions and gunfire you could almost imagine barbecue and beer.

And then I felt something weird in my mouth, I was paralyzed for a second, then I moved to the corner of the yard in order not be visible when I lit my lighter, and I checked what exactly is in the bowl.

Bowl was almost empty, some macaroni were left there in water, but also together with that there were bunch of worms floating there.

I checked again, yes-bunch of small grey worms, was not sure but I could swear that some of them was still alive.

I felt immediate urge to throw up. I close my eyes and remembered that I did not eat whole day, that macaroni was my first and only meal that day, and I started to repeat to my self: “do not throw up, do not throw up, I need that full stomach, do not throw up…”

And in next second I throw up everything.

I walk to my friend and ask him “what the f… you gave me to eat, it is full of worms”?

He answered me:” I know man, all what I have is infested with it, it is like that for weeks, I do not mind, and I thought you not gonna notice it in a dark”

I was angry, for a moment, I felt urge to shoot him in the face, then I was angry at myself because I did not check the food.

And then minute later I was angry because I saw warms, I checked it, and now my stomach is empty.

Biggest “highlight” was that my stomach is empty.

It was in the let’s say “adapting” period of SHTF.

Later, I have learned to eat what was available. Expired food, infested food, raw food, weird food.

Over the time you simply want to fill your stomach with something, hunger gets into your pores somehow and you do not mind for some things.

Often I would intentionally go into the dark with my bowl, just not to check too much is there anything else inside.

I assure you, as the situation deteriorate, you will eat lot of stuff that you would not usually eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under The Bridge…

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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.