Old Guys…

 

My great uncle was a drinking man, he would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny or having problems with his speech.

When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.

He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.

Table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass he kept paper that says that government and state recognizes him as a member and organizer  of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).

Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grand parents, he never married, no kids.

Actually now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he need to do something.

He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects with ceiling.

Sometimes we kids sneak in the room, seeking for stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from shed for his never-ending stove fire.

He would gave us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.

Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “uhm” or “ahm” and stare in empty.

He did not go out very much, except his regular chess meetings in the local community hall.

It  was something like community hall, war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.

People call it “half leg” because several handicapped folks who were there all the time.

And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.

Place was big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them,  great uncle would sat down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.

They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forgot that I am even there.

In that time I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.

War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for socialistic society.

I was taught like that, in my young mind all was black and white.

Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit different picture about war and fighting and honor.

They talked about everything, but with heavy slang  and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and answer would be “yeah, fuck it, and how many bodies there”

Lot of that was not understandable for me, lot of head nodding,

One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it on that table:

Man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.

It was fascinating for me in that time.

What I understand from their story was this:

He and my great uncle were find themselves in some heavy fighting during the ww2 .

Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with lot of civilians who were running from German forces.

Sudden attack of Germans made chaos and they together with couple of guys got separated from the unit.

They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for couple of days.

They ate tree bark.

Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.

And then they stumble members of their unit.

Actually a pile of it.

On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.

Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.

They found couple of woman tied to the trees… Dead.

They quickly move away from there, scared.

Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.

They killed him with bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.

That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.

My great uncle died long time ago, he was heavy drinker too to the last breath.

On his funeral there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.

We never found his wartime machine gun “smajser” (mp 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to no one where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.

I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.

I do not remember him as an war hero, and I am sure he did not think about himself as an war hero.

He was scared often while he was in survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.

He was a survivalist.

 

Point of this article is (just like lot of my article) is memory of something, in this case memory of my great uncle.

And there is one more point, for you more important:

Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young, there is nothing like real life experience.

Be patient, best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.

It is better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.

Many years after my great uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fightings, piles of bodies…

It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Full Circle…?

defense

 

I wrote my first survival article-comment some 7 years ago, and I still remember why I wrote it, what “pushed” me to sit down and write it so people who read/discuss survival over the internet for years can read my opinion.

I was checking the survival forums to learn something about wilderness survival because I found I missing lot of knowledge there, and then I stumbled upon discussion about what real SHTF looks like and will look like in the future.

And simply there I realize how whole survival movement foundation is messed up, or built on the wrong perception.

It is like digging through a whole bunch of other people good skills and opinions (together with wrong ones of course) but completely misplaced and misguided.

After writing that first article years ago, I am still writing and trying to point out my view of things, and my way is learned through the experience of 4 years of civil war in a destroyed society.

I still do not know lot of things, I do not know how to operate 20 different weapons, I am not ex special forces member, I do not know how to survive in prolonged period in wilderness, and I am still learning lot of things from different kind of people, on internet and forums and in physical courses too.

But I know how I survived SHTF and how real SHTF looks like, and the real problem is that it definitely does not look like majority of preppers imagine it.

Over time, a lot of my articles are telling the story about same thing on different ways, and it might look like I am telling same story over and over, but again, I am writing from real experience and there are good reasons why I am pointing out the same things often.

So please allow me to address again some common misconception about SHTF.

Changing From “Before to Now”

Starting problem about SHTF misconception is that people have problems to imagine something that they are not experienced in, so if you have not experienced collapse of society you will “build” your opinion about it based on many things: other people experiences, books, movies, documentaries…

When you add to this a whole survival industry of selling things for “doomsday” you going to end up forming your opinion about how life in collapse will look like based on some weird things, and as an result your prepping and expectation may be completely wrong.

For example, you have been bombarded with information from internet that if you buy some product you’ll be not only safe when SHTF but also you’ll thrive and you gonna have something like best time of your life in the middle of collapse.

Now when you multiply this with many numbers (products) you end up buying peace of mind for yourself built on fact that someone wants to earn money from your fears.

And it is not biggest problem, real problem waking up one morning in the collapse realizing that you have whole bunch of things that simply do not work for your situation.

I like to use example that I have read long time ago, about transportation in city when SHTF. One guy offer idea of using skateboard in urban SHTF as transport, and lot of other folks commented that is good idea.

On first look it is great idea, no fuel, no cars or buses, so skateboard as a transport means looks good.

Only problem here is that probably man who mentioned it never experienced real urban SHTF so he can not know how useless idea it is.

Or to put it really short:

When SHTF city services will collapse, street are pretty soon simply full of everything, there are other people in the city too, because services are gone there are not enough resources and because of that other people will simply almost always mean possible danger, so point is to avoid people, or to be quiet when moving, so…

You need to stop to think in terms of normal times, you need change your priorities when SHTF, it is a different time.

For example moving fastest (or most comfortable) stops to be priority, new priority is to move safest (or quiet) or you need to stop to think about having coolest things but new priority is to have things that will work for your situation best.

Value Of The Things

Again it is about thinking in new terms, in the terms when SHTF, and those terms are completely different then in normal times.

I have kind of survival philosophy where my goal is to be ready to survive with as least things as possible, and it is like everything else based on my experienced SHTF.

What that means?

By developing and learning skills and techniques I am trying to be less depended on physical things.

In reality that does not mean that when SHTF I will immediately  bug out to the wilderness with knife only, no, I too have preps and things, stashes and plans, weapons, meds etc.

It means when times come I am READY  to leave all of that, EVERYTHING – all my possessions, and move away in split second if that means I will save my life.

Are you ready for that?

Are you gonna be able to leave all your preps that you were buying for years, all your fancy weapons, stashes of cans etc and run with what you have on you?

Or you gonna die in “blaze of glory” defending simple physical things?

Survival is about resilience, to move on and on, to overcome difficult situations and come back again.

Do not get attached on physical things, no matter how expensive they are, or how fancy they are, or even if people promised that you’ll “survive and thrive” if you own that things when SHTF.

Life is precious, things are just things.

Problem here is that survival movement today is built on the way that preppers are “forced” to believe that they can not survive if the do not own particular survival product, so as an result there is gonna be bunch of preppers get shot because they defending physical things that someone told them they really need to have when SHTF.

I was refugee more then once, I still remember the moment when all my possessions were an old Browning pistol with three rounds, T- shirt, boots (with wet socks inside) and pants that could stand on its own because of how dirty they were…

I have lost all my other physical possessions, everything was torched or taken away, If I stayed my life would be taken away too in a very painful way.

I run, and survived, and fought again for survival.

And you know what? I bought all the things again.

Things can be obtained again, life can not.

Sometimes you just have to move on and forget on physical things that are dear to you.

Faith

One of the topics that I’m most reluctant to discuss about because I find it really personal, but it is there, it is important, so some things need to be considered.

And I’ll be short here, because it is personal for me, and every one of you should think about it for itself.

Yes, there were times when I simply had to reach deep in myself and connect to something higher, to find some sense, to have faith in order to not lost my mind or kill myself because everything was falling apart around me.

So faith is important, or spirituality, or some kind of moral values-call it as you like.

You need to have something!

But problem here is that people often think if they are good folks by the nature, everybody else is good by default (until proven otherwise?).

Through my experience I adopt opinion that everybody is bad until proven different (even if I am good guy)

Or let me put it like this, in really bad times, when everything going to s…t you ll see more bad folks then good folks, so be prepared for that…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skills And Training

target

I have just finished delivering another ‘Mile In My Shoes’ (MIMS) down here in the Balkans. As always it was a great event with many insights both for the students and me. Having finished the course I got to thinking more about training in the survival and preparedness community.

Learning real survival skills in the field is something that cannot be substituted with anything, but I see people often try to do that.

Another mistake in learning skills is because they are often (almost always) taken out of the context, or even more often, there is no context at all.

Somehow as a result, there is a whole bunch of people learning skills without mindset where and when to use it, or not to use it. (I agree it is better to have skills even without context than not to have them at all, but that sounds more like an excuse than a justification…)

Prepping is a BIG industry, and for lot of people it just needs to be “sugar coated” in order to be consumed.

 

Levels…

Two examples here:

When you say to me “SHTF” my first thought is partial or complete collapse of the system and its services, so my second thought is about (lack of) resources, and other people realizing that fact, my third thought is about fight with other people for the resources still left.

It is my thought when you say SHTF.

For some people when they heard “SHTF”  their first thought is let’s say ‘power shortage’ that’s going to last for about 12 hours, their second thought is that they need to be comfortable for those 12 hours (only) because after that government (system, services) will jump in and fix things.

For them SHTF is 12 hours without electricity…

Now what is clear here, I firmly believe that there will be event of complete (prolonged) missing of the system (law, medical services, food distribution chain…) and some of the reasons could be new pandemics, economic problems, ethnic race (religious) reasons, chaos, or simply some wide world event.

Important thing is that people believing in any of these two levels have a lot to learn, but the starting point should be different.

For example for the folks who think that it is impossible to meet anything more complicated then short disturbances in electrical supply there is no too much use in throwing to them war scenarios and tactical shooting course, because for them it is maybe going to be fun, but there is no context there for them, no understanding.

It is more use for them to read history books, speak with war veterans-to try to understand that shit (will) happens, even in most modern societies where similar things did not happen for generations.

That is start for them.

 

Skills and Using Skills In Context

 

Real danger here is not about learning skills (which is again great thing to do), it is about not understanding how to put it in correct context and real life situation.

If you putting skills learning into good, practical multi day courses of “basic primitive skills learning course” or “wilderness skills course” and play it like that it is perfectly good and useful.

But again there are courses (or books, publications, media, you tube videos) of “how to survive end of the days”, “austere medicine course” or simply “buy this and you will survive and thrive when SHTF” and inside are skills, and list of items to learn or buy without connection to real situations, it is not only scam (more or less) – it is quite dangerous.

What I am trying to explain is best to show through the example.

Let s say there is “where there is no doctor” or “austere medicine course”, and it is like “advanced” too.

In short part of the course goes like this:

-Students start with drinking coffee, and getting know each other

-It is nice, weather is fine, there are snacks and food available, all students feel really comfortable

-They are injuring a pig (or other good sized live animal) and then trying to stitch the pig, or stop the bleeding in different ways

– The pig does not survive and they learned something about stopping the bleeding, and they feel stronger (and disgusted) because of the amount of blood and screams and how ‘real’ the training was.

Good things here that students get some feeling about blood, and they learned something about bleeding and ways to stop it.

But bad thing here is that they been told that now they are ready for SHTF in terms of the bleeding and stopping it.

In reality they are not even close to be ready.

Preferable this is  how this part of the course should look:

-No coffee on the course

-No food that day

-Bad weather is preffered

-Students are divided in two groups

-Preferable one at least one student in each group should be slowed down (let say evil instructor will “somehow” cause one of the student to have serious case of diarrhea)

-Students (each group separately) are instructed to carry the pig 5 kilometers to a near mountain or a specified place using compass and map only

-Half way to the mountain they have been (each group) instructed to stab the pig, stop the bleeding and carry the pig to the mountain again (while pig is screaming)

-Groups should hide one from another

-Group who get first to the mountain top with alive pig is winner

 

Now this is very banal example, and it is here only to in terms of an example, but point here is to understand – there is no sense only from learning skills without putting (and testing) those skills in scenarios that need to be as close to real life as possible.

I mean, if we are learning about stopping bleeding on someone when serious SHTF do you really believe  that you ll be well fed, healthy, in good mental state, perfectly capable for that?

There is the huge probability that you’ll be in poor condition while you trying to stop someones bleeding, remember it is SHTF? Actually you may be in condition where you may not be able to stop someone s bleeding at all.

What is the point of testing yourself if you do not push yourself at least close to the limits while testing ?

It is much more important  after the some  course, book, or you tube clip to understand and realize that you are not yet ready, and to know your current limits than to be sure “you are ready for full SHTF” because your instructor told you that, or simply book saying you that, while clearly you are not.

If you know your current  limits you know what more to learn or practice or achieve, and that is good, I learn almost every day something, and in many fields there are unknown stuff for me and there is nothing wrong in that…

Remember “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

 

 

 

Under Pressure

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ordinary Day’

ordinary

 

A lot of people wonder what an ‘ordinary day’ was like during the SHTF. I was thinking on this and remembered this day. I think it is a good illustration and answers this question… It’s odd to say but we were often glad of ‘ordinary days’ when not to bad things happened…

 

Rain was falling down for days, and we all felt wet and soaked with it.

Moisture was in our pores, our clothes, and kinda in our heads too.

It was kind of weather that pushes down and back the smoke from your stove, back to your room instead of through the chimney.

Holes in our roof were plugged, more or less, in the way that we managed to “channel” leaks  into numerous pots and canisters, in order to keep ourselves dry and also to collect water.

Being dirty is bad, but being dirty and smelly during several days of rainy weather is simply awful.

We dried our clothes above the stove, evaporation of dirty clothes together with smell of dirty bodies, bad “tobacco” (we “discover” some new tree leaves which we used as a substitute for tobacco), handmade oil lamps  and tea boiling on stove (we called it sometimes ‘soup’, other times ‘tea’)  made a mixture of smells which simply added to the depression of the whole situation.

In days like that alcohol intake would go up high.

When weather was fine I liked to go on second floor, remove tarp and plywood “setup” from roof hole that was made with mortar shell few months before, sit under it, watch the blue sky and drink.

Other folks would say “he is up there again waiting for mortar shell to land on his head” but it was nice and peaceful to do it, and sometimes I just did not care.

Even that weird relaxation was out of the option because of the endless rain.

In days like that we were closest to animals as we could be.

We ate potatoes for days, we managed to get it through one UN convoy that somehow entered city month ago, and it was mess to get those bags of potatoes because while UN forces tried to organized some kind of delivery system- like small bag of potatoes to each family that show up-folks simply overrun them and started to fight each other over it.

Several people get killed then, but we managed to bring home quite a stash of it.

We were happy because of the potatoes, but few days later rumors exploded that potatoes that we get were poisoned, actually it was not for human use, it was meant for seed only, or something like that and apparently they were treated with very hard chemicals.

We continued to eat it, only difference was that we were not so happy anymore about it…

And then a trade chance came to us.

It was my turn to go to visit the guy who “had some stuff for sell-trade” or at least it was information that we get it.

Good thing about this guy was the fact that I knew him little bit prior SHTF, when SHTF he had strong connections and simply had interesting stuff from time to time. He was something like “trustful” trader, he kept his stuff in his house and did trades there, which usually meant either he is stupid or very protected, and he was not stupid.

“Gogo” was his nickname, and we felt good because we are going to trade with him, because his reputation was pretty big and he (we thought) could not afford too many bad stories about trading with him.

It was as safe a trade as it could be in those days.

My relative show me our possession for trade while we were preparing for trip-it was 10 packs of Kent cigarettes, and when I saw that, it was like I saw UFO landing in backyard, with aliens bringing to us food, water, candies, and safety, and flying me then to a rock concert.

In that period cigarettes were rare, sometimes impossible to find and we were even lucky to have tobacco-which was not actually tobacco but grinded “tree” of tobacco plant, or simply all kind of tree leafs that we experimented with.

White filters Kent cigarettes in that moment were something like wet dream of every smoker.

It was pleasure to even see them, to smoke them meant pure happiness.

On my question where he get it? He answered “from some mercenaries”, and I did not want to ask more, I did not care.

We started our way to Gogo’s house around midnight, because plan was to be at the most dangerous place around 0100hrs.

On our way back we would choose a different way.

That dangerous place was big opening between houses, some 100-150 meters of space where we are completely open to the near hill where Anti Aircraft gun and few m84 machine guns were located.

Those machine gun was nicknamed “sijac smrti” which translates from my language to English as a  “death seeder” or “death bringer” or similar, and when I first time heard that nickname my thoughts were:”oh c’mon-somebody is watching too many movies, it is bombastic nickname for ordinary weapon”

Later when I was targeted first time from that weapon, when they shoot at me, I correct myself and I thought something like” death seeder? It is more, much more, it is Satan, it is hell, it is pure horror…”

And much later I also realized it is more or less common nickname for some other similar weapons.

So I built pretty fast my respect for “sijac smrti”, that shit was way too fast and deadly. It sounded like whole bunch of small deaths flying directly to you while they screaming.

 

(years later, after my SHTF ended and all things go back to some kind of let s say normal, I was watching member of Serbian elite parachute unit, while he was trying to explain his battle experience to another guy.

He and his small unit were holding position in dense woods on some hill during NATO bombing of Serbia, it was on Kosovo, and they were attacked by Albanians, Albanians were much stronger by numbers, but poorly trained, as he said, and he and his comrades did pretty well, morale was high, they were tough guys.

And then he said airplanes came. He said planes were firing from cannons destroying the hundreds years old trees like simple matches and obliterating his unit.

But he said that was not scariest thing-pure horror was sounds of that planes and cannons while they firing down on them, while he was trying to explain that he opened his eyes wide and said” it was sound like there are 10 big cows is in the air flying to you and they are screaming because they are being slaughtered”

Other guy was watching him probably not understanding what is so scary about that sound to terrified big strong elite dude.

And I said to myself “Oh man, I know that horror”)

 

Anyway we came to that open space without too much problems.

Nobody know what kind of view they had there on the hill, but during the night they fired often, without real cause, on that opening, so it was matter of luck sometimes are you going to be shot.

And somehow it was a myth that it is safest to cross it around 0100hrs.

In that time it was many openings like that in the city with different weapon and different tactics for crossing it and different myths about it how to cross it safely.

Lot of folks find God and faith on openings like that while they run or crawl over it.

Of course lot of folks end up dead there too.

I have seen guys being shot dead there while they run as fast as they could, I saw some crazy dudes walking slowly there and nothing happened, some guys were wounded and screamed there for hours with their guts hanging out until they died…

No rules.

We sat down behind the wall next to the opening and I told my relative “ok give me the cigarettes”

He said “it is not smart, it is for trade”

I did not care, so he gave me one pack, I opened it and smoked a cigarette.

It was cool to smoke it, white paper cigarette with white filter, after long time of smoking trash tobacco in any kind of paper that we could get.

It smelled like perfume to me in that moment.

I finished it and told to him “ok I can die now if I need”

He answered to me “fuck you man”

We run across that space while rain was pouring down, nothing happens, not a single shot on us.

Gogo’s house was close by after that, and nothing dangerous happened until we came to his home.

After some guy show up to us at the yard, we were allowed to enter the house with weapon, which was good feeling but not necessary good sign, but when we saw Gogo he recognizes us, and after some casual conversation which includes people that we together know we started to feel better.

We entered small room, two of us and two of them, sat down and had a drink.

 

Rakija (A strong, locally brewed spirit) was available then, so it was not a surprise when he gave us two glasses with that drink.

Numerous different kinds of that drink were circulating around, most often it was pure poison, simple not finished product from destroyed distillery diluted with water, but his was soft and nice.

Room where we sat was something like weird version of display room for customers, so we could see all kind of different stuff around in bags or open cabinets.

I saw pack of beer, even couple bottles of coke, and room strangely smelled of coffee which was high luxury in that time, everything there was set up for turning your senses “to want stuff”.

Bags full of something were lying everywhere and steel cabinet from army barracks was locked in one corner.

After some chatting he put down his hand under the table and put “Zolja” (“wasp”) single use RPG on table and said to us “this is good stuff for you folks, and it is cheap”.

I take it and said to him” it is empty man, fired, useless”

He open his mouth laugh with joy and said” ok man ok, you know that and I know that, but how many idiots outside know that? You could paint water pipe in green and state it is RPG and 90 percent of folks would trust you in dark, this looks real man.  Just fill it with something, point that thing on someone and ask right question”

“Yea, and then I can be killed from the guy who know that weapon is fired long time ago, he could choke me slowly with his bare hands, no thanks”

He said “ok ok, I agree, but here is right one” and then he pull out brand new one, same type, not used.

We said no man, we do not need weapons right now.

He said “ok ok, I have this too, I sell a lot of these and everyone is satisfied man”

Than his buddy opened wood cabinet behind his head and gave him wooden box, size of shoes box, bit smaller.

I look at my relative and look back at me with short surprised expressions.

It was wooden engraved box, pretty common in households in this region prior the war, something that you would put as a display in your living room, and when you opened it there was small wooden bird with mechanism inside, mechanism was activated by opening box, and melody would start, like birds singing…

Is he trying to sell us wooden singing bird in middle of the civil war?

Then he opened the box and push it to me.

Wooden bird was not inside, box was full-maybe some 25 bottles-vials of Penicillin. It was pretty expensive stuff.

I took one bottle and check it, expiration dates were good, Serbian manufacturer, labels looked originally “glued” on bottles.

But on the top of the bottles some of those were missing small thin metal “cap” that is covering rubber sealed “plug”(trough that rubber Penicillin powder is being diluted and aspirated into syringe)

First thought was that some those of the bottles could be used and then filled with flour.

He noticed what I am checking and said “ yeah, some of the caps are missing man, it is being transported through some rough situations before they came to me, but they are good”

I said” cool stuff man, but we do not need it” It was bit suspicious stuff and way to expensive for us at that moment.

He asked finally what we want.

And I said” Meat man!”

He leave the room and get back with one can, and I know he finally meant business because he brought only one can, without showing how much he actually has of it.

He put it on table and said” I have it, it is “Konj“(horse).

In that time different kind of canned food was circulating around, lot of expired stuff, broken, spoiled…

But popular was “horse”.

Horse had good and bad sides, but more good then bad sides.

It was canned meat, stamped label on tin was saying only something like “help from EU” or “help from UNHCR” I do not remember exactly.

Funny thing was that under the marking “type of meat” was written “meat”. Just that: “meat”.

It was kind of partially cooked meat with huge amount of grease inside that looked like snow.

If we ate grease alone it induced bad cases of diarrhea, but you could use it for cooking, melt it and use like oil for lamp, or simply folks stated that it is good to put it in places where you have pain, like an ointment (“bad knees pain – horse grease, rifle butt to the head-horse grease…  😉 )

Meat alone did not had any particular taste, it was unrecognizable, and people simply after some time said it is horse meat because nobody had clue what exactly it is.

So that can was nicknamed “horse”.

There were attempts to call it “kangaroo” but “horse” just stuck to it.

Simply it was usable.

He asked what we have, and I take out one pack of “Kent” he said “nice” without too much enthusiasm but his buddy stand up and said “where you get these man? Cool”

And that moment I knew we gonna get good deal because they are interested, they just kinda “blinked”.

He said to his buddy ”sit down man and shut up, you smoked too much pot” (Use of cannabis was rampant during the war)

And he asked how much of these we have, I answered it depends how much horse he have and bargain started.

At the end, we agree that we gonna gave him 9 packs for 15 cans.

It was great deal for us, and probably cool deal for him, because he knew folks who will appreciate those cigarettes a lot I guess.

After setting up a deal, and after we exchanged stuff we chatted for a bit and he offered me a hand made cigarette.

He gave me a small tin box with hand rolled cigarettes.

And I looked into the box, it used to be small box for cigarillos I think and I looked at the box, I liked it very much.

We carried our tobacco in all kinds of different bags, boxes, foils or whatever, but that tin box simply was “laying” down in my hand so cool. It was foreign stuff clearly.

It somehow “clicked” and perfectly lay down in my hand when I took it.

I gave it back to him asked where he got that, and he clearly saw that I “blinked” this time.

He said ”offer something, it is nice box man”

I only had that one more pack of Kent, with missing cigarette inside (which I wanted originally to keep for myself)

I pull it out from my pocket, gave it to him, he said” ok, I’ll give the cigarette box for this pack”

It was outrageous price, and I could almost feel my relative sending thoughts to me like “you fucking idiot, pack of cigarettes for tin box? We could get more meat for that…”

But I liked the box.

Then Gogo said” wait the second, cigarettes are missing from the pack, it is opened”

I said” yes, but still man, only one is missing and this is Kent real cigarettes”

Then he open drawer from the desk and pull hammer from it, we almost jumped ready for fight, but he took hammer and hit the tin box.

Then he said “ ok, one cigarette is missing in your pack, box is little bit damaged on one end now, but still working, now it is fair deal, we need to keep our business in some rules, it is reputation man!”

I was looking at him, realizing that he kinda lost it, just like most of us did in that time.

But we make the deal done, and all went good.

We get home in one piece, we ate those cans mixed with herbs and potatoes. Older member of family was happy with grease on his knees for some time…

I had a lot of bitching because of that tin box trade, but I survived.

War ended and years go by, I lost tin cigarette box, Gogo moved to Canada, and I heard he is doing apartment decorating business, and sometimes play guitar in some clubs, and have drugs issues…

Then one year, me and my wife were doing big renovation in my old house, and in some box with all kind of mess she pull out that tin box and said to me” oh it is some box for cigarettes, we gonna throw it away or you need it?”

Then she opened it, and inside she read small words that I wrote long time ago “GOGO” and date of trade.

She asked me “what is it, who is Gogo? Is it man or woman”?

From all of the explanation that I could gave her somehow words that came from my mouth were “ Yep, I could have got maybe two horses instead of that box during the war if I were smart”

“you had horses during the war? You rode it? I thought this was city siege! Where in the world you got horses?” she said looking suspiciously at me. (she spent war years in Germany without too much clue how was it here in reality)

I said smartly” no no,I didn’t ride horses, we ate it, it was good stuff”

Then she look at me with horror stating “you killed and ate horses, how could you, they are beautiful animals”

And then finally I said” you know what, forget it, it is long story, just throw away that box, it is useless”

Still, for a week or so she had suspicious looks at me from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

can

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Think…?

Thinking

You have probably noticed I am trying to write more often these days, and also improve a little the SHTF School website.

I enjoy writing, but instead of an article, today I am going to ask you a question. What is it you would like to see/read about here?

If you have questions, or suggested article topics I’d like to hear them. Also is there anything I can add to the site? Would you like to hear podcasts or see videos? If so, what about…?

Here is your chance to tell me what you like or want to hear about…

Let me know in the comments below.

Under The Bridge…

under-the-bridge

 

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.