Wednesday, March 20, 2019

10 years of Modern Survivalism: Skills, Preparations and Lessons learned

Hi FerFAL,

It has been a long time since I have written to you but I have been following your blog all this while. In fact, it has been 10 years since I started reading your blog. (I have read and reread both your books too.) Seeing that you have been writing various posts about 10 years after XYZ or ABC event, I find it apt to send this update to you. This write-up also serves as a self-assessment of my preps.

In 2009, your blog and first book really opened my eyes to the world of survivalism. Before that, I was fascinated with wilderness survival and survival for an NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) event. But your first book presented chillingly realistic aspects of modern survival which I have never thought of. I found major gaps in my preparedness efforts. Your book henceforth became a blueprint for my preparedness strategy which includes changes in my mindset, acquisition of certain vital skills and procurement of relevant gear and stuff.

In no particular order, I list down below 10 aspects (in following the theme of 10 years) of my preparations and my thoughts about them.
  1. Shooting
    I researched and tried out shooting at the one and only civilian range  in this country. I later joined as a full member and have since been working on shooting with a Glock 17 based on your recommendation. Shooting is not cheap here. Membership fees, range fees, ammo prices make shooting a rich man’s sport though I try to maintain and upgrade my skills as much as I can afford but not as much as I wish.
  2. Hand-to-hand
    Your advice is the prime motivator for me to lift up my butt and train in martial arts. I have trained in Muay Thai for years now and done some MMA along the way. I wish I could have taken up BJJ but time and money are always constraints.
  3. First Aid
    I have been going for first aid training long before reading your work. But you have drilled into me the importance of this skill and now I make it a point to keep myself trained and adopt the mindset to be prepared to use these skills anytime. I would like to upgrade myself by joining an ambulance crew but so far have yet to sign up.
  4. Fitness
    Since I left the army (we have conscription here), exercise has always been a regular activity but it was upon taking up a martial art that I have become more systematic in it. I have also enlarged my coverage to include certain previously neglected aspects e.g. flexibility, plyometrics.
  5. Food
    I have yet to reach a stockpile of 2 months and am unsure I ever will since space is a premium here. I put my estimate at 2-3 weeks of supply currently in stock. Not ideal but much better than many others with only a couple days’ supply.
  6. Water
    I have stored enough real water for a week or so. Not as much as I would like but again, space is a premium and water REALLY takes up space. I also got a Doulton gravity filter (similar to a Big Berkey) in case water is available but not in a clean state.
  7. EDC
    I have experimented quite a bit here based on your recommendations. The setup is more or less stabilised now or at least until something significantly more effective comes along (probably recommended by you). I suppose the gear can always change but the mindset is more or less fixed and this is what counts. Concepts like 3 is 2, 2 is 1, 1 is none; a piece of gear should serve more than 1 purpose are now ingrained.
  8. Money
    “Cash is king” has become a mantra. I make sure there is always a bit of cash around. I am certain that despite being fiat money, it can keep me running when banks are closed and credit/debit is down. The same show played in Argentina can surely happen here too. Precious metals are a bit out of reach financially but I am sure they will be a good asset to keep.
  9. Security
    This could be my blind spot and is something I want to continually work on. I agree with your security recommendations but being a relatively safe country here, complacency has a bad habit of creeping in. And it only takes a single moment of complacency to lead to a regrettable outcome – something I definitely want to avoid.
  10. Politics and media
    These are issues overlooked by many survivalists. Yet, they potentially have the greatest impact on our way of life. I have since scrutinised both more critically or even cynically. No longer can both be trusted at surface value.
  11. Relocation
    I know I have gone on to 11 points but relocation is an option that I have become more open to. I totally agree that sometimes, the only way to survive is to relocate. Getting a second passport, planning for a location (or two) to run to, opening an offshore bank account are important to a survivalist. Though I must admit that I have yet to accomplish many of the above tasks, they are continually on my radar.

I hope this mail has not been too long. I am sure I have missed out other aspects of my preparedness journey. Nonetheless, the above are what come to mind and probably for the good reason that they are close to my heart.

Thanks for reading.

Ken

.

Hello Ken. Your email wasn’t too long, at all. I very much enjoyed it, thank you.

I’m glad you enjoyed my books, “The Modern Survival Manual” and “Bugging Out and Relocating”.
It just makes my day when I read about having a positive impact on people’s lives. Its’ very humbling and gratifying at the same time.

You touch on various key topics. I believe you’ve got modern survivalism pretty well covered. As you so eloquently explain, both time and money are limited resources and we can only do so much. Of course we would all want to be national shooting champions, have military experience, have police experience, have experience in the medical field, be UFC champions in our weight class and while at it why not ask to be rich, have a great family and plenty of spare time to actually enjoy life.
We only have so much time and we always end up compromising to a great degree. I believe that you’ve acquired a pretty balanced set of skills that most definitely gives you an advantage for when things get complicated in life.

You’re right about shooting being a pretty expensive sport. For anyone new to guns reading it, my advice to save money is to keep things simple. A Glock 17 and spare mags. Don’t waste time and money “plinking”. I wasted many days and thousands of USD just punching holes into paper and not actually learning. I know it sounds counterintuitive but the best thing to do to save money is sign up to a good defensive shooting class and stick to practicing what you learn there. That’s far better than shooting 50 rounds any given weekend for years, never learning anything.

As for precious metals, it sure isnt a priority but it does make sense and it can also be a lot of fun to learn about them. Most countries had silver coins in circulation at some point and that is your “de facto” junk silver. Shopping around you’re likely to find a few around for little over spot price. Personally, I like doing the research, learn about different coins, their value and history.

Also regarding politics and the media, I do believe they have an important role in our life and it can affect us for better or worse. I try to be balanced and objective. Cant say I trust most politicians in general and when it comes to the media I read both left and right outlets so as to get both sides. I also look into who owns each given media outlet. Its usually there that you see the agenda they follow.

The only thing I would add to your list would be family and friends. Socializing and networking with people. I make the effort to “work” on being a good husband and a good dad. Also try to make friends when I can. Being social, the relationship with our families, these are key not just for survival but for our quality of life and you need dedication to make it work. Same thing when it comes to friends and networking. The people you know and contacts you have are essential, not just for SHTF but also for doing well in normal times as well.

Anyway, thank you for your email and for sharing your experiences.

Kind regards,
FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

1 comment:

Steve said...

be fit is a good idea, doing mixed martial arts with everyone you feel threatened by is a prescription for disaster.