Thursday, November 18, 2010

When are you done preparing?

Hi Ferfal,

I heard you on a podcast recently (2beers w/steve) and from that discovered your blog which I've been reading through. I have ordered your book.

This might be a strange question, but when is one done preparing, or is one ever really done?

I've been into prepping for the last couple years, I have

Many months of emergency food, bug out bag, emergency kits of various types some weapons, etc. I dont have much money at this point but i am out of debt and whenever i have a few extra dollars i buy a little more silver.

There are some things I can't do at the moment for various reasons such as a garden. But it seems like I've done what I can and am pretty well set other than continuing to get more training, get into better shape etc. So other than just waiting for the SHTF, stay up on the latest news etc what do you recommend for someone to do to maintain their preparedness edge so that they really are ready when something happens? I do find myself getting complacent sometimes which could bite me in the ass.

Thanks for any suggestions from a new follower of your blog!


Hi Eric, that’s a pretty interesting question and I’m sure others have asked themselves similar questions at some point.

You read about survival and preparedness, you see the wisdom in it, and you get involved. You then buy a certain amount of gear, camping gear, flashlights, a knife, maybe a gun, some will put together a few kits for the house and car. Some will see the wisdom in stocking up food so they’ll have several months worth of it stocked, forget about it and throw it away after a few years when they rediscover it lost in the basement. Hopefully the person will rotate the food next time so it doesn’t happen again. Some people will go beyond the buying stuff and rotating food stage and sign up for a self defense shooting class, but eventually everyone gets to the point where you are: Now what? Am I done?

Short answer is no, you’re not. You’re never done because survivalism, at least my take on it, isn’t only about buying things, organizing kits, and taking a couple classes on shooting or bushcraft. Survivalism is lifestyle and it affect every single aspect of the decisions you make and the way you life in general. The survival lifestyle goes beyond mindset, since it’s backed up by the actions you perform. The so often mentioned” couch commando” is the person that talks about survival but doesn’t actually do anything, also sometimes referred to as “practicing what you preach”. Specially when it comes to survivalism or its more politically correct term “preparedness”, unless you actually DO what you preach, the theory alone will be of very limited use, because the essence of survival and preparedness is purely physical. You can’t theorize your way out of a car accident, your can’t use your willpower to stop bullets or perform in a gunfight in a way you’ve never trained before. While mindset is important and will be the foundation of everything else , the physical and practical element is essential.

Consider the mindset the starting point. The person’s brain clicks and sees things for what they are. After understanding and seeing wisdom in the logical approach of planning for problematic events of different nature, the new survivalist is set on a path that will involve different aspects of survival. This will vary depending on each individual’s personal experience. I see the wisdom in knowing how to handle a violent encounter with criminals because it is a reality close to me. For the person living in cold weather regions, what sets his trigger off may be some particularly bad snow storm he remembers. The person that had a tough time recuperating after losing his job will slap his forehead at seeing how a year food supply and a little emergency cash and precious metal stash would have made things so much easier. These different points of view combined with the right piece of information triggers an understanding. “ I can prepare for this”.

 You’re Never Done
And after putting together the bug out bags, food, guns, the questions inevitably slides into the picture…”Now What?”. And the true survivalist is the one that knows the answer to that.

Once the understanding of why its wise to prepare triggers a chain of events that leads the person, it will come to a point where it either ends there, with the bags and kits, or it changes the person forever, and the true survivalist will never be able to think otherwise. Before buying a car, the true survivalist will not just go for looks and price, he will check the vehicles record, parts availability, desirability for criminal, the topography of his location and the vehicles capabilities, things we’ve covered here before. Buying brand x or y food? Price alone wont be the only thing to consider, calories? Protein? Fat? shelf live is considered too. Staying at a hotel? Preferably rooms in the first or second floor please. Traveling somewhere? Can I take my kit with me? I can’t have a knife with me? I might as well be butt naked. Parking the car? Close to the exit and looking forward, preferably in that direction. A bunch of survivalists get together for dinner? The one sitting with his back towards the door feels awkward, but at least is covering his buddy’s 6. Buying a pair of running shoes? For some reason ruggedness starts mattering more than looks. You realize your mind is rigged in a certain way and every logical process is affected by it, after a while even the unconscious behavior changes as well.

Then you have the activities you just must keep doing the rest of your life if you expect to retain proper levels of preparedness. After getting into shape, working out two or three times a week will be necessary. You’ll never stop doing that. Firearms and fighting training isn’t just limited to taking a class, you have to train what you learned or you’ll eventually lose that skill. Backpacking and camping too. If your particular situation dictates that wilderness survival is important to you (backwoods guide, pilot in Alaska, forest ranger ) then you need to practice those skills as well.

Hands down being in good physical shape will be a priority no matter what. If you have to walk yourself out of the Andes, fight with a criminal over the control of a weapon or just avoid the most common cause of death such as cardiovascular diseases, you simply have to work out.

It must be Fun

And that’s why you must enjoy doing all this. Getting your butt kicked when sparring, getting shouted at while you’re soaking wet because the shooting training wasn’t canceled because of bad weather, doing pushups in the mud, these are all things you must enjoy doing. Its no wonder that people like us have so much in common.

Last weekend we had an “asado” with the guys from the Instructors class. I used the knife I made a few weeks ago and showed it around. Everyone in the table was a knife nut too, a couple even knew what different types of steel meant and asked what I had used. (5160, before anyone asks). After that we went shooting, the farm owner had a shooting range with poppers and we did a few drills, his son timing each of us in friendly competition. Remember that its also important to get the family involved in this. Kids like shooting stuff, maybe your wife isn’t much of a shooter but enjoys gardening. Survival and preparedness is broad enough it sure will include some activity your family enjoys. Maybe for other people, what they enjoy the most is camping so they do that more often. Others may particularly enjoy gardening, wood/metal working, as long as the priorities are covered as well all practical skills are useful, but its important to have fun for two good reasons.

First of all, if you don’t have fun you wont be doing it for long. If your brain associates these activities with pain or unpleasant feelings it will eventually wear you out, while if it associates it with pleasure and fun you’ll look forward to them. Second, having fun is important on its own. It reduces stress, fights a number of diseases by boosting your immune system and most important,  It means your life is spent doing what you want.

No, you’re never done prepping. Besides, why would you want to stop? :-)

Take care!



Anonymous said...

Hey Fernando, I just read this article that says that kidnappings for ransom are on the increase in USA, just like you predicted.


It's scary how much of what you have experienced is happening right now in USA!

Anonymous said...

Nice one.

Anonymous said...

In the beginning, preparedness is for the 'collapse of society' scenarios. After many years, it becomes more about the mundane things in life, like having a Mapquest printout of your travel destination. That's when you can see the immediate results of preparing, which makes it more satisfying.

cindylou65 said...

You are never done preparing--

May I add--buy a paper shredder and shred paid bills, cancelled checks,etc.People do go thru other peoples garbage to find vital infomation.Don't help them out!

Also, a locking mailbox does keep the creeps from gathering and/ or stealing your info and identity.

Elderly people need to be aware of scams and scam artists and not to buy anything from a door-to-door salesmen.

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

Always more to do and more to learn.
New things to try, from growing and drying your own herbs to making your own hams and bacon. MMMM bacon! I just did my first batches of dried hamburger, bottled butter and waxed my own cheese. Dried vegies in the dehydrator. Do I screw up and have more to learn of course. I don't want to tell you all that went wrong on my first try at waxing cheese. But my next batch went great. Spending $10.00 USD was worth it to learn by doing. Next batch of cheese worked great. I did the same on smoking screwed up big time on the first try and learned. I prefer to learn at $1.50 per pound rather than $3.00 + per pound. Still cheaper than paying for a class.
cindy you are right on about the papper shedder and papper works in compost, as bedding and insulation for pet housing and critters. Plus a great fire starter. Just get rid of those address windows.

yoxx said...

yeah it must be fun ;)

russell1200 said...

You live, you prep, you die.

When you are died, you can stop prepping.

I am of course kidding, but only partly.

A number of the big prepping types from the 70s have aged out- so to speak.

But as Ferfal said, if you are having fun with it, so what?

Anonymous said...

FYI, looks like S.510 might pass into law. It could make small farms and backyard gardens illegal or require a $500 permit and inspections. Hopefully you'll comply with safety standards and use certain pesticides and practices. The bill is 250 pages.a