The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism

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The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism via The Survival Mom

Our survivalism story, in a nutshell

Hi! I’m Sheila.

For the last several years, our family, my husband Dan, our son Jesse and I, have been living what some may call the “survivalist” lifestyle.  Actually, we live off-grid (so far off the grid that there is no landline and no cell phone service available), self-sufficient life.  We’re not here to get away from the world for a few days while chaos happens and calms down. We don’t think that’s what will happen, anyway.  We’re here because we have chosen to separate ourselves from the rat race, the system, and not be swept away in the tide of what we see as society running amok.  This is not a temporary lifestyle for us. It’s a wonderfully peaceful, sometimes difficult and always rewarding life. Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen, “out there”, this is how we choose to live.

We were basically city folk all our lives, but over the past 20-plus years, we formulated, clarified and then realized our vision to make the transformation to our current lifestyle.   We understand the fear and panic many are now feeling when contemplating making a lifestyle change within a short time because they are observing events around them that require such a drastic move.

Once we moved to our current location in New Mexico, we chose to lease parts of our land to form a small community of like-minded, people (I would rather call it, “like-spirited”) to help each other make it through what we believe is coming down the pike soon.  In that search for the right people (who we eventually did find) we met many types of self-proclaimed, “survivalists,” most of whom were in reality, “survival tourists.” Our son coined this phrase to describe those who only wanted to investigate survivalism just deeply enough to find reasons they couldn’t/shouldn’t do it. (“Phew, I almost had to wash my dishes by hand!”).

We met people who spent lots of money on land, shelter and storage foods, only to forget to prepare the most important thing, their minds!  It’s going to take so much more than a gross of toilet paper to save your rear.  You’re going to have to put on your, “big girl pants,” and deal with things like going out in the cold to get firewood, learning to make pancakes using only flour you’ve ground, an egg and water, and wearing the same clothes for years without falling apart, neither the clothes nor you!

The things you might think are important now will seem silly once you’re more concerned with chores that simply keep you alive through a cold winter. We met people who didn’t think they could live without their 62” plasma screen TV.  We’ve been watching the same 1200 piece library of DVDs on our laptop for our evening’s entertainment for several years.  We know the scripts backward and forwards, but it takes our minds off the day’s work when we need it.

Before we were able to have our well drilled, we were depending on a local water delivery service, 2500 gallons at a time, not a 5-gallon visit from the “Culligan Man”, who one day decided that he didn’t want to make the rough trip to our ranch any longer.  We had to make our last 500 gallons last throughout a brutally cold winter, washing dishes with 2 gallons a day, washing our hair about once every 2 weeks.  But you discover that you make it through.

It's amazing to see just what we are capable of living through, and of accomplishing, when we depend only on ourselves. Click To Tweet

Myths about survivalism

If you’re considering living the survivalist lifestyle, you should know the truth about these myths!

1. It’s just like camping.

It’s nothing like camping.  When you go camping if you can’t take a shower for a couple of days. No problem, you’ll take one when you get home.  This will be your home, and you’ll have to figure out how to keep your body (and clothing) clean all year long,  in the cold, snow or wind.

On a camping trip, you can live without anything for a couple of days, even weeks, and you can always jump back in the car and go to the nearest grocery store to pick up what you need.  What if there were no grocery store available?  How will you feel when your daily habits are interrupted, not just for a few days trip, but for the foreseeable future?

2. You can buy enough food and supplies for forever.

No, someday what you have will run out.  You’ll have to learn to grow and/or gather new food supplies and to learn to use what you have, even if that means pancakes without baking powder.  Someday you will have to wipe your butt with a washable rag instead of disposable toilet paper.  Someday there could be no gas to get to the store and the store won’t have anything on the shelves anyway.

3. Your neighbors will gather around and help each other. 

Think about your neighbors who haven’t got a clue, or can’t bear the thought of their comfy suburban lives changing when the reality of where society is going hits them, “upside the head”.  What if your neighbors can’t get their daily supply of cigarettes, beer, Prozac, soda pop, etc., etc., etc.?  Are they going to be the kind of people you can depend on?  For how long?

4. If I buy enough gadgets (mini washing machine, generator, solar tracker) I’ll be OK. 

If you truly believe that society is in for a big shakeup, you’ll realize that this is not a time to spend money unnecessarily, but to put every penny you can into what is practical.  Gadgets are going to break down and then you will have to learn to live without them anyway.  Why not learn now?

5. I can get to my survival location when TSHTF. 

This is the most flawed and perhaps the most popular plan, thinking that when all hell breaks loose, you will know far enough in advance to travel the hundreds of miles to your survival location.  When the door slams shut, the highways will be blocked, the urban and suburban streets will be blocked and patrolled and no one will be going anywhere!  Even if your survival location is only a few miles away, you probably won’t be able to get there.  If you truly understand the need for being “survival-minded”, why not begin living the self-sufficient lifestyle NOW?  Learn what it really means to live off-the-grid NOW, not when there is chaos all around you.  You may find that it’s a much better lifestyle than the one you are living now.

6. I can convince my significant other that this is the right move. 

No, you can’t, and you shouldn’t. All you can do is give them information and allow them to do with it what they do.  People either get this or they don’t.  It’s not for everyone.  This goes for all family members.  I’m not saying go or don’t go without them.  That’s an individual, circumstantial decision and action.  If all members of your family are not on the same page, you’ll have to determine what to do.  Staying where you are maybe your choice.  Just do it as an informed decision.

7. I don’t need to prepare a place.  I’ll just grab my Bug-Out-Bag and find a cave somewhere. 

How many others do you think to have that same plan?  Especially those who live near caves, already know where they are and already expect to be occupying them? And can your bug out bag hold what you really need for an extended period of time?

8. My kids will be bored. 

Your kids will be learning so many new ways of living, so many daily activities and chores, connecting with nature in so many new ways, they won’t have time to be bored.  Allow them the freedom to discover things like what bugs are in the grass around your home, what plants grow, what wildlife is still abundant on this beautiful land. If your attitude is one of wonder and not worry, so will theirs be? Help them look at this as an adventure, not a burden.

A final comment to anyone who does not yet understand why it might be time to make a move from your comfy, familiar, suburban lifestyle, you’re not watching the news.  Or maybe you are only watching mainstream news, who tell you, “everything is as it should be.” It’s not. Sources of news on the internet are reporting events that, somehow, never make it to the nightly news or newspapers.

Friedrich Nietzsche was right. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  It’s amazing to see just what we are capable of living through, of accomplishing when we depend only on ourselves.  When there is no safety net, sometimes you just learn to fly.

Guest post by Sheila, who lives the survivalist lifestyle in New Mexico with her husband and son.

The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism via The Survival Mom

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105 thoughts on “The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism”

  1. Mom @ Cube2Farm

    Thank you for sharing your story and your tips! These are all things I haven’t considered. Currently we live on a 60+ acre farm in the mountains and I often bemoan the difficulty of living so far from “civilization.” This definitely helps me to be grateful for the few resources we do have and to change my perspective from one of deprivation to one of self-education in the art of survivalism.
    btw, just bought the Kindle version of your book and can’t wait to review it! 🙂

    1. There are a lot of adjustments to rural life and not everyone is able to make them.

      Let me know what you think of the Kindle version of my book. I only own the paper version. :O)

  2. Dear S-MOM,
    You just made the best point I have heard yet. ‘ITS NOT LIKE CAMPING”. I had not heard of a bug out bag until recently, and when I first heard it I studied to learn what was meant by “bug out”, then I laughed. Not because such preparations are not wise. My vehicles carry enough supplies for comfort for a week in a blizzard on the roadside. I laughed because people think they will leave the city with a bag of supplies and go camping for the rest of their life. Or a year, or a month.
    I lived in the Amazon (missionary) with a canoe, hammock, mosquito net and shotgun for a year. I came out of the jungle with malaria, ameobic dysentery, and I looked like a skeleton and was approaching death at age 27. I also camped in my younger years in extreme cold in the USA. I slept with bedding on the ground after wiping the snow away and snuggling my bedding into leaves.
    I would be the first to say that a camping mentality is NOT SUSTAINABLE. The surburbanites will die if they think it is a camping trip. I actually would try to stay home and hold the fort if at all possible. Or relocate to a house of some sort as you have apparently done.

    1. That’s one of the biggest downfalls in people preparing their minds…they think that if they’ve ever gone camping, they know what it’s like to live without “life’s luxuries” — like running water and a light switch!

    2. John D. Wheeler

      They will go camping for the rest of their life. That just will be a whole lot shorter than they expected.

  3. I really liked this blog post until I got to the end where Sheila says they are practicing survivalism in New Mexico- then I LOVED it. If I had questions before I have so many now! My husband and I have always had long term plans to do something similar to what they have done, but I always looked around at the barren state of things here and thought that in order to accomplish our dreams we would need to move to a more generous piece of earth. How encouraging to know that if you can make it work here then so can we! -Sarah

    1. We wrote the book precisely to show others that living the self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle AS A WAY OF LIFE is doable — happily.

  4. True blue all of it. I live in Suburban central NJ and most everyone thinks all is well. (I love the “camping” comment!) There are 8 MILLION people who will need to walk over or thru the bridges and tunnels of NYC in the event of an emergency that deprives them of power and food. They will be hungry. They will be told by the government that “help is on the way.” How’s that for a hoot!?!

    There are not many who understand the danger in that one simple thought. Let the power grid go down or the financial system collapse, and in two weeks…

    1. I’m from Jersey, too! (What Exit?)

      Seriously, though, just look at how they handled Katrina. i used to work in Manhattan when I lived in NJ and I remember the extended hours it took to get home when just one train line went down!!!

      Thankfully, that’s all behind me now. My worst stress is deciding what kind of bread to make today.


    2. I live in NYC, work in the private security field & colunteer with the NYPD, I have seen frist hand what people are like at events such as parades, concerts etc.. not to mention black friday for shopping. I tell my friends you don’t have to picture what it will be like here in the city just look at these events and times it by 100 when the trucks stop rolling in, the last hurricane is a prime example, I just bugged in my apartment toasty & warm with my my glock locked and cocked on my side.

      This a great article to read, a real eye opener to boot!

  5. Good comments, I’ll share this with others. I’d like to hear more about there sustainable life style, how they meet there daily food needs, etc.

    My favorite is 4 about buying gadgets, I’ve been considering a generator as then I could run my heater, but maybe I’ll reconsider this.

    I’m very interested in spending a year or so in a remote cabin here in Alaska, just got the piece of land and will start on the cabin next year. I feel terribly tied to my job as a means to support future plans if the system does maintain. So I’m one of those preppers stuck between living daily as sustainable as possible as I pay into retirement and college funds.

    1. Many people feel stuck between worlds. We even have some community members here in that situation.

      Your entire biological determinism has been shaped by TV, Pop-Culture, Corporate consumerism et al, to make you feel frightened to let go. It’s scary, but you don’t really need as much to live on as you might think. We live on less than $200 per month and we’re doing fine.

    2. …nothing wrong with having a few…”gadgets”…along for the historic ride into empirical oblivion. As long as Obama keeps signing EO’s that limit your food storage and such…you have to hide it all and spread it out anyway…so I think you have to plan on a short-term…and a long term basis….weapons, ammunition and food, gas, generator to get you through forms of short-term-emergency…(breathing treatments for my wife, etc.) And…if you can make any of your communications gadgets work for you…that will be beneficial. I know in the long run, these may not be useful for a while…but I’ve been in a lot of 3rd world countries…and they work things out…so will we, after we can convict and hang all the traitors among us… perhaps we can do the same?

  6. I’m hoping that I can get my brother to read this…he and his family live in up state New York he thinks that reading books and stashing food is all he needs …that when what ever happens happens that he will be able to load up his kids and dog and go tra-lala down the road to some place “better”.. we wont talk about the hundreds of thousands of other folk with the same “plan” blocking the roads ,still can’t convince him that he has to have a destination and folk who know him when he gets there or better yet be where he needs to be BEFORE things happen so it will be life as usual….*sigh*

    1. Listen to our podcast #12, on our home page – – it expands on why thinking you can bug out when TSHTF is a flawed plan.

  7. Hi Sheila,

    Love your blog!! Just found it by chance, though I read lots on this topic. I was especially interested in your comment re: traveling when the SHTF. So, we live in a fairly rural area, with a cottage about 4 hours away that would be our ultimate destination asap. We keep gas cans so we have enough to get us there, and know the backroads. We also keep plenty of food, water, all necessities here with us in case of a delay in the journey. The problem is we can’t go to the cottage yet due to family circumstances, though we feel because we have clearly planned for situations as best as possible, we can make it there. Your thoughts? Thanks much! By the way, I’m going to buy your book on Kindle!

    1. Hi, Tracy. It sounds like you have done quite a good bit of planning. Good for you – you’re way ahead of most!

      I would suggest this to augment your plan:

      – have a plan and map that includes rendezvous points to pick up those who are not at home.
      – plan to travel during the day, not at night (curfews?)
      – pick an event that everyone in your group understands as the “go” signal (invasion of a middle-east country, earthquake, for examples). Without this understanding, you’ll spend time debating if you should go or not at that point.

      Even if you see a “go” event, get to your place and nothing major happens, you can always go back to your home in the city/suburb. What will you have lost? A couple days vacation?

      Better 5 years too early than 5 minutes too late.


      1. If there’s no curfew, consider daytime temps and how crowded roads are. Temps were 100+ during Rita evac – numerous cars overheated because of barely moving traffic, which of course compounded the barely moving traffic. Also many ran out of gas after maybe making it 10-20 miles, because most of that time was moving a few feet at a time, then idling again. I shudder to think how many might have ridden out Rita while on the road had Rita not swerved east. The people that Rita ended up hitting on the Tx/La border couldn’t evac because Houston+Surrounding Areas had already congested the roads north and west of them.

        I’m sure cold areas have their own evac words of wisdom

      2. …watch for economic indicator signals…the days they are going to announce their lies about GDP, unemployment, the deficit…etc. Look for “technical glitches” in stock the same time that banks are instituting… “capitol controls”…(depriving you of access to your own money in the bank). Watch for how much gold and silver demand are up and when real cost are skyrocketing…these are all signals that people with real money are jumping out of the stock market…(as they have been doing quietly)..and abandoning the dollar. Id be ready to bug out then…if things quiet down…you can go back to your home….but when you hear that EBT Cards are no longer going to be redeemed and or accepted…get out of the cities….

  8. I live in Guatemala and when I first moved in with my husband, we didn’t have water for ten days. Later, we moved and had water for 2 hours (1-3 am) each day during the dry season. We learned to ration, let me tell you! We also washed clothing by hand and frequently cooked over an open fire (to save on gas). Our power goes out for extended periods, as well. While I do have a washing machine and a shower and all that now, I know what it’s like to live without and make do with washing in a bucket, first your body, then your clothes! We did it for years. I would prefer NOT to go back to that, but I do like knowing that I could and it wouldn’t hurt me because I know how.

    1. You’re one of the few who has already conditioned your mind — by experience!

      Our book, Surviving Survivalism — How to Avoid Culture Shock mentions often that you don’t really know what it’s like till you’ve lived it!


    2. @April: Good morning, excellent post. If you will allow us to add something it would be most appreciated. My bride of twenty three years and I have lived in many places such as you describe. Sudan in 2002 was without question the most horrific. We too, cooked, washed, foraged, scavenged, did without, and were always concerned where the next meal was coming from and in what form it would arrive. But beyond all the hardship there is one thing that set South Sudan apart from all other places: NO ONE DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES! When TEOTWAWKI arrives we all will be in the same boat going over the same cliff: NO ONE WILL DIE OF NATURAL CAUSES. Death from starvation, malnutrition, disease, violence, and exposure will take a grievous toll. NO DEATH BY NATURAL CAUSES is the dividing line between normal hiccups such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc, and TEOTWAWKI! Blessings and wish you the very best.

      1. Erm…. not sure exactly what you consider natural causes? It’s very natural to die because you don’t have enough to eat…

  9. My favorite part is #4. It is not about the gadgets. Look, I use camping to help my kids understand life with out power in the summer. B/c to them right now, that is how I get them excited. However, here in AZ in the winter, I make fires in my home made firepit and cook off the grid for a reason. To practice. To learn how much wood I need to make a meal in my cast iron pots. How long will this fire take to get my coals ready to cook on. How much work is this for one meal in a pot? Like 3 hours. But it was the best darn meal I had ever eaten! Then I cleaned it outside. How long did that take another 20 minutes. I can’t get my whole family to get off the grid just yet. But, we can practice at home. This fall my family should not be surprised if I turn the breaker off for a weekend. Or in the next week I don’t unplug the TV’s. My kids don’t have B.O.B’s they have day packs. Because really that is all that is. You have to know how to live where you are. What trees can you eat from? What trees have a medicinal purpose or plants. What can you use and how much of something to substatue for medicine? All skills you have to learn or get books on. Remember the TV Movie based on Stephen Kings, “The Stand”? Society is not going to be plesant. If you don’t stop and look around and gain some skills, no guns, no storage is going to last, not “if” but when we go dark as a world not just a nation. It is why I spend so much time trying to learn all I can to get my family ready w/out them realizing we are prepping for a society change. Not just a life style, a new way of society. If I am not ready mentaly, my family will be overwhelmed. But, if I can look my 3 kids in the eyes and say, “we can do this b/c we have been learning how”, well then I am going to give them a great gift of peace. Good luck to all who choose to make the lifestyle change. Because it is HUGE and more rewarding each day.

    1. You are definitely on the right track, using camping for that which it is perfect for — PRACTICE AND NEW SKILLS.

      We call that in our book, “acting as if”… it’s a sure way to get your MIND prepared!


  10. I am new to the whole preppers thingy but I have to tell you that people who understand that difficult times are probably coming are smart. I am from former USSR. Life was pretty good, had basic essentials (not close to so much choice as in US but still had pretty ok supply of food etc). Then within a month USSR collapsed. We thought we lived in the best country in the world and were protected from all evils. Let me tell you what the first 10 years after collapse was like. People were starving, electricity was hardly couple of hours a day if any, then there was no gasoline at all. people were walking in the middle of the streets because nobody could drive a car. There were almost no trees left in some cities because people would cut them for wood. A lot of people managed to immigrate and that was saving many families as they were sending money back home. Things are getting a lot better now and for a visitor might seem to be all glamorous and rich but the bottom of the population is still suffering with high unemployment (it is ok in major cities like Moscow but not in peripheral cities).
    I also lived in Europe and I am very worried with situation there especially that it is overtaken by Arab or Turkish. Spain is collapsing and rioting is quite common. Many places like Libya or Syria (especially Lebanon) have enjoyed pretty good life style but look what is happening now. It is really silly that some think that US is immune to this. It is not only not immune but spoiled with handouts nation is more then ready for collapse.

    1. Flower, thank you so much for sharing your experience. It especially touched me when you said that you all thought you “lived in the best country in the world and were protected from all evils.” What American who grew up in the 1950s through 1980s didn’t think that? Many of us still think we are so immune from hard times that we aren’t doing anything to prepare. That’s just what TPTB want you to do.


  11. Because of the news and world events of the last several years, and most especially recently, realizing things probably will not return to “normal,” I have embarked on a journey to find out just what real self-sufficiency would entail. I was happily surprised to learn that preparing is no longer the interest or hobby of fringe elements or off-balance types. Far from it. The internet is full of great advice and lots of resources. This article, for instance, outlines some of the silly mistakes people can make in their thinking, when they consider surviving bad times, and is a good warning.

    For me it’s easy to realize that social order could break down quickly, even here in the United States, because I’ve seen it happen in other countries and have experienced it in my own personal life. I now have to struggle with how to deal with regular daily life. Dealing with a crisis, of short or long duration, is impossible for me, save the compilation of virtual lists and plans and educating myself about what could happen or how to survive it, should I somehow be able to change my present picture.

    That said, what I hate most, is that those who have achieved a goodly level of preparedness, are so amazingly arrogant, and have nothing but contempt for those who aren’t prepared. Even if they are “clandestine” about it, it is still there. All the colorful prepared peacocks cry out “look at me and my beautiful feathers, you useless sparrows and chickadees–if you were like me, you’d have grown beautiful feathers too by now. Tsk, tsk.” This is quite different from the story of the grasshopper and the ants, which is actually helpful. Even so, some of us ants have already been crushed by the first stages of the coming crisis, and we watch in horror as our chances and opportunities to become self-sufficient fade into the distance.

    I’m one of those sorry slobs who isn’t prepared, and if you knew my story, perhaps you’d understand WHY NOT.

    But the fact is, even the most rudimentary preparations require health, fitness, no dependency on live-sustaining medications, time, and most of all A GIGANTIC (and I mean GIGANTIC) WAD OF CASH. It is quite obvious that yesterday, or at least immediately (as in right now), was/is the time to have everything ready: survival food (and allergy-free survival food if needed), cook stoves, a storehouse full of miscellaneous equipment, weapons, weapons training, agricultural expertise, ability and experience hunting, several points of access to water, ability to purify water, medical supplies and the knowledge required to use them properly, vitamins and supplements, pet food and supplies, transportation to a bug out location, property rights and ownership of said bug out location, a bug out vehicle that will work in the event of an EMP attack by the government or others, expert car mechanic skills, solar power, alternative fuel you make yourself with your generators powered by stored fuel or some solar combo, adequate clothing, bedding, cleaning supplies, containers to carry all the supplies, intellectual stimulation beyond survivalism, contingency plans for everything a-z, beekeeping, communications, possibly a like-minded off-grid loyal community to rely on, identification papers, passports, visas, money off-shore, appropriate mindset, etc. etc. etc. etc. Smaller scale preps (like a bug out bag, or ven a month’s worth of supplies) would only be marginally short-term useful, and THEN WHAT?

    For those of us who are NOT enjoying our plasma tvs, or any tv for that matter, who do not have the typical American lifestyle and who are just ignoring the signs of the times due to laziness or head-in-the-sand-ness, for those of us whose jobs and livelihood are destroyed and who are frequenting food banks in order to at least have enough to buy needed medicines without a former cadillac insurance policy, for those of us who are far past our youth, and yet still raising small children due to unforeseeable tragedies, when it should be empty nest time, etc, the whole thing is just so supremely out of reach.

    My message to all of you who have been blessed with means: GET OFF YOUR FANNIES and THINK! (and yes, I’m shouting). If we had all that CASH and ability to prep, we’d sure get busy with it. IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY to do something NOW, and are very fortunate in that respect, and should get on with it. Don’t waste your opportunity.

    And for all those who are far along in prepping, try not to be, as Friedrich Nietzsche said, one of those “last men,” i.e., “the last men blink” –and think you know everything about everybody, and that from your perch of safety it’s clear that it’s everyone else’s damn fault they’re not already ready. That’s not reality. It’s too simplistic. It’s not kind. Rather, it’s just arrogance, and I guess if it came to it and you were the only kind of people left, well …. gotta wonder what kind of world that would be.

    Thinking everyone SHOULD get ready is true, and I wish more people would, but believing everyone CAN get ready? Another “deadly myth about survivalism,” at least for some of us who have sadly ended up in the jaws of the dragon.

    1. I hear your fear and frustration. I can see how reading survival lit and prepper blogs can leave you feeling like you need tons of cash. Try doing what you can with what you have. Learn to identify edible weeds in your area. This can be done at the library or from internet resources if you cannot afford to buy plant ID books. Wash your clothes in the tub after you bathe. This will actually save you water and thus money. Learn to cook dry beans. They are cheap and nutritious. Again this saves you money. If you have any access to soil, plant a few of those beans. I have successfuly grown dry beans from the grocery store. much cheaper than buying “seed beans”. If you have access to wood and a safe place to burn it try cooking on a wood fire. Please don’t give up hope. There are things you CAN do now to learn. That knowledge is far more valuable than stuff. Best wishes for you on your journey.

      1. When you go grocery shopping buy a couple extra cans of stuff. That “stuff” should be according to some overall plan that you have. Part of that plan is to only buy what you normally eat. Make spread sheets of what is in what container and the expiration date. When that date approaches eat that stuff and buy a new one. I agree with your admonition, if you can, do it now. Best of luck.

    2. I hear these muddy excuses every day of my life. Just got through with another one today. A neighbor in a wheelchair, MS, and it is a very bad situation for her and I don’t make easy of that. But here is the grind. She has sorry, lazy, pampered kids that are full grown and do nothing to help her. When we advise her to shut the door on the kids instead of continuing to feed them from her Social Security Disability income, she laments, “Oh they will always be my babies and I would never do anything against them.” My advise to her after that comment was, “Well sweetheart just starve to death during Teotwawki, because we will shut the door on all three of you.” Again I go through this garbage nearly every week of my prepping life. And I am sick to death of it. I could care less what happens to non preppers or late preppers after shft and if that makes me less than I should be then so be it. In closing, you could do something for yourself except point fingers at those of us who bite the bullet and got the job done. But you won’t, will you? In your life it will always be circumstances or someone else’s fault. That’s your nature and your future. So be that too.

    3. Awe… this makes me really sad. Your post is a few years old, but I hope you come back around and read this.
      You don’t have to have tons of money for basic emergency preparedness. But yeah, it would sure help if you wanted to be super comfortable. It would help us too! We don’t have tons though. We have “enough” to slowly take little steps to do SOME things we want to be a little more self sufficient.
      These things can be so overwhelming. I felt that stirring just reading your comment. But rather than giving in to that sensation, just think small. It’s better to do little things than to do nothing at all due to feelings of defeat.
      You don’t have to have a thousand gadgets. Solar would sure be swell, huh? But what do you suppose would happen if the world went dark and there, on a single street or road, sat a single house with the lights on??? Nope. You don’t NEED solar. You don’t need a lot of things that are pimped on prepper sites. They are more comfort items than survival items. I say you don’t need them, because society never had them in the past, and society survived. So you don’t need solar. And again, the lights go out, the town you are in is ultimately silent…. all except the sound of YOUR generator…. Nu uh!!! So what you really need to start out is candles, some oil lamps with oil, a fire pit, and some cast iron cookware. Now there! It’s a start, isn’t it? You have a way to see and a way to cook and boil water.
      You don’t have to know everything. No one knows everything. People have always needed one another, and they always will. From Neanderthal to modern man, we have always needed one another. So no, you will never know everything and neither will anyone else. But you’ll know something someone else doesn’t and someone else will know something you don’t. And you could have something someone else needs and they could have something you need. And as people have always done, you will trade yours for theirs, and you will both get by. So don’t shut down. Pick something you’d like to learn and learn it. Then pick something else and learn that. No need to overwhelm yourself with trying to know everything. Because you can’t. 🙂
      Bug out location that requires a bug out vehicle while maintaining another home that you live in full time??? Nope. I think that is a laughable suggestion. To tell the average person that they need to be able to afford multiple homes and property. Bug in.
      Etc etc etc etc…
      Look, I’m not trying to downplay the importance of prepping or the seriousness of potential situations. But I am hoping you will realize that most people don’t have it all together, don’t have the perfect situation, don’t have wads and wads of cash to throw around. There are lots and lots of people that can’t move from suburbia to a location in the country. There are plenty of people who don’t have room for a massive garden, whose towns won’t let them have livestock. Yet they don’t let that deter them. They do what they can with what they have to work with and hope that if something goes wrong, it will be enough.
      And who the hell is anyone else to tell them it won’t be?? What if 3 months or 6 months of stored canned goods would have been just enough to get someone by until people calmed down enough to start a new way of trading goods and moving food into areas that couldn’t grow it? And they didn’t store it because someone else said it wouldn’t be enough? What if a 55 gallon rain barrel might have been JUST enough to get them through, and someone didn’t buy it and use it because someone else said it wasn’t?
      And just saying… there would be plenty of people who survive or die, whether prepared or not, who do so by dumb luck and bad luck. So don’t give up before you start. And I hope in the past few years that you have found yourself in a place to be able to start. And any time you get that feeling of being overwhelmed, feeling like you need to have it ALL or ELSE, just take a deep breath. Look at what you do have or what you’ve learned to do and tell yourself, “It IS enough” and then move on to what is next– more food, a gadget you couldn’t afford before but now you can, some water, whatever. Because it really ultimately does you absolutely no good to be afraid. None. No good at all. You have control over what you have control over and the rest is what it is. You deal with the rest as it comes your way. And this may not be the Rambo prepper mindset that is expected of you (or me.. or anyone else) but it’s better than chewing your nails down to nubs and it is far better than fear that causes defeat before you’ve even taken a step.
      Good luck to you! And to me! And to all!

  12. This is the first time I have came across someone that actually thinks.. The vast majority of folks it seems have some thing in their mind that they can actually do everything. Our BOL is not far off, but then we live outside of the town and it would be no issue to make it there. There are those that are hung up on gadgets as you said, and then there are those that actually do think…. You are a thinker, and i am very impressed. Thank you for this thread and your article. It actually makes alot of sense compared to some of the uninformed and misguided drivel out there these days.

  13. I like your 8 myths. Very nice.
    I think the biggest reason ‘to live’ where you ‘will go’ – is myth #6.

    Because if your spouse married you, understanding they will be living with you…
    well, #6 is pretty much taken care of.

    #8 isn’t much problem either. At least where we live.
    It is keeping them out of the timber so they will do their chores.

    And I respect your choice of locale, that would be a hard lifestyle. I am not a desert person.
    I like my snow and trees. Its easier to gather apples, pears, walnuts, and firewood here…

    But that’s just me.
    All the best to you and yours.

  14. I had bought food in February 2008 at Walmart, 33 cents a unit after reading about droughts
    in 2006=7. My apartment neighbors were taken aback but I saved 3k that year.. I am pretty ill pneumonia for 155 days. I want to know if I could have a way of opting out if the time comes. That would give me peace.

  15. People really need to wake up! Times is running out to take the steps to break away from the governmental nonsense. Believe in the almighty! Praying for a change and hoping for the best.
    Will not empower you until you had enough. Being prepared and advancing your choice for true freedom.
    Will truly be paramount for real life and fulfillment of a connection back to the land.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story! I think it’s important for ALL people to start thinking about survivalism in a big way, it’s a necessary part of taking care of a family. That’s all there is to it.

  17. I admire people like you. I think people like you are the ones who are truly free. Modern society had us trapped in a huge complex web of dependency and servitude that its now more like prison.
    We put our trust now on bigger entities like goverments and corporations we never truly know and more often choose to satisfy their greed and agendas.

    i feel, as an individual in this society, like im disposable, a statistic, a number. It makes me feel sick and helpless, but I’m so dependent and addicted to the system that poison me, mentally, physically and spiritually, i cannot live without it.

    i will do you guys a favor. WTSHTF, I will remove myself from the equation and makes surviving and thriving for you people a bit easier.

    Good luck and God bless.

  18. Your comments reflect my thoughts over the past few years…What good is a pallet of toilet paper? It eventually runs out. Isn’t it better to learn ways to improvise than plan on stashing all of that? Where will you put it anyway? Get a well with a hand pump, a wood stove, wood cutting tools, maybe some solar to power small appliances like a grain mill. Learn to render fat to make soap. Get your fields ready… This is going to be a long ordeal when it comes.

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  20. I stopped reading when you said that you lived off the grid. Off the grid = no electric, no city water, no INTERNET. Off the grid and yet here you are posting on a blog? There are truly people off the grid out there and we aren’t hearing from them because of it. YOU…are not off the grid.

    1. The Survival Mom

      For most people, “off the grid” means exactly that. Living off the power grid. That doesn’t mean they have no power at all but use alternative methods, nor does having the internet disqualify them from claiming they live off the grid! Lighten up! 🙂

  21. Friedrich Nietzsche was right. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

    Tell that to the triple or quadruple amputee who lives life in a wheelchair and poops in a bag. Fun quotes to do not reflect reality.

    1. The Survival Mom

      I understand your point. In this particular case, she’s referring to people who have gone soft and can’t handle even a little bit of hardship.

  22. In my opinion, The multiple amputees that PJ referred to are more prepared than most of us as they are practicing survival every day. I am sure that most with life-threatening problems know what their chances are when SHTF.
    My wife and I both are dependant on medications daily. I have researched and know where to find some of the plants that I can process to make substitutes for some of them as long as I have the necessary ingredients.
    That being said, our time here will be limited in a widespread situation. we have sufficient food-stuffs and water set back to last quite a while, also the knowledge to replenish same to a limited extent. I will not have to go out of the house for some time to replenish our supplies. Because of our physical limitations, neither of us can garden any more, however we do have some container pots set up to help us as much as possible.
    I know that we may have to leave here so I do have BOBs for both of us, which include a supply of our medications as well as other necessities.
    I know how to hunt as well as how to harvest the meat, how to tan hides, and how to preserve the harvest for later consumption. I have made and used a crossbow, while not so pretty, I have taken a Deer with it. I grew up on a farm before the advent of electricity, so I know how to make Lye Soap, how to churn Butter and a host of other things. I learned these things long ago, before my physical limitations set in. Now I have taught some of these to a neighbor boy who showed an interest so as much of my know-how as I can, will be helpful in the future. Maybe more will have an interest when SHTF.

  23. I also live off grid right by the nm border. I have internet and cell phones and electric that I produce with solar and wind. We haul our water and are building a cabin by hand. No rat race and we love it. No land line phones no electric poles and no 911 service. If you need an ambulance or a sheriff you have to meet them several miles away at the highway.

    Wish I could find sheilias blog.

  24. My wife, myself, and 2 sons {2 year old and infant} lived off the grid in the Ozarks for 2 years. It certainly isn’t like camping. It’s not a simpler lifestyle. It’s hard work everyday. We don’t have the experience of our ancestors. There’s quite a learning curve you have to overcome. To go at it cold would be extremely hard and an invitation for failure. No book or blog can prepare you.

    1. The Survival Mom

      You’re right. Off grid living is mostly hard work with steep learning curves. Thanks for your comment.

  25. Raymond Dean White

    Great article. Your attitude is outstanding. Greetings from “next door” in Arizona. If TSHTF there’s hope for the country if there’s enough folks like you around–folks to take responsibility for themselves and live their lives as they see fit. It’s the God-given right of every American but few exercise that right.

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  27. I think the deadliest survival myth is the myth that you can preserve anything in any manner you want. Most specifically, the people who do things like store raw meats with raw veggies and other raw foods. Or even cooked meats with unprepared foods. Or where they ignore manufacturers warnings and do things like bake glass canning jars to store foods.

    It’s one thing to preserve foods (whether you’re doing it for the year, for your emergency kit, or for survival) properly and preserving foods in a way that will almost certainly lead to illness or injury. And the fact that people improperly preserve food and then teach others to do the same is so alarming.

  28. This story and all the reply’s are fantastic. I have had a food storage going for about ten years. Like so many I thought I needed all these items survival sites said I needed lol. Finding out fast I didn’t. Spent lots of money that way. Now alot wiser I moved from the city to a small township which is great but wish I could afford to be on lots of acres and far away from big cities. Right now I live nine or ten miles from big city but its better then being in the big city I have some chickens now and am going to start a garden next summer. Moved here to late to do a garden. Purchased a good All American pressure canner so I will learn to can. So guess ten miles away from a big city isn’t a lot but trust me I feel so much safer. I am learning to do a lot for preparedness and I am learning so much from this site. I truly loved this story and the replies thank-you. To all of you.

  29. I just wonder how you blog and watch dvds. Did you say something about a power source? I couldn’t do this. It seems incredible that others do. You and your family are now in my prayers! You go girl…

  30. The critical, most important thing to do (now) is learn a few skills that are taken for granted. How to polish and sharpen a blade, how to treat common aliments and how to care/nurse someone with a more serious malady. Sanitation, more people die from contaminated water worldwide than die from cancer.

    The essentials are air, water, food, shelter and fuel. Anything beyond this is a “luxury.”

    Learn to “recover” rainwater. How to filter it, how to restore the correct pH balance (and do that without going to a store, just what you have now). How to do long term storage of “living” not stagnant water.

    Sanitation, how to properly take care of bio-waste without making yourself and others sick in the process, and without expending fuel or other critical resources.

    There is so much to learn and so little time to do so.

  31. Hello Lisa,
    I should probably say I am not a survivalist or prepper. I’m probably better defined as one of those tree hugging environmentalists your folks always warned you about. However you choose to identify me after reading this, if you haven’t stopped already, I think there are some similarities we might share, and share with those reading this comment.
    An immediate observation of your article firmly rooted in truth is the time it takes to say so long to the system we’ve over-engineered ourselves into. Whatever put the notion into our heads, the notion that said, “This isn’t sustainable,” be that the fear of infrastructures collapse, collapse of our financial sector, restructured governance, or one really BIG environmental disaster, the truth is, walking away takes an enormous amount of planning and luck to make personal change and stepping off the grid remotely possible and nothing is easy or expedient.

    But it is doable and doable even while it’s going down.

    To that I can attest too by experience and because I don’t think it’s going to end in some apocalyptic fashion. There won’t been an event horizon that occurs on such a grand scale that overnight hundreds of millions find themselves cast back into the stone age, no matter the doomsday zealot’s predictions. Instead, I think it will go down quite ubiquitously, as in my case and final decision to walk away; that being the collapse of 2008 when, overnight a large number of us lost everything but not all of us lost everything. Our inevitable slide to third world status is happening, slowly, but is happening.
    But, like me, we survived even though we lost our physical and monetary resources, including careers. And while it has been a long road to attain that walk away from dependence on our current system, it is happening, slowly, and each day I watch myself become less dependent and see more time for myself that was needed previously just to survive and maintain.
    In 2008, when the collapse happened and Ike came barreling up the Gulf of Mexico, putting an end to so many dreams of people in this area, I vowed not to reenter the fray not just from a financial standpoint but from a personal political standpoint as well. As an environmentalist, I put the rhetoric to bed and started using my brain long enough to lesson my footprint and live like a gave a s**t about the planet we live on.
    I have sailed most of my life, beginning in the late 1960’s with my father, aboard a 53′ cutter. For those that cannot imagine living aboard as anything more than camping, well, I grow tomatoes and herbs in raised pots on deck, shower with hot water heated in passive solar tanks, cool the boat (when conditioning the air isn’t necessary) by a system so old and effective it came into being on the Arabian peninsula over a thousand years ago. My electrical use is negligible and is a luxurary I can finally afford, keeping the oil lamps used little and there when shore power disappears. Which is often given the storms we have down here.
    I could go on about the adjustment to living aboard a 24′ sailboat but want to keep this on point and that is, all of this comes on an income one quarter of my pre2008 life, living more in line with personal political beliefs and absolutely enthralled with my life, something simply not there prior to the decision to do this when living with their system and I guess I am curious why more aren’t doing the same, given the shear numbers of abandoned boats littering the marinas in every coastal town across America.
    I don’t have a bug out plan, I don’t own a weapon I lie curled up to at night, (although I suppose the flare gun might give someone pause), hell, I don’t even lock the damned boat. I live with one emergency plan that I suppose, if all hell actually breaks out across the country and people get ugly, and that is cast off the dock lines, shore power, jettison the tomatoes and basil, hoist the sails and go somewhere safe. This applies to all situations including hurricanes. It’s pretty simple, I agree, and I guess fishing becomes my way of surviving until a safe port is found.

    I digress.


  32. I seldom read a complete article published on survival, most are written by arm chair warriors. This however wasn’t and was quite informative and good. This pretty much puts in perspective reality.

    1. There’s a tiny solar panel on eBay ( I think) that fits over your iPad, which you attach to the top of your backpack. Keeps it charged.
      I’m sure there are other similar ideas out there.
      I think the biggest problem would be finding alternative treatments for serious illnesses. The time will come when you need to top up your stockpile and the pharmacies no longer exist.e

    1. The Survival Mom

      You’ve never heard of alternative power sources and wifi? There are any number of ways to access the internet from the wilderness. No need for snark, M.

  33. What you are calling survivalism, we call life. Surviving off the land has been my families lifestyle for several hundred years. I get e kick out of city people living in a small house in the back country calling it survivalism. It’s also funny that you have a laptop for movies and a drilled well. Try no movies and dig your own well. Which you probably wouldn’t know where to start.

  34. Having lived and run a ranch there are many who think they can leave the city sounds and come to the country, a ranch down the road went up for sale it sold 5x in 2 years the people who bought it had NO idea what they were getting into. Water wells, septic tanks, no road sounds lots of nature sounds neighbors who help when the live stock gets out or it rains and the truck sinks into the road or freak snow storm knocks out the power for 2 months and you still have to get water out of the well and into the stock tanks or your neighbors cow looking in your bedroom window. We all took turns trying to help the new comers who looked at us like we wanted something from them when we stopped in to say hi and tell them we are the neighbors down the road and if they had any questions here’s our number just call. It wouldn’t be long and we would get a call in the middle of the night someone is outside and the cops said it would be 2-3 hr what should they do? No they don’t have a gun we would get up and go see and it would be a night animal making noise we would tell them it’s all right and head back for the house call the sheriff and let them know and go back to bed. The ranch would be back up for sale again. Living hours from the closest town, Dr, Hospital etc. takes a different mind set you have to be ok with the quiet not that nature is quiet but compaired to the city it is and you have to be willing to at least try to fix what needs fixing. I never realized how scary I was to city men because there wasn’t much I can’t do and I got frustrated with men who were not useful. My niece told me I was different that I didn’t NEED anyone which isn’t true but that’s how she see’s me and how others who are city dwellers see me, and she has been learning to be more like her Aunt who according to can scare the wood stove into burning all night and keep the house warm. So anyone who thinks survival is like camping should try living in a cabin or on a ranch for 2-4 months where they have to garden and tend animals and the land. Take someone with you who can pull you out when you get in trouble because you will and where ever you are going to try surviving at learn the plants what to touch and what not to, learn if you are allergic and be prepared for it. Learn the animals and the sounds they make and which ones are active at night. Just don’t think that because you have a bug out bag you are good! If you don’t know how to use it it’s dead weight.

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  37. I do not think it applies to everybody .
    You are talking about a macro style of preparation that involves a whole family where there is support .
    In my case , it is absolutely impossible to drop everything that I built as a scientist and start a fresh farm alone.

    There are several ways to practice survivalism . Yours is one of them.

    1. The Survival Mom

      Yes, the author who wrote this lives the classic survivalist lifestyle in a very rural part of northern New Mexico.

  38. Hi Sheila,

    Great article here! I like how your son described some people as “survival tourists.” I lived in a 12’X18′ log cabin off the grid for 13 years. A lot of people liked the IDEA of doing something like that, but in REALITY, they had no clue. Often nice people, just not concept.

    While out in my little cabin, I practiced wilderness survival skills and thought it might be a great link for people reading your article here to get more primitive information.

    Take a look at my site too, and maybe we can come together with ideas.

    Enjoy New Mexico! My best- John

  39. I don’t do much on the internet, not good with computers, so I’ve only been reading about survivalism for maybe 9 months to a year. It’s embarrassing to say I’m the only one to think this way. I’ve camped, and the campgrounds mostly had running water. I’ve served in the military, but never went into battle. I don’t really know what it would be like to rough it for ever, I’m sure it would be hard, very hard. I hope the families that have pets consider plans for them too. Not to mention any meds familiy members need. ( I live 20 minutes from exit #5 ). Reading what has been posted here certainly has been enlightening. Thanks for the information.

  40. When thinking about what life will be like for the vast majority who will face the nightmarish scenarios of trying to make it day to day when SHTF – consider the situation that concentration camps survivors faced.
    No Heat. ( No air-conditioning or even fans )
    No Bedding or Blankets.
    No Lights. ( lighting ) Precious few candles if they were lucky.
    No Bathing. ( only when it rained and they managed to collect a bit of water )
    No Toiletries.
    Out houses were crude – and the only way to keep them functioning was to burn waste with precious raw kerosene – if the Camp Commander allowed it.
    No Laundry.
    No New Clothes – and often times, forced to wear the rags from a corpse.
    No Shoes.
    No Fresh Nutritious Foods. ( just Gruel, Slop, Garbage Soups, Molded Bread, Mice, Rats, Bugs, and whatever they could manage to find somehow )
    No Potable Water.
    No Health Care.
    No Dental Care.
    No New Eye Wear.
    The Horrid Stench of Daily Vomit, Lose Bowels, Rotten Mouths, Dirty Bodies, Filthy Clothes, The Diseased, The Dying, The Dead
    Watching everyone around you die daily – or be executed – or worked to death.
    The Loss of your Family – Kids and Wives taken away never to be seen or heard from again.
    Inmate Corruption – as some would sell out others for small favors, food, a smoke.
    Informants – Never really knowing who you could trust.
    Lies and Misinformation – which fed suspicion, confusion, inaction, stupidity, trauma.
    Egregious Mistreatment – By the Germans and also other inmates –
    Thieves – they’d take your better clothes and shoes. Also might take your ration if you were too sick to eat it…
    Forced Prostitution and Rape ( although it was illegal in the German Army – it took place ) Syphilis was rampant.
    No Hope of Escaping your situation.
    Resignation you’re going to Die any day soon.
    No Hope. Loss of Hope.
    Believing the World didn’t care about you and viewed you as worthless and disposable.
    Personally – I think it’ll be 100 times worse than Concentration Camps – and you cannot Prep your way out of it!

  41. Charles-P Sias

    Thank you for tips and insights. In this posting you criticized mainstream media. Would you tell me what your “go to” websites are for real news?

    1. The Survival Mom

      Charles, surprisingly UK news sites are a valuable resource and very often carry stories you never see on U.S. sites. I ignore all U.S. newscasts. A few of the reporters on Fox News do a good job at presenting news stories and events. Definitely learn how to look for,and find, bias. Even the photographs chosen for any given story reveal the bias of the network/reporter. Another tell tale sign is “unnamed sources.” That could be the reporter’s or producer’s boyfriend or brother-in-law!

  42. When it finally happens, and everyone is caught up in the maelstrom of unpredictable daily events – and nothing connected to daily modern conveniences is working or available – I CAN NOT understand where this ” bugging out ” mentality to some other location and living “Off Grid” has found so much following, much less interest.
    Living Off Grid – successfully – forever – by “City Slickers” that have run off to “Safe Zone” – “the Hills” – a “Secret Bug Location” or where-ever… and think they will just switch gears from a 21st Century Lifestyle to one that is more or less 17th Century and make a success of it – are BLOWING SMOKE OUT OF THEIR BUTTS!
    If the situation for EVERYONE involves multiple nations tossing Nuclear Weapons back and forth – ain’t nobody going nowhere to survive! And that includes all those with the “Golden Willy Wonka Tickets” for those federal super bunkers we hear so much about.
    If the situations involves “ACTS of GOD” and the super caldera of Yellowstone blows, Planet X – Nibiru rains Hell Fire and Brimstone, Earth Quakes in the magnitude of 9.0 to 10.0 shake and unshackle HELL lose from it cage, with Tsunami’s that deliver 300 foot waves that hit the coasts – all of us – no matter how much we think we’re Prepared – those that survive will be living in the 1st Century in a matter of weeks. WHO in their right mind wants that?
    Today’s modern warfare tactics would include “EVERYTHING and EVERYONE” at their disposal. This means – N.B.C. plus Psychological and Electronic coercion. First they will Fear and Electronic Trickery,( hint; the upcoming elections for example) add in some Biological’s to make everyone sick and puke their guts out, then they will use bombardment and bullets – then hit them with CHEMICALS that will KILL every living thing, and finally if all else fails – turn the whole battle field into one big green-yellow glass covered parking lot via Nuclear Strikes. Nobody wins! Nobody Survives! It is over…
    As for me – well, War is War and if it comes down to it, I’ll just be a Partisan. One day at a time – until either I’m dead or there is a favorable outcome. I don’t expect to survive! The odds are against me. Just as they will be for those will “Bug Out” and think they will hide and live off the land… Every One Pays to Ride in Life, there are no freebies, passes, and cheats. It’s GAS, GRASS, or ASS – nobody rides for free. Pay now, or Pay later – BUT YOU WILL PAY! You decide… Me, I’ll PAY up front and expect a front row seat.

  43. Hello survival mom love your article.
    I have had a desire to live off grid for a little over a year now. I am working hard to get out of debt where I can find me some land and build me basically just a little hunting cabin. I am wanting to learn to grow a garden for my food be able to keep chickens, goats a couple of pigs and a couple of cows. I am teaching myself how to can and can think of nothing better than being in my own little place no phone no cable no computer (I’m at work) from others to deal with. The difficulty of this task does not bother me, I tell people a lot I think I was born in the wrong century.
    Would love to have input from others who may be able to show me the way. It seems that when I ask people how to do something when it comes to living self sufficiently its a bother to say anything I get the run a round a lot. Go figure. And yes you guessed it writing is not a skill I am good at. Sorry.

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  45. Dear mom. I Loved your article. It Gave me some things to think about and consider that hadn’t come to mind yet. I’m a country boy raised on a farm, lots of skills and common sense. I think about making the break all the time. One of these days I’m going to do it, if I don’t wait to long. Anyway my comment or question is this. If you truly live off the grid how am I reading your article on the web? Not to be rude but my idea of off the grid means no IP address. Thanks, just had to ask. Thanks again for your insight and info,

    1. The Survival Mom

      Most people I know who live off-grid still have internet connection, one way or another. They need a way to communicate, so most have a cell phone, and that can provide wifi.

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  48. After ten years of slow preparation .. I live on an island populated by a few neighbors.. who really share the same mind set.. we are surrounded by a very large lake.. I have a Davis building in the middle of a large Oak woods… fish are abundant. as are squirrels. ect. I keep a years supply of dry goods… and have a well. but keep a water maker. .a katylin water purification system… I have a great old sea kayak which I have used to transit the upper Miss River.. and off shore Central Coast California. on my island she is the best all weather fish catcher.. cargo carrier I have ever found.. she keeps me in protein .. spring summer and fall a good cast net is a great thing .. for collecting shad which are very edible . Life on my part of this island has been good. I have spent 40 years in the field as a medic… so I was able to prepare this place. I also have an escape vehicle/ apartment.. my Cat 25 sailboat… the Garfish…. she has a full apartment below decks . a 9.9 gas oil engine, and operates by her sails… on the lake the engine is the best. there are many good high islands on this lake which stretches perhaps sixty miles.. and has more coast line than California….they say… she has a dingy.. and with the sea kayak.. and very good all weather clothing / supplies put up/ communications on solar power../ and defensive positioning.. she is a good “bug out” I take her out In the summer fall months…. for a cruse… / a good set of leg traps is a must sorry. experience shows these will save your life… and a good fishing kit. / .. One does a risk assessment equation each year.. looking at the most likely threat the least…. so it has happened. long term unemployment… three years now… I am getting grey. .. so no my field. I have gone through my two year back up cash… but I am still well and safe… in my cabin out in the woods with one years supply of food ect. left.. My dog is fat, and happier I am home…. Social Security will come in two more years… these may be the years the good ship SV Garfish will take me off shore… in search of fish… and shad.. River love to run on the island. I have no desire to go away from the lake/river… it is my home and safety…so I truge on…awaking to birds and the chuff of squirrels….

  49. Ten years of slow preparation… continued….
    My old mother once said often.. ” you make your bed , so no lay in it”
    So it is true… It is good advise.. I have gotten alternative skills along the way… I am a Certified Nursing Assistant.. age and my sex are working against me there…. and I can wash dishes… now I am thinking of going to see about being a local security guard.. / but in mind set . which is most important… I am a homesteader.. I have a porch or a deck to sit on always… and it is mine. I am not hungry or cold.. I love humans too. so work is a good psychological aide…. It is a beautiful place and life… with our my dog River… life would be much poorer and harder… he keeps me warm , keeps watch .. and is a wonderful companion…. make your bed.. diversify your work skills, find a good friend, and always keep a small to medium sized dog they give everything with less requirements.. I love Jack Russell they fit a sea Kayak and a sailboat..

    1. The Survival Mom

      Sounds like you’ve carved out a nice little niche for yourself and River. Dogs are angels in disguise. 🙂

  50. Ten years of preparation… PS get a good ambulance and air transport subscription.. one incident with out these and you will be far in debt.. and ruined. Medical insurance too. I have the VA. . which is good for regular medical problems but no good for accidents.. or injuries.

    1. The Survival Mom

      You must not live off grid. There are easy and not very expensive ways to access the internet, even from way out in the boonies.

  51. Pingback: 8 Myths About Survivalism – The Rogue Pantologist

  52. My fear is that a lot of people starve to death before they realize there is no heat/water etc. I garden and truly cook from scratch, i.e. making broths, breads using self ground flour and so on. Many of my urban friends assure me they also cook from “scratch” by using butter in the instant potatoes, or putting the ground beef in the hamburger helper, adding extra cheese to the mac n cheese from a box … you get the idea. It is so very sad that many young people are no longer exposed to diy household and cooking practices, it is no longer …. oh my mom or grandma made this too, today people remember (maybe) how great-grandma did it.

  53. My husband & I both grew up on Amish farms, and so learned most of the basic survival skills. We had no electricity, no internet, no cell phones. We learned how to grow, hunt, and preserve food, how to sew, how to build things, and just about everything else. We’ve had cars for about 3 years now, and electricity for almost 4, but we still do many things the old fashioned way. We have a garden and chickens, and hunt wild game. We don’t have tv or smartphones, so we won’t miss those things. We’ve been preparing for an EMP or similar for a while now, but can only purchase a few things at a time. We have an older dualsport bike that will run even in the case of all electronics getting fried. Overall, I think we are better prepared than most, simply because we have the knowledge and experience.

  54. So, you wrote in 2012 that us non-survivalists are not watching the news or are reading the wrong news. But then you don’t mention which news is the good news. Also, here we are in 2019. Whens the bad thing going to happen?

  55. Pingback: The High Eight Lethal Myths About Survivalism ⋆ Survival Skillz

  56. The second and third points really stood out to me.

    As a father of four I constantly think about what a SHFT situation would look like for me.

    What would I be prepared to do?
    How would I stop my children from going hungry?

    It’s horrible to think about but being survival minded is the key, you’ve just got to be ready to roll at any place anytime.

  57. Patricia Mayfield

    Thank you for this! I’ve tried to explain to people you have to know how to rely on your own intelligence not gadgets or technology, those things can easily fail. I was a history major (yrs ago) & even when it’s just a small power outage I do things like the pioneers. I’ve always grown food even in the burbs! So important to know how to manage on your own.

  58. Patricia, I’m a social studies teacher myself lol. As for power outages and power in general, I found out a way to produce electricity from solar energy without spending thousands of dollars.

  59. This is all well and good but what if you have a special needs child with ODD, RAD, PTSD and is autistic to boot? Have to keep her away from knives, she can’t entertain herself and has no social skills. Also what about meds. I have epilepsy and take anti-seizure meds daily. Without them I’m SOL. sand my wife is disabled with RA, Lupus and Hashimoto’s disorder and can’t function without her daily meds. Pot works soso for me but not for my wife or daughter. Seems like the best survival answer for us is a loaded gun with enough ammunition to take each of us out one at a time as we deteriorate. Thoughts?


  61. Thank you for writing this article. I am also glad that you do not believe in E.M.P. attacks and Zombies. You also do not have political ads in your articles. I began researching prepping when I lived in Texas. I used to leave near Houston. Smart people prep because of HURRICANE SEASON. I now live in rural Rhode Island. So you need to prepare for Blizzards and Severe snowdrifts. A lot of the more fanatical preppers need to read this article.

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