Collapse Survival On A Budget – Part III

Please review Part I and Part II to this ongoing series of collapse preparations. Part III contains practical preparation and suggestions.

[As long as this blog entry is, it’s woefully short and incomplete. I know that, but it’s a blog, after all, and not a book. These are further comments, ideas and extensions on subjects mentioned before in the Collapse Survival series. – Admin]

Water, Food & Personal Health

You should be in good shape already, if not, do not wait another moment to start exercising and shedding excess pounds. Stretching and daily exercise routines should be undertaken to increase your stamina, strength and flexibility. Recent reports predicts over 75% of Americans will be obese by 2015 is shocking (but true). Current figures are already over 50%. This is staggering, in a lumbering sort of way. Poor diet, poor workplace habits and poor levels of exercise are contributing to this problem. Do something about it and take charge of your life.

Start walking instead of driving. Ride a bicycle. Run. Go outside — a lot more then you ever have, you’re going to need to get used to this. If you don’t have a good pair of shoes, get some. Get several. Boots are best for durability and work, but add extra weight. I own about a dozen pairs of real boots now, they’ll last about 12 years altogether, so you can’t really have too many good shoes. Don’t bother with designer boots and split-leather boots, they’re junk. Buy quality footwear, this is one area where scrimping will get you killed.

Eat right. Stop the junk food consumption now. Cravings will cause a lot of problems in the future as junk food becomes scarce or expensive. It will be in high demand, but don’t be allured by it’s sweetness or profits. It’s also bad for you in too many ways to bother to list here. Natural foods such as fruit can satisfy your cravings for sweets. Some dried fruits store pretty well too.

Healthy living really means healthy eating. What goes in sometimes stays in far too long in the form of excess fat and can cause long term disease such as heart disease. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables should be a major portion of your diet. If you’re living off the land directly, you’ll discover foods you’ve never eaten before. Learn to try these out and recognize the wild edible foods in your area, this will become more and more important as the collapse deepens you and you can’t resupply your food stores.

Food preparation will need to be done in sanitary conditions, meaning don’t use what you know is dirty or possibly contaminated. Boiling, roasting or cooking pots and utensils under high heat will kill most germs that will make you sick, so if you have to, simply cook the cooking utensils before you use them, otherwise, wash them first (water might be limited).

Wild foods like rosehips for example, contain a lot of vitamin C and can be eaten year round, they’re not that hard to find even in the dead of winter. Other foods are better in the spring, summer or fall. Learn which wild foods you can expect to find in your area, the best time to harvest them and where they can be found. Good books to get on the subject are readily available, such as Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Northwest.

Personal sanitation will be critical. You will need to keep yourself clean to stay healthy. Wash your hands often to avoid transmitting germs to your face and eyes and to each other. Don’t use the same hand towels among the different people in your group if you can help it.

Keeping your clothes clean will be hard. Get a Wonder Washer or a scrub board and wash basin. Durable clothing is a must. Wool breathes very well, sheds water some (can be treated to improve this) and holds up best. If you’re allergic to wool, you can wear something underneath (cotton or silk is good). You can buy wool pants very cheaply from surplus stores online (recommended), and wool shirts quite cheap from used clothing stores. Cotton “duck” is a heavy duty cotton material that is also long lasting and durable and even blends in fairly well.

Buying used clothing is pretty cheap in reality, and oftentimes, you can find some real bargains. The only new clothes I buy are socks, underwear and shoes, everything else is used, including hats, jackets, coats, pants and shirts. Military clothing is also a good choice (lots of cargo pockets), but not as warm as wool in most cases, unless you’re buying foreign clothes, such as Swiss military wool pants. These are great, cheap, durable and warm. Many foreign armies make good durable clothes and can be found at a surplus store, or even better, online.

You will need both “street clothes” and work clothes. You will need to blend in at times and look like everyone else anytime your in public. Walking around in military fatigues will get you swiftly identified as being an non-conformists and a potential troublemaker. Collapse “survivalists” will undoubtedly be outlawed unless you have conformed. Realize this and wear what is appropriate for the tasks at hand.

Military clothing is subdued and comes in a variety of darker colors. It really doesn’t matter what color you get, but avoid the desert colors unless you live in the desert. Being able to be camouflaged will become critically important. Build a ghillie suit if you really intend to blend in.

Long underwear is a must. You may need to be without heat or fire for quite a while and they can really help keep you warm. Military surplus is good here too and usually a lot cheaper then “brand name”, which is not as well made. Silk underwear is very durable and warm but expensive. Haunt the used clothing stores for bargains, I go weekly and stockpile what I know I’ll be needing.

Good socks are also a must, along with good boots. Cotton traps moisture and can cause blisters. A good quality wool blend sock will wick moisture away from the foot. I like several brands, including Thorlo’s. I buy mine in bulk off eBay, ordering 50 or more pairs at a time. Socks you’ll always need, but they won’t always be readily available and to be honest, I’m not planning on knitting my own.

Toilets need to be sanitary as possible. There will be no guarantee for most people that water will still be running, or the sewer systems still operating if the collapse is very bad. Save your water for personal use including clean up, cooking and sanitation. Use a latrine if you can, or just dig a hole. Learn how to keep yourself clean when using the toilet, this takes a bit of practice. Conserve water by using rags (if necessary) or even usable gray water.

Toilet paper is already expensive and will be getting worse. If you’re not stockpiling, you should. Or learn to do without.

Daily vitamins are helpful in keeping your immune system up. There are some here that have long shelf lives that will do the job you need. A lot of people swear by spirulina and other “superfoods”. Keep your vitamins and medicines in airtight containers if possible for the longest possible shelf life and to keep out moisture which can destroy their efficacy. Simple zip lock bags work (sort of, they are not really airtight), or even a larger airtight container for the unopened bottles.

You need to do the same thing with your food storage. Oxygen destroys food, as does moisture and humidity, allowing it to degrade. Time and heat are also the enemy, so keeping your food airtight, dry and as cool as possible at constant temps (go underground) will keep your food storage viable.

I am not a fan of vacuum sealers. I haven’t found a single one that really works. The work for a short while, but then the double-bagged, double-heat sealed package leaks and I’m pretty much disgusted with this junk. I much prefer hard sided containers in varying shapes and sizes that can be counted on to stay airtight. Food grade airtight buckets work very well for smaller items, including food, but also for clothing and gear. Mylar sealable bags also work much better then those cheap vacuum sealer poly bags.

Keep your gear well oiled and lubed to drive away moisture and prevent rust. Stockpile such things as cleaners and lubes, you’re going to need a lot more of these then you probably think.

Buy several water filters. A good drip filter is a must (hands-free operation) and doesn’t require you to sit there and pump and pump and pump, such as the Katadyn Drip are recommended. Get spare filter elements. The Katadyn can do up to 30,000 gallons of filtration before the elements need to be replaced.

Water quality will be a huge, huge issue. Dead bodies, dead animals and poisoned water supplies will be a fact of life. You’ll need to filter and purify everything, and everything that is washed or cleaned will need to using clean water.

I have portable pump filter in my portable gear, and also have several hands free drip water filters. I intend to use them all, all of the time.

You can also boil water and filter your own water with homemade sand and charcoal filters. Even coffee filters will work ot remove sediment. Use something, unless your water comes from a well or quality spring with no contaminants. Have a backup water source identified too, in case something happens to your primary supply.

Food grade water barrels will also be highly useful for many reason. They permit you to create a mini-supply of water on hand and you won’t have to venture out as much. I recently bought 8 of the fifteen gallon drum sizes very cheaply, I don’t think the guy that sold them realized what he had. I also have over 20 water and storage barrels now, in fact, I’m not sure how many I’ve got. They will be used to store food, gear and water and are great for keeping out humidity, moisture, dirt, dust and rodents. Get the “wide mouth” type for storage and the spigot type for water.

Many of these barrels will be buried, “caching” my supplies. They can be put into your designated crashstead or scattered about as survival caches. Some should contain critical and well-prepared supplies, such as food, water, medicine and firearms. Don’t forget clothing too. A single “barrel” of the 60 gallon size or so, could easily supply one person for several weeks with careful planning and strategic location, or even longer, depending on what each one contained.

Mental Discipline

Collapse preppers are a different breed, already set apart from the rest of the crowd. They can already tell something is seriously amiss and are watching out for more, which is happening daily now. This is part of the mental discipline necessary to help your survival and those you are responsible for. There is much more then this.

Staying focused is critical. It’s very easy to be sidetracked and derailed from your preparations. Right now, you will survive these ‘lapses’ of attention and discipline. But during the dangerous period of collapse, a wandering focus could easily get you killed.

Focus is best obtained by exercising discipline. If necessary, make a checklists of essential tasks that need to be done daily. This list needs to include collapse security chores. Has anyone been checking your ‘stead out? Has someone setup camp nearby? Are there strangers in the area? How would you know? Who’s been watching and who’s been nodding off to sleep?

Mental discipline is exhausting for those who are not accustomed to it, but it is essential. You must be alert, and pay attention to everything, even the smallest detail. This is quite challenging, because it is the opposite of what we are allowed to do right now. We can be sloppy, careless and forgetful and get away with it now, but not during the collapse. We will need to be alert and focused.

Animals are a good example. They live among other wild predators all the time, but even when relaxed, they are alert to any possible danger. They’re attuned to the snap of a twig, the rustle of leaves or the sudden quiet calm that can overtake a forest when danger or intruders are present. You need to become like this, alert to your surrounding and instantly notice whenever something is amiss.

Mental discipline also includes not letting your mind dwell on all the unpleasant things that will be going on. There is nothing you or anyone else can do to prevent the collapse of civilization, it’s too late for that now. The results of our lifestyle and carelessness and disregard for the planet and the health of our society will be the inevitable outcome.

This will include a great deal of suffering, death and disease. Warfare is very likely to break out right here in the U.S., with fighting going on among all of those involved, including civilians and the military and law enforcement.

I expect all kinds of things, prison camps, slave camps, work camps, outright attacks and property confiscation, personal assaults and even legislation decreeing that the non-conformists to government mandates are simply “fair game” to everyone else.

This is actually happening now if you think about it. Non-conformists are constantly being rounded up and arrested. The government likes to call them lawbreakers, but common sense tells you that some of these “laws” are stupid beyond belief. They’re forced into prison camps now and they work for slave wages for the US prison industries. This will worsen as collapse deepens and the government attempts to retain control.

I fully expect that this will mean martial law and the establishment of control points, also known as “choke points” over much of the things you will need to survive. Think power, food, water, medicine and transportation. Without these, you will die. Control these and you will comply, doing whatever they want and ask of you, even turning your neighbors in for non-compliance.

These programs are already underway now in America. Truckers are being told to “look for suspicious behavior” against mythical “terrorists”. Simply shifting your eyes on the subway can now get you arrested for suspicion. This will worsen, dramatically, as the draconian police state implements even more “controls” over the population.

All this means that there will be a lot of suffering going on, and you will be tempted to put a stop to some of it (if your human that is). There will be a lot of non-humans running around, having sold out and taking great pleasure in the pain of others. We are seeing this now in Iraq among the US military. These boys are coming home some day, angry, stressed and exceedingly dangerous.

Sub-humans are fair game as far as I am concerned. Anybody that is helping to exploit and hurt other humans has already forfeited their right to life. I have no plans to sit on my ass while such monsters live in my area. Collapse will bring out the worst in most people, and the best in a few others.

It will be difficult to “stay out of it” and stay sane (imo). It will also be difficult to know which battles you must fight, but fight you will if you intend to survive. You will fight for yourself and those with you and there is every reason to believe you will probably fight for the stranger too. We are all fighting to survive the onslaught that we know is coming, and we are not alone. Everyone else is too.

But you will not be able to fight for everyone. Many will seek the advantage, much like they do right now, trying to profit from you in some way and take advantage in some way. Many people believe right now that they are owed this for some bizarre reason too. These people are worse then death, they are a living death, seeking to take but never give and they will be dross and dead weight should you allow them.

Your mental discipline and sound judgment will be absolutely essential to keep these type of people at bay. They surround you right now — imagine what they will be like when the collapse hits them upside the head and they become suddenly frightened and scared and oh, so utterly dependent upon you.

People don’t really change — not like they claim. They just change their spots (and allegiance). Be aware of this and act accordingly.

Shelter

This is a critical component to your survival. You will need a reasonably warm, dry and safe shelter. Most people are thinking they are going to weather out the collapse in the homes they have now. I doubt if this will happen. A huge dislocation of the population will probably commence as the collapse deepens.

Unless you are already in a safe area, protected and even hidden, you stand a high likelihood of being displaced. Your shelter will stay behind as you are forced to go elsewhere. Therefore, you will need to know how to pick a suitable location and build a suitable shelter (or find one).

Unfortunately, this is a bit beyond the scope of this blog entry, since this would require an entry or two all by itself. Obtain some good books such as the SAS Survival Guide as step 1 in your preparations. This will help you with many other areas of survival also. Step 2 on shelter preparation is to learn how to build a root cellar and a natural house. Going underground may be the best type of shelter you can ever hope to provide for yourself.

There are many reasons for this. Underground offers natural insulation, shelter from high winds, unobtrusiveness and security. It’s not the only place to shelter, but it is a good choice. It will also be where many post-collapse survivors are ultimately to be found, as above ground dwelling are raided, burned down and attacked.

Obviously, I believe that staying hidden is the best chance for your survival. Collapse will sweep away (most) everything this is unsustainable, including our existing way of life. Personal security will be totally gone as desperation and hunger turns normal people into mutant zombie hordes. Staying hidden will be easier then fighting, but you’ll still have to fight eventually. Fighting a thousand hungry humans just isn’t possible for any group and not even worth trying. You will expend precious resources, including your life should you try.

Collapse will automatically adjust these numbers in your favor, given enough time. This is harsh, but true. You cannot feed a thousand mouths, almost nobody can. And you cannot defend against two thousand pairs of hands. They will rend you to pieces and eat the bones.

Your shelter and your best defense it to stay hidden, out of sight, quiet and conserving your supplies and resources. This is also a very good time to stop trying to grow your own food. I am not an advocate of collapse farming. I do no think this is either wise or safe. Farming and subsistence living can only be resumed in the post-collapse era, and it will still be dangerous for a time.

Unless your collapse plans truly mean remote living in the wilds, where you can be fairly assured of few mutant zombies, hiding for shelter, for safety and for survival is your better choice. Roaming around (on land or sea) will expose you at anytime of the day or night to others doing exactly the same thing. These “interactions” may well prove to be deadly, or a quick trip to a slave camp.

Safety

Carry a pistol at all times. This has been proven around the world as being an essential for personal safety and defense, especially during times of unrest. You should be very familiar with your guns and have essential spare parts to keep them in good repair (extractors, firing pins and springs, etc.). Personal safety can only be ensured by you, and you will need the means to ensure it.

Handguns are only usable in close quarter situations in the hands of most people. The saying that your pistol is what you use to fight to your rifle is true. A rifle provides you with equal standing against most assailants (and then some). Not just any rifle either, but any rifle is better then no rifle. Get a battle rifle and learn its use, function, ranges and capabilities. Get one (or two or three) before they make them illegal (again).

Scoped rifles are quite useful for long range defense and offense, but they create tunnel vision for the user. You can be blindsided while being engaged or distracted by an assailant. Shooting with both eyes open is a skill that needs to be practiced. Staying aware of your immediate surroundings at all times is essential. This doesn’t matter if your in the marketplace or in the field, knowing what is going on around you is critical.

This is called situational awareness. Know your exit points. Know who is dangerous and who is not. Know what you might have to do and when you will have to do it. This is really mental discipline, constantly shifting, focusing and assessing the possibilities and potentials.

The greatest danger (of violence) will of course come from other people. Wild animals will almost always leave you alone. Stay away from obvious danger, you’re trespassing in their territory when entering the woods. These are moose, bears, cubs and snakes. There’s really nothing to be afraid of out there, these animals are more afraid of you in 99.99% of the situations you might encounter. But NEVER get between a she-bear and her cubs. Never approach young animals of any sort, you may have to face down their angry mother who is much faster, stronger and sure of foot then you can ever hope to be.

I’ve spent many years in the woods and bear encounters are a fact of life. Just give them a wide berth. Black bears scare very easily with shouts and waving your arms. A grizzly is another story (if you don’t know what a grizzly looks like, look it up). You do not challenge a grizzly. Making noise while walking in the woods can alert animals to your path and they will almost always disappear long before you see anything. But if you suddenly encounter a grizzly, your safety response will be different then with any other animal. He’s king and he knows it and you’re trespassing. Rather then spend a lot of time on “what to do”, I suggest you look this up. This is really the only animal you have to be concerned about in North America, the rest will almost always avoid you.

Since I’ve never had any experience with alligators, you might might want to check this out too, in case you plan on living in a swamp (not a bad idea).

There are many other safety issues, including practicing safe procedures. Getting hurt during collapse is pretty likely. Getting help is not, so staying safe and staying healthy will be paramount. Work slowly if you can, methodically and with precision at whatever you are doing. Working quickly can cause injury and mistakes, including seemingly simple things such as hurting your back or causing a hernia. Remember, you may have to endure any injury you’ve inflicted upon yourself for the rest of your life. That body has got to last as long as possible.

Location

Here’s the “big one”. Everyone wants to know where to go. When to move. How to escape. Who and what to take.

Frankly, I have a hard time with such questions because they signify a lack of critical thinking. Why should anyone be telling you where to go? That’s your job. Only you know your abilities, resources and constraints. And why should anyone be telling you when to go? The lack of personal responsibility and accountability for these questions notwithstanding, these are things you need to know because they are only applicable to you. If you need to be told, you’re really not paying attention (still).

There are many people speculating on “safe zones” and places to live. Some are even making a living at it and charging for such “services”, selling books, tapes, videos and advice. Forget it. These people are nearly clueless and have absolutely no idea at all what they’re talking about. The only thing they are divining is your pocketbook.

Now, having said that (which can be applied to all prophetable advice givers), there are some things that will be worth knowing. I’ll share them here to get you started, but I won’t be listing latitudes and longitudes of where you should go.

Water will be in short supply in many parts of the world where climate change is most severe. A simple look here reveals where this is happening in the US (take the time and explore this site for your own good). This is not static and is expected to change (worsen). This will cause extreme disruptions and relocations and millions of people abandon drought stricken areas.

So you need to avoid these areas unless you have assured yourself of an adequate water supply. In “The Answer“, I stated what I still believe — bio-regional zones will become the occupied territories for future humanity. These will be based around existing water supplies and viable environmental regions, and those water supplies that can be safely and securely transported in. Many currently populated locations will be abandoned as drought increases their instability.

Relocating for a lot of people will be mandatory, even if you are not a crashstead survivor. Study the map, look at geological features, such as existing (natural) waterways. How far are some of these locations from where the rains actually fall? Most rainfall occurs in the mountains, collected by rivers and streams and sent downhill, oftentimes traveling a very long ways to the cities. Future rainfall (and snowfall) will continue to create precipitation in the mountains, even during drought. It’s much more likely there then anywhere else.

Other thoughts on location — population is a huge consideration. Are you already surrounded by mutant zombie consumerist hordes? This is a no-brainer, hardly worth mentioning. Lower populations will mean fewer zombies to deal with, fewer to feed, house, clothe, and fight off. Remote locations offer the best when it comes to the population question. But ultra-remote has the additional problem of being too remote. You’re isolated, alone and probably on your own.

Decide what “balance” is right for you. I am persuaded that fewer people will ultimately be better, since I fully expect “civilization” to completely dissolve into a winner-take-all type of scenario. And I know who the winners will be — the most ruthless, vicious, violent and cutthroat among us. Kind of like it is right now (we call them capitalists and businessmen). The politeness will be long gone as the rules go out the window along with all the useless eaters they plan on getting rid of. Only those that will work and provide and offer something in return will be allowed to stay (live). The rest will be culled from the herd.

No thanks. I want nothing at all to do with that world. I’d rather be far, far away if I can, living my life out without having to contend with that level of monstrosity. But that’s me. It may not be for you.

Some are relocating based on soil and weather patterns. This is good, but not necessarily absolutely essential. I don’t believe in collapse farming (at all). I think it will be too dangerous. And post-collapse farming and subsistence living can be done by employing some modern techniques that can take advantage of seasonal variations and water conservation (think greenhouses, Earthboxes, aquaculture and such like). A composting greenhouse can be kept warm even in winter for example. But erecting one during collapse is like inviting the living dead to dinner (imo).

Location will also require many other things, such as natural resources. Wood will be very important for heat, construction and raw materials. Available game populations (including fish) are highly desirable when you decide to venture forth. Good soils are also great, but could be built up given sufficient time and inputs.

Some terrain (topography) will keep some of the zombies at bay. This can be rivers, lakes, streams, natural formations such as mountains, cliffs and even heavy timber. I’m not at all concerned about spy satellites and infrared being used to target me, I doubt very much that the little fish will be worth catching, they’ll have other, more pressing problems.

Many cities are located in the “wide open” and can be easily entered (or attacked) from a multitude of directions. Some will be much better defended because of restricted road access. But “cities” are out of the question (entirely) in my opinion. Towns and villages are more like it, if you intend to be around other people at all. Towns that have limited road access will be more desirable then towns that are wide open. Ideally, townies would get together and cooperate, protecting and defending what they have (after they get rid of the bullies and monsters in their midst who are bound to rise up).

Some locations simply won’t ever make good locations, but almost any location is probably “survivable” with enough planning and preparation. You could survive in the desert, in the city or even in an apartment building if you were cunning enough and stayed hidden and out of sight, and had enough supplies accessible to you (even by stealing) to outlast and outwit the rest of the hordes. But don’t count on it. The odds of being found out are pretty high, and thieves will probably be executed without trial.

A great location is this: hidden, well-stocked, defensible, watered, with available natural resources, exposed to as few people as possible, but still accessible to you (and hopefully you alone). Sound impossible? It’s not, you just have to be creative in your planning. I’ve got a few other suggestions further down that relate to this.

Transportation

Forget cars. Budget collapse survival will require you to walk or ride a bike and peak oil / peak energy will take care of the automobile. Animal transportation will become useful again, but you’ll have a hard time keeping animals during the collapse, because animals mean food. Unless you can defend your farm or homestead, animals will be difficult and increasingly expensive to maintain during the collapse, possibly even costing you your life.

This is a Catch-22 situation, since the use of animals will become very important in the post-collapse era. They’ll be needed for work, farming and transportation, and of course as food. Those that survive will be highly prized and I expect their offspring to be pretty expensive. They will become the new cars of the future.

A good quality mountain bike should be in your survival supplies. I have five. I’m not bragging, just giving you some idea that I actually put this stuff into practice. This will enable you to travel in your region with the least amount of energy expenditure. A bicycle trailer is also a good idea, the BOB trailer is a single track one-wheeled trailer that can be attached to almost any bicycle. I bought mine and like it a lot.

Transportation will become limited to what is still available. Wood-gas powered automobiles will return. These work quite well and everyone who plans on surviving the collapse should have the plans and materials on hand to build one. Better yet, build it now and learn how to feed and care for a wood-gas powered engine. Some kind of “normalcy” will return to life and living at some point and your need for transportation will still be there.

Storing Supplies

Food storage should be cool or cold, out of direct sunlight and at a constant cool or cold temperature. This means for most of us, root cellars, basements or crawl spaces. Burying your food in the ground is a great idea. Keep your cans and buckets away from direct contact with the soil by placing them on boards or pallets. They’ll keep much longer like this and you will extend your shelf life dramatically.

Recently there was story of a Mountain House food supply stored in an attic for 37 years, which the owner then tried some and found it to still be edible. That may be true, but attics are terrible places to store food. Their constant high temperatures and temperature swings from season to season are poor for food storage. Ground temperatures are much more constant, varying only a few degrees year round (get below frost line in your area).

Get this book if you simply don’t know what to do for a root cellar. I also advocate stashing your food supplies in more then one location if possible. This gives you layered food security in case something happens to your stash. Rodents, humans, bears, earthquakes, fire, flood or acts of a vengeful God, you’ve spread your eggs around some and will be better off.

Protection & Defense

The downside to collapse is the danger this will pose from fellow humans, who will be quick, ruthless and capable of exploiting any weakness or vulnerability they find. Psychopaths will thrive. Desperation will turn mild-mannered book worms into dangerous bone-crunching cannibals and I’m not picking on bookworms either. Housewives, teenagers, soldiers, even the elderly will have nothing to lose.

See this article, Prepare For Your Defense for suggestions on rifles. A real battle rifle is a hundred times better then a hunting rifle, simply because you can lay down covering fire so quickly. Accuracy is reasonable and can be excellent with some tuning and in the hands of good marksmen.

Even if you don’t intend to fight off the mutant zombie hungry hordes, you will still need some type of protection as your defense. Hide. Stay out of sight and stay put if you can. Moving around exposes you to all kinds of things. Unless you are really remote, staying put makes the best sense if possible. You will avoid roaming hordes, exposure to disease and lower the risks of hurting yourself.

Hide underground if possible. A basement, root cellar and hidden dugout will work pretty well. The problem with existing underground structures is they are fairly easily identified. It’s not hard to figure out which houses have basements for example, and basements are known to contain food…

A new hidden underground location however, is unknown to outsiders (and neighbors) if planned right and built surreptitiously. You can do this yourself, or contract out the work for a “basement” or “root cellar” from someone out of the immediate area such as a contractor. Better, do the work yourself. Cover it all up and blend it in with brush, bushes and / or rocks. A brush pile on top will attract rodents, but it will also make it difficult for anyone to poke around looking for your smokestack or air vent. The rodents can be dealt with easy enough.

You will need a strong door and a second emergency exit. Both will need to be hidden and covered up, and lockable from the inside and the outside (when you leave).

The idea of living underground like this isn’t pleasant, but nothing about collapse will be pleasant. You will need to stay hidden and out of sight for the duration — as long as it take. This could be weeks or months in your area, but probably not much longer then this, as malnutrition, disease, violence and prison camps take their toll on everyone else.

When you come out is up to you, but you will still be at risk from all of the above, plus the added risk of having depleted your food supplies. Post-collapse, post-dieoff is the time to plant your garden and resume ‘living’. This will be risky as long as your area / region has ongoing issues and problems with roaming people, government confiscation or bandits / problem neighbors / survivors.

Bandits should simply be killed and left to lay as warnings to others (after stripping them of useful weapons and supplies). Anyone who endangers you or your family has already forfeited their life, even if their still walking around. This is part of the mental discipline that will be needed. There won’t be any “rescue” by police or the fire department or anyone else for that matter, you will be on your own and you will have to decide what your best course of action will be.

Many times, it will be better to just stay hidden. A tiny “cache” easily found might satisfy a roaming bandit to grab and scoot, leaving you without the problem of having to kill him and possibly attract others to your location. A crossbow is an excellent weapon for silent killing and can be very effective over 100 yards. Homemade silencers are also effective, but you’ll have to figure out how to build one yourself.

Keeping bandits away is best accomplished by simply having nothing to attract anyone. Distance (remote) is best, but simply not feasible for most people, because we’ll almost all wait until it’s too late to get to a remote, hidden location. Keep them away by making it “naturally difficult” for them to poke around in your area. Obvious difficulty such as booby traps, broken glass, tripwires and clear signs of effort to impede progress and investigation indicates “treasure” to those who are smart enough to figure this out. All a bandit has to do then is simply wait you out. Killing you from a thousand yards away as you go to the toilet is quite possible by a good marksmen, so stay out of sight at all times. And keep your “hide” truly hidden with natural obstacles.

Slimming Down

Pare down to essentials. This will be harder then affording the stuff you’re actually going to need. We’ve been taught to be “consumers” since birth. You don’t really need that much in order to stay alive, all you need are the essentials. Humans have been living on essentials for thousands of years just fine. It’s not easy because it goes against all of your programming up to this point, but it can be done. Eventually, you won’t have any choice anyway.

Those who are still heaping to themselves useless baubles and junk are really just writing the epitaphs on their gravestones with their pocketbooks. Just like corporate America, they will soon realize that all the crap they’ve acquired is absolutely useless.

The essentials are the following:

a) water
b) food
c) clothing
d) shelter
e) safety
f) medicine.
And don’t forget to:

1) stay healthy
2) stay simple
3) stay alive.

Also read “Sit Tight And Prep Right” for more thoughts on this.

A few more thoughts on some points raised in “The Answer“:

a) mobile (don’t be unwilling to relocate, but don’t be planning on moving around a lot during the depths of collapse unless your really remote and safely away from zombies).

b) self-reliant (learn to do most things for yourself. Don’t remain a dependent upon other people to keep you alive, especially for your basic needs).

c) self-sufficient (provide for yourself your own sustenance and supplies, again, dependency and reliance on others will be much more negative in collapse then it is right now).

d) homesteading (this gives you the practical skills and experience needed to learn b) and c) above.

e) well supplied (don’t wait to obtain what you know you are going to need. This makes no sense at all, prices are going up daily, supplies are going down. Be well supplied and ready now while you still can).

f) mentally and physically adjusted (get fit, get exercised and start a daily routine now while you still can, trying to get slim during collapse so you can “adjust” is a bad idea).

g) military trained (or some kind of training, that includes discipline, fighting, self-defense, firearms and focused preparation).

h) ruthless (unfortunately, this will be true. The ruthless will survive. There will be too many occasions when you will be forced to choose who lives and who dies, including yourself and the need for “self-sacrifice”. Ruthlessness doesn’t necessarily mean being evil, but focused, directed violence and decision making in times of crisis and extreme emergency).

i) well armed (hardly worth saying imo. Guns are still plentiful, cheap and available. Ammunition is going sky-high. Get lots and learn how to use them all).

j) grouped with others (for those who expect to “join up”, do it now. This takes a lot of time and a lot of trust, you cannot do this too soon).

k) financially secure (owe no man nothing, control your expenditures and live within your means. Gain financial independence from the “system” if at all possible, or even a measure thereof).

l) debt free (get debt free, or plan on abandoning everything forever, but don’t be foolish. Creditors WILL hound you for life. The future prison camps will be FULL of debtors, you can count on it).

m) single (the single will stand the best chance of all, because they will have no dependents and can be the most mobile, ruthless and flexible. This doesn’t mean anything other then single people have the one advantage of being “unattached” to the encumbrances that hold most of us back now. There is a reason the military recruits the young and the single).

n) young (the future belongs to the young and always has. Our job is to see that some of them survive the present).

Remember, this is a blog, not a book. These are the highlights in other words, hopefully useful to you to start thinking about what you need to do. I do not know if there will be future entries on this series — that’s hard to say right now. We’ll see. This should be enough to get you going. And if you don’t “get it” now, you probably never will and I’d be wasting my time anyway.

Contributions are appreciated, but as always, this advice is freely given. I hope that it is freely received in the same spirit as it was written. — Admin

admin

admin at survivalacres dot com

21 thoughts on “Collapse Survival On A Budget – Part III

  • November 13, 2007 at 5:25 pm
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    Thanks. This is very useful.

    I wonder how many others in my city have already done this. In the many years that I have hiked and fished in remote places, I have found a shelter, which I would have never stumbled upon if whoever built it was more careful about not leaving signs of human activity. And also a small cache containing; hooks and line, dehydrated food, and a knife, wrapped in a plastic bag, and stuffed in a crack.

    Both “finds” were near a stream or river that people wouldn’t normally try to access due to cliffs and swift water. I guess they didn’t count on any fishermen risking life and limb to catch the lunker in the deep pool near their stashes.

    A co-worker friend of mine used to be a fish and wildlife officer. He said they routinely found things like that and would destroy or burn shelters to discourage anyone from trying to live in the bush.

    A few years ago there was a man they called the “Bushman of the Shuswap”. He managed to evade the law for about a year hiding in the woods and taking food and supplies from local cabins. He had multiple caches and shelters.

    My wife and I met a bushman while camping and fishing. He offered to take us up to a warden’s cabin by horse and wagon. He was helping to repair the cabin and was taking in some lumber. Apparently he was a mountain guide at one time and was well known by Fish and Wildlife as a steward of the land. He lives in the bush full time and gets supplies by working odd jobs.

    We were reluctant to go at first. But after talking to the wardens, they convinced us that we would not find anyone nicer than “Wes”. All he wanted for payment was whatever we could give him that he needed at the time. Some food and clothes was all he wanted, if we had any to spare.

    Here’s a guy that made a living in the bush, hates the city and would never want to live in one. He had found a way to live the way he wanted to by making friends. I doubt that his method of living would work during a collapse though. He was interesting, and I’m glad we spent some time with him.

  • November 13, 2007 at 6:16 pm
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    Obviously, you’ve ‘seen the darkness’, ‘done the work’, ‘took the time’, and made ‘one hell of an effort’ for the benefit of others.

    however

    Life has taught me (consistently) that “No good deed goes unpunished”. Therefore, I counsel you to use extreme situational awareness henceforth.

  • November 13, 2007 at 6:17 pm
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    Thanks for your continuing brilliant insight. Even for us experienced “know-it-alls” it is a refreshing wake-up. Now you’ve made me re-evaluate my …!

  • November 14, 2007 at 12:35 am
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    I listen to a Native and Indian public radio station that said in the old days American Indians Had a passive form of agriculture that just enhanced growing conditions for the plants they used. Deverting a stream to supply water or something as simple as cutting a branch of a tree that was shading there crop. No tilling the soil or clearing land. I don’t know much about it, but have considered trying it as collapse farming.
    I have similiar plans,but ran into problems when trying to make my home defensible. After considering all the posibilties concluded escape should be factored in. I don’t have military training and don’t think I would stand much of a chance against those who do. I do however have hunting,tracking and stalking skills. My plan (however flawed) would be to escape and then stick to what I know and hunt them. My gun choices aren,t the same but neither are my tactics. I would like to hear what people with combat experience think of this plan,I’d hate learn the hard way.

  • November 14, 2007 at 11:55 am
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    Some of the darkness is here:

    This seems to have been the generic plot, which was played out repeatedly. Blackwater guards shoot Iraqis. The Iraqi government protests. Blackwater guards claim they were fired at. The U.S. government — personified by Condi Riceâ’s State. Department — shrugs, yawns and looks the other way. No one ever investigates. No one is ever held to account.

    And Blackwater guards learn, by personal experience, that the U.S. government has given them a free license to engage in the ultimate bloodsport—hunting man. You shoot, you kill. And you live to shoot and kill another day.

    Is it at all far-fetched to speculate that after a few years this was the scuttlebutt in mercenary recruiting circles too? To speculate that Blackwater attracted the kind of scum to whom this bloodsport would appeal. That, by a process of self-selection, Blackwater naturally ended up hiring the kind of scum who would perpetrate something like the September 16 Nisoor Square killings, just for fun.
    Natural Selection a la Blackwater

    This is some of the scum we’ve got coming home someday. Their bloodlust will be our problem then.

  • November 14, 2007 at 10:49 pm
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    I didn’t buy it, but I noticed Costco has 100 day survival food barrels
    Can I ask advice on this blog…I know I know…I am one of those who wants to say “Where?”
    Here’s my circumstances and alternatives:
    I’m 58, husband 69, kids 27 and 29-both single with almost fiancees-kids have money, no debt, some commodities, no house, jobs Bank manager and school teacher
    My husband retired years ago when plant shut down.
    All good health, no pills except vitamins We were in a landslide area when Weyerhaeuser logged us out of our home awhile back -our house hanging in there near a cliff-126 homes nearby in landslide
    on lowere ridge over 3 rivers including Columbia-big rivers polluted-neighborhood varied..large lots..my husband and family doesn’t believe all this and won’t move..town too big-12,000..otherwise..rainbelt…lots of creeks, cliffs, waterfall, salmon creek and spawning beds not far, tons of deer-(I’ve always let them eat my apples and roses) elk herds of 60 elk walk thru the yard-large lots-lots of berries-165 acres behind us cut but overgrown and timber higher up-wood everywhere-house paid for-two fireplaces-my husband is from Scotland and has never had the heat on at night..so I have always had warm clothes-and learned to live fairly simply
    neighbors mostly own houses-older hunters and fishermen.know survival skills..we get along but no one goes out of their way for anyone..too many people in town already in need as far as I am concerned-cancer etc etc…feel like meals on wheels already
    cliff at end of street and road coming up here was paved over logging road..steep…could be blocked off and defended..we ahve bee hives at neighbors….some ahve large gardens…mine was covered accidentally by fuilders when we added on…clay soil-bad-fruit trees though but you need to beat the birds..neighbor at end of street sells guns…the deer come look in my back window as I have always fed them-everyone else kills them…I fought developers off and stopped development behind me-165 homes- and below me-19 acres of apts-bad area due to landslides…I couldn’t bear to shoot the deer-my neighbors tolerate me…familiar with walks in woods with kids years ago-many places to hide behind our home..gullies…waterfalls, forest..etc creek behind house 200 ft down…neighors 50 yrs ago pumped water out of it..they have knowledge of practical stuff-I don’t …all I can do is make jam and soups and stuff…know a logger who will get me any wood I want-chopped small for food and company-he has tree farm-also there is wood behind us everywhere..
    We live in town of 12,000 on a ridge 2 miles from town. Large town across the river from our town. Too big..We are in rainbelt but almost out of nuke range on a map in a book someone recommended. Nearby here one can be within 2 miles of town and absolutely in wild country or hard to find..(I did the census one year-I know) many survialist s around..and you are right-the govt doesn’t go near them..
    We have friend s on farms here a ways out..and a friend or two with land with timber-10 miles north- we are north of Portland in Washington-was asked to buy a lot across a beautiful river there once-impossible to get to-10 miles north but it would be hard to get to town- at least 5 mile bike ride-no one would find me and they are moving there-they know everything about living off the land fishing hunting etc and are nice too..
    others invited me to live near a forest near the coast-they thought this would happen years ago-but it’s in nuke area on the map…not far from Astoria
    love some land near a beautiful mountain lake nearby-fairly remote acreage close in-within 10 miles of town
    My husband is from Scotland and has huge family there but mostly in a town and the wind would kill you there..although I lived in England two years and liked it.
    Thought about northern Vancouver island to be out of America..I know the probably future Canada connections…maybe war with Russia or China?.husband has British passport and so do kids-joint-so could move anywhere in kingdom like New Zealand to avoid draft…of course they won’t do it now..kids think I am nuts too…both in shape-daughter marathon walker-son daily fitness and sports year round plus skiing-loves Whistler etc. daughter likes Scotland
    I might move to Canada or northern California on coast but no farther because of kids. sister in Eureka. Maybe later if they will. Like Smith River-born along coast in California-body surfing etc
    Have stocked up on food-learning natural stuff..
    Thought about an island in South Pacific at some point as was on a website-smaller population-not sure if totally safe-not far from Fiji-although the seller says it is…lots of fish and fruit
    Maybe New Zealand eventually…
    Thoughts? Advice please?

  • November 14, 2007 at 11:23 pm
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    You pointed out that “my husband and family doesnâ’t believe all this and wonâ’t move”.

    If you do not have the support of your spouse and family, what can you really do? More importantly, what would you do?

    This isn’t an isolated decision (moving) and without support from family, you’re going to stay right where you are.

    So make the best of it. Right there, until (and if) things change. You could be in worse shape and in a worse area, and many are.

    Read more of this blog. The best place to be is probably where you are already at. Outsiders and newcomers will not fit in well as things worsen in many cases. Locals will see your “invasion” as an intrusion (and often do).

    12,000 is not an impossible number to hide from, or “out survive” if necessary. You will probably need to hide, I can’t really see any other way, unless cooperation becomes possible for mutual defense, sharing of resources (including skills, food and labor) and sound leadership among those involved makes this possible.

    What I fear the most is that such efforts will implode under extreme stress and it will revert to every man for himself anyway.  I do not discount the cooperation approach for smaller groups (a few hundred), but it’s difficult to manage thousands.  Thousands are managed via laws, which can go right out the window in civilizations collapse.  A few hundred (at most), might obey their own laws (or not).  They also might decide to raid other tribes and groups too.  Therefore, knowing where you can disappear and how may get you through the worst of it, at least for a time.  And you will need to know the lay of the land and the town and even the people themselves if you can.  It will certainly help.  Being an outsider will be the hardest of all imo.

  • November 15, 2007 at 4:27 am
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    I lie awake at night trying to work out the best location to move to. My conclusions vary, depending on what I see as the most pressing threat (i.e. martial law, crash-collapse, WWIII). I still haven’t settled the question in my mind.

    South Island New Zealand has many, many advantages, perhaps the only negative being the globalist, nanny state ruling it. To be meaningfully armed there would entail breaking the law – not a problem for me personally, since necessity outweighs duty to any law, but for some it would be a serious turn off.

    Southern Chile and southern Argentina also score well for remoteness, but again, there are issues, i.e., the language and then I have considerable reservations about the trustworthiness of the locals (a consideration applicable now during the preparations period).

    Pyrenees region of France – high mountains, low population density, but right in the middle of the EU superstate and its interminable regulations. At least France allows true private ownership of land (as the USA does), unlike almost every other substantial industrialised nation – the UK, for example, only allows “leaseholds” or “freeholds”; legally, all land belongs to the Crown (same in Canada, Australia, NZ).

    Southern Scandinavia – again, language barrier (although most people I met there seemed to speak very good English), and short growing season, however I’m increasingly less inclined to factor good growing season in as requisite.

    Western Canada – few people, high mountains, but right on the doorstep of Blackwaterland.

  • November 15, 2007 at 5:55 am
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    I decided to stay right where I was (for the most part) under the premise that I grew up here, know the area like the back of my hand, have relatives, friends, and social connections here, and so far, steady employment (fedgov for me, school system for my wife). Hunker down in the ‘hood, as it were.

    We bought rolling wooded acreage just out of the large town/small city, in the back of an old, established neighborhood of big old houses on large lots (3 acres+) with a single road in and out, and built a new house more conducive to future needs. As soon as the old (small, in-town) house is sold, it’s stock-up time with SA. Hyperinflation is already eating away the fixed interest debt incurred. The climate is warm, operational farms are nearby, the land backs up to a 5000 acre swamp, and work is just a 4 mile trip for either of us (bicycle able).

  • November 15, 2007 at 8:40 am
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    lex – stay the hell away from North America. It’s getting worse here all the time. Today’s blog entry shows a cold blooded murder by the RCMP.

    Blackwaterland is very appropriate, mind if I use that a few times here?

    The language barrier would be pretty huge issue (imo) on deciding where to live. If you can speak the language, you’d probably do much better and be treated better too.

  • November 15, 2007 at 9:12 am
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    Does that mean you would move if you already lived in North America?
    I speak a few languages

  • November 15, 2007 at 9:33 am
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    I do live here, same as you, and have not moved, but believe I should have long ago.

    Those who are (still) looking at immigrating to another country should exclude the USA entirely. Canada is optional if you stay away from the cities and ignore some of their laws (which will become meaningless when collapse happens to you anyway).

    Those still here, like me, will simply make the best of it. It’s hardly worth agonizing over (I don’t).

    In essence it doesn’t really “matter” where you are or where you wind up or where you go. Collapse will happen to you. And you will be forced to deal with it.

    There are “better” places and even “best” places, but none will entirely escape the effects of a global meltdown.

    Collapse preparations really means making the best of what you have, and taking full responsibility for your life and your existence, wherever you are.

  • November 15, 2007 at 10:55 am
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    @admin – Blackwaterland – use it to your heart’s content! I just envisaged hordes of heavily armed thugs trying to “sanitise” N America of all patriot types / non-conformists (soon to be openly castigated as “terrorists”, no doubt) and that’s what stumbled into my word-train.

  • November 15, 2007 at 1:52 pm
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    It really doesn’t matter where you are when the Apocollapse happens – your preps should be the same. You must be able to take care of you and yours no matter what the clime and place. Don’t get lost in the specifics, think broad spectrum to cover the greatest number of scenarios. Take care of the basics first, then improve them.

  • November 15, 2007 at 11:32 pm
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    One more thing….saying one still does have a choice…is it better to be several miles out from a community center with maybe a few others…or many miles out-like 20-50…or say a few miles so you can get to railways or ports or towns? Better a few miles from a rail, freeway access or many miles
    How about from the coast line or waterways-aside from creeks for drinking

  • November 16, 2007 at 10:42 am
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    Ughh…I envision people leaving the cities…the big cities, and you don’t want to be too close to them or the major avenues of travel out of them. 10 million people in NYC, for example; that can’t ge supported. How many will migrate out? How many will migrate from more rural areas of drought, serial flooding; any number of things? MASS human migration is predicted. So waterways, highways, coast where you expect a lot of travel, are out.

    Distance from trade centers depends on what you plan to do. With your family not on the ‘train’ with you, I think you will depend more on trade than some…on the other hand the options further out might have very supportive, welcoming people? That’s pretty attractive if you can have a nucleus group there…but not just ‘a friend or two’…you would want more people. 2 miles from town sounds just about right….walkable but not too close.

    Most troubling features of your present place is what I interpret as the precarious repose of the land….just how far is that cliff from you?! Climate Change is going to be a huge factor, IMO. If there’s risk of slides effecting you…well…find another place, but probably near there so you keep your social connections. Don’t underestimate those connections you have already.
    I’m also troubled by your lost garden…unless you have a lot of fruit trees that will produce significant barter.? If you don’t produce food you will have to barter/buy it.

    Washington State, tho’ is one of the places i would go if I left New England. I advise those planning to relocate to do so yesterday. 🙂

    K..’nuff for now….

  • November 16, 2007 at 3:11 pm
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    RE “on the other hand the options further out might have very supportive, welcoming people? ”

    you are fantasizing – aka hallucinating

    This is definitely NOT the case in this (my)rural area – or in any other rural area TMK anywhere on the planet.

    Within a radius of about 5 miles of me over the past 6 or so years, local households has risen from 4 (including self) to well over 40 (at least a dozen this past summer alone). So, IMO, some people have already bailed out of the ‘shitties’ – and NOT ONE local likes it even a little itsy bitsy bit – if you get the drift. None of these people are at all likely to survive since they’ve zero local knowledge, skills, clues, or preps. Details are irrelvant, they are all ‘burnt toast’.

    The is NO “place” to go were someone isn’t already there )probably for many generations) – including the Nat. Forests, esp. after TSHTF.

    Where ever ‘remote’ one chooses to go – you weren’t there first. So, my ‘best advice’ is to befriend and learn from the locals to the max. Which is something none of the incoming flat-landers around here have even attempted to do. They just come in, tear the shit out of land, roads, tranquility, safety, game, etc. and think that’s this is their “right” since they ‘bouhgt’ some local land. Ha ha ha – HUGE, terminal, mistake.

  • November 16, 2007 at 5:28 pm
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    I was referring to this:
    “We have friend s on farms here a ways out..and a friend or two with land with timber-10 miles north- we are north of Portland in Washington-was asked to buy a lot across a beautiful river there once-impossible to get to-10 miles north but it would be hard to get to town- at least 5 mile bike ride-no one would find me and they are moving there-they know everything about living off the land fishing hunting etc and are nice too..
    others invited me to live near a forest near the coast…”

    NOT just landing in a strange place…you should read my post more carefully before you descend to such insult.

    I wrote:”If thereâ’s risk of slides effecting you…well…find another place, but probably near there so you keep your social connections. Donâ’t underestimate those connections you have already.”
    “With your family not on the ‘trainâ’ with you, I think you will depend more on trade than some”
    “Thatâ’s pretty attractive if you can have a nucleus group there…but not just ‘a friend or twoâ’…you would want more people.”

    IF you read more carefully you would realise I was NOT recommending going into a ‘remote’ area.
    Just WHERE do you get ‘hallucinating’ from my post?
    ::scowl::

  • November 17, 2007 at 7:35 am
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    ::yawn::

    yeah, I didn’t read your statement carefully -as it was intended. Nevertheless, no insult was intended. My point was and remains that one (anyone) should not be thinking, Hey, I’ll go out into the boonies and be left alone, hidden, safe and/or welcomed. None of which is the case in my experience, in the US, Canada or Africa. And the ‘boonies’ of Montana have been flooded with urban refugees for the past several years which is starting to look and feel like a tsunami (complete with destructive power and flotsum). That message was/is directed at no one in particular – just an observation that refugees should note/heed – and was/is not intended as an attack on anyones specific plans nor as an insult.
    My advice remains, if you go there, you aren’t alone. Befriend and learn from the locals – or forgedda’boutit.
    IMCCO

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