"Lately," they write, "the two of us have been talking about world events and the need for folks to organize in like-minded communities or to acquire 'survival' retreats. But there is something that has puzzled us. As long time readers of SB, we have of course taken notice of the many letters and articles about bug-out-bags and getting out of the cities 'when the time comes'."
"Many people seem to think they need to get the just right gear and vehicle in order to leave the cities and go someplace else in the collapse because the cities won't be livable. It seems to us that kind of thinking is a bit backwards. If someone who has spent a life in the city suddenly tries to move to the country in the time of turmoil and confusion, it's the country that will be unlivable. 'Country liv'n' is just so vastly different from city life, that few city folks are likely to be able to make it."
|See the whole cartoon HERE:|
What this couple articulated so well in their article is that just getting to a rural place in a "bleep" situation isn't enough. In fact, it's nothing. Sure, you might be safe from roving gangs of marauders, but then you're faced with the immediate and pressing need for food, water, and shelter. Camping in the woods offers none of that, at least for any length of time.
It always cracks me up to hear the Rambo types announce that they'll just camp in the woods and bag a deer to feed their families. To which I want to reply, have you ever hunted? Can you field-dress a deer? What do your wife and kids think of the bloody mess you're creating? How will you fend off predators (two and four-legged) while dressing the deer? And most important of all, how will you preserve the meat?
And this assumes, of course, that you're even able to shoot a deer to begin with. Because believe me, if you're out in the woods hunting because you're desperate for food, there are likely to be thousands of others out there with the same idea. There won't be a deer around.
In short, this comes down to what I've been urging for a long time: if you feel the need to learn about sustainability, start now. I'm not talking about the urban definition of "sustainability" where you take a bus instead of owning a car and recycle your aluminums; I'm talking about going as rural and low-tech as possible, starting now.
Yeah yeah, I can hear your litany of excuses now, about why you can't leave the city and move rural... and I don't want to hear them. I'm not saying your excuses aren't totally valid and entirely truthful; I'm just saying I've heard them all already. But those excuses, however valid, won't hold water if your city is crumbling around your ears, there's no food to be had, and you need to escape.
That's why this couple who wrote in to SurvivalBlog are urging you to walk the walk NOW. "If you are already living your TEOTWAWKI existence as you believe it will be," they write, "you won't much need trade goods for getting what you may need. You'll have already gathered the tools of self-sufficiency... The problem is, if you haven't already been living in 'the country' and acquiring the knowledge, skills and goods you'll need, you will be just like [a] fish out of water... You'll have a very hard time functioning in a strange environment. You won't know what you need (except by reading someone else's barter list. Viagra! Really?) Simply put, you won't know how to live if you only know a pre-crunch 'walking on cement' life."
In other words, the knowledge and skills and equipment (and community!) necessary for a successful post-bleep life don't happen with a three-day bug-out bag on your shoulders and a rifle in your hands. It comes from years of trial and error. It comes from experience. It comes from failure. Because the worse -- the very worse -- attitude you can have about country living is, how hard can it be?
I suppose I identify so strongly with this letter because of the constant struggle Don and I have even after so many years of rural life. Since we knew virtually nothing when we first embarked on our rural adventure, everything we do here has been a strong uphill battle, an incredibly steep learning curve. Everything is more expensive than we anticipated (and/or is correlated with a lower income than most people are comfortable with). Building up a self-sufficient farm from scratch is virtually impossible from bare land, not without lots of money and (more importantly) lots of time and dedication. And if you're living in the city (and this assumes you have a piece of land to begin with...!), you simply don't have the time and dedication to build a homestead.
In our case, we had the advantage that the biggest infrastructures on our farm were already in place when we bought this land, namely a house and outbuilding, and rudimentary fencing. Imagine how much more time and money it would have taken had we needed to build a house, buy the fencing materials (did you know T-posts are now going for about four bucks each?), build outbuildings (believe me, building the new barn last year was expensive enough!)... and this doesn't even begin to address the complications of gardening with our short seasons and hard clay soil, the intricacies of caring for livestock, and the challenge of growing wheat.
I guess my point to this rant is, don't have a Rambo mentality. Don't depend so much on your bug-out bags that you believe once you escape an urban environment, everything will be ducky. Don't think you can acquire knowledge post-bleep.
Here's a guest post I wrote for The Survival Mom on bugging out to the country.
This couple concludes their article with these prescient words:
"I will close by saying, forget the bugging out bags. There's a world waiting for you to discover. You can live in it now. You can learn it now. If you don't, well, it may soon be too late. ...[I]t's a whole different world when crunch time comes. And you better have learned what those differences are while you still have time."
Couldn't have said it better myself.