When you imagine what an Australian apocalypse looks like, chances are, you’ll conjure up images of Mad Max.
As much as I would like to witness such an event here in Australia and secure my ticket to Valhalla, COVID-19 isn’t the apocalyptic event that will usher in a new era of V8 worship.
What I want to discuss here, is the concept of prepping and survivalism. What has been bought sharply into focus, is the idea that a global crisis will envelope everyone, and suddenly you are on your own.
You can’t trust your neighbours, your friends have all disappeared and so your only option is to head out to your bug-out shelter, grab that emergency survival bag and get out of town and hunker down. You’ve got enough food and shelter for yourself, to last several months, and you’re glad you’ve prepared whilst everyone else is suffering.
To me, after watching the Warrior Poet Society’s video, there were a lot of adjusting I had to do mentally, to really understand the realistic intent behind my bag, that I’ve invested in.
I lack a lot of survival skills. I don’t have any proper military training beyond shooting a rifle, and such skills aren’t really useful if you don’t actually own a damn rifle.
I also have a girlfriend and her immediate family to be concerned about. I doubt that I will be abandoning her, my own family just to gallivant around in the woods, on my own.
What is of use to me, are my friends, who have a lot more experience than I do. That is the network that I should be focusing my energy and time on, not spending on tactical gear and filling out a Book of Eli fantasy.
If a true apocalypse arrives, you cannot survive on your own. Humanity for most of its history, has proven time and time again, that protection in a large group is what saves you, as an individual. From the time we’ve dwelled in caves, to now, we are strong together, not alone.
So the real, reality of bugging-out in an apocalypse, is that you should have a prep bag to get you to your network of friends and family. A bag that will allow you to survive until you’ve reached your group hangout. Which is where the marriage of EDC (Every Day Carry) and Bug-Out Bag comes into fruition.
If your hideaway is far and remote, then you need to pack and sort accordingly and have that bag with you handy, wherever you go, so that when shit does go down, you can survive the trip to that hideaway.
However, do we really need such extreme measures for survival?
The question I want to pose to myself and everyone else out there, is that will society ever truly collapse? COVID-19 showed that humanity has the ability to bounce back against such disruptive measures to civilisation and continue to function, barring from a few weeks of insanity.
The only real time such “prepping” may come in handy, would be an invasion by a hostile force, nuclear winters or God forbid, “zombie”-style apocalypse. A lot is riding on you to actually survive the initial onslaught and make it to your hideout.
That is the argument though, if such an instance actually occurs, you got your supplies and abilities to survive on. If you are one of the lucky few to live beyond the first initial disaster, you can thrive on your early preparedness.
Additionally, even if you were to perish early on, at least you could rest easier knowing that your network of friends and family could take advantage of the early preparation you had all invested in.
The reality of bugging out in a true pandemic, is that there is a lot of money, investment and skills you need to learn, in order to prepare properly. A lot of equipment is restricted to military use, and in fact, a lot of preparation is taught for the military, when you are more likely to face “S&E – Survival & Evasion” situations, with your squad captured and death, and you have to escape to friendly lines.
Even in that situation, the goal is not to survive endlessly in the woods, but to just survive until you reach friendly forces.
Prepping is as much paranoia as it is stress-relief, where you fear for your own life and unknown threats, but the skills, and companions you get along the way to assuage this fear, also allows you to tap into something you never really you knew you had before … the ability to excel at a lot of things.
Skills learnt in a survivalist camp, so to speak, allows you to really appreciate long-lost underappreciated skills that a lot of people lack. Getting back to the roots of humanity, with tracking skills, hunting, sleeping rough, identifying animals and edible plants and so much more, are all valuable and stress-reliving activities that acknowledge the huge information gap people aren’t aware they lack today.
It empowers you, knowing that you have such skills at your deployment and allows you to appreciate the dangers and folly of surviving on your own, if you still fantasise about the Book of Eli.
In addition, doesn’t it just make sense to have someone around in case of injury? If you sprain your ankle, and run out of food, you might starve to death. Surviving alone too, causes a lot of mental instability and in all honesty, there are too many times in life, when you need to rely on someone.
The truth is, COVID-19’s pandemic served as a small wake-up call for me. I had to be more realistic about my prepping and about why I was doing it. This was a small crisis, in comparison to the larger fears I had about nuclear winters or zombie apocalypses.
It revealed I had to be smarter about it all, spend more time preparing my network, not my gear and invest in skills that will actually serve me well.
I also realised that in the first initial stage of any crisis, people tend to go nuts, so I better prepare myself for shortages.
Despite this, I still commend most governments for their work and response to this unprecedented crisis. I still don’t really trust them and their judgement, but there is at least a sense that we might come out of this, battered, bruised, but ultimately stronger.
There is still so much for me to work on.