Last Updated on October 9, 2014
I am always very happy to receive comments and questions on the Prepper Journal. Our readers come from such a diverse background of experiences, knowledge and perspective and the comments allow anyone to have a dialog about issues that are pertinent to their own unique circumstance and share prepping tips with others in our little but growing community.
Some of the comments are responses to the post itself but often I receive questions from our readers too and I wanted to share one comment from a reader named Nicole because she has some great questions that I wanted to share with everyone.
As a city dweller, the more I read through these tips (which are great and very helpful) and the more I get a better understanding of the situation at hand, the larger my concerns become about being able to prep even the basics properly. The size of apartments for those in large metropolitan areas limit one’s storage options, especially when taking situational awareness and OPSEC/Gray Neighbor matters into consideration.
Where my goal was to one day be a homeowner and debt-free, it seems like now learning about the importance of prepping and all that goes with it has me realizing that I’m at a huge disadvantage on so many levels and may not likely, if ever, make it to the other side of my objectives…especially where being prepared is concerned. As it stands, I’m starting think that investing time and resources into acquiring more skills is one of the more attainable preps that are within reach more-so than others. I wonder if learning about gardening, herbal remedies and treating/gathering/filtering water may help to compensate for the lack of storage options available in the city…and of course, even those skills might only be useful to a certain extent.
One moment I’m hopeful and pumped to take actions toward increasing my chances of survival, and then the next moment, I’m thinking that I’m just doomed due to location and limited resources.
When Nicole sent this in I was already thinking about a post on a related topic. I read prepper blogs and survival websites daily because I am still learning myself and there are a ton of great resources for preppers out there. There was a recent post on a very popular prepping blog that was written on the subject of bugging out. The main focus of the article was essentially that if you don’t have a remote bug out location you are pretty much doomed. I am over simplifying for the sake of brevity here, but that is what I took away as the writer’s argument for all their advice. Now, not coincidentally, the writer has a business of providing information about survival retreats so the effect of making everyone believe they must have a bug out retreat as soon as possible was not (in my opinion) accidental and to be honest, there isn’t anything wrong with that.
However, this type of advice and some other methods of motivating people lead some to be discouraged. I think that in Nicole’s case she is looking at the information we who have prepping blogs put out there and she looks at her personal situation and it can seem overwhelming. The last thing we need to be doing as people who profess to want to get as many individuals prepared for life’s big surprises is scaring them so much they give up.
Two Is One and One is… Still Better than Nothing
If you have read even one article on prepping, you have most likely heard the term; two is one and one is none. If you are new to prepping and have not yet heard this, the cute saying is speaking to redundancy. Its meaning is that stuff happens; things break or malfunction or get lost. If you only have one of any item and that item is lost you could be up a creek. So, the wisdom is to be truly prepared you should have redundancy or more than one of just about anything.
This saying is a good way of illustrating the concept of redundancy but have we used it to the point of making everyone think that if they don’t have a backup they are hopelessly screwed? Look at the point of the bug out location above. The writer all but says if you don’t have a bug out location sooner or later you will regret it and I don’t believe that is the case. Could it be one potential outcome of many potential crisis’s or events in our future? Sure, but you can’t just say across the board that anyone who doesn’t have a cabin in the woods and 50 people to guard it is going to die. I think we need to change the message here.
Prepping is not something with a final goal of a single checklist of supplies that you can purchase, skills you can master and tactical training you can take. You won’t be able to get a degree in prepping and I believe that in one sense of the word, there are no expert preppers. There isn’t anyone who can say they are prepared for anything, anywhere at any time. Prepping is a way of living that can make pretty much anyone more prepared in thought and resources but it is not some goal to be achieved. Are there people that are more prepared than others? Of course, but each individual’s life makes a tremendous impact into what they can accomplish and painting with too broad of a brush can cause more harm than good.
Yoga pants don’t make you athletic
I bet I could list on one hand the number of people I personally know who have two homes or some extra land somewhere. None of those people are actually living in these ‘potential retreats’ of theirs and don’t plan on it. Does that mean that I and anyone else who doesn’t bug out to the woods are doomed? No. Does it mean that if like Nicole you are an apartment prepper that she can’t take steps to get prepared? Not at all and the person who wrote the article about the bug out location, with all due respect doesn’t know everything.
Let’s say we all did have that beautiful stocked cabin in the woods. Does that mean we would all be safe from any SHTF event? No because reality always gets a vote. Just like wearing an athletic outfit doesn’t ensure you are in good shape, simply having things doesn’t make you prepared. You can have the perfect survival weapons, loaded bug out bags, hidden caches of food and supplies and get hit by a car on the way out to your bug out retreat. Having stuff doesn’t make you prepared and the opposite is true also that people who do not have certain things will not surely die.
Don’t get overwhelmed – Keep your eyes on the goal
Here is my advice to Nicole and anyone else out there who just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Prepping is a lifestyle not a list you can necessarily check off that guarantees your success. You should be prepping because you want to live and believe that by your efforts you will be able to impact whether or not you do live. Just because you don’t have the bug out mansion in the woods of Montana, you can still take steps that could save lives. Just because you have limited storage doesn’t mean you can’t still stock up some items.
Use the knowledge you are learning to inform your decisions rather than get disappointed with where you are. I think it is great that you are taking proactive steps in the first place to learn and become as prepared as you can. This is an excellent step in the right direction and means that you already have a willingness to succeed. This mental attitude of yours is already so much more important than any preps you can purchase. I think learning new skills is a great way to get more prepared and you could in turn help others out in your area as well, but don’t just stop there. Continue making small steps forward even if you have to live in an apartment now. Try putting the skills you are learning into practice and growing some food, join a co-op and help that way by actually working to produce food. Don’t believe for a second that just because you can’t afford everything that is recommended you can’t make a huge difference or that your location means you are doomed.
The message if there is one of Prepping is hope for everyone because we hope to be able to survive. We hope to protect our families and we hope to thrive and make a difference in the lives of people we love. We prepare for bad things to happen, but we prepare because we have the hope that we will survive through those bad things whatever they may be. Keep trying and don’t give up and never believe for a second that you can’t do something if you don’t have X. There will always be something else to acquire, some shiny gadget to buy, but your spirit and mental strength are all that matter in the end.