Expect the Best But Prepare for the Worst
Something I feel is really important to life, in general, is to not get too morbid, obsessed or worried about things. But having said that, I do think it’s important to be ready for things that appear to be looming. That takes knowing how to stay positive in negative situations. Being positive in tough times doesn’t mean ignoring life. Ignoring things won’t always make problems go away, but worrying too much can steal a lot of happiness too, and, after all, happiness is what life is about.
For me, the idea of preparing for disaster or collapse is about preparing to the extent it gives me peace of mind, but no further. Thinking too much about the obvious dangers facing the world today can gradually and imperceptibly erode anyone’s overall sense of well-being.
So I have found that practicing with and testing out my bug out bag contents in real world situations could be called ‘camping’ or ‘hiking’ instead of ‘prepping’ or ‘survival’ and thereby make it a little less of a somber task. By just using your bug out bag for other purposes like camping or hiking, you can practice with, test, prepare and improve your bag constantly over time and still have fun. New products that seemed like a good idea, in theory, can end up having unanticipated problems in real life and discovering that is better done on a weekend campout than in an actual zombie apocalypse or a natural disaster situation.
As an example, I distinctly remember being really excited about cooking with a ‘stove’ made from a cat food tin. It seemed like such a good idea. It was cheap, lightweight, and endorsed by experts in the field. Yet when I took one out and tried it I found that it was way too finicky for me to want to use. It took too long for us to cook enough or even boil enough water for two people and it was tippy. I should say that it did work, but it took a lot more work and longer to heat up than I had anticipated. The fact that it required fuel from a store made it impractical if fuel was ever to be in short supply. In future posts, I hope to write more specifically about stoves that have worked well me, but for now, I just wanted to illustrate the importance of making prepping as light-hearted a thing as possible since it should be a long-term project.
And what if, after all that effort making a bug out bag, nothing bad ever happens? You want that time to have been spent well anyway. Some would say, that prepping is really a lifestyle choice and I would agree in a way. But I would not say it should be something that we should worry about more than we need to.
Just for the sake of argument, bear with me on a possible hypothetical for a moment. What if we were in a survival situation right now and because it’s progressing so slowly we just don’t seem to think about it as survival in the classic prepper sense? What I am saying is that food prices are rising, land prices are rising and jobs that pay more than basic living expenses are becoming fewer and fewer. The rich are getting fewer and richer and the poor are getting poorer and many.
We all know about these issues and more, but rarely do we approach day to day life in this world as ‘survival’ like a doomsday prepper would. No bombs are dropping, no volcanoes have erupted, none of our greatest fears have ever really materialized. But there are things that have happened that indicate we are actually ‘surviving’ more and more every day and that a bug out bag situation might not be such far-fetched idea as your skeptical friends would like to think. It’s the classic ‘boiling frog’ scenario. The disaster may not be coming….it may already be here but, we just don’t see how it has incrementally snuck up on us over the years. So it is possible that a bug out bag could serve a lot of other intermediate purposes even before something obvious like a meteor or nuclear war hits us. Let me explain:
In the little town where I live called “Lake Country” I like to walk to the bakery, and this summer behind the bakery, in the woods by the creek, I looked down from the road one day to see a tent hidden in the bushes. Now this area is not a nice camping area. It’s a place where someone has had to set up a camp to survive. You know, for some people the grid down situation has already happened and for many it’s been that way for years. It’s called not being able to pay the bills, loss of a job, family crisis (which are also on the rise. Later, I hope to write more about that too), and the next thing they know they are on the street. Back in the 80’s I remember the interest rates suddenly went through the roof and people were just packing up their cars and driving away from their homes. In situations like this a bug out bag could serve as a lifeline and in reality, these are things that are more likely to happen than a zombie apocalypse, though admittedly, not as exciting. The bag would have to have the essentials and might contain specialized items that could be carried or stored in a car for those moments of personal crisis. This is the reality for millions around the world today.,,,not on the other side of the world anymore….next door, on your street and in your neighborhood.
Positivity: The most essential item in your bug out bag
It’s really for all the reasons above that I believe THE most important thing to carry in your bug out bag is positivity in tough times. And I believe that takes practice. Practice keeping cool, keeping lighthearted, having fun, so that things go smoother and that is going to be an asset like no other in an emergency. Take it with you in your pack every time and practice with it. Expect the best and prepare for the worst every day and I firmly believe you will reduce your chances of ever having to use it in an emergency. But if you do, you will be in the best mental and emotional state to face the challenges that come.
In my posts, I will be talking about some pretty heavy and scary possibilities. I know that everyone has their own take on what is going on in the world and each wants to prepare for those eventualities the most. I will talk about a few of my own biggest concerns, but I would recommend not thinking about them longer than you have to to get the idea. After that, I will post about items and ideas for bug out bags as they would apply to various possible scenarios but also try to also focus on the fun and interesting aspects of each. It will be up to you to decide if or how they could serve you in your bag for the possibilities you want to be prepared for….and hopefully none of us will ever need to face such scenarios.
A last little tip: Take Your Important Documents.
As I think of it, I mentioned in another recent post, this year we have noticed a lot of weather anomalies and we were put on evacuation alert twice (so far): once in spring for flood and once in summer for forest fires. Just a few days ago my next door neighbor was doing something, I don’t know what, but some plastic caught fire and started the fire alarms. Although we could see no fire we decided to grab our bug out bags AND the box of important papers like birth certificates and passports etc. I even took my box with tax stuff in it haha. And it was then that it occurred to me that if we had to evacuate in a really bad disaster situation, it could be important to take those identification papers especially as governments and police around the world are getting so much more like the old Soviet Union was. In order to travel you may need “your papers”, during a civil emergency. For that, you will want an additional very solid, waterproof, container for those papers. I plan to use use a highly specialized ‘wallet’ that I bought to hold my fishing license. It is made of very thick clear plastic and zips closed with a string that clips to the inside of my pack. It is absurdly heavy compared to a lot of my other stuff but, I consider it a necessary evil. You may not think it will be relevant as that may not be what you are expecting, but that is up to your priorities. There are not going to be any 100% correct decisions because a disaster or emergency is going to be unexpected and there is no way to know for sure just how things will play out exactly.