It’s no secret that most people in the suburbs here in NJ get out of bed at 5:00 / 5:30 a.m., shower, and saunter their way to the train, bus, or car to commute their way to work every day.  Most days it can take 30 – 120 minutes depending on the traffic here to get where you need to go.  Two hours is a long time if you have a short commute, and chances are you got behind an accident on the Parkway, Turnpike, or other major highway.  I can remember sitting on the bus for two hours behind an accident.  Thank goodness for iPods and Podcasts.  

Once you are at work, chances are you are there for eight – 12 hours.  Why, cause it is what people here do.  10 hour days are average.  Then, you have the commute home.  Let’s say you got to work by eight in the morning.  You are done at six, then you have to go back to the bus, train, and car to hurry up and wait for your commute home.  This takes a bit longer than the morning so let’s say 45 minutes to 120 minutes, depending on traffic, accidents, weather, etc.  When it rains in NJ, you can almost double your commute time.  Traffic grinds to a halt.  I am sure you can say that of most metro and suburban areas at rush hour.

My point to all this is that, you have been going since 5:30 in the morning, and chances are you are not getting home from work until 7:00 – 8:00 p.m..  You have to change, make or have dinner, interact with your significant other and kids if you have them, exercise if you do so, and then what?  It is 9:30 – 11:00 p.m..  You do this for five days a week, and have a family to deal with on the weekends.  “Deal with” is really the wrong terminology, but I think you get my drift.  And, if you are religious, you go to church on Sundays.  This is a full week, every week.

All of this does not leave much time to learn new skills.  I know they say you must make time, but honestly, this is easier said than done.  So how do you do it?  Take a class?  You could, if you could shorten you work day by four hours or so one day a week to attend some skills seminar or class.  Hard to do when your employer thinks they are already overpaying you, so you guilt ourself into working a little more.  You could take weekend courses or a three day comprehensive course.  Many people do, and they are certainly helpful.  But what can you do, a little every day that makes sense to help you learn a skill, even if you do not have the practical experience of putting it to use?  Buy a book!

Now, don’t buy just any book.  Research the book or books that are related to the skills you need.  For instance.  I grew up in a rural town.  But, I was neither a farmer, in construction, a welder, etc.  I do not have the practical experience in any of those areas.  However, I do know that if the SHTF, I am going to need knowledge in many areas.  So I have been slowly building a small library of books that I can throw in my BOV and take with me in the event I have to Bug Out.  These books offer me the opportunity to learn about the skills I will need ahead of time, but are also great step by step references going forward for jobs around a Bug Out Location that I may require, like:

  • Raising Chickens,
  • Dying cloth
  • Milking cows
  • Building a cabin
  • Making cheese and butter
  • Canning and preserving (something on my list to start doing this fall)
  • Shearing sheep
  • Brew Beer
  • Keep Bees
  • Plant and maintain a homestead garden
  • Craft Furniture
  • Harness natural energy
  • etc.

These are all skills that if the SHTF or a TEOTWAWKI were to happen, I could bug out to my BOL and hump some of these texts along with me to help me along in getting the job done, and reference them when I need to, so I didn’t have to have the full knowledge ahead of time.  Of course I read these books and reference them now.  Hell, I make my own butter sometimes (so easy to make), but without the fresh milk of a cow or goat in a post TEOTWAWKI situation, I am not going to have that butter.  Today, I simply go to the grocery store and buy the cream I need to make it.  In the near future, I may try making my own heavy cream, from some home made butter and whole milk.  Again, it is not hard, you just need to know how to do it.

My point, however, is to illustrate that in the suburbs or the city it may literally be almost impossible to learn the skills needed to survive outside the burbs.  Hell, I think every guy in the suburbs and the city should take a minimum of a week a year, take a hunter’s safety course, get their license, learn to hunt, gut, and process their own kill for food.  That alone would put them head and shoulders above others in terms of preparedness.

So, buy a book.  Learn the skills.  Practice them if you can.  If you hunt, go camping on that property if you can.  Add a new skill to try every time you go camping.  There is no need to go to Florida or Europe for every vacation you take.  Your life and your family’s life may just depend on what you read in one of those books.

Now, many of you may call me an “armchair survivalist” and admittedly I am, but know that I am head and shoulders above most everyone in a three or four block radius of where I live because I put some of what I learn into action.

Besides, if you ask most people here what a survivalist is, they may say “Rambo.”