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.”

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