The Allure of Bugging Out to the “Wild” — a Common Prepping Fantasy.
There is a freshness and serene attraction to living amongst nature. Living without the rigors and the hustle and bustle and “social compression” of our fast-paced, high-stress world sounds nice. Fresh air, a breeze rustling through the trees, and no sounds of traffic, or the thumping blast of car stereos purporting to play “music” — whether you like it or not. However, over-simplifying the idea of transitioning to the “wild” is a grave mistake, and may be one of the most common prepping fantasies. Consequently, I would like to encourage you to do the following.
Face the Realities of the “Wild.”
Many “Preppers,” say they are (literally) heading for the hills, to live like Grizzly Adams, when it all goes bad. They think that because many people survive in a rural setting, they can survive in the “wild.” However, living in the “wild” and living “rurally” is not the same thing. Existing in the “wild” will indeed alleviate several urban difficulties but at a hefty price. In the “wild”, we’re talking about no electricity, no grocery store or co-op food, no heat, no water (or no clean water), no bathroom, no clothes washer and dryer, no shower, probably no cell phone coverage and no Internet, no post office or mailbox, no Fed-Ex or UPS, no sewer, no garbage pickup, no refrigerator, no freezer, no sink, no microwave, no house or apartment and no windows, no locks on doors, no law enforcement presence, no paramedics, no fire department, no doctors, no hospitals, no drug store or pharmacy, no gas station, no propane, no convenience store. Oh, and no job. (Note from Justin (editor of SDM): this list could go on and on for many pages, and the thing I would miss most is Breve Lattes 🙂 .) In the absence of these modern conveniences, very few are familiar with — or even prepared for — surviving. That is why realistically, most would have little choice but to shelter-in-place during an emergency until/unless forced to evacuate. That said, what if you have no choice and do end up in the “wild?”
Recognize the danger of transitioning to life in the “wild” and acquire skills.
Far from ideal (that there is such a deficit in nature skills), I think it is dangerous to downplay the transition between the two, and inadvertently reduce it to sounding like an extended family camping trip. Living in a rural setting is hard physical and mental work itself. Ask any homesteader. It requires a broad range of skills and materials and capable hands. Living in the “wild” is even more challenging — especially for any extended time. It is rough and unforgiving. It requires many, essential skills to survive, much less thrive. Notice that I did not simply say, “live,” I said, survive. Mistakes in the wild can do much more than cause discomfort. They can easily cost you your life. So don’t fall prey to this prepping fantasy.
While living in the wild is attainable, it is far from a fantasy setting. Try living for just one week with nothing but your 72-hour kit in even a state park (with or without using running water or restroom facilities on site), even in spring, when the weather is less of a concern. Most find it difficult to experiment with the idea of one weekend without electricity.
Reality will set in very quickly. I am not saying that we are incapable of surviving in harsh conditions. What I am saying is that very few are currently prepared to do so. Yes, many, in their prepping fantasy, say that “when stuff goes south” (whatever that “stuff” might be), they are heading for the hills.
Seasoned survivalists, however, will often admit that this is a dangerous fantasy that only a microscopic segment of society is capable of accomplishing.
It has even been said that those “armchair Grizzly Adams'” would be some of the first to perish in the illusion. (Note from Justin (editor of SDM): if you do plan to bug out into the wild, you must learn and practice your hunting, fishing, trapping, self-defense, and bushcraft skills now :). Read great books like Bushcraft 101, but also, and more importantly, practice these skills .)
Consider the “wild” as a last resort
The bottom line is, most of us cannot afford rural property (or we’d already be there), and even less are currently equipped to survive in “the wild.” So, gather and cultivate your skills now. Then, consider the bugging out to the “wild” option as a last resort.” Don’t be caught up in a potentially dangerous prepping fantasy!
For those who plan on bugging in, I highly recommend our book of the month, A Cabin Full of Food, by Marie Beausoleil. Of course it’s a great book for cooking now as well. This phenomenal book will help you cook amazing meals from your food storage and without the need for electricity. Be sure to get a copy today.
Richard Martin (Guest Blogger)