Reality: Because you're not as skilled as you think.

A few months ago, I started doing semi-regular apocalypse walks. These are a really good idea, and I thought I was getting super fit. Certainly skil enough to take a job that involves walking for five hours a day.

If you could hear me, you’d hear hollow laughter.

Oh yeah. It turns out that most people assume they are better at stuff than they are. I assumed I was fitter than I was because I could walk for up to 10 miles at a fairly leisurely pace. Of coure, I stopped regularly on those walks, carried very little and generally treated it like a fun excursion. It’s a bit different when you have to walk at speed for five hours, in the sweltering heat, carrying a backpack, and still have to do your job.

So you really need to be aware of this stuff. Unless you are actually a fully trained professional in something, you’re probably not as good at it as you assume.

So what can you do about that?

Learn your (actual) limits:

Don’t assume that you can do something based on limited or no experience of it. Actually go out there and do it – or something as close to it as you can.

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If you think you can walk for hours at a decent pace, in all weathers, carrying a backpack, GO AND DO IT. When you have done it, you’ll know how good you are, and whether you need to practice more.

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Don’t underestimate how much work it takes:

The things we discuss may seem easy to you – but you have to remember that when you do them you’re CHOOSING to and you have the option to stop at any time. It’s fun to live off the land when you have the option to return to central heating.

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It’s nice to choose natural childbirth when there are hospitals available to help you out if you get in trouble. If you have no other choice than these things, you might find they become more stressful and dangerous.

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Easy to say, hard to do. Effectively, you need to be well, aware of yourself. How you react. Your strengths and weaknesses. And you need to be honest about those things or you’re going to get yourself – and other people – into trouble.

So, how to do it?

As I said, try and experience things for yourself. Measure your acheivements against others – you can’t expect to be as good as an expert, but compare yourself against the average. If you aren’t good in comparison, you’re below average. Simple, yes? Be honest with yourself about this – I know your ego relies on being awesome, but there’s no shame in not being good at something – and you can always get better.

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Of course, the people who always think they’re experts aren’t ever going to understand this is about them. Fortunately, they’re gonna die pretty soon.

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Hopefully they won’t take any of us with them.

Sleep deprivation can kill you in the post apocalypse

Okay, so sleep deprivation can kill you before the apocalypse, too. It’s probably fair to say that sleep deprivation can kill you, period.

Right now, for many of us, not getting enough sleep may not be a big deal. There’s too much stuff to do, not enough hours in a day, yada yada; sleep is one of the first things to suffer. After all, there’s always the weekend to catch up, right?

But in the post apocalypse, “the weekend” won’t be an option. And sure, there will still be lots to do and probably not enough time to do them; only this time, those things you’ll need to do will actually be keeping you alive.

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Personal choice: Why you don't have it post apocalypse.

Here’s the thing. I am pretty left wing. (yes. It’s possible to be an apocalypse prepper and left-wing. Who knew?) Along with that goes a belief I’ve had for a long time – that you have a right to your personal choices, as long as they don’t directly harm others.

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Even if I think your beliefs are nauseating, your choices are immoral and selfish, I still think you have a right to all those things. (You also have to take responsibility for those things, which means you don’t get to whine when you cheat on your partner with 20 people and your relationship collapses)

Post Apocalypse however? That stops dead.

Continue reading “Personal choice: Why you don't have it post apocalypse.”

How can playing Skyrim teach you to survive the apocalypse?

After all, wouldn’t Fallout 3, Rage, Brink, Fallout New Vegas and all the other post apocalyptic games be a better bet?

Well, yes and no.

Yes because of the obvious. Those other games are all set in apocalyptic or post apocalyptic worlds, and for that reason alone you’d think they had an advantage.

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And, in fact, I have used Fallout as a survival simulator, though for some reason in real life I can’t carry a mini nuke launcher. So unfair.

But there are many things Skyrim can teach you that they can’t. And it can teach it two-fold- once from the in game experiences, and once from the actual experience of playing it.

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Surviving the winter months.

You live in the west.  You are spoiled and pampered. Trust me. Central heating, hot water, a hospital you can go to if you catch pneumonia. We’re so used to the concept of being able to flip a switch and make heat that when the cost of it goes up we bitch.

It’s not going to exist post apocalypse. At all. Ever.

Continue reading “Surviving the winter months.”

Your apocalypse survival starter kit

I live in a hurricane zone. Which is fun and all–at least, until a hurricane actually hits. I wasn’t affected by Hurricane Irene, and the only thing we got from Tropical Storm Lee was a bunch of wind and some (much-needed) rain.

So far, we’ve been pretty lucky that way. (Of course, the season’s not over yet.)

With the recent evacuation of much of the American Eastern Seaboard, I thought about my family’s own hurricane evaluation plan. You know, just in case we need it. It didn’t take long to think about, since we don’t actually have a plan in place. (Which will most certainly bite us in the ass should we actually need to run far away from an angry mass of hurricane.)

But that’s beside the point. (And a scenario to which my procrastinating self says, “I’ll cross that washed-out bridge when I get to it.”)

Continue reading “Your apocalypse survival starter kit”