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Getting started by working out where you are

I’m not an expert on Survival or even self reliance. I’m an amateur and everything I know has been picked up from the million and one people out there living this life in one way or another from those living off the grid (except for computers clearly) to those living in their own homestead, or bunker, on their own land and not forgetting the soldiers who make our way of life possible by being there prepared to do the bad guys harm.

I have a strong belief in knowledge. It must be recorded and passed on. I have thousands of books, not all non fiction, which I have read and hundreds of thousands of PDFs and videos most of which I have not read or watched. This information needs to be passed on and shared so that we do not have to learn them the hard way. In some cases people gave their lives while others learnt from their mistakes. Learn from that so you don’t make the same mistakes.

So to get started we first need to identify where we are. We can then work out where we want to be and then we work out what we have to do to get there. This plan, like life, will change as we progress with some items being changed or deleted and others being added.

My view on life is that very few of us will master everything we want to. I would like to be a ninja assassin but it isn’t going to happen. So I gather information about it to be passed on. I read as much as I can but I prioritise. No point in reading about the Five Pointed Palm Exploding Heart Technique in Kill Bill because I have no chance of practising it never mind mastering it (even if it existed) but I have read my medical manuals about childbirth because and that has already come in handy. Prioritise, learn as much as you can, practise what you can, master what you can but keep hold of the manuals and store somewhere you can get hold of them when you need them. Self sufficiency and self reliance may not require you to be a generalist but survival will. Being an IT specialist, accountant or brain surgeon may be good now but it won’t be high on the list of required skills in the event of WWIII while a plumber, shoemaker or carpenter will be. Pick something you are good at and try and gain more than the average skill in that area but not to the exclusion of all else.

For several years now I have been preparing for myself and my family. I have read, collected and practised several things. I have also thought about things I may have to do. Things that I would never do unless circumstances were desperate but I have thought about them and I am prepared mentally for those events. Of course I may never find out the truth of that but I believe I know what I would do.

Now, I’m suggesting that you make a few plans here. As a family decide what you can do and what you are unable to do. For example, what are your existing skills? Are they of use in a survival situation? What are your hobbies? What about them? Make a list of your skills and who has them, what skills are you short of? Plan for someone in the group to learn those skills. Plan for whatever skills you have to be taught to someone else. The eventual intention would be for everyone to know something about your crucial skills and each of you to be experts in several areas. Here is a spreadsheet that will help you quantify your skills matrix and identify any shortfalls. (If you think any skills are missing then let me know and I will add them.)

Now obviously as well as skills, which you can often pick up free, there is the harsh reality of life, basic day to day living, Food and water. Here is a spreadsheet that will help you manage your day to day supplies and identify anything you may miss. (Again, if you think anything is missing let me know and I will add it.)

Now, I would start by going through your pantry and identifying everything you eat on a regular basis. Add any items you have on to the list and start tracking them. Consider what you need on a regular basis to keep yourself fed and how long they will last. Again, in a self reliance situation you can always scrimp a bit and then buy the item. In a survival situation it will simply not be an option. For example don’t think you will ever see caviar or truffles for a very long time, if ever. Everything you eat will need to have been stored, grown locally or made from local ingredients.

Once the basics are sorted you need to look beyond that at what we require next, shelter, clothing, light and heat. Include here your items like blankets, clothing, footwear, torches, matches and basic tools.

What about weapons, transport, medical equipment and specific tools. Some items are specialist tools for very specific tasks. In a disaster situation you can usually improvise but how do you improvise a syringe needle which are cheap and easy to get now?

Armed with this list, which will contain your entire inventory, you can buy additional items as you go your regular shopping to build up your stores and if you have extra cash then you can add some kit as well. Start on your next shopping trip and buy an extra item or two of everything you put in the trolley or if you can afford it, make a special trip and buy what you want. Keep doing this as long as you can. Once you have reached a limit on perishables then stop buying them although continue buying non perishables. You may find they barter well when money is worthless. Talking of money, make sure you have cleared off your debts because all your preparations will be wasted if you are repossessed or evicted. In addition Gold and Silver are pretty useless here in the UK for bartering. Most people don’t know how to check or value them and you could starve whilst being the richest guy in the UK.

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