It’s been three years down in that hole, no instructions over the radio from the army, no survivors coming banging on the thick steel doors of your bunker. It’s probably time to face the world before you starve. Maybe just maybe it’s safe out there. Maybe the apocalypse is over.
Your planning was meticulous. Your neighbors said you were crazy planning for the end of the world, but when it came you smugly waltzed into your survival den. Of course, that smugness eventually turned into a permanent crazy half-smile as you became best friends with a spork that you drew a little face on, and had long conversations with in the half-light of a flickering candle.
Now, deranged and without food, it’s time to pull on your shades and gas mask, open the hatch and see what lies in wait. If you’re lucky, you’ll emerge to find your home looking worse for wear, but the rest of the world will be functioning as it always had. Fooled by a false alarm and everyone forgot about you!
If you’re not lucky, well …
Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse
Life in the bunker may be boring as hell but it isn’t exactly strenuous work. But a post-apocalyptic world is something all-together different. Survival of the fittest will be the rule. Here’s how to prepare:
Know the Terrain
We’re not all like Rambo. We can’t all clamber up into unknown woods and survive a full-on attack from the town police. So you’ll need to comprehensively map and get to know the surrounding area. You’ll also need to know the location of any nearby natural springs, woodlands, streams, lakes and animals, as well as the densest areas of population before the disaster. It’s also worth mapping local farmland.
Watch Your Health
After a long stay in the bunker, you’re going to be deficient in Vitamin D, and if you didn’t keep up your prison-cell style exercises your muscles will be pretty wasted away. A generous supply of various medicines and other supplements, along with a decent small-space workout schedule, will pretty much be the only help you can give yourself.
Mother always used to tell you to eat your greens. It’s important in a post apocalyptic world too. Find some foraging edible plant books and learn them well. Be especially careful with the mushrooms.
Visit the farms on your maps; maybe the crops continued growing wild.
You may be awesome at Big Game Hunter, or whatever it’s called, down the local bar after a couple of cold ones. But the post-apocalypse isn’t made of pixels and a gun isn’t much good without bullets. You’ll want to be hunting the right way from day one.
Learning some bow skills is a good start as is owning a decent crossbow. You’ll also benefit from learning how to actually make a bow in case you get in a pinch! You’ll also need knives for finishing off the job and actually cleaning and cutting the meat too.
Trapping skills will be useful for snaring small birds and animals. Worms and bugs provide quick protein hits when in a bind.
The Biggest Danger: People Like You!
Don’t kid yourself. If you made it through, others did too. There may be quite a few wild-eyed ex-bloggers, auto-workers, bakery assistants, illegal migrant workers, and Fortune 500 executives running around brandishing knives or clubs, hoping for the next meal.
At first you’ll need to try and stay as far away from the others as you can. People turn to extreme measures quite quickly and you won’t know if your local bank manager has developed a taste for meat that hits a little too close to home! Before you even consider talking about the weather over the remains of the garden fence, observe them and see if they are hostile.
Over time you may be able to start interacting, maybe even working and living in close proximity but the issue of trust is one that can’t be forgotten. A hungry man, or woman of course, could cut your throat in the night if they needed.
Man’s Best Friend and Taming Mr. Ed
If any domestic dogs survived then there will be packs of them running around. Assuming you don’t pick them off for dinner, it’s likely they’ll try to follow you around. Befriending a pup isn’t a bad idea and the company of something with lungs will do you good. It may eventually act as a good hunting buddy, so learning some Caesar Milan dog whispering skills could be worth your while!
Horses are doing well in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, so they may do well in other disasters. Pick up some horse-breaking, taming and riding skills and the post-apocalyptic world will become your oyster.
And God Said, “Let There Be Light!”
You’re not God, so you can’t expect to just conjure up a measly fire. Without this skill you’re nothing out there! So you’ll need to learn how to get a flame going by rubbing sticks together, banging together certain kinds of rocks, and even magnifying sunlight through a lens — assuming you want to cook your cockroaches into a delectable meal and heat your “castle.”
Hold up Forest, why have you just wasted my time on all this? 2012. The Mayan calendar. It’s all baloney!
Okay, here comes the part in the article where I have to prove that I didn’t write this just because I wanted to write about the apocalypse. (I avoided writing about zombies, but I didn’t want to!)
And Now … Here’s The Real Reason I Wrote This Article
I don’t think 2012 will be the last year of the world as we know it. I don’t think the Earth will implode, black out, or any of that stuff. I do think we’ll probably make it a little dirtier this year but we’ll be okay.
So why bother theorizing about all this crazy end-of-the-world stuff?
First, it’s fun — nothing wrong with that!
Second, a lot of skills that would be useful in such a scenario could be useful or at least self-reflective and character-building.
At the very least, learning to hunt and cook, grow your own food, and forage from the wild, can be fun hobbies and even life changing events. And having an appreciation of where stuff comes from is important.
Starting a daily bedroom fitness routine, learning about self-healthcare, and doing physical activities like riding horses will do wonders for your general health.
Taking a general survival course and just learning more about being in nature and what you have available in your local area (even in cities) will grow your appreciation of the world around you.
Preparing for an apocalypse that isn’t going to happen could be the most fun you ever had!
Photo Credit: Aaron