Survival Part 1 – The Two Main Reasons Why Shit Happens

John Muir ForestReading real life survival stories makes me think that in most cases finding yourself in a survival situation isn’t something to be proud of. Unless, of course it’s caused by unforeseeable events. It seems like survival situations can surprise us in remote (wild) places as well as urban areas and are caused by two main factors.

1. External – natural phenomena, accidents and armed conflicts.
– Earthquakes, tsunami, mudslides, avalanches, tornadoes, fires, floods and so on.
– Broken or otherwise injured limbs, sudden illnesses, animal attacks etc.
– Terrorist attacks, wars etc.
Not really your fault and there isn’t much you can do to prevent them. However, you can and should know how to survive should any of those disasters happen.

2. Self-generated – mistakes and miscalculations.
– Recklessness, lack of forethought and insufficient preparation.
– Lack of experience or practice.
Usually our own fault, which doesn’t mean we deserve to die and shouldn’t try and fix things. These often accumulate as a chain of, seemingly harmless, bad decisions with serious consequences, leading up to worse and worse situations.

So how do you prepare for everything? You don’t. It’s simply impossible to predict every likely and unlikely scenario. The best solution is to stay flexible and openminded. Ready to improvise and react quickly to changes.

I’m deliberately not digging deeper into the psychological aspect of survival and mental preparation. I do realize it is probably the most important part of every survival story but I am not a psychologist and honestly wouldn’t know what to tell you. My methods of motivating quitters tend to be a bit rough and wouldn’t suit everybody.

I practice survival skills for fun almost everyday. Hand drill, bow drill, feather sticks navigation… I also try to stay in best possible shape, pushing myself physically and mentally on long hikes, I try to do once a week. I understand this isn’t for everybody but I like it. Keeps me healthy and happy. It’s like going to the gym, which I do as well, only this one is free and the views are a lot better.

Planning your trip and carefully selecting your equipment is just as important as staying fit. Here’s one example of what not to do if you want to make it out of the wilderness on your own.