The Shit Has It The Fan… You’re All Alone… Now What?
By Richard Bogath
With great hopes I write this article, that you will never find yourself in the situations or confrontations discussed as you read on. As a prepper, we tout (but not too loudly) how our acceptance of the real world and the challenges it can present us with will be overcome by being prepared for just about anything. Some things, though, are worse than others and are extremely difficult to prepare for. Becoming suddenly alone—for whatever reason—is one of those things.
Becoming alone is not the separation from the world choice that some us make. Selective hermitage is a different story altogether. What we are referring to here is the often misfortune reality of being surrounded by friends, family, co-workers or all of the above, just to then be thrust into the loss of those other individuals. Be it due to a disaster like an earthquake or storm, an outbreak of disease, becoming separated from a group while in a strange land, becoming suddenly lost in nature, kidnapping, or similar related situation.
You know what I’m going to say first, right? Yep…you guessed it…
Have A Plan
As always, the first step to any level of preparedness is to first think about the situation and plan for it. Yes, it’s extremely difficult to prepare for the complete unknown, but you’ll that with a little thought, you really can lessen the burden upon yourself and at very least, put yourself on task to get out of the situation you are in. This is as generic as it sounds and can apply to anything, but all the more important to apply this theory of planning to encompass any adversity you encounter—including becoming lost. So how do you plan for something like this? Good question. First…
Every plan should start this way. The worst thing you can do in any case is to panic. And panic isn’t always what you think it is. Running in circles while screaming and pulling your hair is not panic. Panic is when you make a rash decision and go through with that decision without having all the facts and whiteout having first thought about those actions and the possible results. Always explore all the options available to you and make a slow, calm educated guess about the best course of action. I say “guess” because you are thoroughly and deeply steeped in the unknown here.
After all, we aren’t panicking when SHTF, right? Right after you are plunged into loneliness, the first thing you are doing is not feeling sorry for yourself. You are also not mourning. You’re not concerning yourself with silly material possessions as your priority. You need information. Where is it safe to go and how can you get there safely? So long as you are not in immediate danger, taking a seat or a knee is preferable to wandering around blindly. Remember, every decision is a potential mistake when you are by yourself. There’s no one to bounce an idea off of and it’s only your own experiences that can guide you.
If “alone” presents itself in a natural setting—whether you are lost or the unfortunate victim of a sudden catastrophe—your survival might depend on what you can scrounge and find for yourself. There’s no disseminating jobs here and no one to rely on but yourself. It’s the typical prepper stuff like food, shelter, clothing, tools, transportation, sources for warmth/dealing with heat, etc…
Our natural instinct is to seek the company of others. Whether we are thrust into our state of loneliness or found our way there over time, the human need for companionship decides that finding others is an eventual requirement once we have ensure that our safety and survival has been secured. By establishing communication with others, we fill this need be it via campfire smoke signals, raising someone on a radio, finding a phone or the good old message in a bottle trick. Some might argue that this is of less importance depending on our circumstances, but I find it has a great deal to do with the psychological aspect of our survival (ever see the movie; Castaway?)
The psychological effects of being suddenly alone are probably 90% of the reason that you would want to prep for this in the first place. Make no mistake, being thrust into aloneness can take its toll—and fast—on the human mind. Stemming from my recommendation of “dont panic” comes my additional recommendation of “stay calm”. There’s a big difference but they lead to the same outcome. Panic leads to bad decisions that can put you in harms way. Losing your calm can lead to despair which can lead to doing nothing at all—which can put you in harms way.
Of course, one of the first things you will seek while all alone is friends, family and familiar beings, but sometimes allies will do in a pinch as well. People whom you do not know, yet have the same goals and purposes as yourself for the time being. These are not necessarily friendships or long lasting relationships of any kind—they are merely a means to an end for security, stability, joint effort and a little mental sanity (having someone to talk to).
Don’t rely on foreign governments
Being lost in a strange land does not mean that the particular local or national government is necessarily on your side. Do your homework about the area you intended to be in and learn local laws and customs. Apart from this, don’t ever assume that the locals are friend toward you. Especially if you are an American. Sometimes blending in can achieve much more than sticking out.
Don’t rely on foreign people (necessarily)
As with governments, the locals may not be as friendly as you’d hoped when becoming lost. While this is rare and we find ourselves counting on the human compassion of any local populace, this will not always be the case. Finding yourself lost in rural Alabama is a completely different world than becoming lost in rural Syria or just about anywhere in the middle east, these days. Consider keeping doubles of identification, money, credit cards and personal items in multiple places around your person, instead of just shoved into your pocket.
Becoming alone when SHTF can be a terrifying consideration for most of us—one that is not only difficult to prepare for, but the ramification of HOW we become alone are almost impossible to calculate or consider. Even on a small scale—the prepper can ready him or herself for these possibilities simply and with minimal effort—so long as there is a little know-how.