Few of us are former Green Berets or grew up in the Alaskan wild. In the event that we might need to transition from our soft modern lives to primitive ones, even if only until we can find our way back to civilization or get rescued, will probably be rough. But it doesn’t need to be one that we face blind. Many of the skills that we would require to survive after a disaster or a zombie apocalypse are ones that we can work on in our spare time and can even be enjoyable.
One of the most basic skills for human survival, whether it be for water purification, food preparation, or warmth, is fire starting. We don’t need to go out into the wilderness barehanded and rub sticks together to work on this skill, and you’ll probably die if you do. But if you are camping, or even backyard cooking over an open fire on a regular basis, you can become familiar with basic fire-starting principles that are better learned from action rather than reading a book or watching a video. Like knowing how much of various sizes of sticks you will need, how to arrange them, how to feed the fire in a way that keeps it burning hot enough for your needs while conserving your fuel. And you can work on different methods like a knife and flint, or magnifying glass instead, of a butane lighter every time.
Hiking is great for fitness, physically and mentally, as your body and mind learn to deal with the stresses of covering long distances with a pack on varying terrain and in varying weather. But it’s not much good if you don’t know where you are going. Find an area that is right for your current skill and fitness level, buy a topographical map of the area and a compass. You can start by simply trying to find where you are on the map, while on a marked trail that you already know, and work your way up to exploring the area based on landmarks, and even up to night navigation.
Buy a book about your local edible plants and bring it with you while you camp and hike. You don’t need to eat it if you are unsure, but you can take a picture or bring some back so that you can determine if what you found was in fact edible. This will give you experience not only in identifying the plants themselves, but in being able to predict where they would grow given your surroundings.
Nature is beautiful, and you might be living in it or surviving in it one day whether you like it not. Spending the time in the outdoors now having fun and working on your skills could mean the difference between life and death, so get out there and enjoy yourself!
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