This guest post is by Amanda kc and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
Ok, I admit it, I am one of those women who love love love their luxuries I get my mani-pedi every week french tip , I go to the gym and work out, I love my starbucks cappucino, my smoothies at the outside table cafe, and I adore shopping, shopping, and more shopping and accumulating closets and closets of magnificent “stuff”
I own shelves and shelves of Manolo Blahnik, and Louboutin shoes and closets of Chanel and Dior, so accepting the possibility of my life of glamor coming to a end-as -we (I ) – know-it, was a definite cause for a “freak out”.
The thought of loosing all those marvelous pairs of high heels and running to save myself in steel toe hiking boots, glock in pocket, cross bow across shoulder, leaving behind the mounds of lace dresses and all the louis vuitton bags and thinking of my diamond earrings as barter, and OMG! leaving my handmade-in-italy leather sofa, was un acceptable!
It was difficult to accept any thing that reaked of a WTSHTF syndrome, and, believe you me, most of todays modern women feel the same way. Its just too much for us to fanthom.
However, life has a way of waking us up from our sleep of denial and it i was just two of these events in my life that slapped me in the face and forced me to accept the fact, that yes, the s*%$#t can and does hit the fan, and can and will knock that crystal cocktail glass right out of your manicured fingers at any moment…. like it or nay…
One day, september 11th , I became afraid, I became very afraid. After a life time of thinking of nothing except “where is the next party?” and “what time does the sale start?”
and “do I look fat in these designer genes?” The real worlds disasters got in the way of my continual search for fun , and I could no longer go on sticking my head in the sand ( or in my margareta glass ) ignoring all the warning signs.
Today you can find me with several go bags at the doors of where I live , and in the car ,completely packed . I have escape routes and various means of escape transportation ,
and several escape destinations : land and sea ,mapped in my mind and on paper. I have sold donated and given away “quite a lot “of my material “stuff” and I have downsized and rearranged my mental thinking about life.
How did I come to this?
Because I was put through the tests of survival – twice.
I lived in new york city ,and survived the aftermath of The September 11 Attacks , watching from the comfort of my fabulous roof apartment 17 blocks away, in horror and disbelief , the twin towers of the world trade center burn, crumble and fall.
I lived through the complete shut down of the city…..with no food or supply delivery trucks allowed to enter the city . I survived the banks closing “due to national emergency” with most people ( those who didnt run there immediately to withdraw their money ) not being able to get their cash out ( the atms were empty within 2 hours after the towers were struck ).
Then after the towers fell, I survived walking through the new york city streets laden with armored tanks and machine gun toting guards ,complete with full bullet-proof glass safety body shields…. having to show id to leave or enter my neighborhood.
We were not allowed to drive our cars in or out of the city ( The first day, I traveled around the city on rollerblades in disbelief taking photos , and then the day after that staring at the rubble on my harley).
My second prepper disaster after I survived 9-11, was a few years years later; The Blackout in August of 2003 of the northeast and mid-eastern united states and canada.
However, this time I was prepared, kinda .
It was the second most widespread blackout in history. An estimated 10 million people were affected, including me!.
The temperatures soared up to 88 degrees, and all the food in new york city defrosted with melted ice cream , popsicles ,and slushies running down the streets into the gutters. no air conditioning ,no fans, just heat.
The banks, (again, immediately ) were closed, and again, the atms were not working, this time due to the total power outage.
No one was taking credit cards ,cuz those machines weren’t working either , and the only place you could get food ,if you had prepared for this disaster ,as I had…kinda….and had some cash, were the brick oven pizza joints ,which were the only restaurantes open, and were doing the best business they had ever done in their lives ,with long long lines of hungry, freaked out, panic stricken new yorkers extending down the blocks and wrapping around the corners… (but still, all of us were laughing maniacally and nervously talking).
There were a few places in the east village that had private generators and were making a fortune selling ice…. A hot dog place on st marks had their own generator and we all ate hot dogs and pizza for a few days, but that was if you had some cash on hand before this black out happened. If you had no cash…if you had no supplies, if you had no candles ,and no lighters or matches, or flashlights, or cans of munchies or bags and packages of eats, or bottles of water,…. you had nothing…and let me tell you, your neighbors had nothing either.
There were stalled elevators in approximately 800 Manhattan high-rise office and apartment buildings , and more than 600 subway and commuter rail cars were trapped between stations. I’m not even going to get into the water contamination when the water pressurized pumps went off at the reservoirs .
Having learned , and having had become a prepper, when i watched the 9-11 world trade center crumble and fall, I was “kinda” prepared for this black out emergency, I had the candles and lighters, several flashlights and cases of bottled water, some cash, and even a small “generator” type thingie ( the little kind that charges car batteries) that allowed me to live in relatively “well lighted” peaceful comfort within my apartment, where, when I wasnt roaming around the streets, I relaxed with light from the “thingie, reading a book to pass the time .
My neighbors, the ones who were always laughing at me because i collected candles and lighters and batteries, and cans of tuna and peanut butter, came knocking on my door begging for candles . I gave each one a candle, and I told them in my own way that ,that was that, not to come back for another one. (What I really said was that I didn’t have any more ) because you can’t let those that dont have know that you are holding and not sharing anymore.
Then to be kind, I placed several candles in our dark ,dark , scary hallway so that we could find our way up the pitch black stairs ( elevators weren’t working ) after we retuned from scavenging the streets looking for succour and whatever answers we could find in the disaster-festive-crazy new yorker street camaraderie ambiance.
It was after the black out and the continued threat of being freaked out every morning with the tv ,radio, and newspapers daily reminding us of just how safe we were-NOT, listening to the scary color coded security system :
- “today is an orange threat” (high ) or,
- “today is an yellow” (elevated ) or,
- “today the threat level is green”, ( low) or,
- “today our threat level is blue” ( guarded ),
- or “today take care, our threat level is red “(severe)
I became so nervous that I began to see that even though living in new york city was where my heart was happiest, I had to admit to myself “mmmmmmmm, wtshtf ,do I really want to deal with these hordes of people running to and fro looting and shooting and booting me out of my well stocked beautiful apartment? Do I want to be stuck in a city , where , when the power goes off i might be too afraid to go outside my door?” Do I want to continue feeling anxious every time i walk through times square looking up at the enormous crystal glass sky scrapers and wondering “what if all these glass buildings exploded down on my head?” the answer was “no” “I -don’t-think-so!”
I am a single woman living alone. I wanted more peace of mind, so, extreme as it may seem to some , I moved out of my lovely apartment in new york and came to California and bought a sail boat!
I have always been an ocean lover who spent every moment i could get away, traveling wherever I could afford, on boats , scuba diving and seeking the perfect view of the ocean floor .
As I previously shared with you , living in new york i had become accustomed to spending a stupid fortune on clothes , shoes and jewelry ,creams and beauty potions, but deep inside, my true self was always happiest laid back in t-shirts, shorts, or a bikini.
I dove in all the caribbean islands , throughout mexico, the greek islands, the italian islands, off the coast of scilly…the island of elba, the red sea, ..and so on and so forth. I, worked hard each and every new york city day , pounding the pavement auditioning in glossed lips and 5 inch high heels ,accumulating money to travel and to buy “stuff”, and all the while longing for the peaceful , tranquil, isolation of the sea, So, when the fearful questions continuously struck me, like…
- What am I going to do wtshtf?
- Where will I go?
- Who will save me?
The answers were pretty obvious, no one was going to come running to save me, that had already been proven during the world trade center incident and again during the black outs.
They were all going to be trying to save themselves . It was going to be every man for himself .
so…… Why not move onto a yacht? Why not “bug out” on a boat?
A frightening decision in itself ,that just seemed sooooo right. It was the best investment I have ever made. Of course I had to downsize. Major downsizing. I gave up nearly 80% of my “stuff”… sold ….gave to friends,….donated.
I found a 35 foot sail boat , ( on craigs list ,believe it or not ) which had a large stateroom, (bedroom) a small bunk for guests( small bed area) , a galley ( kitchen) , a salon (dining room) , and a head ( bathroom ). I decorated it according to my feminine desires with pink chiffon curtains and a colbalt blue microwave and blue fridge, (there’s no reason prepper escaping has to be ugly and plain).
Then I started “yacht” prepping for the forthcoming unavoidable TEOTWAWKI ( the end of the world as we know it).
To learn to sail, I took an 8 week class ( meeting once a week ever thursday ) with the auxiliary coast guard in Marina Del Rey ,California ( cant remember hardly any of it but i kept the books ).
- I bought a nice real generator ( a pretty blue one by yamaha to match the blue micro wave .
- I added a few lake-lite 24v/20 watt solar panels and a portable folding solar panel 80 watt kit just “n case there ‘s no more gas for the generator.
- I added several catalytic heaters ( the ocean gets quite chilly at night and in the mornings.
- I stocked the bins and cabinets with cans of greens and my favorite soups, and tuna and chicken stock, a case of tabasco sauce and my favorite munchie -popcorn .
- I added jars and jars of seasonings and olive oils, cans of crisco ( which can double as a lubricant for boat parts – and skin cream.
There’s no reason we women have to allow our skin to get all cracked and dry just because we are escaping and running for our lives…
I bought large plastic see-through storage bins and put in pounds and pounds of oatmeal , rice , beans and pasta.
I dont eat bread so I didnt worry about flour and wheat and such, but I did add a few bins of those new wheat thin buffalo crackers and rice cakes to go with the jars of peanut butter and jelly, I bought several fishing poles and lots and lots of hooks and line. (Which can also be used as an excellent forms of barter and trade ).
Who knows how long my ipad will be of any use, unless I can learn to work it off the solar panels so, I added stacks of books i’ve been “dying” to read -no pun intended, and lots and lots of blank writing pads and ink pens and colored pencils for those long lonely days at sea, or when I ,in my boat ,am hidden, tucked in a cove somewhere.
I added personal hygiene supplies, toilet paper and lots of rubbing alcohol and peroxide for all kinds of medical emergencies and disinfectants .
After I was satisfied that I had enough food , gear, and stuff, for at least 6 months ( even longer, if I take off by myself and leave all my non-believing, laughing-at-me-all-the-time-about-my-doom-and-gloom-attitude- , pals on shore ) I began to panic ..What if , after I take off for “a life of survival at sea” , some “pirate” or “boat gangster” sails up and demands I give up my nice little floating world?
That did not sit well with me , that image just didnt have a good look, so instead of my weekly shopping for that cute pair of Manolo shoes or the Louboutins boots, or that Louis Vuitton purse, or that Gucci dress, instead, I purchased a few guns and cases and cases and cases of ammo , accumulating the stock pile each week with each film paycheck ( also good for trade and barter) .
After I had enough ammo to take back Lower Manhattan, or should I say to take back east L.A,. (since I am now in california,) I started thinking, “ummmm …what if I break down at sea?”
Well..when you are on a sail boat, you really don’t have too much to worry about other than if the wind will blow, and we can’t control the wind, now can we?
Especially since in a wtshtf situation all you are trying to do is avoid all other boats , and other people, and just stay away from shore, but still ,s#%t happens, so I went shopping for tools and a ton of “how to books”, how to plug leaks in a boat, which taught me to run out and buy tennis balls which can be stuffed into larger holes and various adhesives which can seal smaller ones, how to find your way , where i learned to go and buy a compass and nautical charts and then other books on how to read charts ….( you really can not depend on that the gps system working , so I also bought lots of maps of the area and the various islands scattered from Marina Del Rey California all the way into mexico and on into the Caribbean ..
I bought a book about “how to make pure water from salt sea water, “which told me to…
- Get a pot and place an empty cup in the center
- Slowly pour salt water into a pot as well
- Put a cover upside down so that the highest point is facing down right above the glass
- Bring the water to a slow boil, u dont want the salt water splashing into the glass
- As the water boils it becomes vapour, which condenses in the air as steam and on the covers
surface as water droplets, which fall right into the glass, ( this will probably take around 20 minutes or so)
- Wait a moment until the very hot glass cools off, then drink the water inside the glass
Also I learned to buy lots of tarps to catch the dew each morning, and to place pots and pans beneath different dripping spots to catch the dew as it rolled down the tarp.
I also bought books on How to survive at sea, and Sailing for dummies where I learned so many new, interesting things that unfortunately, I became overwhelmed with all this unknown information ,and i again began to panic and experince depression and think surviving could just not be done at all.
I began to fear that there was sooooo much survival information out there , I would never know enough and was doomed to perish on shore with the first earthquake, or solar storm, or plague, or virus, or riot…but then , I slapped myself with a spritz of chilled evian water, and, glanced around at all I had accomplished thus far..and admitted to myself that I had done a darn good job of preparing for wtshtf, and it was all good!!!
Preparation brings peace of mind , and the more you prepare, the more peace and calm you will feel.
With each new step towards survival preparation ,you will begin to ease away from the sense of fear and panic, and you will begin to relax and feel confident that you can make it on your own, when all else fails.
Then ,when / if this dreaded moment finally does arrive , we need only to remain calm and go forth leaving behind all that we have given up, towards all that we will have gained in ensuring our survival
The great thing about living on a yacht is that ,it is such an unbelievably luxurious ,wonderful, peaceful, beautiful, and “sensuous “life that if the moment NEVER comes wtshtf, I can still continue to live ,even more so, the life of beauty that I love, amongst natures natural luxury, so much the better!
This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:
First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following; (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.
Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.
Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.
Contest ends on August 7 2012.