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When I started blogging more than three years ago, I knew very little about anything survival related. Sure, I had some basic knowledge from the Army, but in case no one has told you, the Army doesn’t really teach much in the way of wilderness skills. I also had some knowledge from Cub Scouts and I’d been fishing a time or two. Worst of all, I thought I knew something. I really considered myself an outdoor enthusiast.
On the preparedness front, I was so unprepared to take care of my family in an emergency that it would be comical if it wasn’t so horrifying in retrospect. Worst of all, I knew how unprepared I was and I didn’t know how to fix it.
Fast-forward to today and I can make fire from sticks (occasionally), pick a good basecamp, build a sturdy shelter with little more than a knife, purify water, identify many edible and medicinal plants (and know where to look for them), and I’ve developed some rudimentary hunting and tracking skills. Plus, I can clean and dress game, filet a fish, and I can cook damned near anything over coals. I’ll admit that I am still a really lousy fisherman (but I’m learning and I understand why I’m awful now). Most importantly, I know what I don’t know (and there is still a lot) and I have confidence in the skills I do have.
On the preparedness side, my family and I now have a good stock of food, a way to get fresh water reliably, lots of supplies for bugging in or bugging out, a cash reserve, the beginnings of a really productive garden, and most importantly – a plan. We still have a long way to go, but we know where we’re going and how to get there.
I’ve had some truly great teachers, some of whom are like rock stars to me except that I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting (like Green Deane). Others who are celebrities in my world that I’ll probably never get to meet (like Ray Mears). I’ve found knowledge in places I’d never have thought to look, and I’ve learned a lot about where this country came from and where it’s headed. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people in this country and elsewhere whose paths almost certainly never would have crossed mine otherwise. From them, and with a lot of effort and study on my part, I’ve learned skill after skill …
What’s funny to me is that all of these skills would have been plain old common sense less than a century ago and now I’m one of a small minority of Americans who possess them. Am I bragging? No. I realize I’m still a babe in the woods compared to a lot of people out there. Am I proud? You bet. If nothing else, my family will not starve because I’ve taken the time to learn to feed them. But – and this is the point of this whole post – I could never have done it by myself.
So I want to end this post by thanking everyone who has ever contributed a comment to my blog, chatted with me in the Preppers Chat Room, exchanged emails with me, or put up an article on their own site or a youtube video that has led me to more knowledge. You may have saved my life one day, or that of one of my children, or my wife. That’s a gift I can never hope to repay.
There’s a lot to come from this blog in the near future, so keep checking back. Subscribe via feed, email, or however. Become a Facebook fan, follow me on Twitter, or send me an email. However you want to connect, please connect. That’s the real value in all of this.