Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
(May 2020) I’ve written before about the importance of adaptability in the preparedness world. It’s one of those things that are so important you simply cannot overstate it.
There were some comments on the article I wrote recently about the things I’d learned during the lockdown and it opens up a topic I’d like to discuss further. The commenters expressed disappointment that I had ditched most of my worldly possessions and headed off to wander the world and live the nomad life. Let me be very clear that I’m absolutely not trying to call anyone out – everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect your point of view. But I thought it might make for an interesting discussion.
This isn’t a newsy article filled with deep research or a how-to that will teach you ways to deal with specific threats. It’s simply a blog post in which I’m sharing a personal story and philosophy that some folks will find thought-provoking and others will find outlandish. But either way, do share your thoughts in the comments.
What I’d like to do is discuss the increased adaptability and resilience that I’ve experienced due to my unconventional lifestyle. I’m not suggesting that everybody should abandon their preps – living nomadically isn’t something that everybody would enjoy. But what I hope you do is begin to think outside the rigid confines of “bugging out” or “bugging in.” Because those are not the only options or possibilities when things go sideways. However, some preparation is warranted for the other options.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out this article by Selco about being adaptable enough to leave everything to survive.
A little bit of background
Last fall, I divvied up my preps between my daughters and sold or donated a lot of my things. Clothing, furniture, car, and clutter became history when I decided to streamline my life and go explore Europe. This may sound greatly at odds with preparedness, but please bear with me, because it’s actually not.
I was making my way up the Balkan peninsula when I got the news of a death in the family. I had spent months in Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania and was in a lovely seaside village in Montenegro when I had to quickly return to North America. I had originally left with two suitcases, a giant purse, and a backpack and by this point had pared down to a suitcase, a carryon, and a backpack as I found more and more of the things I’d brought were, quite frankly, unnecessary.
Then, before my return flight to Podgorica, Montenegro, it became evident we were facing the possibility of a pandemic. I pushed back my return flight for three months and stayed with one of my daughters while I watched the situation unfold.
I’ll be very clear that I have every intention of returning to this nomadic lifestyle when I’m able to do so because life is all about living and experiencing things. I hope that you, too, will continue to live a life that makes you fulfilled and happy. Preparedness doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your dreams.
This was a life-altering journey in more ways than just mileage on a map. I learned some valuable lessons in resilience and adaptability, and I became a more confident urban survivalist. I strongly recommend this step to anyone who wants to become better prepared mentally – take the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, whatever that may mean for you.
Here are some of the ways this helped me grow personally.
I became very adaptable.
When you take your 2 pieces of luggage and relocate regularly, you become good at adapting quickly. When we’re at home, it’s very easy to get set in our ways and to demand a certain level of comfort. (Who among us has “my chair”?) We get used to sleeping in the same bed with the same pillows and the same comforter, so much so that it can become difficult to sleep anywhere else. We have our favorite mug washed and ready to go for the following morning’s coffee. We have our favorite store that contains our favorite brands of our favorite products.
We become creatures of habit.
And there’s nothing wrong with that – habits can help us become better, stronger, healthier people when our habits are wise ones. But it’s also good to shake things up a little from time to time.
Every new place I went to had different stores with different food items. The local customs, restaurants, and apartments all varied. Each time, I got a little bit better at adapting faster. I can sleep anywhere. My business is such that I can work remotely in any place I have a decent wifi signal. I picked up some important phrases, like please, thank you, how much, and where’s the bathroom as soon as possible once I arrived in a new place. I learned a new currency in nearly every country I visited and wrote down the formula to quickly convert it to USD so that I could understand what I was spending. I can eat whatever gets put in front of me and enjoy nearly all of it, even when I thought I had ordered something completely different.
I quickly learned that when in another country, it’s impossible to rigidly stick to your ways and still have a good time. This helped me pare down to my most important needs – wifi, a plug adapter, a safe place to stay, a Berkey water filtration bottle, and appropriate clothing for my setting. Everything else can be acquired quickly and easily. (More on acquisition in a minute.)
If you were to strip your needs down to the absolute essentials for you, what would they be?
I learned to orient myself to new settings rapidly.
I started my trip in Athens, Greece and the first day or two was kind of rough. Even though I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to see the signs in a totally different alphabet. I was jet-lagged and exhausted and it took me an hour of wandering to locate food and a restaurant where they spoke English. On the second day, I took a car service to try and get to a restaurant and ended up at an ancient temple instead, with no food in sight.
It was the learning experience I needed. I said to myself, “You’re living the dream. Don’t be such a baby. Go find something to eat and just go with the flow.”
That became my mantra throughout my time in Europe – go with the flow. I downloaded some apps to my phone to help with navigation and I got out and walked miles and miles. When arriving in a new location, as soon as it was daylight, I got out and walked to identify a nearby source of food (restaurants, grocery markets) and a convenience store.) I found the closest bodies of water – anything from creeks to fountains. I figured out where the nearest embassy was. I bought a local map. I acquired supplies immediately (dried soup mixes, bread, fresh produce).
After that, I just spent time adding more and more distance from my home base as I explored. Here’s an article about the methods I use to quickly orient myself to new cities.
I can put together a reasonable supply very quickly.
As I mentioned before, I started nearly from scratch preparing for the pandemic. Because I had an emergency fund, I was able to quickly and efficiently to get the necessary supplies to see us through the situation.
The ability to start over is extremely important. This isn’t the first time I’ve done it. When my daughter and I moved back to the US from Canada after the death of her father, we were not allowed to bring our food across the border. So I started from square one then, too.
There are many different reasons you might one day need to start from scratch. Maybe it’s due to a house fire or flood. Perhaps it’s because your neighborhood or even your household is no longer safe and you need to bail. It could even be a case of government overreach that you find intolerable that sends you looking for greener pastures.
Whatever the reason you must start over, being able to do so quickly is invaluable. Knowing what you need and where you can acquire it is a skill that means you won’t be paralyzed with fear if you need to leave everything behind.
Each time I relocated in Europe, I grabbed a two-week food supply to keep on hand, just in case. I refilled my water bottles from the tap after drinking the water I’d purchased. (Here’s a prepper’s guide to international travel.) Heck, I even did an experiment visiting a tourist attraction to see how quickly I could create an emergency kit – you can find that here.
I got in shape fast.
Living without a car in a walkable place is a great way to get into shape quickly. I wrote before about the difference in activity levels in other countries and it’s absolutely true.
It doesn’t even feel like you’re working out when you are wandering through ancient cities and finding the most authentic food possible. Not only that, but grabbing your food and water every day and carrying it in your backpack is great practice for that day you might need to bug out for real.
When I first arrived in hilly Athens, it was pretty challenging to go from a car-lifestyle to a pedestrian one. But within a couple of weeks, my body had acclimated and I felt myself getting stronger. By the time I left, my apartment overlooking the sea was 231 stairs up the side of a mountain, and I carried 15 pounds or o up it every day after walking down to pick up a meal, some water, and some local wine.
As well, the food in that part of the world is far less processed than the food you commonly get in the US, so even if I’d wanted junk food, there wasn’t much of an option to get it. I ate loads of delicious, locally grown produce and meat, with freshly baked bread on the side.
By the time I left, I was walking 5-6 miles per day without any trouble at all. There were even longer days of exploration which resulted in around ten miles.
I trust my gut.
While traveling, I checked the local-to-me updates on Google News to help keep me aware of things like protests or other events I’d want to avoid. If something seemed like it had the potential to turn ugly, I rescheduled my outing. I was able to avoid a protest and an immigration raid by paying attention to local information and what my instincts warned me were tenuous situations.
My original return to Europe was in late January. My spidey-senses were tingling at this point because of the widespread lockdown in China. I spoke with my daughters and chose to push back my return for a couple of months. Delaying my return was clearly the right decision, although I’ve needed to push it back even further due to the nature of this emergency.
Learning to rely on a combination of information and instincts is a skill that will serve you well.
I can handle discomfort with ease.
Moving into someone else’s apartment is often an exercise in discomfort – after all, there’s no place like home, where everything is ideal by your standards.
Much like Goldilocks, I’ve found beds that were too hard, too soft, and just right. I’ve slept on a sofa that was more comfortable than the bed which was in the rental. I have developed the ability to get comfortable enough to sleep just about anywhere – and that’s something that could come in handy.
As well, unfamiliarity itself can be uncomfortable.
When you’re someplace totally unfamiliar, with different restaurants, stores, products, and people the last thing you feel is “comfort.” You need to put in the effort to figure everything out and you have to get a general feel for the area. Some people find this puts them constantly on edge and unable to focus. It’s good training to learn to deal with discomfort while still staying sharp.
The urban survival course I took with Selco and Toby in Croatia underlined this repeatedly – you need to learn to be uncomfortable and function anyway.
You may not need as much stuff as you think you do.
When you live out of a suitcase, you have limited items on hand by necessity – there’s only so much you can lug around. What I discovered is that as I moved from place to place, I ditched more and more things. After about 6 months, I ended up with my 4-season wardrobe, a medical kit, a Kindle, a phone, a laptop, hygiene supplies, cosmetics, a water filtration bottle, and a small but versatile emergency kit.
If something had gone down that meant I needed to bug out quickly with only what I could carry, my emergency kit would have fit into my backpack with plenty of room to spare for food. When I attended Selco’s course, we students found that a lot of the gear we brought was utterly useless under real-world conditions so my kit was pared down, to begin with.
There’s a saying in the survival world, “The more you know, the less you carry.” I’m not sure I know a whole lot, but when you have to lug it around on your back, you learn quickly how to downsize what you consider necessities.
A great test of this is simply lugging your bugout bag around with you (on your person, not in your car) all weekend. Use it for everything – sanitation, drinks, food, cooking, and whatever else you might need. After testing out your gear like that, ask yourself two questions about each item: Is it really worth the weight of it in your pack? Does it work as well as you expected? If you discover the answers to these questions are no, you may want to downsize, even if you’re staying close to home.
The same thing holds true for your home, too. If you don’t have unlimited space, you may want to drill down to the items that are most important to your survival and stop hanging on to things that you’ll probably never use.
I stopped worrying about what other people think.
Something that is kind of ironic is my concern about what people would think when I took off to gallivant around Europe. After all, I make my living writing about controversial things, not the least of which is preparing for doomsday in a society of people wearing rose-colored glasses.
But you guys, the readers, you’re my people. You aren’t some uneducated folks who think that we’re all bunker-dwelling weirdos. I know that I disappointed a lot of you with my decision. I know because many of you have told me so – in the comments, in emails, on social media, and in private messages.
If you are one of the people who was disappointed and who couldn’t understand what the heck I was thinking, you weren’t alone. People close to me, people I love, people in my family, people with whom I’d been friends for years, all told me at great length how ridiculous and irresponsible I was to make the decision I made. It hurt, of course. Anytime someone you care about tells you that you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, it hurts. Any time someone says that they value your conformity more than your happiness, it hurts.
I’m very fortunate that I had the support of my daughters and some very close friends who cheered me on every step of the way. I honestly have the best friends in the world. (You guys know who you are.)
This is a lesson in itself.
Nobody has to like what you’re doing except you, assuming you’re not hurting anyone. Your life choices should not be based on the approval of others.
People can think whatever they choose about my wandering ways. It’s entirely your prerogative to feel how you feel. As for me, I intend to get to the end of my life with more memories than regrets. I will seek experiences and new places and knowledge for as long as I’m able. And whether anybody else “gets it” or not is irrelevant. I’ll keep writing and researching and sharing as long as people want to read my articles and books
I won’t be that person who is willing to die for a building or supplies.
I see so many people talking about a premise that is antithetical to survival. They talk about how they’ll never leave their home and how their guns will have to be pried from the cold dead hands. They’re perfectly willing to go down in a blaze of glory for “stuff.” I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers when I say the following: They think that it makes them seem noble and patriotic, but to me, it just seems stupid.
There’s nothing noble about needlessly dying when the odds are stacked against you, thus leaving your family at the mercy of the horde at your door. You are far better served to live to fight another day when your chances of victory are higher. There is no “stuff” that is worth dying for. (And you’ve got more “stuff” cached anyway, right?) People are worth dying for, but not “stuff.” You can always get more stuff – even in an SHTF scenario. The thing that matters is your life and the lives of the people you love.
By becoming versatile enough to think outside your pile of stuff, you’ve added another possibility to the bug-out vs. bug-in debate – that of surviving in some way that was completely unplanned. But to do it, you have to loosen your death grip on your things and be willing to say, “I’m a resourceful person. I care more about my family than this building and the belongings in it.”
I absolutely believe in making my home secure and in planning ahead. I believe in being productive and learning self-reliant skills. But I also believe that life is meant to be lived, and not lived in fear. When you can be plunked down anywhere and make a life for yourself, you’re better able to face other challenges too. Anyone can be more prepared to face adversity by increasing their adaptability and resilience.
Despite the fact that fear right now is being stoked to an all-time high, it won’t always be like this. You have to be able to balance risk vs. reward yourself, without listening to those who want to scare you into submission. Your skills should provide you with the confidence to go out there and have some adventures, to expand your horizons. Being a prepper or survivalist doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to only one tiny place on this planet or one way of life. Being prepared isn’t just about how much stuff you have.
Two lessons that I hope I’ve taught my daughters by example, are that you can always start over as long as you’re still breathing, and that life must not be lived within the narrow boundaries created by others.
To me, this is what resilience and adaptability are all about.
Daisy Luther writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Good post. I’m envious that you were able to travel like that. Life is all about experiences
I’m envious (in a good way) and I enjoyed living vicariously through you while you were on your journey. I can’t wait for you to start up again!
Thank you, Daisy, for putting into words what’s been in my heart for so long. I’m prepared for any eventuality but your thoughts on being able to move at any time & keeping loved ones as priorities, are number one in my list of prep actions. Those 2 priorities have become what I ask myself before adding to my “stash”.
If it makes you feel any better I am of the age I could care less what people think! 63. (Rick Spring field Says “you can’t please everyone so you have to please yourself” Remember the parable about the old man and the donkey? Any way anyone who is telling you you can’t travel around the world isn’t worth worrying about! They are most likely bored. I will say I have traveled moderately and it didn’t take me long to learn to bring only bare necessities. The only thing about prepping, I would say you could be making a mistake is thinking because you could find supplies in this pandemic which is overblown, is not the same as a true disaster that is probably coming. But I would think you could keep some supplies at your daughters if you share with them . And your part is having ready cash. But you would do well having some caches ,somewhere as well. I was critical only because the quality of articles posted on your site by others sometimes was not of the quality of what you write so I got frustrated with that! JR
Wow, wow and wow!
Awesome, just awesome!
Amazing, unglued to societal norms and no better way to experience the articles you write!
IMO, no better way to live.
Did I mention I love it?
Thanks Daisy for being the ultimate ‘doer!’
Your perspective is always so refreshing. I loved watching you gallivant off to Europe, and I vicariously enjoyed your experiences and observations as you graciously shared them with your social media community. I think it’s great that you are living your dream. Very few are brave enough to dream big much less run with it. I admire your spirit and I can’t wait to follow your journey when you get back on the road! Godspeed!
I admire your adventures and enjoy reading about them. I haven’t lived in other countries but I have moved around the US and my family has thought I was crazy but I really enjoyed the experience. I sold or stored everything that didn’t fit in my car and took off. It was a great experience. Now that I’m married with a child, I am in one location and have been for a while, this is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere but older family has needed help and while we homeschool, I still want my child to be able to make friends and do activities such as sports so here we stay for now. But we do try to take a trip to a new location in the US each year so he can see new places.
There is much to be said about the almost lost art of; “making due with what you have”.
Or of living a minimalistic lifestyle.
This is a more common lifestyle in foreign countries than the US.
It is something that requires a different mindset that most preppers have and a lot more reliance upon your skills and knowledge.
Daisy’s experience is just scratching the tip of the Iceberg as far as how this relates to “prepping” goes. But it is a break from the common American lifestyle and mindset. Which is a good starting place.
It is much like living without power for a couple of days, to check out you prep level and see what you are missing or the problems you have yet to solve.
Living and prepping for a truly Nomadic life style, is an area that no one really discusses, but is a viable “third” option, in a SHTF world.
Many years ago, when I was a youngster, I spent 5 months wandering around Spain and Portugal … backpacking, the whole while.
Like you, I discovered that I’d ditched most all the ‘essential gear’ with which I began my trip. Was travelling very, very light at the end.
Wow!!! Daisy, your article was AMAZING!!!
I was just speaking yesterday to an elderly woman I’ve been helping during the pandemic and she told me about some difficult situations she’d been going thru with her phone. She was laughing about it! I told her I was surprised at how lighthearted she was about something so frustrating. And she said “well, what can you do… you’ve just got to go with the flow… and it’s not really that big a deal in the scheme of things.” What great perspective!!
What you did was incredibly courageous. I would LOVE to do what you did. How FREE you must feel. Not sure where I heard of this book… maybe Lisa Bedford? maybe you?… but it’s called “Deliberate Discomfort”. Those words have been gnawing at me since that day. I ordered the book but haven’t been able to bring myself to read it. 🙂 Not sure I want to learn the lessons inside. 🙂 But your article was SO great because it talks about the wonderful benefits of “letting go” and going with the flow. What a wonderful freedom. And now you can be of service wherever God takes you because you’re not holding on tightly to anything. Thank you for your awesome example, and for being willing to share it with all of us.
Wow, yes, it would be nice to travel the world like a vagabond. But, I’m afraid I am at the very end of my traveling days. With an arthritic back and bad knees, I don’t even get out of my house very often. I do go outside and feed / care for chickens every day, and now my garden, but running around all over foreign countries is not an option any more. More power to you if you can physically do it, and financially afford it, but many of us are just not able to do that any more. Yes, memories are important, so make as many of them as you can while you are able. When I read parts of your article out loud to my husband, his comment was, “she must be at least 20 years younger than you.” Yep, based on what you have said about your youngest daughter, you are. At LEAST 20 years. So, yes, ignore what others think and say. (A hard lesson for me to learn, but I have managed!) Enjoy your life, because all to soon, your ability to do so will leave, never to return. Blessings to you!
Hi, Deb – I’m 51. 🙂
The interesting thing is, it’s actually less expensive to live this way. My biggest cost was the plane ticket over there. Once I’m there, my money goes much, much further. A whole cart full of groceries is less than $50 USD. I walk everywhere and don’t pay for maintaining and insuring a vehicle. My utilities are rolled into my rental costs. I don’t have any debt and I don’t have room in my luggage to buy stuff, so my only costs are transportation, food, and housing. I have actually been able to put together a pretty good emergency fund while doing this, and I sure was grateful for that fund when I needed to rebuild a food supply for my daughter and myself.
I don’t want it to sound as though rambling around the world is the only option. I see a lot of folks online saying stuff like, “I won’t go to the movies because of the Aurora shooting” or “I won’t go to concerts because of the Vegas massacre” or “I don’t go further than ten miles from home in case I have to walk back.” Those kinds of restrictions are the ones that concern me. I think that it’s a great thing to be where you want to be and do what you want to do, regardless of where that is, but not to live in fear. It sounds like you’ve got a great set-up. There are definitely days I miss my chickens and garden, for sure. When I stay someplace for a month or more, I like to plant a few pots of herbs and greens on my balcony weather permitting.
You have been living the lifestyle I aspire to, so I completely appreciate this post. I have “taught” my two girls to love travel, and they are both able to go minimalist as needed.
I’m sorry others have felt compelled to criticize your choices. You’re a grown up and able to work out the choices you make. You go, girl!
As bad as this event has been, its not a true test for a prepper. Food is available in stores, home delivery and drive through. I’m still able to buy my meds and do my banking. My utilities, water and garbage pickup all still work. But what if you had been in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language, the stores are all out of stock and closed, banks closed and credit cards not working, with little cash reserves in the local currency, no precious metals and no serious weapons. Think grid down, maybe EMP or CME. Your two weeks supply of munchies would would buy you a little time, but after that you are sol. Do you have a plan for that, Daisy?
One day, maybe you are injured, sick, or starving, you can forget walking 5 – 10 miles a day. Or maybe in a more strictly enforced lock-down. Ok, you are not responsible for the care and feeding of others, young or old. You have no responsibility for anyone but yourself. But, most of us are responsible for others.
I see that you were having the time of your life and that’s a good thing, but your risks are higher. You obviously find those risks acceptable for the fun you are having. Being adaptable is a good thing and I suspect we all need more of that. But, being adaptable will not magically create you a supply of food or medicine.
Hey, Billybob – you’re absolutely right. There ARE things that can go wrong. Survival mode is something entirely different from preparedness. I just have to hope the skills I’ve attained will be enough to see me through if the worst were to happen.
The thing to remember is that this could happen to anyone, anywhere. If there was an SHTF event in the US and your house burned down and your local contacts had either bugged out or died, you’d be in a similar situation. Your focus would have to change to acquisition.
Of course, having stuff is important. At the first hint of a potential lockdown, I’d have been out there stocking up. I travel with at least 3 different currencies and some non-flashy yet valuable jewelry. At the point you’re describing, my focus changes to acquisition. I’m not saying it would be a whole lot of fun, or that it’s in any way “better” but when you boil it all down, it’s not as different as you might think.
I appreciate your input. Thank you so much for bringing up these points. 🙂
“Survival mode is something entirely different from preparedness”. Can you provide us with a list of what’s different? One you mentioned “non-flashy yet valuable jewelry”, presumably vs gold coins or similar. Or, maybe a list of survival skills? I know you have written a few articles on the skills you have learned, but a clear list would be useful to the rest of us. Heck, maybe write a book on the differences.
I perceptive that there could be a lack of a communication between the “skills/survivalist” people vs the “supplies” people. By that I mean words with different meanings or concepts basic to one group that the other doesn’t have a basis for. Like a mathematician trying to explain something to a people person. They only share the most basic of concepts.
“I’m not saying it would be a whole lot of fun, or that it’s in any way “better” but when you boil it all down, it’s not as different as you might think.” Please, explain the differences as you see them.
I hope I’m making myself clear.
Hi, Billybob. Here’s an article I wrote a while back about survivalism and prepping. https://www.theorganicprepper.com/difference-prepping-survivalism/
Prepping is about comfort and survival is more austere.
So, if I’m at home (assuming I had a home – currently I’m on the move) I’m going to collect things to keep myself comfortable. I’m planning to be warm, well-fed, and entertained. That’s prepping.
When I’m on the move, I have some essential supplies that fit in my backpack and I’m ready to leave everything else behind. I’m going to acquire things while on the move to keep myself alive. I’m planning to meet my basic needs for food, water, and shelter, but not necessarily to be comfy and cozy. That’s survival.
Both are important tactics and I strongly recommend both skillsets, as I wrote in my article referenced above. I hope this clarifies things a little better.
Thanks for the link. I read it at the time, but forgot. It does help me sort it out. It shows how both prepping and survival skills are important for a better chance of survival.
But, I worry about you in a foreign country, across an ocean. You addressed a couple of points I listed above and I am glad that you have that additional bit of backup. But, even including your valuable jewelry, you can’t carry enough “stuff”. I stand by my comment above ” Think grid down, maybe EMP or CME. Your two weeks supply of munchies would would buy you a little time, but after that you are sol.”
It seems, to me anyway, that you thrive on risk. What you have written about your past adventures shows, to me anyway, how much you thrive on risk. Heck, just running your own business is a big risk, especially an Internet business like you have.
Have fun, while you can, and good luck. It will be an adventure for me just to see what you will do next!
Great post, Daisy. And congratulations that you’re living your life the way you want. By the way, you don’t owe any of us an explanation, but we are richer for hearing it. You go girl!
Good for you! Your experience sounds so valuable, and thank you for sharing. Life is to be lived!
I wasn’t into prepping in 2002. Life was good, I had recently married my old college sweetheart after not seeing each other for almost 30 years. I had what I believed was sufficient money in the bank so at 55 I retired and we went sailing. I wasn’t a sailor, it just seemed like the right thing to do. We bought the boat in Annapolis, MD and motored down the Intercoastal Waterway to FL. Spent time there adapting to living in 400 sq. ft. We outfitted the boat as best we knew how and in Dec. 2004, along with two other sailboats crossed the Gulf of Mexico to Isla Mujeres, MX. We “coastal sailed” from there to Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and in 2007 sailed to Panama. We lived on the Caribbean side of Panama for 4 years before we decided we’d enjoyed that lifestyle as much as we could. We sold the boat and moved to southern Arizona. Quite a transition from 90 degrees and 90% humidity to 110 degrees and 4% humidity. We moved on shore in 2010.
That’s when I focused on the reality of what was happening here in the US. I got serious about prepping and applied lessons learned while sailing to prepping. You speak of adaptability – nothing requires being adaptable like trying to find parts for a Japanese engine in a country where Spanish is the native language. Learning to modify ordinary 110 volt items to operate on 12 volts required adaptability. Changing out fuel filters in rough seas, anchoring on rocky bottoms and finding the needle in the haystack that was the entrance to a small cove all tested our adaptability. I got so adaptable that our taxi driver in Panama City started calling me MacGyver (altho’ he pronounced it “Ma Geever”) as I’d tell him what I was looking for and he knew where to find it.
Food prep was essential as our fridge was about the size of a dorm fridge and the freezer about the size of a shoe box. So we had to have a sufficient supply of non-perishable food if we were planning to visit someplace away from a village. And we had to ensure that we had enough in case we were to get weathered in for any substantial length of time.
So “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome” kind of became our motto. But the good news (or maybe better) was that I learned to make some kick-butt meals out of canned goods. And on the plus side, every once in a while a local fisherman would show up with lobsters for very good prices.
I made some adaptations from the boat for our home. As we are in southern Arizona, water was one of my first concerns so I installed a 500 gallon water tank in the garage with a shallow well pump to re-pressurize the water back into the house. Through a series of valves, water comes in from the city to the tank, then is pumped back into the house so we have pressurized water throughout the house. If city water stops flowing or is contaminated, we can shut that valve and we’ll still have 500 gallons of potable water. The pump and 3 rooms in our house are on an off-grid solar system (2.5kW) so the pump is always available. I recently donated about $1,000 of MREs that were getting to the end of their shelf life for “victims” of the Coronavirus lockdown and have ordered new long term storage meals.
As an aside, I worked in the international operations of a large electronics firm and worked in 17 different countries on 5 continents (did business on the other two but didn’t travel to them). So I am intimately familiar with the learning experiences of international travel. Unfortunately I have also been exposed to how the rest of the world lives and can’t begin to say how painful it is that our youth thinks “socialism” is a good thing. But that is for another discussion.
So, I wanted to let you know that I agree completely with your assessment that chucking it all and traveling is a great way to learn, enjoy and expand your horizons and can pay off in more ways than just an album of photos and a mind full of memories.
Bravo, Daisy! Good for you. That’s totally cool.
You speak a lit of truth.. people sick sometimes and as hard as it is you have to do what is right for you not conform to make others happy. Life is for living…
I agree completely.
Imagine the shock to the system if you’re not able to adapt to the changing times.
I recently moved from Hobart to Brisbane, Australia and had to spend nights in Melbourne and Sydney airports , Two and a half days to do a 3hr plane trip.
This was during the peak of the lockdown, nothing open in Melbourne airport but a McDonald’s and I found myself a corner away from people, next to an unused ATM with a Power point and set myself up a little nest and slept on the floor.
I could do this because I have been homeless in the past, and I wasn’t going to avoid my move just because it could have been ‘ uncomfortable’.
I got to experience 6 major Australian airports under quarantine, martial law type conditions.
Had to go through military/police checkpoint in Brisbane.
I consider this a privilege of experience and I will not be so shocked when they line me up for refusing the vaccination/mark of the beast and I may be able to comfort others due to my lack of panic.
My life has never been comfortable.
I’m hoping to be given that as a gift of following Jesus in this life
Thanks Daisy for being an inspiration!
Keep rolling sister!????
A great perspective on adaptability. In my case, I went kind of opposite direction. I lived in many different countries, worked, and lived almost out of a suit case. Something of a jetsetter lifestyle. Many of my friends were shocked when I decided to live in the USA permanently and become a US citizen. People like to hang around like minded people, and some are unfortunately very quick to criticize others who are not the “norm” of their kind. I think you called out the key point that we all have our own choice to live how we want to live. That also comes with responsibilities and accountabilities based on our decision. I hope to teach my kids (we homeschool) more practical life skills, so they can be independent and survive in this unpredictable world. I had better youth while I was able to relatively safely travel around the world. However, I did not like socialism. I love the freedom I have in the USA. That is my choice. It is a long journey and constant effort needed to adapt, adjust, predict, plan, act, learn, improve, and enjoy life along the way. Especially, we do not have many prepper/survivalist type friends where we live. The social media influence on today’s youth is a big pain. I still need to figure out the ways to have my kids stop demand, complain, criticize and whine… Well, that’s another thing 🙂
Amen sister! As you know, I’m a fellow nomad who has settled down again(just in time I guess). I sold/gave away nearly everything I owned after quitting my job and selling my home and took off to spend a year doing what I’d never had time to do while working all the time and raising a kid on my own. The year turned into two and then nearly into three! I spent time in the US, Europe and the Middle East. It was an experience I’m so glad to have had. Did it mean I didn’t have a stockpile of 100 lbs of rice or something? Well yeah. But like you pointed out so well, what we learned about getting around, staying in multitudes of places, sleeping anywhere etc goes a long way to making us more resilient. Knowing how little we actually need to get by on is a real skill. Realizing that most stuff is just “stuff” and that it’s the people that are important is good knowledge to have. And knowing how to start over again quickly is a good skill to have.
I was still moving from place to place, now back in the US when my little spidey sense made me start paying serious attention to this new virus in China. I started stocking up as best as I could given my still mobile living situation and small car. Still, when it all got crazy, I wasn’t in line buying TP, hand sanitizer, masks or wipes and I had garden seeds, food etc as well. Preparedness shouldn’t mean that you defer living your life and following your dreams as “something might happen”.
I am a bit envious of you, was in Greece last year and Ireland the year before. Truly did not want to leave Ireland. When all this began in March I quickly realized we had too much “stuff”. I would love to sell ALL of it, take the spouse and the dog and go nomad. In the end, none of the stuff goes to the next world with you and your kids won’t want it. If America goes south, which I believe it will, none of it matters. I had always looked forward to growing older and fading away, but I don’t think that’s going to get to happen.
Paul Fitch and Rachael Silver-Kudos to both of you! And you too Daisy! Fabulous that you are -were smart enough to think things through and yet move forward with some awesome things in your life! Not letting fear rule you. Paul, I’m a native Arizonan and live not to far from you. It’s stinking hot here in the summers and I would LOVE to live by the water. Well maybe North Eastern Az. Up where there is 4 seasons. Blessings to all!
This kind of nomadic travel sounds a bit like a practice bug-out to test yourself. Anyway, I’m glad you got to do it.
Daisy, you know I have been a huge supporter of your decision to ‘go nomad’! Like many others here, I truly enjoyed your sharing your journey on social media. This ‘explanation’ totally makes sense to me. We are ‘old homebodies’ anyhow, so we don’t ‘mind’ hunkering down. We can’t wait to get camping again, tho. I am trying to convince the DH that we could ‘go nomad’ and travel, the industries we both work in are hiring everywhere…
Today’s post DOES make me think that we are a bit to ‘comfortable’ with all of our ‘stuff’, tho.
Daisy you are my inspiration!
Good for you for accomplishing a life goal! But what about your dog?
My daughters have our family pets 🙂
I was afraid to ask that question. I’m glad you did.
Dogs are family to us ❤️
Being “stuck” sucks. I’m glad you were able to jettison the cruft and go do what you want. I try to challenge myself camping every so often with less and less stuff.
Travel and experience of new cultures and foods is great. It makes you have to adapt.
Good for you for going where you felt you needed to be.
I noticed that your site seemed different. And, I wondered what had happened. Not that it was “different” in a wrong way, but it was noticeable.
In a way, I understand what you are doing, and I’m sure you are having a wonderful time. But, I need to ask – aren’t you lonesome?
Maybe not. I’m the kind of person that can spend days and days, probably weeks and even months alone. But not many people can do that. Do you think you will some day suddenly decide to come home? Do you have plans for when that happens?
I do understand that you are living the way you want and I’m confident that everything you have learned about preparedness and survival is being honed.
Hi, TC 🙂 Well, currently I’m in the US visiting my daughter. Like you, I’m an introvert so I cherish all the alone time.
With the internet, I can easily keep in touch with friends and family back in the US. I talk to my daughters daily. And I’ve easily made new friends every place I’ve stayed for more than a week. This is just making my circle bigger.
And if I get tired of it, I can easily hop on a plane and come back to the US. That’s the thing with stuff like this – it’s easy to stop. I don’t have a specific plan, but I have good credit and a solid emergency fund. Returning should be no problem. I also have visits planned in both directions – with loved ones coming to me to explore and a yearly trip back.
Daisy, while you may say you are an “introvert,” I have a feeling you can also make fast friends in any location.
Good for Daisy,you’ve learn alot about yourself. I had the same feelings when I lived in Barcelona(1988) and got lost one night in Germany(93) and barely spoke the language.Never been so cold in my life(another story). When pressed or in a difficult situation abroad, some people will always find a way.
What I’ve learn throughout this whole crisis,is really how soft the American public is and I’m alarmed even though we live in the greatest country in the World!
The wife and I had a discussion about how travel used to be considered one of the cornerstones to an education. You can read about a foreign place, the people, their culture, society and food.
But that is not the same as experiencing it.
I have been to the top of Mt. Fuji, The Great Wall of China, The Eiffel Tower at Christmas, slept in the shadow of the Hindu Kush (Western part of the Himalayan mountain range in Afghanistan), rode a horse bare back (OUCH!) in the Caribbean, climbed the Temple of the Sun outside of Mexico City and to The Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City. Visit New Orleans and experience Mardi Gras, but only do it once. SCUBA dived and saw a 6ft Green Moray eel, his body was bigger than my thigh, seen octopus change colors right in front of me, a Grouper that had to weight 300lbs, and a Sea Turtle bigger than a kitchen table, glide like a hawk in flight past me with graceful ease.
I am forgetting many more, but those stand out.
Being there with family made it all the better.
To a degree, COVID19 may have put a dampener on the readily ability of those to have those experiences, be it limits on travel or the means to afford those travels. But then we will have to make our own experiences here in the States.
There is still plenty to see and experience here in the US.
Go South, ask for a Coke, and they ask,
Ask for a “pop,” (per my Mid-West upbringing) and they look at you like you have a turnip for a head.
“Go South, ask for a Coke, and they ask, “What kind?”” Yup, you got that right! There must be 6 or 8 different kinds in a convenience store cooler, But restaurants will have only two kinds. I make a point to say “diet coke” because a regular code has so much sugar that one will pull this diabetic out of a low blood sugar episode. I know, I have had to do that 4 or 5 times.
I traveled all over the country on business back it the 90s. I have even said “pop” and “soda”, where the locals used those words. The words “diet coke” will work anywhere in the US.
Ken Neumeyer in his book “Sailing the Farm” made the following list for a long-term emergency, listed from most to least important:
1) Knowledge—even if you’ve lost everything else, you can start over again
2) Tools—add tools to knowledge and you can do a lot more
3) Supplies—these get used up, so need knowledge and tools to resupply
4) Gold and silver—you can’t eat them, good only if someone wants them.
I think he’s right. Even in the order of importance. I think too many preppers have the order backwards. With knowledge comes resilience and adaptability. With knowledge and tools you’ll have something to barter, either by a service or can make a desired product.
Don’t get me wrong, supplies are good to have. At least a couple of months worth. But after a while they’ll run out, and that’s where steps #1 knowledge and #2 tools come in.
Its your life. Live it in a way that pleases you. I have always felt that everything in life evens out in the end. Let me explain. A person may find joy and happiness in living what could be called an adventurous life, taking chances, go places they know may not be so safe and having experiences they feel enriches their lives. It all also has great potential to shorten their lives due to the increased risks they take to achieve that enrichment. Yet another person may find joy and happiness because they feel they are exactly where they are meant to be, putting down roots and keeping family close. They may never feel the exhilaration of the adventurous lifestyle of being unencumbered and ‘footloose and fancy free’, but their life on this earth is more likely to be much longer. Basically we all have the same bucket. Its just how fast we fill it up and with what. There are always exceptions, of course.
Preppers are not all survivors, and survivors are not all preppers.
Daisy…I laughed at this one…”You’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer.” People can be mean. It is kinda funny though…what are you now – a vagabond, a wanderer, a gypsy, or just a wandering, lost soul? Be careful – you don’t want to turn into a gypsy. Enjoy your time, learn new things, meet new people, just don’t become a permanent wanderer. I imagine after a year, the wanderer’s lifestyle would leave a person feeling like a lost soul. Having an anchor keeps us grounded and comfortable. I hope we don’t wake up one day reading Daisy’s Gypsy Blog. Lol.
“There is no “stuff” that is worth dying for. (And you’ve got more “stuff” cached anyway, right?) People are worth dying for, but not “stuff.” You can always get more stuff – even in an SHTF scenario.”
I have to disagree. That depends on what “stuff” your talking about. There are some things that can’t be replaced in some SHTF events. What if you have to have some specific meds to live and the trucks aren’t running the drug stores are all closed. When your out of those meds, you die. Maybe not quickly and maybe very painfully! I can’t bury/cache my meds in the back yard. I would just have to dig them up to rotate them every time I picked up a prescription at the drugstore (pre-SHTF).
Not everybody is as young and healthy as you. Nor as resilient. You are more adaptable than I am and I think that I am more adaptable than most. Rules and risks that work for you don’t work for everybody. When you are 80 you will know what I am talking about.
“There is no “stuff” that is worth dying for.” Is just plain wrong!
It also depends on who you are surrendering to. I suppose in some (very unlikely) cases you could count on the thief just taking your “stuff” and leaving all the people in your home untouched. In a SHTF event where the rule of law is gone, either temporarily or forever, you should expect the females will be ravaged and all people either killed or taken as slaves. Certainly, us useless eaters will be killed. No, Daisy, they will have to pry my cold dead finger away to take my family and my “stuff”.
I’ve done the same… Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Germany, Iceland… etc. For a few years. What did I actually learn? Well, I learned that things have a way of working out.. always. I learned to trust my gut. It never lies. I learned to be resilient. I learned that people are most always helpful and kind. I learned to speak German, Spanish and Russian… But I also learned that there’s no place like home. Why? Simply because it’s home. I still love travel though and that will never change. I spent January and February in Argentina…
I wish you well in your quest… because at the end of the day that’s what it is. 🙂