Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
I like to travel to foreign lands and go to concerts. There are certain films I want to see at the theater with a giant tub of popcorn in my lap. (Some movies are just so much better on the big screen!) To me, Disneyworld really is the happiest place on earth. I love going alone to places I’ve never been and exploring on foot for hours. I like to eat out at restaurants and have you actually visited a place if you haven’t partaken in some local street food?
I have the soul of a nomad. I’m happiest when I’m going to new places and experiencing new things. I’ve got a bucket list 3 pages long and I intend to check off every single thing on it.
Can you still be a prepper and do that stuff?
None of these things are especially “prepper-ish” however, and sometimes they cause people to question whether I am actually a prepper at all.
You can look at the comments on just about any article I write that mentions going on a vacation or a road trip or to an event of some description.
People are genuinely concerned about my safety. They’re shocked that a prepper would go travel around the country with her daughter when X is going on. They can’t believe I go to the movies after the Aurora theater shooting. They wonder how I can subject myself to being felt up/scanned/interrogated by the TSA. People were stunned (and maybe even a little bit horrified) when I announced I was going all the way to the Balkans to take a survival course with Selco. And once I went full nomad, holy guacamole, they couldn’t believe it.
All of these are legitimate questions and ones each of us must answer for ourselves.
As for me, I refuse to stop living my life.
Isn’t staying home “giving in?”
If you subscribe to the notion that Agendas 21 and 2030 are all about the powers-that-be corralling us and keeping us under their control, isn’t staying home just giving in to that plan? Isn’t refusing to go on a plane and leave the country kowtowing to them?
As unpleasant as it is to deal with the TSA I’m not going to let some thugs on a power trip keep me from visiting ancient cities that are thousands of years old.
As much as it makes me feel like a criminal when I come and go for customs to quiz me and search my belongings, I refuse to let them win. I will go and see the world whether they like it or not. And each time, I’ll bring a little bit of it back with me.
And what about terrorists?
If I stop going to concerts or movie theaters or festivals in the park because it might get blown up or shot up, isn’t that letting the terrorists win? I will do my very best to be alert and situationally aware, but by gosh, I’m not going to sit at home out of fear. I’m not going to convince myself that home or my small town or my country are the only places that I can be safe.
Why make your world small because of those people? Obviously, don’t go out and deliberately put yourself in danger. I’m not going hiking in a bikini in a country run by the Taliban. That’s not “living my life.” That’s just stupid.
I’ll be aware and respectful of local customs when I travel, as that is just common courtesy when visiting someone else’s home. I will be watchful, understand what baseline is for the place where I am, and take quick action if baseline changes.
None of these things mean you have to stay home.
Yes, we live in a world where terror attacks and mass shootings seem to be a weekly occurrence in the news. And it’s a matter of luck – good or bad – whether you happen to be there.
Just remember: bad things can happen at your local Piggly Wiggly when you’re there picking up a bag of potatoes. It can happen at a gas station when you stop to fill up. It can happen at your child’s piano recital. It can (and has more and more recently) happen at your place of worship.
Bad things can happen anywhere. And you need to be aware of this.
But you don’t need to give up your dreams of travel (if that is a dream of yours – it might not be) and you don’t need to limit your shopping to Amazon because there might be a mall shooter. You don’t have to wait a year for movies to show up on Netflix if you enjoy going to the theater.
It really sucks that so many people out there want to harm innocent people, but when you change your lifestyle because of them, they’ve won. And that’s sad indeed.
Maybe you can expand your comfort zone.
This isn’t written for the people who are angrily saying, “Daisy, you’re nuts. My home is the best place on earth and I’m happy as a clam staying here.”
If you’ve found your happy place and you’re lucky enough to live in it, that’s wonderful. Truly.
But if you dream of faraway lands, kissing the person you love in front of the Eiffel tower, eating pasta in Italy, and swimming in the impossibly blue Aegean Sea, then you should do it.
If you want to walk barefoot on the beach in California, don’t stand there in the sand thinking about tsunamis. You feel that warm sand between your toes and smell that unforgettable ocean-scented air.
If you yearn to watch a parade in New Orleans or drink the local homebrew of a dozen countries, do it.
And if your dreams are closer to home, that’s great too.
If there’s a festival in the park this weekend with your favorite local band, go. If you want to go dancing until the wee hours at your local pub, dance until you have to take your shoes off and then dance some more. If you want to try the new restaurant in town that serves up some exotic fare, give it a shot and make sure everyone orders something different so you can taste more stuff.
The point I’m trying to make is that you shouldn’t let fear hold you hostage. You shouldn’t let governmental policies to which you object make you a prisoner no matter how wonderful you’ve made your personal prison.
Some safety guidelines
Obviously, there are some guidelines to keep yourself safe. This entire article on event safety is written by a former international threat expert.
- The TSA is going to make you angry. It’s a sad fact of life that air travel comes with an invasion of privacy. I know what the rules are and what they can and cannot do, and I am not afraid to make a scene, record them, or ask for a supervisor if they exceed those rules. Anyway, once I get through being fondled by the TSA, I’m able to move along to my adventure. Here are some supplies you can take on a plane.
- Remain situationally aware. Understand what “baseline” activity is for the place where you are, and if that changes, pay attention. Get out of there if need be. Read Left of Bang for more information about this.
- Understand local customs. Don’t travel to a different country and expect them to adapt to your expectations. You are in their home. So if you yearn to visit some exotic place and you need to cover your shoulders or your hair, do it. If there’s a line of footwear beside the front door of a home you are visiting, take your shoes off too. Be respectful.
- Don’t over-imbibe. If you’re enjoying some delicious local wine with your delicious local dinner, know your limit. The same thing goes for weed or other drugs in which you might want to partake – that’s up to you. But it’s only sensible to keep your wits about you when you are out in an unfamiliar place.
- Know what the threats are. There are some cities where pickpocketing is huge. There are others where beautiful young women will flirt with a man, spike his drink, and steal everything he owns when they go back with him to his room. Different areas have different threats – it’s important to know what they are so you can protect yourself.
- Listen to your instincts. If you have warning bells going off in your head, trust them. You are feeling this way for a reason. Nearly everyone, when something terrible happens, recalls a moment when things started to “feel” wrong.
- Find exits and cover. The first thing you should do anywhere you are is to find the exits and points of cover. A quick trick I learned during the survival course I took with Selco and Toby was that in a shopping mall, you can snap a photo of the fire exits when you walk in. Try to maintain a good view of the main entrance and don’t be afraid to make a scene by setting off alarms making a speedy exit if things go south. Remember that cover is different from concealment. Concealment means you’re hidden. Cover means a bullet is unlikely to penetrate what you’re hiding behind. (We discussed some of this in an assessment of the takeover of that terminal at the Paris airport.)
- Identify weapons of opportunity. One thing I really dislike about foreign travel is that I can’t carry a firearm. But it is what it is. I’m not going to stop traveling because of it. I’m constantly on the lookout for things that could be used to injure an attacker. Bottles, bludgeons, knives, you name it. There’s always something you can use to protect yourself. It won’t be as good as a gun, but I won’t go down without one hell of a fight.
The only thing stopping you is YOU.
If you want to get out there and seek adventure, the only thing stopping you is you. You can blame it on terrorists, the government, stupid laws, the TSA, or any number of threats.
But you have the power to take that step and grab that adventure if it’s what you want. If you are content staying home that’s fine too. I’m not trying to convince anyone to go do things they don’t want to do. But I know from my comments section and my emails that there are some of you out there who want to go do things but it feels as though it’s at odds with their preparedness goals.
It doesn’t have to be. You can work travel and adventure and entertainment into your budget and still be a good prepper. You can learn survival skills that you can take with you anywhere on the planet.
If you aren’t content, know that you can change it. This is the only life I get and I’m going to live the heck out of my time here. This is the only world I have and I’m going to make it as big as I can.