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.
I dont care what that Zukerburger guy says, VR is no replacement for being there. Be it the top of Mount Fuji, The Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower at Christmas, the pyramids outside of Mexico city.
Nothing beats the street food in Shanghai, Pohang South Korea, or the Food Truck festival in Syracuse NY.
The last movie I saw in the theater was the latest Godzilla movie. Gotta see the Big Guy on the big screen!
Seen The Police, The Eagles, Melissa Etheridge and many more live in concert. Would not trade it for anything. Something about experiencing that with a crowd of fans.
And sometimes it is nice to go to a good restaurant, sit outside, watch and listen to the river flowing past over a nice red wine someone brought to me. The 16oz Delmonico (medium rare of course) with bourbon sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and seared green beans did not hurt.
I tell my daughter “At a party, be the most interesting person in the room, without being arrogant about it.” And do it by experiencing life! Get out there and see the world! Never be that guy who has never been anywhere, done nothing. I am sure he surfs the web very well.
No one on their death bed said, “I wish I spent more time at the office,” or “I wish I spent more time surfing the internet.”
There is a big difference in “giving in” and not being dumb. If you go to vacation where men with machine guns guard you on the beach that’s dumb.
I spend 8-16hrs a day trying not to get killed so I may pull back more than most but when I do things I do them in a smart manner. Take the upcoming 4th for example. I am going out to watch in a place where we can sit next to my parked truck that has my bag, rifle and kit. I will still enjoy it fully but I will maintain vigilance, react accordingly and be sober until we are in a better location such a home. The reason is because it’s perfect for an attack. The noises are similar and loud and will cover the evil doings and the crowds are concentrated, drunk and easy and it will hit at a sacred time that will cause issues for years.
Chances are I will unload sleepy grandkids and my kit at the end however if not PaPa will put in the work that I hoped they’d never see firsthand.
Once Venezuela has been freed, I am going to build a small all-included type of motel. Bikers, elders, veterans and preppers friendly.
There you will be able to relax like never in your life 🙂 trust me, buddy.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Me? Croatia in May held a lot of firsts: the first time I ever snuck up on a house, the first time I hid in the dark as a grown up, the first time I saw real-life gypsies, the first time I drank rakija…that list could go on and on. I think travel is the best way to find those firsts that you never realized were missing 🙂
That “first” experience comes almost daily with grandkids. I missed a lot of my kids firsts being deployed or training so I’m catching up.
Went skydiving a few years ago as a first. Had some firsts in Moab and the Rockies a couple ago. Made my first morning star impact weapon. I’m learning HAM as a first. Had sushi as a first not too long ago (didn’t like it). Built a 7.5″ AR as a first last week. I put airbags on my truck for the first time and resided a barn by myself for the first time. I’m taking a votech “how to prepare a will” course for the first time next month.
Heck even the day I die will be a first!
I might prepare but I’m living in the meantime. Daisy exemplifies this in her journey by getting out and doing. We gotta live and enjoy and I hope everyone is doing so and experiencing “firsts” because it’s what makes living good.
I agree we shouldn’t live our lives in fear neglecting enjoyable activities just because “something” might happen. I have encouraged my children to travel when they can and take the opportunity to see the world. It has given them a broader prospective and an appreciation of the blessing we have in our country. If you live a prepared lifestyle, you’ll be much more able to adjust to sudden changes , if they come.
It’s an old saying:
If you give in and stay home, the terrorists win.
I believe Osama (not Obama miss-pellled) said something similar.
We are quite content staying at home and being by ourselves.As we’ve gotten older, the urge to explore has lessened, and we don’t normally enjoy being in large crowds. But we do enjoy attending NASCAR races as our finances allow, and our yearly vacation is to a race local to us. We camp when we attend races, so we arrive pretty well prepared. Situational awareness is big whenever you are outside your ‘comfort zone’ . Choosing where and when you want to go someplace are also important. But, yes, preppers can and should ‘vacation’. Explorations outside your ‘comfort zone’ will only enhance your prepper skills!
You’re 100% right Daisy!! Thank you for another great article, one that is practical but also optimistic and inspirational.
For me, personally, I would prefer to travel all corners of the United States than to travel abroad. I was a history major and social studies teacher for many years, so I am enthusiastic about studying ancient civilizations/different countries and would love to see the sites in person…. Or “Downton Abbey” – Highclere Castle! But I’m not a fan of flying so I have to be realistic too lol
Ultimate goals – road trips, camp and explore the natural wonders, historic sites, national parks and beautiful small towns of these great United States. And hopefully visit Disney a few more times too! ☺️
Besides being expensive, Paris has become a a sh****** . The Eiffel Tower has literally a line a mile long. Most of the streets of Paris are filthy, rats are everywhere, large sections of the metro are falling apart. London is not much better, both cities have the same MacDonald’s, the same Benetton, etc. etc., stores you can find at any city across the planet. These are two cities you must know where the threats are. In Paris it’s the Chapelle-Pajol district (10th-18th arrondissements) you want to avoid because they can become volatile at any time due to migrant overflow – there also is the overflowing trash bins and the rats – that are overwhelming. Of course, chances are probably higher you’ll get robbed, arrested over by rogue cops for failure to signal, or pick up some typhus health authorities expect an epidemic by end of summer. Best bet for these two countries is to go where there are few tourists. Big crowds attract nutcases with nail bombs. No one except the police and criminals are allowed to carry guns. If you get caught with a knife too big you get arrested and fined. In Germany, carrying a knife or a screw driver is verboten, period.