Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
A while back, I wrote an article to let you know that I was heading to Croatia this spring to attend a survival course. Well, it turns out that I’m going to be able to stay in the Balkans for a little while longer and meet with Selco. I’m pretty excited about that opportunity! It’s one thing to read the articles but it’s going to take things to a whole different level to be able to walk in the same streets where it all went down.
I thought that some of you might enjoy a little something different – basically a travel diary of my trip. I know this won’t be of interest to everyone – no hard feelings if it’s not for you. Maybe some of the things I learned will be helpful. Maybe it’ll just be entertaining. But let’s try it out, shall we?
Selco’s privacy is essential, so some things, like locations or any identifying information, will be vague or omitted altogether. Please don’t ask me to be more specific about that stuff, okay? 🙂
If you have anything you want to know or anything you want me to ask Selco, just post it in the comments and I’ll do my best to cover it over the course of my trip.
What I’m taking for a month in the Balkans
First things first – packing.
I have a 50-pound limit before the price of my luggage goes way, way up. So the goal is to keep it under 50 pounds. Because I don’t completely trust my scale, I’m shooting for more like 45 pounds. Normally I pack light, but I’m bringing lots of goodies that they can’t get over there (at least not for a good price), as well as a few pieces of survival gear for the course.
I’m limited, of course, by the TSA regarding what I can take in my carryon, but as long as you don’t have flammable stuff, explosives, or guns, you have a lot more freedom in your checked luggage.
Aside from the items covered below, I have a loaded Kindle, a few physical books, a voltage converter, my laptop, cosmetics, and my curling iron. Oh, and peanut M&Ms. Yeah, I know, I’m the Organic Prepper but these suckers are the perfect survival snack. Protein, fat, and sugar that won’t melt or get squashed in your luggage.
I’m bringing clothes for a variety of occasions. Your first thought when choosing what to take for a survival course might lean toward 511 tactical clothing or camo. But personally, I don’t think that is a great idea. I spent a lot of time watching videos from the areas where I’ll be going to get an idea of how the locals dress and learned that ladies there tend to be well-groomed and nicely dressed. Dressing down too much would make a person stick out like a sore thumb, and that certainly isn’t very gray (wo)man, is it?
The clothes I’m bringing will hopefully be appropriate for a variety of outings. I’ve packed:
- 4 pairs of jeans
- 4 pairs of black leggings
- 2 pairs of capri pants
- 1 pair of dress pants
- 4 long skirts
- 5 dresses (2 dressy, 3 casual-touristy)
- A bunch of neutral t-shirts
- 5 nicer shirts
- 2 scarves
- Casual flats
- Dressy sandals
- Socks and undies
So why did I choose what I did?
Well, first of all, the course is urban survival and the most important thing in those situations is blending in with the people around you. So I wanted to have comfortable yet wear relatively stylish clothes. Also, I want to dress fairly normally. Imagine if the balloon went up while I was shopping in the city.
Secondly, I mostly stayed away from shirts with writing or overt symbols on them. Since I’ll be in a non-English speaking country, slogans would be a dead giveaway. Since people all over the world seem to have opinions on our politics, I didn’t wear anything that could be controversial. Why ask for trouble?
As for the scarves and longer skirts, some of the places I’ll be visiting are very conservative. If something happened while I was there and I wanted to blend in, a scarf could quickly turn into a head covering. Plus they’re handy-dandy for tourniquets, too.
I always wear comfortable shoes so I’m just bringing my usual stuff. Also, when I wear a dressy shoe, I always have a pair of canvas Bobs in my purse. (Those suckers are comfy and more supportive than you’d imagine.)
Generally, my everyday carry kit is fairly small and lightweight. I have my car with me 99% of the time and that’s where the heavier stuff is. My usual EDC consists of my Glock 19, an extra magazine, a small med kit, lip balm, a pocketknife, a lighter, and a Sawyer mini. My keychain is on a carabiner with some paracord and a little LED flashlight. I always have a scarf or bandana tied to my purse. It looks decorative but it’s very useful.
For the purpose of this course, I’m going up a step with a few extra things. I’m carrying a smallish leather backpack that looks like a purse as opposed to something loaded with survival gear. And I’m making sure it’s not too heavy. I had surgery a couple of months back and I’m not supposed to do much lifting. Also, nothing will wear you down faster than carrying something that is too heavy for you. So, no matter who you are or what your fitness level is, be honest with yourself when figuring out what you can actually carry.
I’m adding a full bottle of Benadryl (foreign country + food allergies), a bigger med kit, a teeny little shelter that I got at Wal-mart (it’s easily purse-sized – I’ll report back how it holds up, a fixed blade knife, a multitool, and sunglasses.
Because the weather there can be fine one moment and then have 70 mph wind and torrential rain the next, I’m bringing a hooded and water-resistant jacket that rolls up small, extra socks and hair elastics. You guys may wonder why on earth I need hair elastics, but trust me – it’s not to be fashionable. Ask any woman with hair long enough to get in her eyes. Imagine having shoulder-length or longer hair worn down with 70 mph wind. Your hair will literally blind you. It will blow in your eyes, your nose, and your mouth. Hair elastics and a scarf will be very helpful in such a situation.
I also have a big water bottle that can clip onto my belt loop with a carabiner. I’ll let you know how successful all this stuff is after the course.
The TSA is the bane of my travel-existence, but I play to win. How do I win? By not getting fondled and not to get anything taken away.
In my carryon, I have 3 full outfits from the skin out, my laptop, make-up, a hairbrush, and a couple of books. I also have a toothbrush and some PJs so that I can get comfy faster when I get to my Airbnb. The real goal of my carryon is to be comfortable if for some horrific reason my luggage didn’t arrive when I did so for that reason, I am also carrying my prescription medication.
From a survival perspective, I have baby wipes, hand sanitizer, an N95 mask, and a small variety of OTC meds to cover heartburn, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, or allergies. I swiped an almost-empty pack of cigarettes from my neighbor to justify my lighter and ball of yarn and a plastic crochet hook to justify my scissors. I have my trusty Sawyer mini, sunglasses, and a bandana, too.
Because it’s an overnight flight, I hope to catch a few Zzzs. I have headphones, a bluesy playlist on my phone, and one of those weird neck pillows. My daughter swears by them, so I agreed to give it a try. I have a long, soft cardigan that is big enough to use as a blanket and a pair of cozy socks. I’m wearing leggings, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Oh. And a fanny pack. My kid swears they’re in style again. In the fanny pack are my wallet, phone, and passport.
I’ll say hi again soon!
All said and done, my travel time from airport to airport is 16 hours and 45 minutes. I have a layover in Munich just in time for breakfast and I’m open to recommendations for what I should eat while I’m there. Anyone?
Be sure to let me know in the comments what you’d like me to write about while I’m away. And if there’s anything you’d like me to ask Selco, I can do that too!
I’ll probably be draggy for a day after all that travel time and jet lag, but I’ll be sure to regale you with stories from the flight soon!
Other articles in this series:
- Prepper’s Travel Diary: What I’m Packing
- Prepper’s Travel Diary: Traveling to Croatia
- Prepper’s Travel Diary: It’s a Different Lifestyle in the Balkans
- Prepper’s Travel Diary: Meeting Selco
- The Truth Modern Civil War in Photographs
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who 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. She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her family. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.