Selco: Are You TRULY Adaptable Enough to Leave Everything Behind to Survive?

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Author of The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

People want definitive solutions, manuals that gonna help them step by step, lead them from point A to point B. It works in any field of life, so it works too in the field of survival.

It is one of the reasons why we as humans become more and more dependent on the system-we are simply got used to manuals, disclaimers, warnings, advisories and similar things.

It affects us in every aspect of life. It is not a problem right now to live by manuals, disclaimers, warnings, etc. The real problem is in fact that one day all those things will be gone when SHTF, and if you are really conditioned to live by it you are in deep problems then.

Books are written about bugging out or bugging in, and some of those books are good, but again, just like we are conditioned to follow manuals we are also conditioned to have OPINIONS and stick to it. So somehow it became modern to have an opinion about everything, and to stick hard to it, even more- to fight with people who have other opinions.

Bugging out, bugging in

Preppers usually choose prior SHTF are they gonna bug out or bug in when S hit the fan. And then based on that decision they put majority of their efforts into the direction and plan based are they bugging in or bugging out.

So, for example, people choose to bug out and most of their effort and money they invest in bug-out bags, vehicles, bug-out locations, planning their routes there, etc., etc.

Or people who plan to bug in invest all effort in reinforcing home, basement, stash or whatever. It seems that we forget that SHTF is by definition most probably going to be something unexpected, and it is going to force us to alter our plans.

Altering and adapting

Altering and adapting are words that preppers put for their profile pictures on prep forums, or patches on survival uniforms, logos and similar. Those words are everywhere in survival and prepping world, it is like every prepper is completely and absolutely ready to adapt, and still, somehow I have a feeling that many of us gonna die simply because, for example, they are not willing to walk long distances, stay without AC, be without favorite food and similar.

Altering and adapting are big words when it comes to survival, they are hardcore words. Now take into consideration here my words from the beginning of the article  -that we are conditioned to follow orders, manuals, warnings. We are conditioned by the system.

As a result of all this mentioned above in this article we have this:

We have a whole bunch of preppers, who chose today that they going to bug out or bug in, then they are preparing for one of those solutions, putting all effort in that solution, and they are willing and ready to stick hard to that plan. Even if that means death, sometimes, because they simply not gonna spot flaws in that plan, they stick so hard to it, they love it.

Owning things

The big thing here, or we can say the big problem here is about “owning things”. We all as preppers over years and years of prepping collect and store thing that we think will make life easier or possible once when SHTF. Those physical things bring us a feeling of security, things like food, water or weapons, and all is perfectly logical there.

I mean owning weapon when SHTF is a priority, right? Yes, it is.

But the ultimate priority of survival is to survive.

Many of us mix things here about survival, things that you have to have to survive, things that are important, less important, comfort vs. necessity and similar – it is a huge topic.

But for this article, we need to understand that things are just like that – things. Yes, they make our life easier. But believe it or not, life is possible without many things. The final result here for many preppers is gonna be the fact that they might die, because they will value too much their physical preps, and they may fail to recognize the moment when they need to leave everything and run.

It is very easy to fall into that trap – to start to value your preps so much, you collected those things so hard, you invest your money into food stash, into 10 different kinds of weapons, into a bug-out vehicle, into a cabin in the woods.

So one day when SHTF you want SO HARD to reach that BOL because it is beautiful there, and so ready with a stash of everything for 5 years. And then you fail to realize that you needed to bug in for several weeks.

Or in another case you invested money for years into making a fortress out of your home, an underground bunker with many preps and similar, and one day when SHTF you simply refuse to run from all that even if that means you’ll save your life. You refuse to leave because staying is your plan. You stay and you die.

Should you bug in or should you bug out?

Often I have questions like “ should I bug in or bug out?”. And most of the time my answer is simply, “I do not know”. It is an honest answer because I do not know where you live, how many family members you have, what kind of place you live in, criminal activities around you, your skills and preps… and even if I knew all that I still do not know what kind of SHTF will happen in your case. How could I know if you need to bug out or bug in?

What I know are things and problems that you might face during bugging out or bugging in, you need to mix those problems into your own settings and make decisions.

And never forget that everything may change when the SHTF for real.  Anything from your kid needing an antibiotic and being too sick to leave home to an EMP or a wildfire, for example.

So what is the solution?

Learn everything that you can (books, courses, experiences, skills, techniques).

Be ready to leave everything (physical) in a split second if that means survival and life.

Learn to operate in terms of “less is more” or in other words, try whenever you can to substitute dependence on things with owning knowledge of a particular skill. For example, owning a big stash of water is great, owning skills and means to purify near water sources is even better.

Be ready to alter your plans – do not value your current plan so much that you are ready to die for it. Have an open and flexible mind so you can recognize that moment when your current plan becomes worthless. Do not act like “my plan (bugging out, or bugging in) is so good that I am ready to die for it.

Be ready to survive, not to die.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

Selco: Are You TRULY Adaptable Enough to Leave Everything Behind to Survive?
Selco

Selco

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Read more of Selco's articles here. Buy his PDF books here. Take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge by signing up for his unrivaled online course. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

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  • Bug in Bug out , that is a question for sure… BUT, if the elect grid goes down… doesn’t that stop all fuel, transportation, banks and gov? So as long as Elect grid is good you can move…. if grid not good… even the gov is limited….

    • The Government will NOT be limited in any meaningful way be a mere electrical grid failure. Essential functions are ALL backed up by generators fed by the Strategic Oil Reserve. Deplorables like you and I, however, will be at a distinct disadvantage by comparison.

      Don’t deceive yourself. That boot on your throat WON’T be coming off just because the lights go out. It would be a minor inconvenience to them at worst. In reality, it would be a huge strategic advantage for them.

  • looks like it really depends on the situation – if a person was so focused on bugging in, and the hurricane was headed their way, so they refused to leave…. might be the last choice they made. flexibility is key, but can be a challenge.

  • Another insightful article Selco! I don’t know if this was your intention, but you really highlighted the difference between preppers and survivalists…at least in MY mind.

    As you say, the objective of a survivalist is to SURVIVE at all costs.

    The objective of preppers is to be PREPARED for any contingency…including going to war with the full knowledge that you may NOT survive.

    These two fields are closely interrelated but distinctly different. Survivalists prep to survive…full stop. Preppers prep for everything…including the most meaningful way to die.

    I can perfectly understand not wanting to get involved in a no win scenario such as you endured in the balkanization of the former Yugoslavia. It was a wise choice in my estimation. You knew you had a place to escape to IF you survived long enough for the opportunity to present itself.

    That having been said, circumstances are quite different here in the USA. First, the US was created to be the most favorable nation for personal Liberty in the history of this planet. Human nature is such that whenever you build something worth having, someone will always be there to try to take it from you. EVERY TIME.

    Many of my ancestors gave their last drop of blood creating and defending this country as Founded. I also perfectly understand and agree with THEIR decision.

    It basically comes down to “survival at any cost” versus “Death before Dishonor”.

    I can put my pride in my pocket as well as the next man, but where in the world would I run to? I already live in what used to be the greatest nation on planet Earth. Personally, I believe dying in a fight to preserve a way of life for my fellow countrymen and their descendants an honorable endeavor, and I pray I am not alone in that thinking.

    So, yes. I AM locked into my “plan”. I will not go quietly into that night. I will RAGE against the dying of the light.

    A sincere thank you for ripping that bandaid off my soul.

    As the Oracle told Neo in The Matrix: Reloaded, “You’ve already made the choice, Neo. Now you have to understand it.”

    Your article helped me understand my choices…and I feel pretty good about it.

  • Yes, because anywhere I am, whatever I have there, is only part of my preps. I can walk away from them without a qualm, because I have other preps in other places. Plus I have an extensive EDC that is on me from the time I get up to the time I go to bed, and it is there in my clothing for the next day when I am in bed. In the few circumstances where I cannot have my EDC on me, it is as close as I can get it to where I am.

    Just my opinion.

  • 20 years ago, hell, even 10 years ago, my answer would have been yes. Now, I’m too old and disabled too much to be able to limp away and survive. I will have to stay in place, defend my place as well as possible and ultimately become one of the casualties. Can’t be helped. Only thing I can hope for is to take out as many of the bastard looters as I can.
    Unfortunately, that’s just a fact of life now for me.

    • “Those who love their life shall lose it, but those who lose their life in My Name shall have life everlasting.” – Christ Jesus

      I think another point beyond your obviously valid one is that people just refuse to accept the truth that no matter where they run to they will be hunted down systematically and exterminated eventually. Sooner more likely than later.

      I also think that around the time of the next scheduled ” (s) election ” this entire nation will become one giant “Bloody Kansas” event on steroids.

      Luke 21:
      22: For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

      • “I also think that around the time of the next scheduled ” (s) election ” this entire nation will become one giant ‘Bloody Kansas’ event on steroids.”

        didn’t happen.

        again.

        hear this every year – “if thus and such happens, THAT’ll be go day!” and it happens, and nothing happens.

        (shrug)

    • If that is your choice , so be it.
      However I doubt that it has to be the only choice.

      You might be surprised by the number of old and disabled people who are homeless, living on the streets.
      Which is real close to living in a collapsing society. Yet they survive and even thrive, doing so.
      So maybe you need to reexamine your mindset of what is really possible.
      Sure, you have limitations, so does every one. That does not mean they are insurmountable.

  • The big battle is in our own heads because there are so many ways we can deceive ourselves. Even with the most well-thought out and rigorous training we might put ourselves through, it still comes down to a lot of dumb luck. But at the very least, doing the best we can with how the SHTF really hits us is the first step on the road of adaptability. Recognizing and assessing dangers as best we can will humble us and make us get real fast.

    This thought-provoking article is timely and relevant. Thank you, Selco!

  • In a REALLY SHTF situation, it isn’t possible to anticipate what is going to happen and prepare for every eventuality. All one can do is try to have skills and tools appropriate to your situation and hope for the best.

  • Selco gives good advice. Still, the best plan for survival is prevention. For U.S. citizens, staying in-country is broadly speaking, bugging in.

    Being politically aware and voting at the party and public electoral levels is critical. Gun grabbing politicians don’t just magically appear, for example. They still have to be selected by their party then elected to public office.

    There wasn’t much Selco could have done about his tiny country being caught up in globalist geopolitics between NATO and Russia. Americans, though, do have better options than most to avoid becoming globalist pawns and their country made a battlefield for foreign intrigues.

  • Things are nice and can make life easier. Bring able to think outside the box and having many practiced life skills will the most important thing in my opinion. You can’t plan for every possibility but you might want to evaluate , how do I respond to disturbances in your every day life?? Is everything a crises, do you think of alternative ways of accomplishing goals or plans you’ve made when it doesn’t go the way you want ? Or do you adapt. If in these easier times you don’t adapt , you may have a hard time surviving. Just something to think about.

  • Thanks for the article.

    To the people who were in the predicted paths of Hurricane Dorian, now would be a good time to recall your gut feelings about staying or leaving.

    Were you on the fence waiting for the civil authorities to declare a mandatory evacuation? Conditioning?
    Or leaving your house? Holding on to your possessions?
    Not believing that you could die from the wind forces or drown from the following floods? That happens to other people.

    Having a few close brushes with hurricanes those were my thoughts. After each hurricane had past there was a residual anxiety anticipating the next hurricane season. The dread accumulated over time so at the first distance hurricane announcement you were packed.
    I imagine the angst is trivial compared to someone who made it through a war.

    A few days I watched what seemed like a recent Youtube video about a person interviewing people on the streets of Sarajevo. As I don’t speak Bosian/Croation/Serbian I didn’t know the context of the video.
    What struck me was a camera shot over the shoulder of a person speaking to the interviewer. It showed a street a few blocks long flanked by tall buildings followed by possibly a river and then nearby mountains that seemed to go straight up. It was a cold realization that at one time anyone in the mountains had a clear line of sight to where the people were being interviewed.

    The thought followed, no what matter what you think or believe,
    If you haven’t been in a SHTF scenario … you haven’t.
    So, it would be difficult to anticipate what will happen.

    But you can listen to someone who has experienced a shtf scenario, luckily we have Selco’s articles and website.

    (Ps.
    Minor experience. A while back, from inside a truck cab I waited out a sudden violent storm. Then abruptly it was calm and quiet so I left the truck and walked thru a nearby corn field. Halfway thru, looking up, in the low overcast was a large dark hole. It seemed to go higher up, on and on. Kinda ‘humorous’ now but it had a black presence or force that made me feel like an insignificant ant. So if that is what the eye of a very small hurricane/large tornado is, you really don’t want to be around an approching landside hurricane over a period of a day or two. Especially if your house is on the coastline, i.e. sandbar.)

  • “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

    … meaning your possessions determine your mindset or how you look at events around you, sort of a self-imposed limited view to any alternatives that may be.

    Having a wide range of skills, in addition to a few good multi-functional tools, will offer more ways of doing something.

    Plus, skills, obliviously, won’t weight you down when traveling quickly, and can’t be lost.

    It is said we are preparing for the next war with the tools and mindset of the last war … kinda explains why we are losing war over war.

    • One example of the above,

      Having the latest greatest weapon may blind you to the fact it would be better to avoid firefights.

  • So many people invest so much in preps, guns especially.
    People spend hundreds or thousands in upgrades to a weapon. So how quickly will they drop it if it fails or pick up a different one if it is better suited to the current situation?
    Will there investment in it, stop them from making the wise decision?

    I have always maintained that the best weapon is the one you have in your hand or nearby. Not necessarily the one you spent the most money on or in upgrades to it.
    The same goes for preps.

    We tend to be tied to the things we possess and refuse to leave them behind. That goes for familiar people and places also.
    Which is a big part of the Bugging in mentality. It can also apply to some of the “bugging out” people also, as they are just “bugging in”, only in a remote location.

    Many people would be better off if they prepped to be Nomads.
    With no real home or bug out location, they would be forced to rely on their knowledge and on limited preps. Any extras or luxuries would be appreciated all the more, but also easily abandoned.

    It put SHTF survival in it;s proper perspective, it is all about survival, not what you have with you or where you are located at.

  • Prepper or survivalist. Can you be both? Possibly. I view prepping as those actions taken in advance of some unpleasant event likely to occur that will allow you to maintain some normalcy during the duration of the event as long as your preps hold out. If the event outlasts your preps, then you begin the journey into becoming a survivalist and a survivor. You have water storage – Prepping. Your water storage has been depleted and you now must find a water source and treat the water before drinking in order to remain healthy and fit – survival. Survival and becoming a survivor are mutually exclusive. Sometimes survival may not involve survival skills, but just dumb luck. The likely enemies of a survivalist succeeding to become a survivor are false pride, stubbornness, close-mindedness, being lead by emotions in decision making…. even morals. Sometimes surviving involves doing things you never thought you could do. In the balance scale of your own mind you may have to weigh what it is you need to do to survive against your moral code. You may decided that the likelihood of death is preferable to some behavior or action required of you to survive to become a survivor. Wow! Didn’t start out to get down in the weeds so far, but it is what it is.

  • A very good article. Something we all need to consider.
    One thing that I would clarify; what many people would call SHTF, isn’t SHTF.
    SHTF, by definition: normally conotates the TOTAL break down of civilization and social order.
    Not just a Partial breakdown, a TOTAL one!

    If it is short of a true SHTF scenario, then maybe you can bug in. But if it is really SHTF, you will be bugging out or you won’t survive. Unless you want to turn into a cannibal or a serial killer or such.
    Because if society and civilization really breaks down, then that is about all that will be out there.
    No humanity, no mercy, no live and let live, just those that do whatever they please, to whom ever they please, when ever they choose to do so.

    So it will require fleeing (bugging out) to where it is not SHTF. Where those decent things of civilization and society still exist. OR where people have gathered together and chosen to be civilized and rebuild society.
    Because of the gangs, the criminal element and the mentally disturbed individuals, it is likely that most cities would fall into a true SHTF scenario, if normal life was disrupted for an indefinite period of time.

    Most people and some Preppers cannot fathom a real SHTF scenario. Which is why the term has become so watered down in it’s meaning. Beware of becoming comfortable in that. Because it will lead you into making bad decisions.

  • Since this is 2 years old we’re even closer to a SHTF time or event. We’ve watched anarchy, months of riots and violence. We’ve seen an unpresidebted loss of freedoms from religion, to speach, to public gathering, and more. Some things worsen whiIe other area seem to return to almost normal. Homicides are up on an average that approaches a 1/3 increase. That’s an example. But life isn’t what it was, when 2020 began. Lawlessness increases by leaps and bounds as hopelessness faces us all. Disease as an excuse to destroy the economy and jobs. A new round of it just as it seems were returning to normal.
    The west is on fire with record-setting fires and heatwaves just past. The coasts covered by hurricanes and related and unrelated floods in different places. Millions without power, without safe drinking water, and standing water from floods brings its own dangers. Transportation cut-off. Sewage treatment interfered with. Strange growing seasons and hindrances to crops. Food growing or food delivery hindered. Many jobs gone forever. Many dead from the pandemic, more like me, are hindered for the long term from the pandemic.

    America is a new place in so many ways from just one or two yearsago. The pandemic has touched the whole world and new forms keep showing up. The pandemic is the excuse to take away more and more of our freedoms.

    What i see is as unreal as the fiction book 1984 seemed to be impossible. It isn’t. We are watching it happen. Many are moving to or preparing more remote places but evil is far reaching. You can’t hide from Google pictures, heat sensing equipment, facial recognition software, ect.

    Yes, plan for hard times. Be prepared for hard times. Have your water, food, med supplies… but be ready to evacuate, to run for your life, to leave everything and go quickly. Learn survival skills, have seeds in your Bug out bags.

    I hope to stay home. I’m old and no longer well. My husband was put on hospice last week. But I know how to forage for food and medicinal plants and I work to learn more. I plant wild edibles on my land and along tiny rural dirt roads. Its not a new fad but a lifelong way of life learned from my mother. I’ve reprised my skills from my youth and again practice archery.

    I have wilderness survival experience from 10 months alone when I was 21. All I had was a pocket knife, half a book of matches, and later an empty can scrounge from stuff someone dumped. Months later I found an empty coffee can that became my cook pot. I drank water from a mountain stream flowing from a spring higher up. I swallowed pollywogs and minnows. I had years of campcraft classes, wild foraging reading and doing, I’d m are crude bows since age 5. Those skills my parents had made sure I had saved my life. I also had a personal relationship with my savior. I’d memorized scriptures and poetry, read hundreds of books outside of school, and gone camping a lot. Dad had taught me several ways to build fires.

    I figured out how to keep hot coals and move them from camp to camp. I figured out snares using elastic threads from my underwear. Saplings were the springs.

    It wasn’t easy but I lived. I wonder if I could still survive along again. It was non stop work. I was young and strong them. Those days are many decades past. If I had younger hands to help I sure could share old knowledge. In a group I’d have skills to share.

    BOB has survival things to start out with. A second bag has a well stocked med supply including suture kits, iodine, 100 piece scalpel set, bandage materials, slings and much more. My two bags could easily set on a narrow luggage cart. A little tent with cooking supplies ties on. I could hit the mountain trails above me but sure I’d prefere to hunker down here at home like I have with the covid pandemic.

    I had covid last spring. Over a year later I’m still recovering. So climbing a high mountains isn’t inviting right now. I’m slowly rebuilding my strength. A year ago I couldn’t lift a gallon of milk. Today I can move 40 lb bags but it’s a struggle. Would I survive. I’d sure try.

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