The Top 3 Mistakes I Made BEFORE the SHTF

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There’s a lot of concern out there over rising fuel prices as the US and European economy heads off a cliff. As an outside observer who already passed through one of the worst economic downturns in the world, I can identify with that concern. There were mistakes I made before SHTF that rocked my world.

I learned from that experience, however, and I think I have valuable advice to share you may find beneficial here. I took my time to elucidate the things I regret the most, so you don’t fall for the same pitfalls that I did. My three biggest mistakes were…

  1. Miscalculating the duration of the crisis period.
  2. Believing that my closer partners were on board while trusting in their support without confirmation.
  3. Not following my instincts to increase the sustainability of my compound, and improving whatever I could when I had the resources. My gut talked to me. I just didn’t listen.

Mainstream media seems desperate to make us believe that the “world” is falling apart. Very much has been written about this already. Yet there are few out there shouting that this ISN’T the path we need to follow. Why is this?

We preppers just want to be ready for hard times.

Job loss. Hyperinflation. A flood, a drought, hurricanes, monsoons. Wildfires. Social turmoil. Some of us are aware now that a collapse or crisis can last for decades.


There is some personal information below about a few past relationships I’m making available to the public. I want to apologize for exposing you to those personal affairs. I’ve made mistakes, but I include them below so you can learn from them. 

My first mistake was thinking everything would blow over.

Once I first learned about different “prepper worthy” events in different countries and cultures, I believed six months’ water and food reserve would suffice. Water is not much of a concern (it rains a lot in my area) but purifying and filtering it is. I covered that prep fairly easily though.

However, what happened was an entirely different event from what I’d prepared for: a politically-induced Holodomor that generated a refugee crisis and spread instability in neighboring countries. This is a technique that the communist world uses against targeted countries. See Spain and the sub-Saharan invasion.

Two hundred males between the ages of 18 and 35 hardly can be considered “harmless.” This is NOT a regular or normal “migratory” situation, in my opinion. There is clearly an agenda behind this. (Some precedents are here and here.)

After their policies caused starvation, the socialists in power here needed to get as many people out of Venezuela as possible. No matter if they were followers or not. (Many socialists actually flooded Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru).

They needed to calm down the social pressure caused by the hunger, homelessness, death, and crime, and thus, the migration. Things were actually so bad here that it generated an intervention by the International Court of The Hague, leaving the socialists nowadays with severe reports of Human Rights violations and in the middle of an awful swamp. How was I supposed to know all this back in 2017?

Never in my life had I imagined something like this would happen to my Venezuela.  

And it didn’t just blow over. This induced crisis lasted for four years, give or take. Timing allowed me to avoid most of the turmoil in Venezuela from 2018 until 2020. I had my quota, sure. Surviving in Peru was not easy at all. But Venezuela was much worse. A friend recently referred to the period 2016-2018 as the “Years of the mangoes.” When you see his reasoning, I think you’ll see it’s an apt description.

My family could have ridden this out, though. 

I’d been prepping for a while, and I had some savings in USDs, but I wasted it all by running away from my country. In hindsight, I should have hunkered down in the countryside.

Mind you, all three of these mistakes are intimately related. Our current situation is a direct consequence of this fantastic trio, and I’m aware of that. All of us in my family are well-fed (very important in a crisis to avoid sickness and keep morale high), as everyone in the family collaborates and pulls their own weight as much as possible.

Household cleaning, clothes, sweeping, and mopping floors – we all do them. We just need to tune up our bulk buying process, but there are no big chains here anymore. The commies kicked out Makro, a Dutch company, because they needed complete control of the food chain. They’re still working, but not as the major player they once were and under the force jacket of the surveillance every totalitarian regime exerts.

(Do you have enough food stored to weather a crisis? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage plan.)

This leads us to the second mistake I made during the crisis in Venezuela.

Our original plan (I have a scheme I wrote back in the day to prove it!) was to get together and head out to our country cabin. Back then, I had six people in my family: the (now) ex, her kid and our baby, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law (Plus two kittens and our dog.). The plan was for everyone to travel in the SUV, fully loaded. I would ride the motorcycle.

There were two bedrooms in our cabin. Grandma would sleep in the living room in a folding bed. Once there, we’d use our savings to buy necessary supplies in bulk, and start immediately preparing the land for our crops. Using the motorcycle, we would transport the supplies from town up to the cabin. 

Those days carrying a 24-kilo package of ANYTHING was like having a bull’s eye on the back, but we didn’t know things were going to get that way. Our plan was to buy a lot of pasta, flour, cornmeal, etc. With the saved cash, we could have easily made the supplies last quite a bit of time.

People were desperate to get USDs to leave the country. We would have done well. Getting seeds and labor (indispensable in our case!) would have been much easier. Getting raw milk up there in the mountains is easy. Even these days, you can find raw milk anywhere it seems. They only stopped production a little bit in the worst of the pandemics, but that is old news now. Dairy farmers here are making more money with 60 cows under full production in one year than whatever I made in 15 years in the oil industry.

As the state of Venezuela got worse, I knew that it was time to put our plan into action.

It was time to go. I told the now-ex to pack her suitcase, as I was sick of watching how people in the Caracas demonstrations was being shot without mercy. Mercenaries were on the loose all over the country. Unlicensed trucks full of masked men toting AKs and sidearms were everywhere. No plates, no names, not any visible ID. A patch on the shoulder with the initials of the “corps” (which “corps” I’m not mentioning here.).

But my wife’s answer was shocking. “I’m NOT going to lose my time and youth in that God-forsaken mountain. We have to leave the country,” she said.

After meditating on things on my own for a while (trying not to laugh at the “youth” part), the disappointment felt like I’d just been hit upside the head with a bucket full of ice water. Leaving my parents was never an option we had considered together. Her family was already abroad. Her only desire (it seems so obvious now) was to go with them.

However, our savings wasn’t enough for everyone in our family to escape by plane. In one of the worst decisions of my life, partially because of the possibility of having our borders closed and being trapped, we decided to flee to Ecuador, where my ex’s sister and mother were. They’d made plans of their own without telling me. Their plan was  for me to get a job, work my backside off, find an apartment, and then ship my wife out with the baby. (The older kid was by then a grown man, and his biological dad had taken care of him since he was 17. He became a productive human.)

Although that would leave me to personally suffer the harsh conditions while my family were gone and safe, I now feel I should have come back to Venezuela, instead of then heading down to Peru. These decisions may seem easy, but trust me on this one, please. They’re NOT. Never.

Long story short, I found a good online job that was enough just for paying my part of the rent, and contribute with 1/3 of the food bill. This worked as there were just four people living in the flat, three of us working. Once the entire family arrived – the ex’s middle sister with her husband and four kids – well, the flat was crowded, and the landlord didn’t like that.

The rope usually breaks in the thinner part.

I was “invited” to leave the apartment, as my marriage had essentially already ended. My son took this pretty hard, as was to be expected. Maybe that is the reason we are so close now.

This happened to countless couples after leaving Venezuela. Women kicking out their life partners when things got harsh became a common conversation topic. In most examples, within a few months, the woman had already found a better provider.

Interesting how love, like space and time, can be relative, isn’t it?

But my third mistake was not taking better care of our survival retreat – our mountain cabin.

mistakes I made before SHTF
A cabin, but not my cabin. (I’m not showing the world where we’ll live!)
  • The walls of the main cement water tank, 10.000 liters or 2640 US gallons, are cracked. It is like 30 years old, maybe more, but the failure is severe. It desperately needs waterproofing.
  • The roof of the space destined to be a garage-rabbit-chicken coop is falling. The roots of a nearby tree affected the feet of the wood poles used for this roof. It is a discarded asbestos roof, and it weighs a ton.
  • None of the citrus trees, some coffee trees, and many of our other fruit trees didn’t survive the drought. Fuel scarcity made it impossible for my father to go up there to check on everything for 1.5 years. They got the last coffee crop in 2019. Go figure.
  • The cabin roof is leaking (I’m fixing that now).
  • The bathroom main pipe out from the septic clogged.
  • The vegetable layer of the surroundings was thinning out because of incorrect management of the mulch. I mean, why waste time and effort collecting dry leaves falling from the mango trees, and take them to the compost pile when you can just pile them up and light them on fire?
  • There is no fridge.
  • Mattresses are too old and moisture damaged.
  • The lights in the bedrooms were not working (now fixed).

As I explained earlier, it was a complex issue. One thing led to another.

For example, coming back before the pandemic would have meant the failure of our main water tank could have been resolved much earlier. With this as our only insurance against our severe droughts and dry season, we can’t fail again.

Now, we know that building new cement tanks is not a good idea with all the trees over 40 years old around. Polyethylene, or even geomembrane liners, and a pond could be a better choice. Larger trees are far away.

Surface tanks take a lot of valuable space, and need maintenance. PVC Geomembrane has a limited lifespan, but it works well enough for our purposes. The best option is steel, properly coated and protected with a technique called cathode protection. This works by inducing damage to a piece called a “sacrifice anode” which will corrode instead of the tank. It’s the more expensive option, but the results are splendid.

I’ve seen above-ground storage tanks with 60 years of almost continuous operation, and the bottom (the easiest part to corrode) is in great condition. Another option is to build it ourselves, and as things are going, this could be a possibility. I have good experience on manufacturing stuff to make this work. Plans are everywhere, and materials won’t be so hard to find.

I should have already built the meat/cheese curing room and the worm beds should already be producing humus. The cherry tomatoes planters should already be producing, too. The only producing trees are the mangoes. That’s great though. Iced mango juice sweetened with honey is delicious and full with Vitamin C. We got a handful of certified corn seed that should provide us with some corn enough to accompany some meals in August.

mistakes I made before SHTF
A mango tree, but not my mango tree.

The tapioca plot I was planning is not yet there. This is an important crop, and doesn’t need much care. It’s pure carbs and fiber, and very filling. With this tubercle ground coarsely, spread on a pan and toasted, people make something like a large cookie. It doesn’t spoil, and lasts for many weeks. Good fiber source. Add it to soup to make it thicker, and it’s quite tasty.

I found the needed materials for the sun dryers are now much more expensive. Mosquito screen prices increased exponentially. Wood is almost impossible to get here as well. The local sawmill is bankrupt, and all the tools are for sale. Unbelievable. That was a huge business.

The papaya plot I wanted so we could make our traditional papaya dessert for Christmas doesn’t exist. Let’s see if this rainy season allows growing some seedlings strong enough to withstand our dry season, starting in November, give or take.

The banana trees plot has been delayed too. Mind you, all of these are common items in our table. A couple of tapiocas, potatoes, two carrots and one kilo and a half of ribs will produce a very nutritious soup for six people.

A banana smoothie in the morning before school is great for children.

Papaya is excellent for digestion, and green slices of papaya are great to tenderize beef, added before you take it off the grill. A papaya juice made with the blender and with some lemon juice is great when it’s hot (all the time!) and it is very common in lunch down here.

The same goes for the cantaloupe plot. All of these should have been already sowed, and producing, but without fixing the tank first, it is not worth it.

I should say these items are not necessarily expensive. These can be store bought with a few dollars. The important point here is to substitute as much as we can with our own production.  A small bag of frozen cantaloupe is almost $2. Same for frozen peach juice, and for strawberries. That means almost $12 a week. We try to have fresh fruit juice every day with lunch, mostly for kiddo and the elders. My brother just drinks pop soda as if there is no tomorrow. It ends up being almost $50 per month just for the fruits for smoothies and juice.

The potatoes and carrots plots should already be under full production too. That means another $20-25 a month, maybe more. With a planned production scheme, we could cover at least 50% of our consumption at 30% the cost. That is why prepping and homesteading is worth all the research and effort.

The negative side is, many things can go wrong. If you believe that setting up a compound to produce 15% of your daily diet is easy, you have no clue. I’ve spent my entire life watching producers of all sizes come and go. I saw many going broke in a couple of bad years in a row, when they had been doing fine for ten years prior. Tomatoes, corn, tobacco, sorghum, dairy, cattle, cheese. All of these items belong to local production down here.

It is very difficult try to make a living on such a small plot. However, it seems there will be not too many options left.  

These are the mistakes I made before SHTF I think about regularly.

Self-reliance is power. Independence is strength. And we missed the mark on both of those the first go round. I’m striving to do better this time.

Thanks for your reading, and for the sponsoring that keeps me writing for you. Tell me what you’re thinking in the comments below.

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Be safe!

Have you learned from prepping mistakes?

Have you made errors in judgment in the past that made a situation worse? What were your mistakes and what did you learn from them? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t  go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.

 Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on PatreonDonations:

J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

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  • Mistakes? Well indeed, more than a few! But we have the saying here that hindsight is 20/20 and I find that true. I also had a professor in college who said he could never trust a student that didn’t make a mistake, as they were either cheating or unchallenged and neither scenario was a good one. On the mat, I found that I learned more from my bad days than my good ones.

    I could have skipped the survival seed bank when I was first getting into the life, as well as the kerosene heater and K1 that I haven’t used in the 10 years since I bought it. The K1 was stabilized however, and one night of -50F without my regular heat source will make me quite grateful. I’ve learned enough about gardening from my mistakes that I’m producing much better this year. This is good because my CSA box is both lighter and more expensive than last year. The list of my mistakes goes on LOL

    Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes, Jose. You”re much better off IMO by accepting your reality and dealing with it as such. And your honesty helps others, including me. I won’t bother to bug out, for one thing. The entire world is in the same situation anyway. I might as well stay home and do my best in familiar territory.

    • Bugging out or not is a different decision for different people. It makes sense to some but not others. It depends on how relatively safe is your home vs how relatively safe is any other place you are thinking you can realistically bug out to. And, of course, you have to know where you are bugging out to and be realistic about your chances there. And, like Jose said, you have to make sure you have agreement with any members of your family you are thinking of bugging out with. I’m currently having that discussion with my partner, and it’s becoming clear that he hasn’t thought through that bugging out is probably bugging out for the long term, which isn’t an easy decision to make. I remember, when reading my history, wondering: why didn’t all Jews get the hell out of Germany when things started looking so iffy for them? But if you are seriously thinking about leaving for good, suddenly it becomes much clearer why the decision is so hard.

      • In my case, since I don’t drive, I have no place to go and no way to get there. So unless a tornado is coming down my street I might as well stay home. I have no family and making like minded friends is easier said than done.

        With respect to the Holocaust and why the Jews didn’t leave: as chance would have it I’ve worked on a number of primary accounts of that through my job. For one thing, many believed it would all blow over. For some, the Nazis simply wouldn’t cough up the paperwork needed to travel. When they stopped issuing papers altogether many were just plain stuck. For others such as Otto Frank, who did see it coming and took two years to set up in a new place, the Blitzkrieg ruined all plans.

        As you say: it’s complicated. And very much a personal decision.

    • DearJayne,
      Thanks for such wonderful comments. LOL. Yes, I know there is people in worse conditions than we do. Imagine there are many migrants from Venezuela in Europe running from the crisis, and they don’t know now how they are going to pay for gas. At least in Venezuela there is firewood enough in some areas.

  • It’s odd.

    My great grandpa left Hungary to come here, to Northern Illinois, to bust his ass in a filthy cement plant. Bought a little patch of land, and built a shack. My great Grandmother joined him two years later, with the daughter she had borne after he left.

    He turned that property into a self sufficient homestead, with a vineyard, sheep, a spring cooled cold house. They had a pile of kids.

    How did they make that work?

    You split up with your wife.

    Her families plan was for you to bust your ass working, what was your plan? To not bust your ass?

    I didn’t know my Great Granparents well, but I do remember that they were not complainers. My Great Grandmother was ALWAYS working, cooking, cleaning, gardening, hosting, helping make wine, doing homestead stuff. I don’t remember her ever sitting down long. I only remember her doing things. He was the same way, even as an old man. Harvesting by hand, repairing fences, doing roofing stuff.

    We’re they just made of sterner stuff?

    My list of things to do is similar to yours, Jose.

    Let’s get after it. I hope to see an article soon detailing all the things you have accomplished. How your hard work and determination and discipline paid off.

    Society encourages us to be complacent. Soft through easy living. Stupid through unlimited access to mindless entertainment. Do you ever watch TV? Can you feel your brain becoming smoother?

    Let’s go the other way, it sounds like you are already on that path. Let’s get smarter, faster, stronger, love and trust those who deserve it, and be dismissive and cruel to those who don’t.

    Like our ancestors had to be.

    • I also had hard working parents, grandparents, and on back. They worked hard just to survive. No TV, internet, sports, etc. options back then. One of the things I’m most grateful for is being taught how to work. They also taught us how to make and fix things. We have taught our children. I don’t mind the list of things to do. Along the way we have created a beautiful home, yard and garden which is a joy. Those who have not learned skills and to work won’t survive – there won’t be a nanny state. Agree – let’s get smarter, faster, stronger and more mentally sound to deal with all the stupid people and what’s going down in the world.

      • I’m not afraid of the lack of a nanny State. What we have to fear is a totalitarian state. And it seems to be coming up like a tsunami at global scale.

    • My grandparents emigrated from Hungary in 1912. Sadly, most of my grandmother’s family who stayed in Hungary were sent to concentration camps in 1944. The reason I write this is because events can rapidly change, and we need to apply what we learn to survive and excel in challenging situations, thank you. Shalom and a Happy July 4th to all!

    • Great comment, indeed!
      My plan was to burst my a$$ working, sure. I do it almost every day, as my mom is not in good shape for house chores. I can’t remember when it was the last time I watched mainstream TV. I just download whatever I want, and watch that offline.
      I should be accomplishing something soon. However, finances are somehow complicated these days. Getting 10$ to get the cement and a waterproof mixing to repair the tank is not that easy down here, and things like that have made me think on some other *ahem* “creative means”. Just keep tuned and you will see.

    • “We’re they just made of sterner stuff?”

      no, just habituated. “work to live” became “live to work”.

      “love and trust those who deserve it, and be dismissive and cruel to those who don’t”

      keep in mind that there’ll always be someone who thinks they are more deserving than you.

  • Prepping is easy. You just watch alot of prepping videos on the internets and then blow all your time and money on new car payments, cruises and golf vacations. Easy peazy. JK. Fluids, man. How long does it take to consume a gallon of chainsaw oil? How many gallons should you acquire? Or, is it better to buy a big old fashioned tree saw and a mess of gloves? And gas. And two stroke oil. Along with everything else that needs to thought through. At some point its all going to get done with hand tools and foraging anyway. (Hint: learn how to sharpen things-knife blades, saw blades, chainsaw chains…)

    • Just went on a cruise – seems like a good option if you’ve done all the prepping you know to do and you have money which is disappearing with inflation and designs by the wannabe slave masters. Might as well enjoy some of it. 🙂

  • Im running into the same age old problem of my partner not working with me and always slipping into thinking things will get better. Then she misses her children in their 20’s and 30’s whom live in the Los Angeles area. We have been in rural community in Southern California. Its starting to feel like Im with Lots Wife who keeps looking back until she turns into a pillar of salt. So now Im constantly working against the grain and Im trying to get us set up and we are now 1000 miles apart from each other because right now we don’t see eye to eye on things. Its been very difficult finding a job and even more difficult that it has any medical insurance they don’t want to take 1000 out of my pay a month. I don’t think people in the US are grasping the magnitude of the destruction heaped upon us by this Biden regime. GAs is 6 bucks a gallon here and diesel is pushing $8 gal. Groceries are going through the roof also. We are headed for a collapse. I have a rural place with a 30′ trailer and its a safe location but no jobs. Im still trying to figure out an income right now and its getting very hard to find a job or start a small business. I came to the realization trying to start a small business that I need 20 permits and so many regulations to meet that I would be in the hole instead of making a living. Yes people its that bad especially on the west coast. The political class has ruined this nation. If I were to guess I would say the US is very close to being a failed state. Im getting up in years and this is not the nation I grew up in.

    • Robert—I hear your frustation but you have to hang tough….I am 70yo and my wife 75 yo and we have been prepping when little things got worse and now are big thing … wife is in the beginnings ( as per the Neurologists)…so now she has to be watched more ….everyone has a challenge they have to see thru…put your head down and keep doing what you have to…wont be easy but you can and will do it…one day at a time …stay safe …your friend Russ

      • Sorry to hear about your wife’s dementia. That makes your prepping a lot more complicated as her disease will only progress and worsen as time goes on. I am sure you have already started thinking about and making arrangements for your wife in the event something happens to you or you are no longer able to care for her because of her dementia. It is a devastating disease.

      • Where are good, conservative places to go in Montana? I’ve heard about significant infiltration in some areas by liberals who brought their failed ideas from the failed blue states and want to give it another try in Montana.

        • Unfortunately, we are now dealing with lots of RINOs and Democrats running as Republicans. Even small rural towns are infiltrated and the general population is not tuned into this problem.

        • Dont go to Bozeman – unless youre a CA liberal – Missoula might be going that way too- Billings has a huge homeless population so finding housing is obviously difficult Roundup has bad water and Great Falls is a military town – The rest of MT is mostly conservative with lots of space and decent people- Iv been in MT 20 years now

  • Thanks for the great assessment of preparedness and the many ways it can be insufficient. I learned many things from your article & hope to improve our situation with some obviously needed changes to our approach. God’s speed.

    • Dear Cranerigger,
      Thanks for that wonderful comment!
      God is there, and he’s watching for us. No doubt.

  • Forecasting the possible collision of two toxic mega-trends

    The first of those is the vulnerability of electric power grids to long term shutdown whether from vandal or terrorist attack (too easy to commit), cyber attack by foreign enemy countries (cheap and easy to do without leaving a trail to identify the perps), a solar CME event (Coronal Mass Ejection — which in 1859 shut down telegraph communications — a similar one struck China in 1774 in that pre-electric era), or a high altitude nuclear blast that generates an EMP that burns out electronics for at least a thousand mile radius (the 1962 US nuclear test blast high over Johnston Island in the Pacific took out significant electronics in Hawaii some 898 miles away). My guess would be the cyber attack as the most likely because of the cheap, ease of doing, and likely untraceability.

    Now consider that we don’t have a ready-to-go backup plan with spare power transformers handy to replace trashed ones. It would take at least two years to get them out of China if China was even willing. In the last 6 months of the Trump presidency, initiatives to study and decide how to defend against that problem were put into place. Such plans were then flushed down the history toilet by the Biden regime in keeping with their disgust over anything with Trump’s name attached to it.

    The second mega-trend is the globalist push for all-digital money to be controlled, surveilled, counterfeited at will, and instantly taxed, from the central banker level. Roughly 90% of central bankers worldwide are working furiously on this tyrants’ wet dream — including the US. Biden’s SEC is even working on ways to regulate (meaning to destroy) any possible competing crypto currencies to give the US a total monopoly via their digital money.

    Now consider that in the summer of 2021 the globalists did a simulation of a large scale power grid shutdown called Cyber Polygon. The seriousness of such simulations is highlighted by their previous simulation of a huge pandemic (in the fall of 2019 only a few months before Covid-19 became news in the Spring of 2020). Another such simulation was done some time before the MonkeyPox bug hit the news.

    It’s perhaps not coincidental that the Rockefeller people did a study back in 2010 on the possible effects of a pandemic — something they had a history with as far back as 1917 Their poorly tested meningitis vaccine was released to the US Army for its mandatory vaccine program (which was begun in 1911). The GIs at Ft Riley, Kansas began to get sick in the Spring o 1918. That didn’t stop the sale of that vaccine to several foreign countries during WWI. Estimates are that it killed somewhere between 50 and 100 million people worldwide, but was covered up by the US government under the false label of “Spanish Flu” of an unknown origin. So those profiting from pandemics today have a very long history.

    The point is that such simulations in our era should be taken seriously given their history of being followed by the real thing.

    Now consider the SHTF effects of a collision between the two mega-trends of an all-digital currency system (totally dependent on electric power) that will totally replace outlawed physical or bank-account held US dollars — and the shutdown of the three US electric power grids (East, West and Texas) at the same time. Even online barter exchanges would stop working. The enormous division of labor that dependable money systems make possible suddenly doesn’t work.

    So the mega-question for the few who forecast such a collision of those two mega-trends is how, if possible, to survive in what could be a long term power outage where mostly just the Amish (with their long history of disdain for electricity-dependent living) are practiced in making a living under such constraints?


    • Junk silver can be useful for “informal” transactions.
      Hand tools, like axes, hoes, shovels,etc. are good to have.
      I would suggest learning to live without electricity now, before it becomes necessary. Spend a weekend without using any electricity. Note what you learned from this and begin acquiring skills and tools to help you get through such a time. Keep practicing and learning.
      Electricity is a relatively new invention in the course of human history. Humanity survived for ages without it.

      • I suggested that on Twitter some time ago: stop using so much power, only to see where you needed the most, and plan accordingly. People just laughed. There are communities and cities now where power is rationed 20 hours per week. I suggested to adapt their lightning systems…only one of them partially listened, and he could go through almost unharmed through the three days of blackout back in 2019.

  • Thank you very much for sharing your experience and mistakes. That takes a lot of courage. These times won’t suffer fools and slothfullness. I wish you and the folks here at TOP peace, strength and blessings.

  • To men I would say, if all of a sudden in hard times, women begin to be respectful and kind instead of what the feminist movement has forced upon society for the last few decades, that should be your first signal to run like the dickens from any relationship that might follow. You will be used up and discarded when you can no longer be used up.

    • You should heard the stories in Venezuela about failed marriages. When everything is OK at home and the fridge is full, love is in the air. Until the fridge runs empty…

    • “that should be your first signal to run like the dickens from any relationship that might follow”

      or change the relationship.

  • I think what happened is you just didn’t want to believe it could happen thus the half-hearted approach.

    Good news is we are all like that. The bad news is why 90% of us won’t survive the coming SHTF. 😉

      • That’s what you need a well-stocked up cave close to a permanent stream for the first two years, hunting cameras, and HAM equipment to listen. Make sure your antenna is well hidden.

    • Dear leethal,
      Our calculation was 3-4 months of social turmoil. After that some sort of peace and back to normalcy would be achieved.
      They unchained a full Holodomor on us and shot the protestors.
      It is in the recent history, and the news, in YouTube, everywhere.
      You’re right but I’m a little bit optimistic. Let’s give it a 20%, if people in the banana countries get their cr4p together and obliterates the uniforms with the big guns.

  • Praising God for your stamina and powerful communications, Jose. My friend born in Venezuela now US citizen traveled home early this year(2022) for family. It is a desperate situation in her once bountiful nation. No American can understand the decimating hit Venezuela has taken since the regime change. Everything we take for granted that can be acquired for our families, is a struggle to find. Poverty is not exactly a good description, impossible to get hold of critical necessities is a better description. God has made Venezuelans a strong and loving people. Keep telling your story.

    • Dear CathyG,
      I have found that, indeed, many US fellows find hard to believe us. And Europeans are worst. A girl from Spain I know told me that why I needed to carry so many tools, including an OBD scanner for my SUV, quick-inflating sealing bottles, pepper spray, a machete, and two spare tires. “Just call a servicing company and they will take your car to a workshop and fix it”. Oh, my…
      I believe she would NEVER leave Spain again, if she were with me the night I had to almost run over a road pirate…

  • I would like to know your strategy for security in all this. What is to stop roving bands of thugs from ambushing you, killing you or just taking what you have?

    • If the current trend in fuel prices and availability continues those thugs will be roving on foot. Given their demonstrated laziness in failing to prepare for themselves they will be spent by the time they reach my door. If you have the misfortune of living in an urban area I would team up with my neighbors on each side of me. Remember, the thugs are going for the lowest hanging fruit first. You don’t have to be the fastest runner, just faster than the guy beside you.

      • Dear Fifth_Disciple,
        The problem with the urbanites, the way I see it, is their reluctance to leave the cities even if they have to. Eventually food could stop arriving, and once you try to get out it could be too late.
        Be safe!

        • “Eventually food could stop arriving”

          the cities have the money, the votes, and the trade routes. all available food will be diverted to the cities by any means necessary. by the time food stops arriving in the cities it will be because there is nothing anywhere else.

      • “You don’t have to be the fastest runner, just faster than the guy beside you”

        does that include your neighbors? the problem with being the fastest runner is that eventually you’re the only runner.

    • 1. You can hide
      2. These bands are usually fought by police, as they are natural enemies, and kill each other on sight.
      3. There are ambushes, mainly in the roads within the main cities. Not so much of a problem these days because there is a LOT of uniforms looking what they can “collect”. My SUV is busted, and even with it working, the road to the cabin is a tertiary one. The entrance can be hidden, too, if needed. Whenever a band messes too much with innocents, usually people just calls a death squad and they take care. I have some other methods currently under development but I can’t share that in the open for the time being.
      Sorry about that.

  • The wife and I were having a discussion of the state of things here in America and globally.
    At the time, the COVID lockdowns seemed like a good idea, at the time. News hysteria, politicians scrambling to appear competent (yeah, I laughed too), scientists holding up computer models of millions dead in months.
    Turned out, not so much.
    But the damage has already been done (on multiple levels). Seems we are still waiting for things to go back to “normal.”
    There is no going back to normal (IIRC, Daisy has an article about that somewhere around here). This is the new normal. And we are only two years into it.
    I said to my wife, this is a period in history, not seen since the Great Depression (look how long that lasted), or WWII.

    Recently, NY Times’ Jim Tankersley asks Biden, “How long is it fair to expect American drivers to pay that premium for the war in Ukraine?
    Biden, “As long as it takes.”
    Last Thursday, CNN’s Victor Blackwell, asked National Economic Director Brian Deese, “What do you say to those families who say, ‘Listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years. This is just not sustainable’?”
    Deese responded, “Well, what you heard from the President today was a clear articulation of the stakes. This is about the future of the Liberal World Order, and we have to stand firm.”
    So, as long as it takes, and what the heck is the Liberal World Order? (don’t answer, looking around, I got a pretty good idea)
    1, 3, 5 years from now, are we going to be sitting here, still facing high inflation (not this warm and fuzzy version they are gaslighting us, the use the old method of measuring inflation, like 15%), high gas prices, high food prices/empty shelves?
    Like to think not. But as Jose mentions his first mistake: Miscalculating the duration of the crisis period.
    I would not be surprised if it took a decade of economic turbulence before things settle down.
    However, unlike the Great Depression, I think our society is in a more fragile state. In my opinion, that could lead to an even greater crisis.

    May you live in interesting times.

    • Too true! Nice Chinese curse reference! I don’t think we are coming back from this one intact as a country. I have definitely made a lot of mistakes in my preps over the years. But I have learned a lot. Stay Frosty Brother and as always Semper Fi!

  • You don’t prepare because you see an event coming, you prepare because you can’t see it. We just finished the last of 250 pounds of beans I put away in 2011 (and yes they were still good). At the time I put it up my wife thought I was insane. We had a pallet with 36 Homer buckets of beans, rice, flour, corn meal, salt, sugar, etc. It took 10+ years but we ate it all (and replenished it as we went).
    In 2021 my wife finally saw the handwriting on the wall and started a prepping binge that made mine look puny by comparison. We sold most of our investments and paid off everything leaving enough cash for an emergency fund and three years of taxes on the house. Needless to say this created a great deal of friction between us. We did not agree of several of the priorities. I finally had to hope that her priorities were close enough to give us the stability we needed and make concessions I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m still confused as to why we need 35 gallons of chicken broth (not bouillon, broth). Putting that aside we’ve been able build a truly self sufficient homestead that will see us through a full on depression.
    The take-away here is that the most valuable resource you have is your family not your stockpiles. If you’re looking for your spouse to make you happy you’ve got it wrong. Make them happy and everything else will fall into place.

    • Enjoy your wife getting on board, friend. Trying to get a Venezuelan willing to stay in the country is like finding a needle in a haystack. Most of them just want to use their abundant charms to hunt down a nice naïve foreigner to marry and leave the country for good.

  • My biggest prepping concern at the moment is our location and my husband and I aren’t on the same page with what we should do. We live in an urban area on about 1/2 acre. We’ve been looking for land to build our forever home but unsure of the location and struggling to find a piece of land with what we want. We have a decent amount of cash not tied up and with the concern of the dollar losing power it seems like a waste right now. I think we should buy land within an hour or so driving distance to at least use recreationally and as a bug out location. I feel like land would at least be a smart investment. He’s dead set on only buying land to build but who knows how long that will take. I know I definitely don’t want to be here when shtf. As a parent I need to keep my son safe and I’m contemplating at what point do I just buy land on my own because I know that would be best for us when shtf.

    • Depending on your age you really need to plan and prepare for that also. Moving an hour or more away from health care services might seem smart when you are young and healthy but as you get older your body is just going to break down and need things. Not having easy access to these things can be a big problem for older couples. Especially when one spouse dies. I don’t blame your husband for not wanting to move to the middle of nowhere. Plus you have to think about your son and if it would be good for him to be isolated. What if you moved and it was just you and your son and something happened to you? What would happen to him? People have been prepping for the big event for decades and nothing happens. Not to say it won’t, ever. But the chances are pretty slim that things will be back to the stone age in the USA.

      • “Moving an hour or more away from health care services might seem smart when you are young and healthy but as you get older your body is just going to break down and need things”

        yep. average pre-industrial working lifespan, not counting child mortality, was to about age 60. plan accordingly.

      • “But the chances are pretty slim that things will be back to the stone age in the USA”

        for large areas, it will be pre-stone-age. no people.

  • 1) Miscalculating the duration of the pre-crisis period.
    2) Believing that preppers valued freedom combined with cooperation.
    3) Not comprehending that the physical crisis was only a symptom of a moral and spiritual failure.

  • Interesting that your wife left you during a complete economic collapse. Don’t be surprised if she comes back crying one day after the new guy dumps her.

    • Already working on that, dear James. Plan A, B, and C. LOL. Happened to a lot of guys, you know?
      Thanks for that accurate comment.

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