By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor
I was going to write something the other day, in the Cassandra topic, based on something Pat commented, about how ill prepared most people are today to deal with living off the grid or at least being able to survive in minimalist conditions. Pat mentioned that we don’t have enough books and things to help us survive. I was going to comment at the time, but I knew that I had lot to say on the subject so I decided to write a post about it.
I think survival skills that everyone once took for granted are a lost art for most people. We live in such an instant everything society that people are easily devastated when they find themselves having to survive without all the easy lifestyle must-haves they’re so accustomed to.
History is something that most people these days don’t really appreciate except as something long ago and far away. History is very much all around us, all the time. We just stopped looking and learning. Especially learning. Thankfully, for some people it is part of their every day thought processes, activities, fun and so much more.
There are whole groups of people who consider themselves preppers, survivalists etc and since the election, I think their numbers have grown. They are on one end of the spectrum. There are others who just love history and what it can teach them. These people love to pass on what they’ve learned in one form or another. These people include re-enactors, people who have educational YouTube channels and there are even some YouTube RV channels and blogs that are actually very good at exploring historical sites and talking about history.
One history enthusiast that I follow has a website and a channel on YouTube. Townsands is his channel and he has produced quite a variety of how to videos. To clarify, they are how to do things like the folks would do them in the 17th & 18th century, but there is a wealth of side history involved too. He published one today that is just about his love of history so I thought I’d share it since I was already writing this when I watched it and thought it was appropriate.
So, to reiterate, there are the preppers, and history enthusiasts. Then there are people like me, who dabble. I have always loved history and living in Mass history abounds! I’ve spent time in old Plymouth, old Sturbridge, old Deerfield and dozens of other places like them with museums, re-enactors and solemn sites and museums to explore. Of course Boston is a treasure trove of history and I’ve explored quite a bit of it. But my love of history isn’t why I started dabbling.
I originally started about 5 years ago preparing myself to eventually move into an RV full time and live off the grid as much as possible. Even before that I purchased a small camp stove and some cylinders of propane to keep on hand in power emergencies, like snowstorms. I picked up an old fashioned percolator and a few LED lanterns along the way too. I recently replaced them with better ones. Another thing that is essential for living off the grid is a magnesium fire starter. These are very small, often can hook onto a key chain and will last a very long time. They’re pretty cheap too, and if you have a baggie full of dryer lint you’re good to go in an emergency. No need to learn how to rub two sticks together. 😀 Of course it goes without saying that some knowledge of water purification and, at its simplest, keeping a bag of water purifying tablets handy is essential. This is a pretty big subject but I thought I’d just touch the surface a little.
The main part of my dabbling has to do with something Pat talked about regarding books. I started a few years ago gathering all kinds of kindle books. I also have a very small solar charging panel that folds up and can fit in a backpack. It’s stong enough to charge your cell phones, tablets, small laptops and a few other small itmes like rechargable lanterns, for instance. I started doing this because it occurred to me that books are heavy. There are a few special volumes that I might take with me if I went off the grid, but mostly, books would be dead weight! I have a small laptop/tablet hybrid and my kindle app inside is filled with books. I also have a usb stick that has over 1000 books on it that I can plug into my tablet for more choices. And I even have some audio books so that if need be, I can audio read myself to sleep. 😉 The audio books are all classics which makes them especially pleasant to listen to at night. At least that’s what I think.
I began collecting all these books when I started to think about: what happens for extended periods of time if I’m out of range of even minimal wifi, power or people? How would I entertain myself all night long in some wild location? And I realized my tablet would be my only form of entertainment as long as I had a solar charger. I’m admittedly a little wacko with the book thing, but ever since the election I’ve thought more and more about what would happen if...so I’ve added even more books in the last year. I’ve even started collecting old reference books, encyclopedia type books, wildcrafting books (foraging for wild foods), other how-to books and more. You’d be surprised how many kindle books you can get for free or very minimal cost. Any pdf can be turned into a kindle book, which makes most of the Project Gutenberg library available for free!
I may never live my RV, off the grid dream. I still think collecting these things is useful when I look at all the recent disasters or think about a potential war scenario. Shudder! I was a girl scout and my boys were in scouts. I was a den mother too. “Be prepared” is needed now before we forget how to survive completely. As it stands now, a lot of history will always be at my fingertips! My, now extensive, library may be varied enough to save my life in the future. At the very least, I’ll never run out of things to read!
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