Survival has become a hot topic lately, as evidenced by the proliferance of television shows pertaining to survival, and the vast increase in internet activity on the topic. Survival, no doubt, is a useful tool if time is taken to learn and study the skills in a meaningful way. However there is some cause for concern also.
Survival, by definition, means that something went horribly wrong. There is no glamor, no esteem in being in a survival situation. Learning the skills can be fun and rewarding, but actually being in a survival situation is not. Ask anyone who has made it through a SHTF situation if they would like to repeat the experience, and I venture to guess the answer would be an emphatic “NO!”
Survival Stars On T.V.
Some television shows, and so called survival instructors, give the impression that survival is easy. We should remember that these folks are not IN a survival situation. These T.V. stars have support with them, and a way out of life threatening situations in the form of helicopters and medics. Man, Woman, Wild and Survivorman were honest enough to show that when even these experts could not make it, that they were assisted or evacuated.
We also should understand that before these survivalists go into an area, they consult with local survival experts so they know the terrain, flora and fauna, which gives them a better chance. If there are times and places that a Navy Seal (Myke from Man, Woman, Wild) cannot make it, even after consulting locals, that should put a red flag in our minds how serious survival really is.
An Example Why A Proper Understanding of Survival is Important.
Not long ago, I was reading a blog unrelated to survival. However the writer decided to head out into the woods and test his skills. There is nothing wrong with that, and in fact I encourage it. There is nothing more fun and eye opening than spending time in the woods with a minimal of gear.
The writer had a set starting point and a set end point, which amounted to 20 miles or so from beginning to end. He took no food or water with him. So this amounted to an overnight hike. He procured water from a ranger camp he ran across. He didn’t find much in the way of food, just a few snacks on wild berries. Nothing wrong so far, but here is where I take issue.
At the end of his article he made the claim that he is confident he can life out in the woods and off the land. I see this as a problem and wholly irresponsible. He failed to distinguish between backwoods, primitive camping (which is what he did), survival, and actually living in the wilderness entirely off the land (which he claimed he can do). He had little food gathering skills and little water gathering skills. In fact, after pilfering the ranger camp, we went quite thirsty.
This lack of perspective can easily get this person into trouble, and perhaps encourage one of his readers to do something foolish. People die each year over estimating their skills. Survival is not a game.
A Proper Perspective
For further evidence, watch “Alone In The Wild” to get an idea of how tough living in the wilderness is. You can see it on YouTube.
For another case, where someone really died, Google Chris McCandless.
I wholeheartedly endorse practicing survival and bushcraft skills. Make sure you do it with common sense, an adaptable attitude, proper preparation and a safety mindset. Always have a way out if something goes wrong. If everything goes well, you deserve to celebrate your accomplishments, but if something goes wrong, you don’t want to pay the ultimate price.