This could be good advice or bad advice, but many are asking themselves these last weeks – how do we go about surviving the Coronavirus crash!
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It might be tempting to think – before the housing market in your area goes to hell in a handbasket, sell your property if you own one, leave your rented apartment if you don’t. Pile up the stuff you’ll need – we’ll get to that soon in a rental truck – they probably still qualify as essential services – and start driving.
If you live in the US then you could move somewhere rural where you can hunt, trap fish and grow food. There are plenty of suitable areas that come to mind. Montana has a nice ring to it but even if you want to stay east Vermont, Massachusetts and New York State have plenty to offer. And once you are more than two hours’ drive from any major metropolis, land and property prices fall off.
If you live in the UK then you could look into Wales if there’s any space left. Otherwise, Scotland still has some wild areas, be careful though as many of those areas are owned by the Queen or other rich folks.
If you live in Canada then there will be plenty of places you could go to get away from the madness and risks of civil unrest though take warm clothing. And in Australia, I would just leave whatever city you live in and head for the middle part.
Prepping for sea-level rise
Thinking ahead you’d have to be careful that any spot you chose is at least 70 or 80 feet above sea level and preferably more because as the sea level rises it will erode the adjacent land so might be preferable to choose a solid piece of rock.
At some point, those ice sheets on Greenland will be gone and all of that melt-water is going to end up in the sea – much like single-use plastic bags there’s nowhere else for it to go.
Well, actually that isn’t enough as you have to be sure your spot isn’t anywhere near a river flood plain, volcano, or in the path of seasonally migrating herds of bison or wildebeest for that matter. There are always dangers lurking around any corner.
If you don’t already have a full and complementary set of survival skills you will need to acquire them pretty fast. Growing vegetables would be a good starting place.
Depending on the local climate you will need to include some good staples into the mix – potatoes, or corn, or preferably both.
Hunting and trapping would be another good one. Chances are that with all those other survival types out there, big game like deer are likely to be in scarce supply, so you are probably better of learning how to trap rabbits and smaller game.
Basic first aid would be another good skill to have under your belt. We can’t expect the finding a doctor or nurse is going to be easy. Once you master patching up and disinfecting the odd scratch, then perhaps you could progress to stitching up torn skin and splints for broken fingers and the like. You want to be sure you can treat wounds from bear or mountain lion attacks. Of course, CPR will be a must for everyone in your camp.
History is an excellent place to start. There are some wonderfully ponderous tomes like the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
that explores the circumstances of what the title suggests. No need to plod through the original six-volume set there is a very readable abridged version.
Another appropriate read for these difficult times has to be Collapse by Jaren Diamond.
He examines a dozen or so civilizations that once thrived and are no longer around. He comes to the conclusion that there are about ten factors that can lead to the collapse of civilization and any combination of those factors is present in each of the cases he examines.
I recall that a mixture of hubris and the inability to adapt to changing climate or geography were often key contributors to a people’s demise and disappearance. Poor water management is another, over-reliance on single sources of food or other natural resources.
Yes, write. Someone will have to document how this all went down. It’s probably a good idea to print out your opus maximus on paper. Who knows whether future-man will be able to read PDF files.
Things to take with you
- Printed maps – if you can find any
- All-weather clothing
- Outdoorsy tools
- Knives – for skinning, whittling, gutting fish, cutting rope
- Knife sharpener
- Can opener
- Spaceman type silver foil blankets
- Family photos and any portable heirlooms
- Passports, photo IDs – you never know
If you are really thinking of going ahead, don’t forget you are going to need to set all of this up while it is still possible to do so.
You’ll still need the Internet to work and you’ll have to beat the housing market collapse but it must be too late for that at least by now. Order whatever books you are going to need on Amazon while the postal service or couriers are still operating.
It probably isn’t a good time to be relying on an eReader. I’m not saying you couldn’t get solar power going but those PV panels only have an expected life of about 15 years so once that time is up you’ll need to have paper copies on your shelves or stashed in the corner of your tent depending on your circumstances.
Good Advice or Bad Advice
But really – all the above is bad advice and some is most certainly bad investment advice.
The Right Thing to Do
The right thing to do is to stay where you are.
Take care of others in your household and in your community.
Check on your neighbors.
Look out for people you know who may be more vulnerable, elderly neighbors are the most obvious ones who might need shopping done for them or other help with errands or even help to order things online if they have to set up deliveries for groceries or medications.
But others can be vulnerable and you will only find by offering people help.
Grow your own food. You can still order seeds online. If you don’t have space outside you can even grow tomatoes in window boxes. To learn more about growing vegetables check here.
Take care of yourself first.
And that involves all the behaviors we know about like
- frequent handwashing,
- not touching your face,
- staying at least 6 feet away from anyone else,
- wearing a face-covering in public places,
- get a lot of sleep,
- eat healthy food
- meditate, pray,
- exercise in your home if you have to,
- stay informed but don’t overindulge in the endless fire hose of disaster news.
If you don’t take care of yourself then you won’t be able to help anyone else.
Oh and if you have some spare time it’s probably a good idea to work on a financial plan if you haven’t already.
Wow what a superb post, so much to think about and take into account. Some really great advice to follow. I really like the take care of yourself section.
Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Lisa for engaging. I hope it was clear that only the bit at the end was the good advice. Remember the title of my site is Bad Investment Advice. Seriously I know these are difficult times for many. I have many colleagues who are sick and some are not doing well. I hope you are well and taking care of yourself and your family. Stay well. Andy
Interesting. Your post is certainly disturbing in a “Book of Eli” sort of way, but I can’t really say that you’re completely off base or delusional… and that is most disturbing. Thanks for the harrowing post, I’m going to go sharpen knives and stress a little
Hi Bob, I wouldn’t stress too much. Stay safe and well. Best regards Andy
Interesting stuff – maybe a bit on the apocalyptic side, but then that’s how it feels about now.
I think how we all respond to this pandemic will determine whether we com out as victims or victors.
Being on the optimistic side, I see this as an opportunity for personal growth, mainly as I have no doubt that the “Roaring Twenties” of the last Century will return in this Century, just as they followed WW1 and the Spanish Flu last century.
Just a matter of getting to other side and watching out for opportunties.
Thanks David. I agree. I would not follow any of that advice except the bits at the end. It is all about how we respond. As numerous commentaries on the I Ching note – there is always Opportunity in Adversity. Thanks for engaging and best of luck, Andy
Wow, you got me thinking, lol. This is a lot to take in and it makes me wonder if we need to prepare for this more than we are. I am definitely going to start writing more things down at least. Nice post!
Hi Melissa, thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. I hear many voices in the corporate environment these last weeks who are saying that a number of cats are out of a number of bags. The huge power of the internet to enable working from anywhere with anyone is just one of them. This alone is unleashing revolutionary change. Good luck and stay safe, Andy