Wednesday, October 21, 2015


“YaYa, I don’t want to learn how to make lip gloss. I want to learn how to make a fire,” Zoe told me. She was eleven.

“Yeah,” I said, “me too.”

So my granddaughter, Zoe, and I signed up to survive, wanting to be the cool girl in the novel with a few survival skills and the power of knowing a thing or two.

Last year, we spent a bit of time in the woods with Byron Kerns learning a little about surviving.

It was eye opening. And we did learn how to make a fire . . . and find water and make a temporary shelter and be smart about the woods and be prepared for emergencies and think like a survivalist and learn the importance of a positive mental attitude and . . .

There were important lessons before we even left home. Over the years, I’ve gathered up a lot of gear, buying a little here, a little there, for emergencies and such—like hurricanes, the end of the world, etc. Mr. Kerns’ class gave me a chance to take stock and sort through the collection. Half of the stuff I didn’t even recognize. A lot of it was silly or cheap. Too much of what I’d collected I didn’t know how to use.  

One of the important lessons I learned from the experience:  Bug out bags and personal survival kits are just that. Personal. Investing in some generic kit is fine, using a checklist is great, but at some point it’s important to think through an emergency scenario or two and personalize your efforts. What will you need to feel better?

For me it’s dry socks. I hate having wet feet and damp socks. It gets me down. For one of our instructors it was having dirty fingernails. She always includes a fingernail brush in her emergency survival kit. For some people it's Chapstick. What's your one special thing?

 It doesn’t have to a big thing, but it should be your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple stupid is an excellent motto when it comes to preparation.

Linda (Two Socks) Zern