Five years ago Dan and Shayna Cohen took early retirement to live off the grid in the wilderness of Catron County, New Mexico. They are looking for like-minded people to join them on their 40 acre ranch which can be seen at www.placeofrefuge2012.com. They wrote this heads up about “Survivalist Tourists”.
We’ve met more posers or what my son likes to call “survival tourists” than anything else. By this we mean those who know something bad is about to happen and think that if they do a few mundane tasks, it will be a panacea for all their worries.
Most spend money on the strangest things, like a solar cooker and have no storage foods, or buy a diesel 4X4 that cost as much as a house and have nothing else other than a rusty .22 calibre rifle and a tactical rifle sling.
We believe that people do things like this because it’s a way of doing something that does not require them to take their foot off home plate.
Survival tourists are always letting you know that your input or methods are “dead wrong”, but they don’t have the guts to actually do anything for themselves, just critisize your actions. Don’t take them seriously.
For those of you who don’t want to fall in to the same traps, here is a list of things you’ll need to do.
1) Get food! First and foremost. We recommend dried grains, beans, sugar, salt, to start with, avoid things like de-hydrated meals or MRE’s. No real nutrition there and if there was ever going to be a time when you’ll need to be in good physical shape it will be when you’ll need your food the most. see https://www.placeofrefuge2012.com/storagefoods.htm
2) You either need a way to get to your bug out location or be there now. For some men that means buying a $50K pickup truck, but truth be told, that may have more to do with getting a expensive toy that someone wanted than anything else. We have seen people do this several times and for those on a limited budget a critical fatal mistake. For most, a good, old, ¾ ton 4X4 POS truck is more than enough. We have an old 4X4 bronco that is very good on rough terrain and didn’t cost much at all. If you’re planning to SQUAT on BLM or Forrest Service land or private land remember this — there will be others who have also found the “perfect spot” just like you and if it is that “perfect”, don’t be so naive to think that you’re the only one to find it.
If you are looking for cheap rural land, you should already be looking by now. There are many considerations to take into account. Things are never as they seem on the surface. There are (especially here in New Mexico) what we call “rural mountain developments (or subdivisions)”. These are neighborhoods that are cut out of the mountains that on the outside appear to be a mountain paradise, however, once you get in to them you find that that many residents are what we “lovingly” call “social security drunks”. For most social security drunks the cocktail hour begins around 10 am. This can make the roads kinda scary at most any time of the day. Once this old lady drove across a 20 acre field running over cows and taking out the fence at two points told the sheriff that she fell asleep and waited till her blood alcohol level was with in legal limits beofore she called him.
Then there are the meth heads or — even worse — meth chefs. Seems that meth people and drunks prefer privacy just like you. We once lived in a development called Timberon in New Mexico. From the outside it looked like paradise, juniper cedar trees, deer everwhere and cute houses on large 5 acre lots. Once living there we found out that it was a favorite place for ex-cons called “the Aryan brotherhood”. They buy a house for cash (this makes the local house prices stable) use it for cooking meth, then once they have made the house a toxic nightmare they move out and buy another one.
Couple that with the fact that almost everyone there is living is on government pay checks (SSI, Food Stamps, Retirement Checks, etc.) and once that dries up you may find your rural neighbors less than friendly… especially once the cigarettes, booze and meth runs out.
What you need to find is real rural land. A rule of thumb is 2 gas tanks away from a large metro area. The reason for 2 tanks worth away is there will be plenty of people who have 1 tank of fuel but the second tank will be impossible for most to get. So if you are at least 2 tanks away from a large metro area you should be safe from the hords of hungry people.
Who else lives there? Take the time to find out, visit potential neighbors if there are any.
3) People try to avoid this part but it is above everything else on the list –“PREPARE YOUR MIND”! From my perspective your mind will need to be conditioned before TSHTF. After living off the grid for nearly 5 years, I can tell you that life changes in way that you may not expect. First you may get some feelings of worthlessness. This comes from living for years in a life where you get up every day and go to the “world” to make a living and now the world does not need you anymore. You may begin to have feelings of doubt, doubts about your decision to bug out and if it was a good idea. My wife Sheila offers this sage advice “if TEOTWAWKI” never happens, would living this way be OK with you?” If the answer is YES then look at your bugging out as one of life’s many adventures. Try to imagine the world without
What would your day look like with out our modern conveincences? Start now to condition your mind to the big coming changes. Try to see yourself making it to the other side. You’ll only make it to the othe side if you can imagine it in your mind.
4) Shelter — For some that will be an SUV with the back seat folded down and a cheap sleeping bag. That is not ideal to say the least. For some it will be an RV, not a terrible idea for some. RVs are built for what the manufacturers call the 180 days rule. This means they are built well enough to last 180 days of use. Keep this in mind when buying one. If it looks “hard used and put up wet” it may not be something that you’ll live in with comfort all the days of your life. If you choose to use an RV then consider this… making a shelter with a roof and at least two walls around it is a good idea. An RV’s weak link is the roof. If the roof is protected from snow, heat/sun, etc., you’ll never have a leak. A leaking roof on a RV is like cancer. The walls on the two lateral sides keep the winds off the RV, making it easier to heat.
For others, a more traditional, “stick built” house is what they want and that’s not a bad idea either. We have done it twice in recent years. Our son is building an adobe and stone house, 20’X 24’ with a hard clay floor. We are also going to be burying a 40ft land/sea freighter as an underground shelter. We have done this before and it’s amazing, always around 65 degrees. These can be had for prices ranging from $1500 to $4000, prices depend on your location. If you’re close to Long Beach CA they’re cheaper, if you’re out in the wild of New Mexcio you’ll pay more. Avoid “refers” or refrigerator trailers — these are made from aluminum and cannot take the stress of being burried. Freighters can withstand their loaded wight times 10. That means that if the loaded weight is 70,000 lbs., it can withstand about 700,000 lbs. of pressure.
5) Make a decision that you are going to survive. This may seem like a dumb thing to remind people of, but I have seen people who are not prepared go in to dispair.
There is an old victorian axiom, “Hard Work Dispells Worry”. If you’re worried — GET TO WORK. If you know you need to start getting ready then pick one thng that you can accomplish in the short term. If you don’t have storage foods then make the effort to get, say, a bag of pinto beans. Even if you have no preps what so ever, you can begin now with getting your food situation in order. Bit by bit you’ll begin to notice your food stores grow if you begin now. It only takes getting one thing accomplished every day. Avoid becoming an academic survivalist tourist. Those are people who do nothing but read articles like this using the process as a mental cartharsis in lieu of taking material action. Time is short. Get started. Prepare to survive. It’s one of the few things that is totally in your control. That may be the crux of what prevents people from taking action – for most people they have never made a decision that was all theirs alone. Most decisions we make are with few options other than which decision we make. In the case of your survival, it’s a decision that you must make on your own and for most that’s the scariest part. Get started now.
I like the 2 tank rule. I currently live on a 150 acre cattle farm with the city 13 mile away and breathing uncomfortably down my neck. Saving all my dollars and hoping economic collapse doesn’t happen before I can buy land and supplies. Then I’m packin my horse trailer up horses, dogs and supplies and leavin Louisville before the masses see all this beef on the hoof and invade the farm. I hope to take some courses this summer in building a cob/straw bale home. POS diesel 4×4 is paid for……just need to make sure it can go the distance. There’s always horse power. Good luck everyone and God Bless
Thankyou for all the good ideas they will be handy when the time comes
Its a scam. RUN RUN away FAST
I AM CURRENTLY IN ALAMOGORDO, NM AREA, STUCK IN A RUT, OLD RV NOT YET ROAD READY, LAID OFF FROM WORK [BAD ECONOMY] SO RAN OUT OF FUNDS. TRYING TO GET MORE WORK. PLAN WAS TO FIX UP RV AND ADD SOME SOLAR, STOCK IT TO BE READY TO BUG OUT. THOUGH I PREFER TO TRADE FOR A DIESEL TRUCK [SUBURBAN FOR ADDED STORAGE AND THE DOGS?] AND CAMPER TRAILER. THEN GO ON TRIPS TO MEET LIKE MINDED FOLKS AND MAYBE WORK SEASONALLY AND SAVE UP FOR A PIECE OF LAND WITH WATER AND OK TO PARK/STAY IN RV?OR WITH A CABIN OR SHELTER ON IT? CHEAP!! MAYBE KEEP ALAMO AS A HOMEBASE IF WORK PICKS UP? THOUGH I’D CONSIDER ANYWHERE TEMPERATE. I DO LOVE NEW MEXICO.
THANKS FOR THE WELL THOUGHT OUT ARTICLE AND TIPS. IN THE PAST I HAVE LIVED SHORT TERM OFF THE GRID DRY CAMPING OUT OF A PAST RV SETUP. JUST HAVE TO FIND A WAY FOR POTENTIALLY MORE LONG TERM. I AM ALONE, NO FAMILY, EXCEPT FOR MY FURRY ‘KIDS’. I WOULD LIKE TO FIND A PARTNER [I AM IN MY 50’S] AND/OR COOP BUT KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO MAKE IT REALLY WORK. TRIED COMMUNES BACK IN ‘THE DAY’. IT IS AN IDEAL, BUT, THE MORE PEOPLE, THE MORE ISSUES, UNFORTUNATELY, ALL TOO OFTEN. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR ENDEAVORS.
I think Aquaponics is a good way to grow off-grid food sources.
G’Day Dan & Shayna, Thanks for your article .. I reckon you’re talking good sense in every way.
-Down here in New Zealand I’ve gone rural and am trying to be as prepared as is affordable -( now retired) & keep my home as a ‘standby’ retreat for my kids and their kids.. we recently had a big (7.1 Richter) earthquake in nearest city Christchurch and it was good to find that I coped OK when the power went off for a while & that my emergency equipment all functioned as planned!
Cheers, Marty, Hawarden,NZ
It seems to me that the evacuation of even a smaller city like Lubbock or Amarillo could create a lot of problems. I’m just wondering what your thoughts are. Thank you in advance for any comments. Great site.
Hey, I used to live in Reserve and Quemado in Catron county! That place is absolutely beautiful, especially around Quemado Lake. I live in West TX now, not near as pretty, I hope to make it back out there some day(sigh).