Survival Buzz: 2 Pieces of Advice For Living a Strategic Life

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Updated Jul 2, 2019 (Orig - Mar 26, 2016)



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Some days, I have a very short fuse.  Call it stress, age, or simply disgust at the world situation, but the smallest things can set me on a rant.  As a prepper, these feelings are a bit troublesome given that in a true emergency, rants and temper tantrums will have no place. It will be survival that counts.

Do you remember a time when you could handle a lot more than you can now?  I do.  The bottom line is that  life is simply more complicated now than twenty or thirty years ago.  We are bombarded daily with hundreds of texts, emails, social media, pop-up ads, and visual content everywhere.  The number of gizmos we have is insane, and there is the expectation that you respond immediately to each ping whether you know where it came from or not.

2 Pieces of Advice for Living a Strategic Life | Backdoor Survival

Some days it is all too much and I say that from a position of being in the thick of it all.  Information overload is causing all of us to be in “alert and respond” mode rather than “think and plan” mode.  When is the last time you had some quality quiet time?  For me, it has been so long that I cannot remember.

So what does this have to do with prepping?  It is important that we put into perspective the fact that our preparedness efforts constitute a special form of insurance.  Although we may never need our preps for their stated purpose, the food, water, and carefully honed skills will never go to waste.  You certainly can’t say that about your car insurance that is use or lose (and if we are careful drivers, mostly lose).

I have two pieces of strategic living advice for your today.

1.  Celebrate the small victories you achieve in meeting your preparedness goals.  They are just as important as the large victories.  Perhaps more so because they occur more frequently.

2.  Learn to be at peace when doing nothing at all.  The Italians have a saying, “Il dolce far niente” or “the sweetness of doing nothing”.  I learned this phrase when I was in Italy in 2006 but believe it became popular in the movie Eat, Pray, Love.

I may have mentioned that I miss the sea and forest on San Juan Island and am counting the days until I return home. I love it’s peacefulness and that it is conducive toward stepping away from technology and immersing into nothingness for a while.  That is my safe haven.

I challenge you to find yours.  It is the first step you must take toward living a strategic life.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

A few weeks ago Jeff shared this tip.  If you are struggling to come up with enough cash for your prepping gear and are in a position to take on a part time job, this might work for you.

I just recently had to relocate due to a family health issue and so I am “Starting over” in a new place.  To get some cash flow going, I took a part time job with a big box outdoor sporting goods store.  (My store is NOT one of the following – but I assume that this situation would be the same at Cabelas, Dicks, REI, etc)

Even though I am only part time, I am required to take web hosted, brand specific, training modules to gain product knowledge on things that they sell.  Much of it is optional, though you are encouraged to continually train, and you can take the modules at home, on your own time….Lots of brands…

Here is the point…

As you take each of these training modules you qualify for BIG discounts on the brand’s items that you complete.  I’m talking often as much as 50-60% sometimes!  You have to purchase through the training site and they ship to the employer, and there is not always the same selection as the public web page but it is still VERY good.

So if someone is looking to majorly jumpstart their preps, consider taking a part time job at one of the types of facilities, and use the part time income to get more or better preps.

This sounds like something that is worth checking out.

Prepare Your Family for Survival: Tip #11

Here are this week’s prep tips from Linda Loosli’s recently published a book, Prepare Your Family For Survival.

Chapter 11 – Your Evacuation Plan: Ready, Set, Go

Tip: Please be aware of families in your neighborhood who have elderly or disabled family members and may need help in evacuation. Talk with them ahead of time to make sure they have a plan in place and whether or not you should be a part of that plan. We should work together with our neighbors as a team during a crisis.

Tip: When deciding on an emergency contact to include on your children’s school forms, think of someone who lives close to the school and who would be able to walk and pick up your child in the event that roads were closed and you or someone living farther out were unable to get there.

That about wraps things up for Linda’s tips. To learn more about the book, visit the article 11 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Survival.

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With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway. 

The Final Word

It bears repeating that living a strategic life is, in the long run, an important piece of the survival puzzle.  I wrote about such a life in an eBook, 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life,  co-authored with George Ure a number of years back.  As with many things, it is in need an update and a facelift but for now, that will have to wait.

I sense a turning of the corner in preparedness and prepping.  More and more people are coming on board at least in some small way, and fewer pundits are making fun of us.  I did, however, note that Daymond John on Shark Tank is interested in “this space”.  That speaks to the commercialism of the niche.  Investors smell money.

Still, it is good to no longer be called crazy even though we may do so among ourselves.

That is wrap for me.  What about you – what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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I carry my portable survival kit whenever I leave the house.  The nice thing about it is that it fits neatly in a pocket, day pack, glove box, or handbag.  If you are interested in more details or need assistance building your own kit, see 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit.

In the meantime, here are some items you should consider carrying with you as you travel near and afar.

BIC Classic Lighters (12): A dozen full size BIC lighters at a bargain price with free shipping. Don’t forget to test them to ensure they work!

Paracord Lanyard:  I prefer a paracord lanyard over a bracelet because I can use it’s clip to attach my whistle as well as other items that I may want to add from time to time such as a second flashlight, a Swiss army knife, pepper spray, or a flash drive (thumb drive).

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V 6 LED Flashlight: I own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.

Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.

Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.  I love my cheapie whistles but this is the one I would depend on for wilderness survival.

Lavender Essential Oil:  This is the Swiss army knife of essential oils. My favorite lavender oil is from Spark Naturals.  Enjoy a 10% discount with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL.

Rectangular Tin with Window:  Chances are you have something similar already that can be repurposed for free.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  Too large for a pocket kit but important to have with you is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter.  At only 2 ounces (in weight), the LifeStraw is suitable for a backpack or bug out bag.  It is easy to use and requires no chemicals to remove a  minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.


Essential Oils: Deal of the Week

Each week I update a special page with the Spark Naturals item of the week?  You can find it here:  Essential Oils from Spark Naturals – Weekly Deals. Every once in awhile there will be free shipping or a free gift offered as well as a product discount.  And then sometimes, it is as simple as a huge discount.

20% Off Discount Code:  BACKDOORSURVIVAL
This is the sale you have been waiting for!Spark Naturals Anniversary Sale | Backdoor Survival

And remember, you can always use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your entire SN order.  When it comes to saving money, every little bit helps.



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Updated Jul 2, 2019
Published Mar 26, 2016

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14 Responses to “Survival Buzz: 2 Pieces of Advice For Living a Strategic Life”

  1. “Two pieces of advice”. I thought this was going to be bourbon and tequila.
    I agree that at times in this screwed up world that we feel it is all going to come down on us. We have to look for things to do that give us that fuzzy all over feeling.
    Recently my fuzzy feeling was when I had purchased some, just weened piggies, and raised them until time to slaughter. Curing and smoking the ham and bacon was exciting. I know this is not much, but it felt good.
    Next weekend a group of like minded folk are putting on a fair in central Ky that will include bee keeping, how to tap the trees and make maple syrup, how to can, how to quilt, gardening tips, and to many to mention. Attending this fair will make me feel fuzzy. My wife, daughter, and granddaughter will be going with me.
    I guess we never get to old to teach our children. I think I have finally gotten one of my daughters on the prepping band wagon. She has purchased an All American pressure canning and is going crazy. One of the piggies I slaughter was for her. She canned pork. She has made jam. When ever something goes on sale, she cans it. Yesterday pineapples went on sale for $1 apiece. She canned 14 pints. Last week it was mushrooms that were on sale. Seeing her go gang busters, gives me a fuzzy feeling.
    These are a few of the things that keep me going and putting up with world events.
    Keep on keeping on.

  2. My husband and I both grew up canning our garden and not relying on a grocery store. Never once entered my thought process to can pineapple. That is very interesting. I will have to give it a try. People should not be afraid to can the unusual items like pineapple, milk, butter, and etc. Make sure you follow the rules and everyone should be safe.

    • I have never heard of canning pineapple or mushrooms before either. When we buy them at the store, they are canned, so I suppose it is ok to try. More power to her.

  3. Yesterday we killed our first rooster. It didn’t go exactly as planned – we finally gave up on plucking and skinned it – but we found out what we did wrong and have 2 more to practice on. We have a dozen baby chicks to add to our small flock who are revelling in the grass and bugs after being cooped up over the winter and we are enjoying our home grown bacon to go with the eggs. We have a sow who will be farrowing in 2 months and an order in for some meat chickens. The garden has been dug – all by hand – next year we budget to rent a rototiller – and we will be planting our first seeds this weekend. Progress is slow but we can see how far we have come.

    • Digging a garden by hand! WOW. You are much younger than me. I have been on craigslist all day looking for a tiller. To much money. I have been using raised beds where turning with a shovel is ok, but I think this is the last growing season before the crap hits, so I want to grow lots of tators.
      On those chickens. I had a man show me how to skin a chicken if you dont want the skin. He laid the chicken on it’s back and made an incision from one leg across the breast to the other leg. He put his foot on each of the chicken’s wing up close to the body, grabbed the chicken’s legs and pulled. The chicken came right out of it’s skin, feathers and all. He just stood there with a skinned chicken in his hand. Slick as a whistle.

    • I’m 66 lol but I used a garden claw not a shovel. It takes a little longer but is much easier on the back. We would prefer to keep the skin so will be trying again now that we got some good advice. Am really stoked as I found a small patch of rhubarb. Have transplanted it to a more convenient spot (it was growing where we put the trampoline) and hope it does well.

    • have you seen the Back To Eden video. The production is fantastic, no weeding, very little watering, and NO TILLING.
      You will be amazed at the produce and how much it cuts your work. Just google “Back to Eden” to see it for free.

    • Hi Susan, After wring the neck Drop the chicken in a pot of boiling water. Just a few seconds and then pull it out. The feathers will come out very easy. Next step is to burn off the hairs. That only takes a few seconds as well. Naturally by fire of your choice

  4. moving from a temperate rain forest environment to a desert is quite a change, however temporary it may be. a non-prepper might have an easier time of it because they would be spending most of their time indoors or in the car no matter where they lived; but we preppers need to be aware of, and knowledgeable about, the ecosystem we’re in. that makes such changes much more difficult. and, although we may not like to admit it, once we hit middle age it just takes more time and effort to adapt to major changes. i hope you’re being gentle with yourself. all i’ve done this week is rotate the prescription meds in my edc.

  5. I love that Italian phrase, and it’s very applicable to prepping since in some situations you’ll have to hunker down and wait. Weather events like tornados, hurricanes, or ice storms will have you indoors at least if not in a shelter room. Radiological events like a dirty bomb or nuclear plant accident may also keep you in your shelter room. And having the ability to sit still for hours on end with just napping or playing cards, board games, etc is a good way to keep from going stir crazy.
    As to insurance, I have to disagree that it’s use it or lose it. If you use it then you’ll end up paying the insurance company even more for years since you suddenly became a risk. Basically, insurance is there to make sure you don’t get financially ruined by a catastrophic accident – medical bills are sky high and any court action can be just as costly if not more so. Sorry for the mini-rant, insurance one of my pet peeves – I keep fairly high deductibles on my insurance because I’d rather pay for small incidents out of pocket then trigger higher rates, but have umbrella coverage in case the basic policy isn’t enough for a more serious incident.
    And my latest prepping purchases have mostly been off eBay – getting older civil defense gear for nuclear emergencies. Got a bunch of the CDV-715 meters, a CDV-717 remote meter, a CDV-700 low range meter and a whole bunch of CDV-750 chargers for the CDV-742 dosimeters. Not sure how I’ll pay to calibrate all the gear, but I’ll start doing it a few items at a time as the budget permits. Oh yes, I got another galvanized trash can with locking lid so I can have a full set of gear EMP protected and in my shelter space. Also, I’ve measured my shelter space to start planning on how to increase the protection factor in that corner of my basement…basically a wooden framework and either bricks or lead sheeting on top depending on what I can find at local sources. Lead isn’t any better than other material except it’s thinner – a pound of lead stops the same amount radiation as a pound of concrete or dirt or water. And I have reflective car sunscreens all set to cut up and put against the basement windows before I pile bricks behind them. I’m hoping to get some dirt so I can bury the outside of the windows with some boards covering the screens for later, but that’s a low priority item…protecting the inside needs doing first.
    Sorry for rambling on. My wife is mostly supportive of my prepping but doesn’t like to talk about it. And for OpSec I tend not to tell my neighbors everything I have (just what they can see outside the house in my yard…like the standby generator that purrs when the lights go out.) So you folks are where I feel safe about talking about my preparations. 🙂

  6. Well I didn’t do too much as we hosted Easter dinner, had to get the house “bunny-fied” for the grand children ;). Did rotate a few of our canned goods Had a rain check on canned fruit from local grocer and added that to the stores.
    Just as a note the TV show Elementary did an new episode last night where the murder victim was a “prepper” Did anyone catch it? Guess we’re becoming more? “mainstream”.

    • We don’t get cable so we need to wait for the newest season (4?) of Elementary to show up on Hulu. On the other hand, Daymond John has mentioned wanting to me in the “prepper space” a couple of times on this season’s Shark Tank.

    • I worry how much something like Shark Tank will harm regular people trying to prep. Like that Couponing show RUINED everything for couponers, who were just trying to save money while trying to feed and clothe their families on an extremely tight budget.ALL the stores around here changed their couponing policies due to that show. I used to be able to save a lot of money using store coupons and manufacturer coupons With what I saw on the show some of them are just plain bonkers Not talking about the ones donating most of their purchases for food banks, churches but the nut cases that store stuff they won’t or cant use just to get a “deal”

  7. i am new to reading much about preparing on the internet but have so enjoyed it since i stumbled upon your site. it has really helped me be able to evaluate what i have done and need to do yet. i do not know anyone else that does this and feel quite alone. i do feel intensely worried that something is building up in our country, something bad. my husband has come around to feeling the same. thank you Gaye and all of the people that comment and spread knowledge. seeing how many other people feel the same has made me feel like i am not nuts. this week been working to get my garden space ready. spuds planted last week. going to not till this year and dig with shovel only. wasn’t hard to do the potatoes so think will be ok. am 60 and need the exercise. nothing easy about trying to be self sufficient but very rewarding. always makes me marvel at our pioneer ancestors. so keep at it everyone. and thanks again for all the valuable insight and friendship.


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