Survival Buzz: Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Updated Jul 3, 2019 (Orig - May 14, 2016)



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Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

Once again, this week I am going to answer questions posed during the March Lifestraw Go Giveaway.  Before I do, I want to remind you that I do not consider myself an expert.  A lot of what I share comes from my own personal experience and research.  Admittedly, I like to think that I know a lot more than many, but realistically, I also know that there are many that know a lot more than me.

Learning is constant. In the pursuit of knowledge I devour books, including post-dystopian fiction, as well as books on self-sufficiency.  I do the best I can given my time, budget, and skill set.  I try to make it fun but sometimes it is a drag.  Perhaps this sounds like you?

I tell you this because I view myself as a cheerleader of sorts.  My goal is to teach the world and in doing so, encourage you to think.  Sadly, this is not a popular place to be in the preparedness blogging world.  I get emails and comments telling me what useless drivel I pitch and that this site is not at all informative.  So be it.  My website, my content.  At the point where I can only write about the “20 Best Uses of Toilet Paper for Survival” I will quit.

Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation | Backdoor Survival

Young or old, we need to exercise our brains and practice critical thinking.  Understanding ourselves and the motivation of others will always, in my opinion, be the key to survival.  I don’t know about you, but as unpleasant as it may be, I could survive without toilet paper.

On the other hand, as a collective whole, we can not survive without clear, level headed use of the brain matter between our ears.

You Ask, I Answer:  Adapting to a Change in Location

There were a number of questions posed relating to my recent, short term, move to Arizona.  I have picked two, one relating to the challenges of relocation and the other a bit more personal in nature.

1.  Moving from the PNW to the desert SW must have been a real change. What is the biggest adjustment you have made in terms of your life and your preps?

2.  If you were only able to be in one place year round, would you prefer your Pacific Northwest home or the new Arizona home?

The challenges of relocating whether by choice or by happenstance, are many.  Setting aside the familiar, often a move will involve a completely different climate and cultural environment.  Thus was the case in moving from the sea and the forest in Washington State, to the desert in foothills outside of Peoria, Arizona.

As someone who does not like change, I knew there would be adjustments.  One of the most surprising was the expectation that we would have daylight well into the evening, just like the summertime in Washington.  Seriously though, from a prepping point of view, the top three things that caught me by surprise were:

1.  99% of the people I met were clueless regarding preparedness.  I mean clueless.  Is this because natural disasters are rare in that part of the country?  Or simply indicative of the social group I hung with?

With all deference to those of you in the Greater Phoenix area, not a single person other than my hairdresser was interested in learning about prepping.  And the hairdresser?  She was young, hip, and, along with her husband, really into prepping!

2.  Finding biomass for rocket stoves was challenging. It is there but you need to be mindful of snakes.  You also need to know what is legal and what is not; many native plants are protected species.

3.  Sources of water are few and far between so be prepared to walk some distance with a cart to retrieve it.  Also hope that you do not have to because the process will be arduous at best.  One of the first things we did is purchase two 160 gallon water tanks from Emergency Essentials!

On the positive side of the ledger, being in a suburban location rather than off-shore meant access to supermarkets and big box stores.  It was easy to stock up on supplies.  That said, I was very careful with my prepping purchases and still made most of them online.

As far as my preferred location?  There is a saying that you bloom where you are planted.  I was very homesick for the wooded, seaside trails, the abundance of greenery, and the comfort of have a fully stocked survival platform back “at home”.  On the other hand, my Arizona home is large and filled with abundant sunlight.  The people are very friendly (even though they do not prep), and you can’t beat the weather for getting outdoors to hone your survival skills.

At the end of the day, it all gets down to living your life, doesn’t it?  None of us has a crystal ball telling us when the end of the world as we know it will descend upon us.  In many respects, I feel it already has.  The move was a personal one and we treated it as the grand adventure it was.

I bloomed where I was planted.  That is the best you can do when adapting to change.  And for now, that is all I am going to say about that.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

If the concept of a waterless toilet for SHTF is appealing to you, Trent offers the following:

We’ve used home-made waterless composting toilets now for 3 years (just a wooden box with a toilet seat, and a 5-gallon bucket inside). Just think of all that saved water!! We went to a local sawmill to stock up on sawdust for the toilets.

Now, instead of wasting valuable water each time, we just use a scoop of sawdust (or peat moss)…no smell at all (except that of pine wood, which is nice). When it’s getting full, we put it in a normal-looking compost heap in the back yard and cover with a thick layer of loose straw. One or two years later we have nice black good-smelling soil for our plants.

There’s a lot of info about this online (particularly, look up “humanure handbook”)…if done correctly, there’s no danger of spreading pathogens. It may just be the way to save the world…or at least your family in an emergency. 🙂

I did find these instructions for making your own DIY Loo online:  Make Your Own Humanure Toilet.  In addition, the Humanure Handbook is available to read for free online with each chapter available as a printable PDF.  

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

Backdoor Survival is kicking off the Summer giveaway season with a fantastic review of the Enerplex Commandr 20 and Generatr S100.  I have done my share of reviews on solar panels but this combo actually has enough power AND battery storage ability to charge a laptop.  Not only that, there is one up for grabs in a giveaway.  Total value is $650.  You are going to want to enter (and win) this one!

Review: How to Charge a Laptop Off-Grid with Enerplex + Giveaway

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

As I consider the editorial calendar going forward, I can not help but recall what I said earlier:

“None of us has a crystal ball telling us when the end of the world as we know it will descend upon us.  In many respects, I feel it already has.”

This will continue to shape the content going forward and I stress living a strategic life.  I will continue to bring in some of the brightest minds (George Ure, Richard Broome, Joe Alton, and others) to help me coach you in your journey.

We are citizens of the world that are living through an era of rapid change.  Technology is reaching it’s tentacles into every aspect of our life yet we know we must cling to the old ways. Technology and the power to fuel it are not guaranteed.  And so we prep.

In my humble opinion, this is the right thing to do.  So what about you – what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition to items related to this Buzz, I am sharing some of my favorite food storage items. I used to write a lot about food storage but lately, not so much.  That said, whether you are just getting started or a seasoned pro, here are the items you will need when purchasing food in bulk for long term, storage needs.

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter:  The Lifestraw Go integrates the fantastic LifeStraw Personal Water Filter with a sippy-type bottle.  It is like getting two for the price of one.  The included carabiner hook makes it easy to attach the LifeStraw Go to your pack.

Emergency Essentials 320 Gallon Ultimate Water Reserve Combo: Yes, it is pricey to purchase this much water storage but if you are not served by a well and don’t have ponds, lakes, or streams nearby, having auxiliary water tanks, is, in my opinion, important.

Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up for very cheap.

Additional Reading
Survival Basics: What the Heck are Oxygen Absorbers?
Survival Basics: Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage
Survival Basics: Buckets, Lids and Gamma Seals

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: As long as the unit has an accessory port (and this one does), an in expensive FoodSaver will work just as well as the fancier models. That is my two cents, at least.

FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.  There is also a version for regular sized jars.  See Fast Track Tip #4: How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning.


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival


An Update on the Oil of the Month Club

There is some exciting news for essential oils enthusiasts.  Spark Naturals has introduced a Premium Oil of the Month Club that features the higher priced oils at the bargain price of $24.99 with free shipping.  To give you an example of the savings, the May oil is a 15ML bottle of Frankincense, normally $70.  That is a discount of almost 65%.

If you would like to learn more about the Oil of the Month Club, visit the page I created for you (shown below) or head on over to Spark Naturals web site.

Additional Reading:  Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club



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Updated Jul 3, 2019
Published May 14, 2016

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25 Responses to “Survival Buzz: Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation”

  1. It so funny to me that you have received such critical mail about your site!! I often

    • …sorry, hit wrong button……
      Anyhow, I often post that I dumped all the other prep websites I went to and now for several years only come here for the most useful and practical advice. You just keep going girl, you rock!

  2. You would think if folks found your site so useless & uninformative they would just go somewhere else! I’m always excited to see what new adventure you are pursuing & appreciate all the information you bring. Keep up the good work.

  3. At least critical feedback lets you know someone’s paying attention, unless they’re trolls seeking to make trouble.
    We’re all at different levels of preparedness experience and knowledge. So what if you’re not Rambo? You’re meeting the needs of your followers, so don’t let anyone get you off the track you know to be right.

  4. I’m in the area where you short term relocated! People here refer to winter visitors as snowbirds. As for prepping, this area has been spared many natural disasters. However, recently on the local news, it was mentioned that an earthquake in California could reach into upper Arizona. Unfortunately, the news did not mention keeping some necessary supplies on hand, just in case it does. There are preppers here, but with so many visitors every year, most are quiet about prepping, especially in suburban settings. On the bright side, the dry climate is good for long term food storage and there is abundant sunshine for solar power! Ironically, I’m scheduled to relocate to the PNW, just a different island.

  5. Gaye- PLEASE PLEASE always continue to write your “drivel”. I have learned practical and important things from you, and I am grateful. I suspect that because you do not write about how to reload with your teeth whilst stabbing your starving neighbor with one hand and hunting big game with other, it would seem boring to those looking for the fantasy and romance of survival. Prepping becomes a weary pantomime at times; collecting, dividing, storing, learning how to stay healthy, learning how to cook what you’ve prepped, etc. But those are the things that matter. Keep up your good work!

  6. Being able to adapt to change is important to our evolution as a human. After living in Alaska for 11 years I recently relocated to Montana. Did a ton of research about housing, jobs, food, water, utilities etc.. on line before I made my decision to move. Nothing prepared me for the shock that I went through the first three weeks I was here. I lived in a small secluded town surrounded by the beauty of Alaska. When the plane landed the beauty of Alaska was gone. Time to adjust to my new surroundings. More people, traffic, different clement etc. Was in shock for three weeks adapting to the change. After being here for two months I am adjusting well. Make progress every day, focus on the positive, and realized that if something is meant to be it will be. Go with the flow.

  7. Gaye: People who think the important information you pass on to us is drivel are those with their heads in the sand. They believe nothing will ever happen to them or our country. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning from your website. Keep writing please!

  8. I lived in the Phoenix area for 18 months after bring in the PNW and also found the “early” summer nightfall a bit unexpected. There’s a lot of difference between an 8 pm dark and a 10:30 pm glowing sunset. Tough choice between plenty of water (PNW) and plenty of sunshine (AZ).

    As to your content – you’re my main gal cuz you share real experience with real-life issues. In fact, I think much of your content is helpful NOW, not just for SHTF. And that’s my 2 cents worth (-:

  9. Hello! I am here in Phoenix as well, relocated from The Finger Lakes region of NY state back here and am missing NY! I do love the consistent weather though, and sunshine.

  10. Your website is a welcome relief from survival sites where the person is trying to convince you that the presenter knows best. Some of it is blather, some helpful.

    Thanks for your low-key presentations that I mentally welcome and that’s the whole idea isn’t it?

  11. Live in Tucson and looking forward to prep for the southwest.

  12. I live in Houston and to say the least we have crazy weather,hurricanes flooding tornadoes and heat. I have learned so much from you and so much more to learn. I’m proud to say that I am now a prepper in a whole new way. I’m accustomed to disasters but your wealth of knowledge has given me a whole new direction. Thank you so much!
    Debby Plank

    • Yours is my favorite prepping website. I have learned about many prepping ideas, resources, and products, and I really appreciate the research you do for your reports!

  13. The internet is like the television, if you don’t like what you see or hear turn the channel. The rest of us like to hear what you have to say Gaye!

  14. I’m an addicted web surfer and have been to LOADS of prepper websites. Many of them have good information, but your site is the only one I consistently read every week.You are far more practical than most of the others and you are the only one I have seen who does in-depth reviews of equipment preppers might need. These reviews alone make this a great site!

  15. I like coming to your site because you cover a variety of things – things that I may have not thought about or a new way of looking at a particular situation. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences – the smart readers will put a lot of it to use for their families. Thanks & keep it coming at least until things get so bad priorities in our lives have to change to just surviving.

  16. Thank you for all the info. There always seems to be an article on a subject that I need info on. I don’t pay any mind to those with negative or hateful comments. Those of us who are in this “prepper club”, know what the deal is and we use the info to protect us and our families. Keep on putting info out there. Your knowledge and sharing of knowledge is greatly appreciated.

  17. Your site is one of the few to which I have stayed subscribed. Most of the others are fun for a few weeks, but offer nothing not already offered everywhere else. Your site offers practical info for real people – ways we can make a difference for our own families, from a welcomed personal point of view. You don’t focus on the tools so much as the skills and mindset – something sorely missing from those other sites.

  18. you said in regard to stocking up, that you still do most of your purchasing online… why is that?

    • There are two reasons. First of all, I am disinclined to stray from my list and do impulse buying when making a purchase online. Second. because there are no big box stores where I live in Washington State, I have become accustomed to the convenience of shopping online. There is not much to choose from locally plus, it is a 20 mile round trip to town.

  19. I learned a long time ago when I worked on the Canadian border from sun up to sun down, that the further north you go, the longer the days are in the summer. They are shorter in the winter.

  20. Short term relocation would be tough enough, but we are seriously considering a cross-country move. Does anyone have experience moving a fairly large or large amount of storage food, preps over long distances? I’ve kept the boxes that the #10 cans came in to use in the event we would have to bug out, but what do I do with the storage buckets? Move them in the car to avoid the moving company knowing? I’m not comfortable letting many people know that we prep, as we live in a major city. Anybody have experiences/suggestions that they want to share?

    • We have discussed this at length and determined that the best thing to do is to drive a U-Haul ourselves. We plan to move some of our own food storage from the PNW to Arizona this Fall and doing it ourselves will allow us to control the temperature as well as our privacy. We will ship the car instead of our stuff.

  21. It makes me so angry to read about people who cause trouble and put down others websites & blogs because maybe they don’t agree with them, or whatever warped reasons they have for doing what they do. That being said….Gaye keep on doing what you’re doing!! You were literally the first site about prepping that I found. Since then, I’ve been to alot of prepper sites, but there’s only a handful that I enjoy and at the same time, learning how to be self-sufficient and out of all of them, yours is my favorite & my #1 that when I want to learn something & know that it’s true information, your site is the one I turn to. Like others here have said, part of it’s because you HAVE experienced these things & you test things & then give honest reviews on them. In my opinion, some preppers that have been at it for years doesn’t make them “experts” or better than beginner preppers. We’re all in this together & we’re all learning together. I love the fact that here, everyone is able to share what they’ve learned with others & to those who don’t agree or think it’s “drivel” then just leave!! Hope I’m making sense, I’m very exhausted lol…just saying, Gaye you’re awesome , everything you do is awesome & thank you for everything you do & have done to help us lead a prepared & more self-reliant life!!


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