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One of the reasons we evacuated before Hurricane Irma was that we weren’t prepared — we didn’t have enough water and couldn’t find any in the store. But that could have been remedied. We could have had frozen bags of water and filled sinks and tubs and containers. We had a pretty decent stockpile of food and propane for the grill and cans of gas and a medical kit. We probably would have been fine.
What we were really lacking was mental preparation. Even though we’ve lived here for 5 years, southwest Florida is still unfamiliar terrain. If we lost power for weeks, I wouldn’t know where to find fresh water or how to keep mold from growing inside the house or even how to fend off mosquitoes without bathing in DEET. In the long list of potential scenarios following a Cat 4 hurricane, I wasn’t prepared for any of them.
Bustle recently interviewed women across the country who are increasingly turning to prepping as insurance against future disaster — natural, financial, or political. The common theme among the women is that prepping isn’t about the stuff, it’s about the knowledge, as Survival Mom Lisa Bedford explained:
“You could spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars getting prepared,” Bedford says, “but I think survival doesn’t require all of those kinds of expenditures as much as it requires some agility and nimbleness. We have several months of food on hand, but what if we came home one day and it had been flooded? The most important component of survival is yourself.”
This is something all women know on an instinctive level. We’re usually the ones who do the practical work of running a household, so we know the importance of rolling with the punches. Whether it’s simple changes like swapping ingredients when you run out of something or more complex shifts like adjusting the grocery budget for the month to cover an unexpected medical bill, we know that the health and well-being of our family depends largely on our ability to rise to the occasion — whatever that occasion might be.
So it doesn’t surprise me that when it comes to prepping, women seek the knowledge and skills to survive an uncertain future more than the tangible supplies that would keep them alive. After all, prepping involves planning for disaster. There’s no way to know when and where that disaster will strike, or what lesser disasters will follow. Pouring limited resources into amassing a survival supply is less likely to help you survive than learning the skills to find, make, grow, cook, and create what you need would be. You can lose things far more easily than you can lose skills and knowledge.
So if you’ve been wanting to prepare for the future but find the task economically daunting, shift your focus. Think less about arming yourself with a year’s worth of supplies and more about arming yourself with knowledge and skills that can help you survive whatever the future holds for you. That kind of prepping will always be valuable, whether or not disaster strikes.
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