In a short story this month, I’m trying to flesh out the character of a crazy post-apocalyptic survivor. I’ve read many different fictional approaches to end-of-the-world scenarios, as well as non-fiction survivalist literature. Some of my readers may have actually been through survival training.
Writing on this subject made me think: how competent would I be at surviving in a low-tech, hardscrabble world? Could I:
- Survive outdoors without tent or sleeping bag? Probably
- Survive outdoors in cold weather? Probably.
- Use a map & compass to navigate by foot on land? Yes.
- Navigate by the stars?
- Make rope? Yes.
- Blacksmith? Yes.
- Make a crossbow and bolts?
- Make and use a bow and arrows?
- Make and use a slingshot? Make, yes – use, don’t know.
- Trap birds or small animals? Probably.
- Hunt, shoot and dress big game?
- Raise breed and butcher livestock? Probably.
- Fish without gear?
- Sink a well?
- Build a weatherproof shelter? Probably.
- Build a latrine and a shower? Yes.
- Build a boat? Sail it the direction you want to go? Doubtful on building a seaworthy boat – but I can sail.
- Light a fire with flint & steel?
- Have a basic knowledge of your region’s botany — poisonous/non poisonous plants & berries?
- Plant and maintain a survival garden? Yes.
- Make distilled water, soap, or booze? Water & soap.
- Preserve food for long term storage without refrigeration? Smoked meat & dried fruit.
- Sew, knit, or weave? Yes, all three.
- Tan hide and work leather? Basic leatherworking.
- Make shoes or boots?
- Provide EMT support? Basic first aid & CPR, but nothing advanced.
- Have knowledge of herbal medicine or basic pharmaceutical compounding?
I’m not entirely sure I’d be a multi-faceted resource to my post-apocalyptic enclave.
Feel free to chime in with your own answers. Note: Jim, we already know that you can do all of this very capably. Blindfolded, underwater, and bleeding from a gunshot wound. You’re hereby elected community leader.