What psychological issues could come up from living alone in the woods?

Discussion in 'Mental Preparedness' started by branchd77, Jan 17, 2016.

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  1. branchd77

    branchd77 Administrator Staff Member Gold Supporter
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    If you lived in the woods alone for a long period of time, away from society what kind of psychological effects would that have on you?
     
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  2. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    personally none, the further I am away from "urban centres" the happier I am, I have lived alone for many years and was brought up as an "only" child, but I keep hearing this saying that humans are "social animals" so I am not sure everyone can do it, you hear stories of people being lonely and suffering as a result, so for most people-but not all- a group setting would seem to be their only hope of survival in extreme cases.
     
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  3. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    I am with lonewolf on this one, I love the solitude. Yes after a while one may get the urge to see other people, but not a biggy for me.
    Trauma on the other hand can be a difficult one, experiencing raiders, getting into a fire fight, having your stock & dogs shot, home invasion, theft, it can take its toll & this is something you simply have to get used to. In a shtf situation, this sort of thing will get a lot worse. Just accept that it is going to happen, & prepare for it.
    Keith.
     
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  4. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    It is something that varies a lot from person to person but in general humans are social creatures and need to be around other people to maintain their sanity. There is a reason why solitary confinement is generally considered as a punishment. I HIGHLY discourage anyone from trying the lone wolf sort of survival choice. First off that isn't really living for most people. Mostly though it is a good way to die a lonely death. People get hurt and people get sick. If you are alone what might be a problem if you are part of a group becomes instead a life or death situation. Dysentery for example is deadly if you are alone. You will get dehydrated and so weak that you can't go and without someone to help you that's it for you. A broken leg will make food gathering tough!

    In every one of my various bug out kits I include a deck of plastic cards, 6 dice and a book or two. Life without some pleasures isn't really life at all. As soon as you stop running for your life you had better start living or you will have failed in your flight. this is especially important if you have kids involved. In the military, as soon as they can, they will bivouac set up their camp and try to return to as normal as life as possible. If you fail in this you are looking for trouble in a BIG way. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The part that people don't understand is the first part. the POST means that after it is all over you fall apart. If you stay jacked up for too long you can't come back down. To some extent it is like drug addiction. When you are scared for a long time your body adapts to having all sorts of endorphins like adrenaline in your blood stream. When you try to come down your system is thrown out and you are in trouble. Life that doesn't include love, laughter, friendship and peace will become no life at all.

    Being a part of a group spreads the stress around. It allows you to get a good nights sleep without waking up with every little sound. When you get down you have others to help. There is strength in numbers means more than you might think.
     
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  5. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    I do agree Tex, I think one is better off being a part of a group for safety reasons. But as you say, it varies from one person to another as to how they handle the situation mentally. Knowing that you are just another animal, & that you have a part to play in a wilderness environment, does help. Interaction with other species of animal for instance is very gratifying & one never feels lonely. At least, I don't. But yes, I would sooner live with my family & friends in such a situation.
    Good post Tex.
    Keith.
     
  6. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I, like several of you, am somewhat of a loner a lot of the time. I like to solo camp in the deep woods and actually spend a lot of time alone. Nonetheless in a survival situation you will need others. Building much of a cabin alone is tough and super slow. Lifting and setting the logs is just more of a two person job. Lot's of things are that way.
     
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  7. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    you can get sick in a group too, unless you have someone with medical knowledge the best they can do is hold you hand.
    sorry, but I for one, am better off alone, especially in a SHTF event it will be other people I will have to be wary of.
     
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  8. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    I can see your point lonewolf, although sometimes having someone to hold your hand is nice. They could perhaps build you a sweat lodge if you were too sick to do it yourself, & they could prepare food for you if you were laid up.
    My wife & I became very sick one time, unable to do much at all. We were not eating, so not going to the toilet either. Getting out of bed was not easy. Worst I have ever been. Distant neighbours who lived in a humpy came to visit & took our young son away & looked after him until we were well. We were very glad of their help.
    Keith.
     
  9. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    that was nice of them Keith.
    I have lived alone for a large part of my life and have never had to rely on others, that's the way I was brought up, and it has had a major impact on my life and the way I think.
    I really don't "do" other people and given a SHTF even I want to be as far from others as I can be, I prefer to be alone, it is when I am at my most happy.
     
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  10. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    I know what you mean, I am not a people person myself, though I can tolerate them for very short periods of time. My wife & I have been alone ever since our boys left home, & neither of us seek any other companionship. Our eldest son & his family have moved into our old cottage not far away in our forest, but we don't live in each other's pockets. I feel certain that if you should ever find a partner, you will adapt & share your lifestyle just as easily as you exist alone.
    Keith.
     
  11. Arkane

    Arkane Master Survivalist
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    Choosing to live alone when you know there are people and a functioning society nearby is easy! well for me and some others it is but.
    Living alone and knowing that there is no functioning society over the hill any hill is another thing!
    No one in the western world is truly alone! the fact you are here proves it! you have communications and you are communicating, so you are not alone!
     
  12. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I always say " use what you can, whilst you still have it, to get to a point (in time) where you can survive without it".
    just because there are people about now dosent mean I want anything to do with them in a SHTF situation.
    I truly believe if the sticky stuff hits the rotating blades, most people in the UK wouldn't have a hope in hell of surviving because they are relying on the system and are not and never will be self reliant, so the survival rate would be quite low, educated estimate is somewhere around 5-10%, but seeing 99% of the population relies on others for their daily survival in the good times, it could even be as low as 1% !!!!
    my problems start when I am WITH other people not when I am alone!!:p
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  13. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    You could be right lonewolf, I certainly don't believe as many do that the countryside will be overrun by people hunting for food. Those in the country already have a fair chance of survival on their own land, those in the cities will have a hard time surviving. There will be raiders out here, that I am certain of. But that would be after the gangs have exhausted the supplies in cities & towns.
    Keith.
     
  14. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    in the UK at any rate, it will be a long time before the ordinary person in the street thinks about leaving, by that time it will be too late, they will be too weak from hunger to go very far.
    and unless they have been burnt out or flooded do we really expect someone to leave a house they have been paying the mortgage on for 10, 20, 25 years?? and just walk away?? don't think so.
     
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  15. Arkane

    Arkane Master Survivalist
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    Just look at the worlds refugees now, look at the distances they cover now! Look at the desperation now!
    and the total disrespect for laws!
    I see most anywhere as not safe
    One can delude themselves that they are all set and have it all sorted but
    Survival will be more luck than anything else. a retreat with all the stuff you need and isolation etc is nothing against a swarm of most anything especially people!

    Last decade millions of americans just up and left there houses because they could no longer afford to pay the mortgage!
    People will sit and wait it out for days maybe weeks but once the exodus starts the herd will follow and all who can will follow
    Someone will have heard a whisper about somewhere better and no one will want to miss out on salvation!
    They wont need proof or the truth they will just go and in a hurry as they will not want to miss out!

    Betty from two streets over has fled with the hubby and kids somewhere in the middle of the night, just bet it is to her cousins place over XXXXX way
    We should go there as well, it must be better there as they snuk off in the middle of the night and told none, must be good there!
    And so the stampede begins!
     
  16. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    You are right of course lonewolf, a lot of people do think that way.
    Keith.
     
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  17. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I have made a study of such things over the years and things will happen differently here in the UK to what might happen say in the USA or Australia.
    I know how the population will behave here, and it is different now in the 21st Century to what happened in WW2 or the 50s and the 60s.
     
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  18. Arkane

    Arkane Master Survivalist
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    Over here most everyone has a vehicle or two, suburbs are spread out but shopping is mostly centralised as nearly all the corner stores are gone, new suburbs can be up to 8km from the nearest shop/service station etc! and no public transport to speak of! No vehicle means not going anywhere much
    We rely on motorised transport to go anywhere! not from laziness but need! the heat precludes walking any distance in comfort!

    As a result large crowds are not possible without proper transport and travel without a vehicle is not really on!
     
  19. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    in UK cities you are never far from a supermarket, out here in the countryside we have a corner shop and a farm shop is 1 mile up the road, 2 small (LIDL and Waitrose) supermarkets are about 10 miles away, if you want a bigger supermarket say Tesco's you have to travel 25 miles, most people in the countryside HAVE to have a car as public transport is sporadic at best and in some places is non existent.
    people drive their cars everywhere, which is why in a SHTF situation with no electric and no fuel I just cannot see anyone walking very far, its against their very nature, and given the long distances from any large city is a non starter.
     
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  20. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    We walked most places when I lived in the UK, the town was only 10 minutes walk away. Here in Australia the distances are much greater, no corner shop here. We are used to stocking up on survival supplies.
    Keith.
     
  21. sunnytn

    sunnytn Well-Known Member
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    Some people would suffer from lonliness and it could affect their psychological well-being. Others would find ways to combat these feelings by working on bettering the situation they're in. Still the rare few..would love solitude. I guess the length of time being solo makes a big difference..most are hoping the survival situation is temporary..but be prepared mentally because you never know.
     
  22. Valerie

    Valerie Active Member
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    I'd be much happier, I'm sure. Honestly, I grew up in this kind of situation. Whenever I wanted, I could wander away from the house and spend hours alone in the woods. Sometimes my dog at the time came with me, but when she passed away, I'd still venture through the wildlife, just listening and being. Thoreau was on to something with that little cabin of his.
    My depression didn't start until I tried to become more social. Of course, I wasn't well liked because I couldn't even talk about television shows haha.
     
  23. sunnytn

    sunnytn Well-Known Member
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    Sounds like you are one of the rare few, and that is a good thing.:)
     
  24. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    Just the thought of being alone in the woods is already a great trauma to me. If you have seen the movie Castaway, the character of Tom Hanks survived a sinking ship and reached an island by his lonesome. Short of calling him crazy, he had that Wilson basketball for a friend so he would be talking once in a while to the ball as if it was his companion. Maybe I would be like that just so I wouldn't go crazy. As a psychologist friend said, it is better to express what's on your mind then letting it stay pent up in your head. That's what makes people crazy.

    Aside from the crazy issue, another aspect to be concerned with is fear. When darkness sets it is customary to feel scared. And if I'm alone in the woods, I'm sure I couldn't sleep on the first nights, for a week maybe. So I would be like being in graveyard shift where I sleep in the daytime and stay awake at night.
     
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  25. sunnytn

    sunnytn Well-Known Member
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    Yes..night fall is a little scarey. I work the graveyard shift so I am experienced at staying awake all night. Lol
     
  26. filmjunkie08

    filmjunkie08 Active Member
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    As I am single, I would feel very lonely and long for someone to talk with. I am a social person and need the company of others. I concerned that I might get a little "buggy" without the company of others.
     
  27. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    a lot of people would feel the same way, it might be their undoing if they come into contact with the wrong people.
     
  28. richj8am30

    richj8am30 Member
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    You will most likely develop dis-associative personality disorders. These will cause difficulty in all of the relationships that you have with people. Also if you are attacked and injured you might have some signs of PTSD.
     
  29. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    what do you mean develop? I've got them now:Dits people that p##s me off!:p
     
  30. cecejailer

    cecejailer New Member
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    I can imagine some, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong:
    - Depression, surely. Not everyone can handle the boredom and loneliness that isolation can cause.
    - Anxiety. Difficult situations can obviously trigger a lot of anxiety, and this must be dealt with if you wanna survive.
    - Psychosis. I'm sure you can end up having hallucinations after spending too much time not talking to any other human being and living in the dark for too long.
     
  31. pwarbi

    pwarbi New Member
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    Living alone anywhere can be difficult, not just in the woods. the location isn't going to be the issue, but more the fact that you won't have anybody to talk to or to keep you company. Now sometimes I'm sure that we all could do with some time away from people and just want to be left alone, but to have to be alone for a long time, it would start to affect us mentally more than I think we'd like to admit.

    As humans I think its built into us that we need company to survive, and while being alone obviously isn't going to affect us physically, mentally it will take it's toll and for a lot of people that would be considered the worse of the two.
     
  32. Rere

    Rere New Member
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    Just the thought of being alone in the woods is already a great trauma to me. If you have seen the movie Castaway, the character of Tom Hanks survived a sinking ship and reached an island by his lonesome. Short of calling him crazy, he had that Wilson basketball for a friend so he would be talking once in a while to the ball as if it was his companion. Maybe I would be like that just so I wouldn't go crazy. As a psychologist friend said, it is better to express what's on your mind then letting it stay pent up in your head. That's what makes people crazy.

    Aside from the crazy issue, another aspect to be concerned with is fear. When darkness sets it is customary to feel scared. And if I'm alone in the woods, I'm sure I couldn't sleep on the first nights, for a week maybe. So I would be like being in graveyard shift where I sleep in the daytime and stay awake at night.
     
  33. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    I guess it must take some getting used to if you are not brought up that way. I have never had a problem being alone in the forest day or night. I do talk to the animals & I do talk to my dead friends. I doubt they can hear me, but we spent so much time together trekking that to me it is just what I do. For me, being alone in the forest is a sort of spiritual experience. The wind, the trees, the animals, the place is so alive.

    But you do have a right to be fearful, better that than seeing this world through rose tinted glasses. There are dangers out there, & the most dangerous animal is a human. But don't let the fear keep you out of the woods, just make sure you are prepared. The more time you spend in the bush, the more attuned you will become, the more you become a part of this environment.
    Regards, Keith.
    [​IMG]
    Part of Wychwood Forest, this is where I live.
     
  34. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    This is one of those things that varies a lot from place to place and person to person. I live in a wooded rural area of East Texas. I don't even know where a key is to my front door. I never lock it. I am extremely comfortable in the woods and actually almost prefer the night. I am never really afraid. Now, in East Texas I am the TOP of the food chain. We don't have lions or bears and the few critters like poisonous snakes that might cause me harm I understand and avoid. I carry and am extremely competent with a hand gun so to me and for me, "What is there to be afraid of?" I love to walk, camp or just sleep in the woods. I have been doing this sort of thing for well over 50 years and have never felt threatened.

    All of that said though survival is a temporary thing. Living lasts a life time. I want to live and for me and most normal folks that includes some personal relations. If you are sick having someone there can be life or death. They can do a lot more than just sit there and hold your hand. They can bring you water when you can't move and feed you when you can't go find your own food and they can help you keep warm or cool while you run a fever. I knew a man that died of the flu. He was rather antisocial and had few friends. He lived alone and without anyone to check on him he got dehydrated and died. He was under 40 years old so it can happen to anyone. Before he got sick he was in relitivly decent health.

    I'm personally a fun loving guy though and there just isn't much that you can do alone that is fun. There are nice things that you can enjoy but be real, how often do you laugh when you are by yourself and not reading or listening to something that involves other people. Real living for most of us needs love, laughter, companionship and the security of not having to be totally self-dependent. I can, probably fairly easily, survive in the woods anywhere alone...but I wouldn't want to have to make a life out of it.
     
  35. Katie Ann

    Katie Ann New Member
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    For me, it would depend on one very huge factor. If "alone"... totally alone, I couldn't handle it because I would be terrified and sick with worry about my family. If I were in the woods alone in some kind of "survival from disaster" mode and my family wasn't there as well, I don't even want to think about what it would be like.

    Now, if I can take liberties and think of "alone" meaning only my family in the woods after some disaster, then I'd be fine. I'm not very much of a people-person for the last few years so I'd consider it an adventure... call myself a pioneer, and probably look forward to each new day. I guess the biggest psycological effect in the case that my family's with me would be wondering how the rest of the people I know are faring.
     
  36. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    If I am with my extended family I'm not alone. I have been alone for as long as 2 weeks and that was fine but for a life style choice it just doesn't work. Sooner or later it is going to bite you in the butt either physically or mentally. I spent two weeks alone in the woods and fasted it was a very enlightening experience. I actually got to know myself in ways that I never had before. Nonetheless I was awful glad to walk out and see the people that I love.
     
  37. remnant

    remnant Expert Member
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    Being a pious person, I have to admit that this would be the best time for me to engage in prayer and fasting. This is am enormous psychological boost for someone who is surviving alone in the woods. Again, its time for soul searching and harnessing your mental toughness. The book about Robinson Crusoe shows the elasticity me human will to survive.
     
  38. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Fasting does several remarkable things for you as a survivalist and human. Also being alone makes you listen and you may be amazed at what you hear. God or the gods don't tend to yell and if you don't listen you won't hear. Fasting does nice things for you. After about the third day I wasn't really even hungry anymore. This makes you as a survivalist a lot more comfortable with the realities that might be involved in surviving a bad situation and exactly how little a human actually needs to survive. Actually you can live for a VERY long time on as little as 400 calories a day.

    I have fasted off and on for many years. for almost three years I fasted at least three days a week EVERY week. I've fasted for a week too many times to remember, 2 weeks and then even longer than that once. I now eat one meal a day and it isn't all that big most days. This is what my body is used to. ???? I'm 6' 2" and currently weigh 227 lbs. If I eat three meals a day every day I balloon up. Even when I was younger and walked 5 to 10 miles a day I had to eat very little to keep my weight down. I KNOW that food will never be a problem for me. I will eat when I have it and do fine when I have less. This is pretty much the way my ancestors had to live and they passed down their very efficient metabolism to me.
     
  39. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I don't see what fasting has to do with being alone in the woods.
     
  40. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    If you are going to be alone in the woods you had better be prepared to miss some meals. If you get hurt you may go hungry for several days. Experiencing this BEFORE circumstances force it on you will make you better prepared to deal with it. To me that is what the entire prepper thing is about. I was a boy scout and took the "Be Prepared" thing very much to heart. Understanding the abilities of your body will go a long way towards making you more comfortable. Don't wait until you HAVE to do something before you try to do it. I can be comfortable KNOWING that if I need to be on the move and don't have time to hunt that I can go for a week or two easily. I honestly have seen people PANIC because they were going to miss a meal. Survival comes from KNOWING what you can do NOT thinking you know.

    If you are going to try to go it alone you need to understand EXACTLY where your limitations are. There IS NO backup plan. There is nobody to take up the slack for you if you are down. If you go to long without food and get week then you might be unable to do what you now MUST do to survive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  41. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    you dont necessarily have to hunt, hunting is time consuming anyway, trapping and snaring are better uses of time, as is knowing how to forage.
    not having enough to eat is one thing, but forcing oneself to go without food-fasting- is something else, if its for religious reasons then fine but otherwise I wouldn't advise it, we need to eat in order to give us the strength to do physical work.
     
  42. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Tell me, how do you snare and trap when you are on the move and in a different place every night? I wouldn't want to try to run a Boston marathon but I think that doing some walking might be a good thing to do before you have to run. I wouldn't recommend for anyone to try a 2 week fast the first time but ANY healthy person can go several days without a problem if their mind is in the right place. I want to try a little of anything that I might encounter BEFORE I have to do it to survive. I even build fires with various different techniques even though I have a lighter in my pocket. I've slept out in the woods without a bedroll in cold months. I've built improvised shelters even though I have a house and travel trailer. To me prepping means doing things before they are life and death so that if I ever have to do it I not only will KNOW how but also know that I can do it. This makes me a lot more confident and I would be totally comfortable in an emergency situation.

    Survival is sort of an art form and we each will need to find our own way. I don't like surprises so if I might have to do it I want to try to do it when my life ISN'T on the line. Fortunately, because of where I live I can do this easily. We have hundreds of thousands of acres of open land and forests that I am free to go out into and try to get lost in. I actually do this sort of thing at night in a 500o acre patch of woods. I am pretty much unable to get lost. As long as I have a compass or get a look at the stars before I go in I can always walk out. I know that I can skin a squirrel with my teeth. Not know how, KNOW. I can hunt, trap, snare and fish all I want to NOW. I can get more meat faster hunting than trapping. My brother in law was a poacher. He NEVER fails! What I'm talking about when I am saying "hunt" in a survival situation it has little in common with sport hunting.

    Fasting is just one of the many things that I do and have done so that if I ever HAVE to do it I will know what my limits are.
     
  43. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    that is your perogitive and your choice, I just wouldn't advise it for the majority of folk.
    far better to learn how to find food rather than go without it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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