COVID-19: Time for adventuring beyond fear and desire

The COVID-19 global pandemic has revealed the false security of our modern economy and lifestyle for many of us. The pandemic eviscerated the house of cards upon which most are fully dependent on. The certainty craved by the mind has evaporated into thin air nearly overnight. Uncertainty is what remains and we need to become comfortable with it. Adventuring is simply moving into the field of uncertainty and risk for the purpose of gaining something. It is time for us as individuals to become more self-reliant and independent. It is time to learn to adventure beyond your comfort zones and go beyond the fears and desires of modern thinking. Learning and practicing the skills required for adventuring is central to personal survival, happiness, and effectiveness. The current pandemic is an opportunity to take the exit ramp of a life of dependency leading nowhere and find an on-ramp to a self-reliant lifestyle that is inwardly more fulfilling.

The adventure of a lifetime

I was fortunate to recently participate in a once in a lifetime adventure descending the 2,000 + mile Missouri River from its headwaters in Three Forks, Montana to its terminus into the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis, Missouri. Luckily, the architect of the expedition, Tom Elpel, is an experienced outdoorsman and successful author who has been able to articulate our adventure in his book Five Months on the Missouri River Paddling a Dugout Canoe.    

Margie and I created our Prepped and Frosty website to fortify our rationale and thinking about adventuring so that we could do more of it. We strive to Go and Do so that we can Share and Enable with others.  I recently received a copy of Tom’s book and am I blown away by Tom’s account of our expedition. Tom’s book is a physical and metaphorical account of our treasure discovered by adventuring into uncertainty and the unknown. It is a perfect example of what adventure looks like and feels like. Metaphorically, we let go of clinging to everyday existence, physically we flowed with the natural speed of nature, became in tune with her, rolled with the punches, and discovered the treasure we sought – our deeper, truer selves.

No way is the way: cobble your gear together

As Bruce Lee famously said, “Use no way as way”. Tom’s vision for the expedition was unique. His cumulative life experience and vast knowledge translated into an expedition filled with history, primitive living skills, botany skills, geology skills, birding skills, navigation skills, and people skills. It would be impossible to fully replicate our experience exactly, but you can get a sense of what a proper, robust adventure looks like through Tom’s book.

Tom’s book is a rich, overarching, implicit lesson addressing “why to” and “how to” adventure.  He points out that following our life’s intuition, the path is not always easy or logical. A leap of faith is required, in this case of “seeing where all the water goes”. Tom clarified, embraced, and then realized the “enduring appeal of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery”, actually discovering and documenting what is out there, not simply racing to the end.

Tom’s expedition was appropriately named the “Corps of Rediscovery”,  geared toward exploring and discovering the river rather than merely paddling to the end. His photos reveal a mind open to awareness and observation skills that escape most of us as we are in our default “lost in thought” mode.  His narrative wonderfully interweaves our experience, peppered with insights from exploring the history of the Missouri River and the colonization of North America.

Disconnected from nature

The entire book illustrates what Tom labels a “fundamental disconnect from nature” that most of us suffer from. Adventure in nature opens the mystery of our existence into our being and retards the incessant, compulsory thinking that forces us to participate in the “rat race to nowhere”. In Tom’s words:

  • “We bask in the glory of our accomplishment while missing nearly everything along the way.”
  • “We yearn to connect with nature, and not knowing how to do that, we treat nature as an adversary rather than a dance partner.”
  • “We pit human endurance against nature and seek to overcome her.”
  • “We don’t know the plants and animals in our neighborhood; we are largely blind to species we encounter every day.”

At Prepped and Frosty, we embrace Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey concept. It is this outline that enabled a quick decision and response to Tom’s offer to participate in his adventure with a vigorous “HELL YES, I’M IN” without a second thought. Tom’s offer to participate in the expedition was a call to adventure. Some of us were “prepped and frosty” enough to say yes to the adventure, embrace the uncertainty, and seize the window of opportunity offered by Tom. Everyone prepared as best they could in their own way. Launching on the river crossed the threshold into the largely unknown challenges to come. Mentoring occurred as everyone shared and discussed their knowledge. Magic, serendipity, and discovery fueled our progress for over 5 months learning the lessons the river had to teach. Flexibility, adaptability, and innovation allowed us to overcome challenges as a team. We survived and returned to the everyday world.

Finding treasure

The treasure we found is documented in Tom’s book. A summary of our experiences and lessons learned.  Adventure forces us to stop clinging to trivial mental notions, to let go of logic and trust the physical and metaphorical current of nature. We stopped clinging, let go and went with the current, and appeared to fly to onlookers. We oozed adventure.  Tom’s book is a work of art that reveals the magic and divinity found through adventure and is available to us all. Whatever mental or physical apocalypse is to come, the Missouri River floods of 2019, the COVID-19 global pandemic, or the upcoming challenges of climate chaos, we are all on an adventure and always have been. Tom’s book is a window as well as a guide to adventuring robustly and being fully alive.

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COVID-19: coronavirus threshold crossed to a new world paradigm

The video content on this page is informative and educational pointing to a threshold we have crossed necessitating a new world paradigm and perhaps an improved way of thinking.  Prepped and Frosty is about increasing our self-reliance and sharing what we have learned with others. Central to future success at the individual and societal levels is self-reliant thinking.  Go from dependence to independence, to interdependence. You never were, nor should ever be a victim of anything.  When you claim to be a victim, you yield your personal power and your hope.

A disaster can leave you homeless.  Its okay, and can actually be beneficial.

There is no way, mix it all together.

Simple, Direct, Non-classical:  A new way of seeing, a new paradigm, a new foundation.

    • Existing concepts can be re-combined to create something new.
    • Remix and update your toolbox of concepts to be less rigid and more flexible to deal with rapid change (chaos).
    • You are on offense.
    • Lead with your strengths.
    • Learn to intercept.  Respond before, during , or after
    • It’s a subtraction process.  Remove waste to increase agility and speed.
    • Flow with sophisticated spontaneity to changing conditions millisecond-by-millisecond
    • As an example, Bruce Lee’s martial art Jeet-Kune-Do (JKD) is being practiced in the video below.

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COVID-19 Global Pandemic – preparing for the worst by focusing on self-reliance

It is always good to hope for the best but prepare for the worst by cultivating your own self-reliance.  The dominoes have begun to fall with global efforts to control the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, and we don’t know when they will stop.  Here are some suggestions to help increase your self-reliance to aid in decision making and action taking in preparing for the worst during this global pandemic.  The seriousness of the situation offers an opportunity to establish a new paradigm for yourself that will serve you now as well as in the future.  You are responsible for yourself and the results you get in life.  This experience is being forced on us but is also an opportunity to learn and right-size our lifestyle in many ways.  As we monitor the developing situation, keeping these recommendations in mind will assist in determining needed assets vs. assets that may prevent flexible deployment.

This is a good opportunity to practice

But first, let’s consider the good.  The pandemic is an opportunity allowing for personal reflection and goal formation on how you want to live your life as an individual as well as being an example of how you would like the planet to be. In other words, you can be the change that you would like to see in the world and express yourself in a fulfilling way.  As Cody Lundin states “You benefit from acting on these principles whether Armageddon happens or not.”  At a relatively low cost, you can be prepared, flexible, adaptable, and agile. So now we have an opportunity. You can also do the planet a favor by consuming on a smaller scale. Living small is one of the most responsible things you can do and ultimately makes life better as practicing minimalists say.   A happy and successful life is more of a subtraction process than adding things.  Rightsize on the right things, and stop clinging to ineffective concepts and practices.   The world is different now, we need a new way to see.  Some people update their mental models better than others, they are called survivors.” – Laurence Gonzales.  Shoring up these principles in your life will help you now and when it passes.  The information presented here are simple, core understandings that build a foundation of a paradigm that will serve you your entire lifetime.

The world is complex and is very hard to understand.  Mental maps are hard to create.  It is hard, if not impossible to fully understand.  The complexity of our world will not fit onto our mental stage at one time.  By focusing on our own self-reliance, we can learn and understand these principles, deploy these principles now during the pandemic, and keep our resources aligned for the next crisis which will inevitably come again one day.  Building in flexible, nimble, agile, adaptable, and general principles is a smart way to deal with an uncertain future.

Principles of simplicity  (borrowing from Cody Lundin and other sources)

Complexity breeds waste and you have no resources to waste. Conservation of resources and energy is paramount.  A spiritual collapse will occur if you overextend yourself.  Simplicity needs to rule.  Strive for simplicity in all things.  Good old common sense. The easiest and cheapest way to reduce the variables in your life or survival plan is to keep things simple.  Even simple systems behave in very complex ways and can lead to disaster.  When you begin to outfit your home with self-reliant goodies, simply purchase more of the same stuff that you packed with your portable disaster kit.

Principles of survival

Here is an interpretation of the Survival Rule of 3’s.  This is a great outline of survival principles upon which you can maintain countermeasures to prevent death.  These are basic and fundamental.

  • Immediate survival
    • In 3 seconds, you can die from panic
    • In 3 minutes, you will die without air
  • Short term survival
    • In 3 hours, you can die from exposure (lack of thermo-regulation)
    • In 3 days, you can die without water
  • Long term survival
    • In 3 weeks, you can die without food

A typical survival rescue scenario lasts between 1 and 5 days but averages 3 days / 72 hours.  Therefore, during normal societal conditions, it is good to inform someone of your outing plan prior to leaving.  If you don’t show up on time, a rescue will be triggered to find you and it may take up to 5 days.  You will not die of starvation, but you may die from a lack of water.  If we get into trouble, it is good to S.T.O.P (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan) which prevents a negative spiral of actions as panic sets in.  A panicked mind is a useless mind and can kill you. It’s good to know this for priorities, but also keep in mind that if you are not in-taking food and water on a regular basis, your energy level tanks resulting in poor mental and physical performance.

Countermeasures for the Rule of 3’s:  know your needs

  • Immediate survival
    • In 3 seconds, you can die from panic
      • Things which help you maintain composure.
      • “Thrashing does not save a drowning victim, but is natural.  Those who float quietly have a better chance at survival.” – Laurence Gonzales:  Deep Survival
    • In 3 minutes, you will die without air
      • Avoid situations such as drowning in water, suffocating from an avalanche, respiratory infections
  • Short term survival
    • In 3 hours, you can die from exposure (lack of thermo-regulation)
      • shelter
        • houses, buildings, vehicles, tents, tarps, primitive shelters
      • clothing / insulation
        • sleeping bags, blankets, coats, long underwear, hats, gloves, boots.
      • fire
        • matches, lighters, ferrocerium rods, flint and steel, friction fires.
      • In 3 days, you can die without water
        • Water containers and treatment methods
  • Long term survival
    • In 3 weeks, you can die without food
      • food supplies on hand with the ability to mobilize if you need to

Note that these survival needs can be met in many ways.  In normal house living, everything is in place and possibly not necessarily obvious to duplicate.  Should we have to go mobile for some reason, we will need appropriate countermeasures in having the right gear.  In a mobile situation, these needs can be met in a different way using different items.  The Survival Rule of 3’s gives us an outline of what can kill us and how to combat that risk.

Think like a backpacker

In When All Hell Breaks Loose, Cody Lundin recommends thinking like a backpacker.  This is a great idea for investing in survival gear.  A backpacking stove works out of a backpack, in a car situation, and in a building situation.  A house stove is limited to a house.  Thinking like a backpacker helps you to accumulate backpackable survival assets.  Add a vehicle to have more of those some assets.  Add a house to have even more assets.  I like to think of this as a telescoping system.  My backpacking gear is in my vehicle, which is in my garage.  I can leave my house, drive as far as possible if needed, then project out on foot should the need arise.  You can live out of a house, a vehicle, or a backpack or any combination you desire or are forced into.  Modern gear and technologies allow you to be independent regardless of the environment.

Bushcraft and primitive living

Bushcraft and primitive living skills enable you to meet the needs of the human body from the landscape.  Bushcraft teachings leverage the use of the knife, axe, and saw to interact with nature.  In primitive living, all of your gear comes from nature.  In these realms, there is a lifetime worth of learning to become proficient.  I try to practice and study in these areas and they are critically important.  Backpacking concepts are a stable, modern gear platform to become proficient in.  We have consumed so much of the planet’s resources and your chances of surviving off of the land are quite low, even if you know what you are doing.   As I mentioned, there is a lifetimes worth of knowledge and skills to acquire to be proficient here.  Backpacking skills work in any environment.  Bushcraft and primitive living skills are important, but difficult to learn and change with geography.

Bugging out

As Cody Lundin points out in When All Hell Breaks Loose, an emergency can quickly leave you homeless and backpacks make good bug out kits. He recommends we consider building bug out kits before outfitting your home. Backpacking forces a minimalist mindset which forces you do differentiate between needs and wants. Simply purchase more of the same stuff that you packed in your bug out kit to outfit your vehicle and home.

Prepped and Frosty planning for COVID-19

With this information in mind, here is our Prepped and Frosty COVID-19 preparedness and action plan that we are using to structure our thinking and actions and maintain composure.  A reminder from Laurence Gonzales in Deep Survival, there are 4 poisons of the mind:

  1. Fear:  > overcome fear with spirit and intellect, panic can kill you quickly
  2. Confusion: > get the information in the 40 to 70% range and then go with your gut
  3. Hesitation: > act decisively and with confidence
  4. Surprise: > plan for the worst-case scenario, then you will not be surprised by anything

We are striving to have all of these plans ready for deployment at the drop of a hat. The Survival Rule of 3 countermeasures can be met in many ways; substitute as required and keep them in mind when you make a move. Cody Lundin advises: having all of your eggs in one basket has been a bad idea since the beginning.  Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, here is our telescoping plan:

  • Plan A: shelter in home
    • Following recommended guidelines per the federal and local leadership structure, plus a tad more to be able to help others who have their head up their ass and need help.
      • Social distancing, 1 month supply, plus some more to help others,  not hoarding
      • Always keep your chin up, be Radiant, Prepped and Frosty
  • Plan B: vehicle deployment
    • Should our local environment become non-viable, we will deploy in our vehicle to a better area. We do not think this will happen, but we are preparing for it.
    • If triggered, naturally all available resources will be loaded into the vehicle rapidly.
    • I have lived in my van for numerous years and have seen many people who have fallen out of society and are forced to their vehicles.  You can survive in your vehicle relatively easy.  The key is mental optimism.  Always keep your chin up, be Radiant, Prepped and Frosty.
  • Plan C: backpacking focus
    • Should our vehicle break down or gas becomes insufficient, we have our backpack systems packed and inside the vehicle for foot deployment. The collapse of world energy markets is a possibility discussed on various radio shows.
    • Get your backpacking gear ready to carry everything on your back if necessary
      • If you have no backpack, here are some alternatives
        • Blanket rolled up with gear inside and tied
        • Travel luggage of all types
        • Plastic contractor bags
    • With backpacking gear, you can live well. I recently lived out of my tent for 5 months traveling down the Missouri River. A lot of homeless people live in alternative shelters every day.  Always keep your chin up, be Radiant, Prepped and Frosty.

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