As this pandemic stretches to an unforeseeable conclusion, this felt like a good time to drop back in and give you lot an update on my own perspective as a jaded prepper.
The current situation here in Portugal is, to put it bluntly, dire. We have skyrocketing infection rates rivalling the UK, a health care system on the brink of collapse and as you would expect a government who is reacting to economic Armageddon as opposed to planning for it.
The current lockdown rules preclude any schools from opening, stores from delivering non-food items and movement hours being locked down to the point of economic destruction. I don’t disagree with the decisions because at this stage our infrastructure can’t cope, but this doesn’t mean I can’t see the devastation this is inflicting on the economic landscape.
Assuming complete vaccination (good luck with that), the issues still won’t be laid to rest. Our economic sector is surviving on economic wishful thinking. Our governments (worldwide) are issuing debt at unheard of rates and as the situation shows no signs of subsiding, it’s clear that the fault lines in our corresponding economies will eventually trip, fall and break.
It’s a difficult situation to be in. As it stands the girl and I have always been on lockdown in one way or another, thus this lifestyle change has been relatively easy for us. Our funds are just about ok, our preps are bloody fantastic to the extent that further restrictions merely illicit a shrug from us and our morale is pretty high all things considering.
I wanted to broach two topics, two threats and my basic thoughts on them.
Covid-19 has mutated and is likely to keep mutating, death tolls are climbing and people who keep comparing this to the common flu need to sip a cup of STFU. The very idea that people deny this reality is fucking unreal. This has nothing to do with politics folks, because the crazies exist on both sides of the aisle. I get emails from orange man supporters as well as nature holistic liberals decrying the virus and its consequences. No need to make it political when so many morons exist.
If I get another email telling me to write about how big pharma created this and that I have a “duty” to write about zinc I swear I will lose my shit.
As for practical advice: get vaccinated if you can, maintain proper hygiene standards and hone that well developed paranoia.
Nothing else to add but that, I know lots of the survival blogs are spewing recommendations on ebooks, survival kits etc., but folks- these people are commercial bloggers. They depend on affiliate commissions to make an income, and whilst I have no issues with that in itself, promoting spending money on junk in these dire times is truly the peak of predatory behaviour.
Do. Not. Spend. Your. Money.
I know that MTJS being a gear blog (historically anyway) benefits from people buying products after following my links, but I cannot in good conscience advocate this kind of behaviour. Hoard your funds, expect the worse and insofar as stockpiling goes, buy what you need, not what you want.
In prepping terms- food and a healthy financial reserve. That’s my advice.
As For Me
Being a prepper implies being prepared- ergo I was prepared. I merely top up my food supply as needed, but I have spent time (and money that I could justify) doing some updates that I planned on doing anyway. Namely solar panels.
My home now has solar panels on the roof and whilst I am not fully off-grid, I am relatively resilient. Beyond that I stay busy, work when possible and try to keep my mental health on the positive side. Everyone is buying pulse oximeters which frankly is a good thing, but ultimately for me- it’s something I always had and I expect the majority of my readers have one already. One thing that is interesting is that the British health service is now giving an oximeter to people when they are released after testing positive for Covid-19.
Doesn’t really need to be said but if your oxygen level drops below 92 and you tested for COVID- call your local health provider/or whoever deals with this in your neck of the woods.
We have received so many new comments (which I will get to today- I promise) as well as e-mails full of scared individuals who want advice and shitty companies who want me to flog some garbage “prepper in a box” type of trash.
Abhorrent behaviour and I shan’t partake in this.
As usual, my sincere apologies for the long absence- MTJS has always been more gear focused than most other blogs and in this climate writing about this stuff feels tone deaf which leaves my past few posts being conversational in nature.
I suspect the economic rifts from Covid-19 will continue long into the future and as a consequence my little corner of the internet will either adapt and change or fade into obscurity.
Stay safe everyone.
You need to STFU.. I am in U>S> and still have not heard of a person or even a person knows a person that has this fake flu.
Haven’t worn a mask and will never wear a mask.
Thomas Xavier says
Telling me to STFU on my own blog is an exercise in futility. I suggest you get out more- I know many people who have had covid. Some of which struggle from the impact months later (laboured breathing etc.).
Hi Xavier, thanks for the update, great to see You and Elise are still well and support in us with good, sensible and practical information.
Also, comments from other site watchers are appreciated as it gives a unbiased (i.e. not media drivel) info as to what is happening around the world at a “normal” person level. Especially if posters identify where they are.
I’m in New Zealand and we have now 3x confirmed Sth African variants in community from the quarantine facility.
Usual knee jerk reaction at a somewhat smaller level than March 2021.
Toilet paper again the first product to be panic purchased.
Makes me smile, a sense of humour is mandatory..
Thomas Xavier says
Based on what I saw, NZ have handled it the best along with Taiwan and Singapore. Something to be said about small islands that are effectively managed (seemingly). Take care of yourself Wayne!
Look on the bright side. This past year saw a decrease of about 5,000 USA traffic-related deaths, likely due to people staying home–definitely a BENEFIT from the CCP flu. Though pedestrian deaths in parking lots and driveways have increased slightly. More people ARE out walking, and that’s a good thing. Just keep an eye out for those pedestrians.
There was a rather large increase in deaths due to drug overdosing, suicides, and other health issues (diabetes, being one) as well…I attribute these to isolation due to CCP flu restrictions.
Yes, many people died from the CCP flu this year, but not as many as those who regularly die from heart disease and cancer–I know about that last one, my wife had cancer surgery this month.
We are elderly and both got the CCP flu in March. We recovered. My wife is taking the vaccine (recommended by her oncologist), but I won’t. My immune system works overtime.
Stay informed, but don’t panic. If you do NOT have serious underlying conditions, you will likely survive it. For your mental health, try to live your life as “normally” as possible.
Biggest “prepping” problem I foresee is the non-availability of ammo in the coming months (and possibly years).
Ammo shortages will become serious if there is a societal collapse. I suspect there’ll be an economic collapse in our future due to unrestricted government spending (not just in the USA, but all governments worldwide). Google the words: “big reset” or “great reset” and you’ll see an even greater threat to your security and freedoms. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Thomas Xavier says
I don’t buy into the big reset conspiracies- we have gone through worse and life keeps on trucking- the “ccp flu” is a coronavirus in the same family as SARS, MERS etc. you really shouldn’t downplay the risks or politicise a virus that doesn’t recognise borders. The long terms effects in terms of lung scarring are still being studied but regardless of its baseline fatality rate- the chance of getting more aggressive mutations increases the longer it goes on which is my primary issues with the “don’t worry about it crowd”. Mitigate risk and live life as best as you can. In my case that means reducing contact with the outside world and spending as much time in the garden as possible ;) Never been happier I moved to Portugal- being in Canada during a winter lockdown would have rendered me crazy.
Julian Povey says
Good call on the oxygen monitor/reader.
I know someone who died a few days ago at home… and this may well have saved his life, by prompting his wife to call an ambulance sooner.
We should all have one as a matter of course…
Weirdly, I had to be put on oxygen after breaking my ribs… according to the paramedics, my trying to alleviate the pain caused excessive shallow breathing, and a lowered my oxygen level.
Definitely a good thing to have in the med kit.
All the best…?
Thomas Xavier says
Yeah, I think oxygen monitors are basically a no brainer- dirt cheap and a great way to keep track of the impact of covid should you get infected.
John Knippenberg says
Great to read that you guys are doing well! Very truthful and to the point article, I agree with your prognosis of the situation. Who knows how long this virus will drag out, being prepared is the best strategy. In 2020 I kept working as an essential employee every day, went on a Summer vacation visiting 2 different coastal cities, visited family, got married in a church, had an outdoor reception, celebrated holidays with family and even went skiing recently.
It is possible to still live life, but the key is to rethink how to go about doing so in order to avoid the virus. Stagnant, indoor areas with multiple random people must be avoided. That includes bars and restaurants. Find places that have outdoor seating options or opt for takeout. Also plan to do outdoor activities away from crowds.
This frame of mind has worked for us so far, while still allowing us to live our lives. My wife now works from home exclusively since last March, which has its own challenges, but getting in some outdoor weekend activities has allowed us to keep our sanity.
Be safe and take care my friend! Keep on keeping on.
Thomas Xavier says
Yeah, having a garden has been amazing. I can’t imagine going through a pandemic in an apartment. The ability to walk outside and relax is incalculable. As far as going places- Portugal is on a pretty extreme lockdown so its not viable. Once I get the vaccine I suspect I will find any excuse to travel haha!
Clean up you Vocab – you lost me at your 1st FWORD. I and many others Do Not need that kind of abuse. Remember “Use your words”.
Wow, the Vocabulary Police are here too! It just amazes me the things people get their panties in an uproar about! Reading a F-Word doesn’t phase me a bit, in fact it adds Fucking Emphasis to a really Fucked Up scenario we’re all going through!
Maybe I’m crude but reading the article with Fuck in it made me want to finish reading as I could tell the writer was passionate about what he’s been going through!
Thomas Xavier says
You beat me to the punch! What world do we live in when readers respond faster than the author? Madness.
As for the scary fuck word, maybe its because I am European but its just common parlance- at least in my circles. As you said- it adds emphasis.
Thomas Xavier says
Grampa Mullan says
well the remarks about being prepaired to be sure but clearly biased in reference to orange citizens that are in a panic. well first the orange man doesn’t exist only within the highly biased news media so I do hope you get your information from other sources. the orange men panic driven are mostly the collage educated with little wisdom. forming opinions on a narrow source. we are also at a point of collapse with defunding the police and mismanagement of the vaccinations that the orange man worked to cut red tape and provide. I see the cities removing the police to hire private firms that will not be under the same oath as our officers of today. the abuse will get much worse and the violent protesters will be met with violence. our government is corrupt without a doubt and being prepared wont help much when you have a hungry mob looking for a bite to eat and hearing that you have food. all the guns wont protect you. I see communities forming their own militias that will offer some protection. we as Americans have enjoyed our freedoms and come to depend upon government. this must change or we wont make it. I was raised to work on my cousins farm every summer so I know hw to make do with very little. others cant cook unless they open a can. any way we see it we are all in trouble prepaired or not.————-Grampa
Thomas Xavier says
Hey Grampa, I don’t give much thought to politicians or the mob. The government is too incompetent to successfully have a conspiracy against the citizenry and the mob is easily distracted. I don’t foresee any “End of Times” social unrest. We will print money endlessly and society will be crippled sporadically with debt and micro-fractures within our economic infrastructure. As an individual I ignore it as much as possible and focus on myself and my own. If the chips fall I will be in a better position than most and thats my priority.
As for militias in our communities to protect our food stores etc. Bluntly; I doubt it.
Unfortunately, for those no longer working (retired), the endless printing of fiat currency has the downside of even greater inflation. Inflation is deadly for those on fixed incomes and for third-world countries that have economic imbalances with the rest of the commercial world. I.e., they’ll either starve or they’ll revolt (think civil unrest and wars).
In the developed world, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that places/things outside our ‘normal’ sphere of influence do not, or will not, affect us. If we ONLY focus on ourselves we’ll get ‘surprised’ by what is happening elsewhere and eventually, we’ll be affected as well.
As long as we live in some kind of community we’ll be vulnerable to ‘outside’ forces. Being well-armed and/or strong, well-supplied, and capable will not save you if “the hungry mob” banging on your door perceives you are better off than them.
So…unless you live in complete isolation (the Arctic? a deserted island? Sahara Desert?) you really have no security (though you may possess it for a short time).
The solution? Realistically? I don’t know of one. Someone mentioned local militias being formed to ‘defend’ against those in our society who remain unprepared, but when SHTF would be willing to take from others. Eventually, though, through attrition, even well-armed militias won’t make the final cut.
Every man for himself never succeeds in the long-term. All well-laid plans (and contingent plans A, B, C, D, and E) will eventually fail when the larger/desperate force attacks.
Even the Marines realize that their best plan is up for revision (void) the moment after the alarm sounds, or their boots touch the ground. That is why their motto is adapt, improvise, and overcome.
But, dying with your boots on isn’t a bad way to go.
Thomas Xavier says
I don’t foresee any event where total collapse would be the default consequence. Even during total occupation Europe maintained a base social structure and supply lines. With America in specific, its extraordinarily resilient- self sufficient in all that matters with a strong identitarian culture. I remember in 2008 the talks of collapse and in terms of felt impact it was marginal for most people. Economic swings and roundabouts won’t bring us to our needs. Just change our perspective of need vs want.
Wes Edwards says
Thomas – It was great to get news from you again, albeit the doomsday we all feared is always listed in the last chapters (pandemics) in those disaster prep books we have all read. What to do?
So, I am basically okay and started prepping for Y2K, which didn’t happen, but being in LA, always ready for earthquakes, and then 9/11, and so on and so on.
I have always been more concerned for my family (ex-wife, three kids, and now 6 grandkids) who basically still live close enough. Disaster kits and supplies as Christmas presents for years. The bug-out bags I annually have to review for them with the $50 cash always missing, and Power Bars and water needing replacement. Seasonally they should always check them, but they don’t.
My two sons are firefighters and thus very prepared. My daughter and her family in Kauai – well, the island is pretty self sufficient, but I have sent her solar phone chargers, etc.
So yes, I feel okay even thought the vaccine distribution here in California is a shit-show and Trumps legacy to all of us. Yeah, Warp Speed, No, distribution infrastructure.
The real worry I have now is social unrest. Unemployment has spurned so many problems that crime has risen and when the National Guard was here in the midst of the summer for Covid-19 testing help, one soldier told me they were also here to potentially protect banks and supermarkets.
I feel that prepping for this is just as imperative as food, water, first aid, etc. Homelessness, street diseases, and the huge gap now between the rich and poor is a big concern. Can our new president stem some of this? Maybe throwing another trillion into debt will give some short term relief, but the cracks are really showing.
Please share any ideas you may have about this. I don’t feel like building a mote around my shit, nor using a shotgun to protect my solar water purifier!
Thanks and keep it up!
Thomas Xavier says
Haha, yeah its all a mess. As for advice- keep your preps up, enjoy life as best you can and keep your ears to the ground. Over reacting right now is pointless- I will adapt as the situation changes. The benefits of prepping translate to the ability to be resilient against change and adapt at your own pace. Thats the plan for now.
Take care Wes.
I was wondering about your silence after seeing infection rates skyrocket in Portugal. Here in South Central Pennsylvania we’re chugging along the virus highway with increases daily etc. now with mutations being identified, it looks bleak for any resolution until a few years from now. Being a semi prepper has helped as we’ve weathered any shortage well and any future ones we’re prepared for.
Being somewhat self sufficient does have its perks as the lockdowns barely fazed us. All food and consumable items are ordered on line and delivered no contact which is great. A little more expensive but worth it. I will say I pity the poor prepper buying #10 cans of any LTS foods as price gouging is nuts. $60.00 for a can that cost $19.00 in December 2019, ouch!
Long term storage items have been barely touched except for TP a few months ago but we’ve restocked so we won’t be wiping with straw, leaves, or old phone book paper which when we received our new local phone book wouldn’t last but a few days their so small now, ah progress! Speaking of TP, can’t find any with aloe any more to wipe our sensitive butts with-Strange! Charmin Extra Soft is about the best we can get, oh for the pre COVID days of yesteryear!
Anyway, we’re hanging in there, haven’t bought any new must have according to advertising virus prepper items. Our most recent stimulus check was cashed for cash to add to our emergency stash just in case. It was free so no worries! Looks like things are just the way they are and will be for along time to come concerning COVID!
There doesn’t appear to be a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. I’m tired of scientists and politicians saying it will get better if we practice doing X,Y,Z, but a few days later saying we’re screwed as mutation B-184.108.40.206.111AD has been discovered coming out of bum fuck somewhere! I am grateful for everyday I wake up alive.
Good luck to you and your lady. Stay frosty, stay safe!
Thomas Xavier says
Yeah, I felt the need to update everyone here but honestly its a fucking shit show. Now you need to carry proof of address with you and if you are outside your “zone” the police fine you on the spot. Its needed due to all the parties etc. that have happened in the past month but its getting very bleak.
Mutation is worrying me more than that initial virus. Statistically, if left unchecked, one will crop up thats far deadlier. We shall see how this plays out.
Thanks and take care of yourself mate.
Kent McManigal says
I guess I’m lucky. In my corner of the world, there hasn’t been much of a problem, other than the problems caused by government through the shutdowns.
Both of my parents caught and easily recovered from Covid– as did other elderly relatives of that same generation. One person in my household caught it– but apparently, no one else in the house did. Or it was too mild to notice.
I was glad for my preps, but other than alcohol and TP didn’t really dip into them much. All is restocked now.
Seriously, if it weren’t for the shutdowns and hearing that other people think this is a disaster, I wouldn’t even notice the pandemic at all. But, I also don’t pay attention to the fearmongering news.
My income did take a hit– again, due to the shutdowns and other people losing their jobs. I lost about 75% of my income over the past year due to what I see as government overreactions.
I hope things get better for you over in Portugal!
Thomas Xavier says
It really does seem to vary country to country. Europe as a whole has a lot of people tightly packed so contagion is inevitable. As for the shit show economics…lets leave that for another day. hah.
There is a medical end to pandemics – usually about three years. There is a political end to pandemics which may occur at any time.
1. In January 2020, I understood that an epidemic was coming. My gearing up for myself was minor. I expected six months. However, I realized that I had unprepared relatives and geared up on the food for them. Never had to give them any in one year.
2. I did not know from whence would come the panicked public. Those morons bought so much stuff that they did not need that store posted “no returns” signs.
3. As expected the political easement on lockdowns came at 6 months, I then geared up for one year of renewed shutdowns.
4. Yesterday, January 23, 2021, my moron local mayor finally acknowledged that there would not be enough vaccine to provide to people until some next year 2022.
5. The following is what I did not anticipate and how I handled the situations.
a. Libraries closing. I went to Thriftbooks on line and ordered about 100 books for myself. Incidentally, in the last three years, I have sent about 600 beginning reading, high school Dummies series books, young reader books to young relatives.
b. shortage of 70% isopropyl alcohol by the gallon. I don’t buy the tiny containers of the hand sanitizers which are a dab of liquid soap in 70% isopropyl. It is $17 a gallon via the institutional store or through the barber, not $56 a gallon for the alcohol with a dab of soap. I spray fixtures, switches, knobs, handles refrigerator doors, car handles every Sunday. When the lockdown was eased, like so many other things, prices dropped and store appeared on the shelves. I keep 9 gallons.
6. I eat fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, they cannot be stored. I kept track of what non fresh fruits and vegetables I ate in the last year. Rather than buying into the b.s. of “buy rice and beans”. You have to think about what you really eat. I keep up that supply for the long term.
7. I do bake bread and have multiple French made machines. I got through the year without buying more bread yeast, but it was close. I now have a supply for the next year.
8. I shifted my exercise to outside on homebuilt equipment. I am in the epicenter of the problem, Los Angeles. Let it get a bit cold, shorter daylight hours, and the laid off workers and their families stay indoors (and the mayor wants you to stay indoors) and they aren’t exercising outside in the sun. Get that vitamin D and exercise.
Thomas Xavier says
1) Same, I force fed fear into my immediate relatives and they have pretty solid set ups now!
2) Yup. I am really glad I snapped up so many photographs of empty shelves and idiots buying a dozen loaves of bread (genius). I will remember this forever as a cautionary tale of human stupidity.
3) Same and same, haha.
4) My government is still talking about vaccinating the whole country…whilst we have no stocks of the vaccine. Its amazing.
5) I have so many books left to read I can’t say I had the same problem, as for the isopropyl- no shortages here. I can buy sanitiser gel in 3l wine boxes.
6) No issues with fresh food here, local mercado has daily deliveries. Portugal being an agricultural country is a blessing.
7) Never baked bread before- everyone keeps telling me to make my own sourdough…starting to think this is a cult.
8) I have a gym and a decent size garden so its been a lifesaver as far as mental health is concerned.
Always happy to see you in the comments mate, stay safe.
Excellent article and as always, an unbiased opinion
Thomas Xavier says
Not sure about unbiased but cheers mate. ;)