>Are You Fit?
Are you fit enough to survive hardship?
Not a rhetorical question, so give it some
thought. Even a well-stocked and reasonably secure survival
retreat may put demands on you that you are not accustomed to. If you are not there or living there when it becomes
necessary to relocate, you may have to walk or bicycle some or all of the way to reach it.
If you answered 'no' or 'probably not' or 'possibly not', you'll want to consider getting
into better shape. If you actually do start to exercise, start gradually with easy moves until your body is
adjusted to it, then increase slowly. Enthusiasm without a healthy respect for your present (couch potato?)
condition could result in injury.
Gradually work off that belly, firm up your abs and eventually remember how great it felt
to run. Building your own survival retreat with your own hands may be just the workout you need. Here again, start
I don't suggest that anyone attempts what I am doing, unless they are in phenomenally good
physical condition and have a strong will to carry a large project through to completion. So what am I doing that
is so hard? I shuttle all building materials and tools to a stash, 1 mile from my property. From there, I walk in
up a dry sandy wash with those supplies on my back, in or on a backpack. No vehicle can go there.
The bags of Portland cement which I buy weigh 94 pounds each. Each trip up my wash I carry
between 80 and 120 pounds, and usually closer to 100. I weigh 140 pounds and am 63 years old. Regardless of age,
carrying 100 pounds on your back a mile, walking uphill in sand and climbing over dry waterfalls is physically
demanding. After 500 trips, your enthusiasm for your project may wane, so firm determination is required. After
carrying 100 pounds a mile uphill to your site, you may feel that you have done the equivalent of a day's labor,
and you probably have. But a day's labor is now waiting for you, so take five and get back to work!
If you undertake a project like this, which is physically demanding, and you suffer
injuries or worse, do not blame me. I repeat, I discourage anyone who is not physically strong and athletic and
accustomed to strenuous labor from undertaking a building project which is beyond your capabilities.
You might be fine for the first few months or a year. At some point you might hear yourself saying "What was I
thinking? This is crazy."
Don't write to me saying "I'm exhausted, and my retreat isn't even half done. What should
I do?" My answer will be, "You need this. You need the retreat and you need the experience of completing a major
project that you undertook with sincerity and for the right reasons. If you don't finish it, you will have no
retreat and it will remind you that you gave up, and that's not who you are. You can do this, so get on with it,
even if you have to hire help." However do not put yourself under unnecessary strain which will compromise your
Reality check: this is a monumental project, creating a self-sufficient and secure
shelter. Attempt it only if you will complete it. Know your abilities and accept your limitations (or overcome
them). I'm doing mine alone. I suggest getting others to share the work, unless you are very capable and extremely