In the back of our minds, we all have an image of what life will come to look like post TEOTWAWKI. Whether you see cities ablaze or flood waters raging, we all have some collection of thoughts regarding the future. After whatever cataclysmic event you envision passes, it is also likely that you have an image in your mind of how things will be, and beyond that the shape the new world will take. Only time will tell how accurate these visions will be, but one certainty that exists is the potential for change on the horizon.
Different people handle change in different ways. Some live for it, accepting the challenge, and others falter under the pressure of a new norm. In order to thrive, we must first be able to survive, but then what? Stockpiles, supplies, and equipment are great to have, but you must know what to do with the items in your possession. It is also essential that you know how to grab the bull by the horns once catastrophic events occur so that you can recreate a sustainable environment. Sure, you may have a house, garden, and fridge full of food now, but those things may not come out on the other side unscathed. Instead, it is going to be up to you to repair and rebuild, but in order to do so, you'll have to have knowledge.
Know-how is going to be of great value after the SHTF. Not everyone is going to have the same skillset, but everyone should have at least one skillset. Those skills, or trades, can then be used not only to breathe life back into your own operation, but can also be used in barter to get services you might need from others will varying skillsets. The question is, what trade should you adopt? You are going need to learn to perform a trade that is going to serve you well both in your own camp and across the barter spectrum, so here are a few suggestions:
Carpentry is likely to be one of the most useful skills after the SHTF. Not only do you want to be able to come up with your own replacement living quarters if need be, but being able to do the same for others will place you in high barter demand. Our modern world has created a tendency for people to lean towards prefab items from big box stores. Because of this convenience, fewer and fewer have an ability to work with raw materials. If you have a natural inclination to build, go with it and start collecting the necessary tools to hone your skills for the day you may truly need them.
In a similar vein is electrical work. Electrical grids are often heavily damaged in disastrous events and not just anybody can complete the necessary repairs. Whether it is something on a smaller scale such as rewiring your own home or contributing to getting a local grid again up and running, electrician skills are sure to be of great use and barter value post TEOTWAWKI. Just be sure to learn this trade in the correct manner so your life and those of others remain safe.
Being able to hunt game is a good way to keep yourself and your family fed. Many hunters live a weekend warrior lifestyle where they go out to a luxurious shooting house near a food plot to wait for dinner to wander up. After the SHTF, this type of hunting could very easily be a thing of the past. You will be much better off if you learn to track and trap now, in addition to being able to use all parts of the animal, especially pelts which can be used for your own personal needs or passed on via bartering.
Growing your own food is another useful skill to have after a world changing event. Sure, you can go take some seeds out, toss them in the dirt, and hope for the best, but with that approach there are no guarantees. It is better if you take the time to learn what type of vegetables require what soil nutrients and pH to thrive as that will give you a more plentiful rewards. Additionally, you want to know how to retain the seeds from current vegetables for use in growing future ones. Beyond that, it is vital that you know which plants can grow in close proximity to one another as companion planting can make or break a garden.
Photo: Hort Mag
Since self-defense will also likely be of extreme importance, you are going to not only want to have the weaponry necessary to keep yourself safe but also be able to keep those weapons in working order. Knowledge of how to clean, break down, and repair firearms especially will be at a premium as those are your lifeblood; they will protect and feed your family through use in hunting. Enrolling in a few classes to learn gunsmith skills as well as how to produce ammo is well worth the time and expense you put into it, especially when you consider what you will get back out of it down the road.
Survival skills and trades can best be described as something it is better to have and not need than need and not have. There truly is no way to predict what the changing face of our current world could be like after the SHTF. All you can do is assume, which in itself is risky, but the more realistic your expectations, and therefore preparations, the more likely you are to come out okay in the end, especially if you take the time to hone your skills and learn a trade.
What other skills and trades do you feel are vital to a successful survival plan? What have you yourself learned to help yourself along? Tell us about it in the comments.