When Your Survival Mindset Will Be Revealed…

It’s during the aftermath of a disaster when your survival mindset will be revealed. Are you cultivating that mindset now?

Do you have a hard time imagining what it would be like to live through a long term, widespread disaster? If so, pick up a novel or two and put yourself in the shoes of one or more of the characters in the story. It might sound odd, but reading fiction just might help you build up that all important survival mindset.

Scott B. Williams has been writing a couple of series depicting the aftermath of a giant solar EMP. I’ve enjoyed his novels because he portrays ordinary people in extraordinary situations. A couple of the characters in the The Darkness After series have special talents and skills, but they’re not super heroes readers can’t relate to.

Scott was my DestinySurvival Radio guest, and we chatted about two of his books. Enter the Darkness is a prequel to the The Darkness After series, and Horizons Beyond the Darkness is the fifth book in The Pulse series.

That might sound like a lot to keep track of, but we sorted it out for you during our visit. Plus, I’ll sort things out for you here. What follows are highlights of that conversation dropped into my thoughts on each book.

Thoughts About the Writer

If you’re not acquainted with who Scott is, or you need a refresher, here’s some background.

Scott B. Williams has been writing about his adventures for more than twenty-five years. His published work includes dozens of magazine articles and sixteen books.

His interest in sea kayaking and sailing small boats to remote places led him to pursue the wilderness survival skills that he has written about in his popular survival nonfiction books and travel narratives such as On Island Time: Kayaking the Caribbean, an account of his two-year solo kayaking journey through the islands.

With the release of The Pulse in 2012, Scott began writing fiction and has since written multiple novels in The Pulse Series and The Darkness After Series, with more sequels in the works to each, as well as a new series coming later.

To learn more about his upcoming books or to sign up for his new-release mailing list, visit Scott’s website at: www.scottbwilliams.com.

Thoughts About Our Conversation

In the past few years a lot of authors have written stories about what might happen if we have an EMP. At the risk of stating the obvious, Scott B. Williams is one of those authors, and he has written some real page turners.

It had been several months since Scott and I spoke. In that time he released two more books. The Pulse series is comprised of five books at the time of this writing, and The Darkness After series has five books, counting the prequel. Our conversation allowed us to get caught up and to preview a new series he’s working on.

It’s my goal here to give you enough of a teaser to get you interested in reading Scott’s books while also giving you a few general thoughts relevant to preparedness and survival. After all, that’s what this is supposed to be about, right?

Thoughts About the Books

Enter the Darkness

 

Enter the Darkness

 

Enter the Darkness contains back story material Scott had to cut from the original book in The Darkness After series. It starts slow, but picks up at the end in a way that will make you want to read more.

Scott and I talked more about how and why this book came about. But when you read it for yourself, don’t skip the preface.

Each of the first few chapters introduces us to a character in the story and how the event affected that person at the time the solar induced EMP happened.

Mitch was caught in New Orleans morning traffic. April woke up just after the power went out. Mitch’s sister Lisa was at a friend’s house getting ready for school. We’re also introduced to David, April’s boyfriend at the time.

When Lisa and her school friends chatter about what had just happened, someone suggested space aliens were the cause. The notion of aliens doing something sinister illustrates how all kinds of theories will pop up in the wake of a widespread disaster.

Several people saw the Northern lights in the night sky. But bigger flares in the morning brought about chaos. The school science teacher explained to the kids what had happened as best as he could determine it.

As the story unfolds, people are figuring out the nature and extent of what has happened. For example, not only were most cars inoperable; but police communications systems were down. Radio and TV were unavailable. Jason could no longer play his electric guitar.

Now and then characters in the story notice shootings and other violence in the city in the days soon after the EMP. Fortunately, these events took place at a distance. A real world example took place after Hurricane Katrina when police were ineffective because communications were down.

More than one of the story’s characters noticed the silence after the EMP knocked out the power grid. Scott and I talked about how rare and precious silence is. Of course, in the wake of a disaster silence may be forboding.

April got brave and worked on David’s old Mustang. Amazingly, she got it running. How many unfamiliar tasks like that will you and I have to take on in that kind of situation?

April had a couple of harrowing encounters when she finally got on the road. Scott and I discussed whether it’s better to take the main highways or back roads. Each has its risks. But there are also pathways others may not have thought of.

We’re also given background in the narrative on Mitch’s keen archery and wilderness survival skills. Those skills serve him well throughout the stories told in the novels that follow.

The book ended with a cliff hanger as April and Mitch meet for the first time. It’s where the original book in the series starts.

Horizons Beyond the Darkness

 

Horizons Beyond the Darkness

 

Let’s flash forward in time to the fifth book in The Pulse series. It’s another page turner.

I know I say something similar to this every time I read one of Scott’s novels, but just when you think things are calming down, something drastic happens. For example, I gasped at one point over half way into the story when I read that a yacht named Pocket Change had mysteriously disappeared.

Unless you binge read a series, the down time between books makes it difficult to pick up where the previous installment of the series ended. It’s why I ask Scott to give a summary of a series when we visit. Plus, he’s good at dropping nuggets of back story in the beginning of each new narrative.

The insider talk of sailboats and their attributes is over my head, but it lends authenticity to the story. Those who understand such details will appreciate them.

Horizons Beyond the Darkness starts in the Bahamas, where the characters have sailed to escape troubles in and around Florida and the Keys. Larry meant for the Bahamas to be a temporary stopping point, but the need to leave even sooner than planned becomes evident through the story.

I’ll share a few bare bones details to whet your curiosity.

We don’t get very far into the book before the action and intrigue begins. One thing is for certain. Any stranger must be met with suspicion. Even strangers in uniform need to be viewed with scrutiny. Is that guy really a policeman? Or is he a criminal in disguise?

Meeting strangers turned out badly for Mindy and Thomas, but it went well for Larry and his crew when they met Charles, Holly and Brian on a high class yacht called Pocket Change.

Mindy found herself stranded on a place called Darby Island. In contrast, Artie and Larry try to get the Sarah J. off from where it was grounded hard. They’re approached by the strangers on Pocket Change who offer help.

Friends became split apart again as Larry, Grant and Jessica went back to look for Mindy and Thomas.

Larry found himself accosted on Darby Island by rogue constables who weilded guns, stolen or otherwise, as their authority.

Jessica is forced to defend herself and Larry, who had been handcuffed by the vilains. She proves the value of a .22 handgun by firing off a few rounds at one of their assailants, winging him. Though the man escaped, he was certainly slowed down.

A touch of romance runs through this novel. We see an intriguing turn of events as Jessica’s interests turn from Grant to Larry. That took pressure off Grant, since Jessica and Casey had both shown interest in him earlier in the series.

Desperate situations call for difficult decisions. Circumstances made it necessary for the boat owned by Thomas and Mindy to be sunk–a sad event for any sailor. But it wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the other boats when it was time to sail on.

Larry set his sites on sailing to the San Blas Archipelago near Panama. Not everyone was in agreement though. Two members of Larry’s group decided it was time to part company.

In a conversation with Tara, Larry gave a piece of good advice that applies to all of life. Ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not what they’re meant for.

Spoiler alert. Larry and his crew make it to their intended destination, but they have to make bargains with the natives which they hadn’t counted on.

So might it be with us. What unexpected bargains will we have to make?

Circumstances forced Tara, Charles, Holly and Brian to face an unpleasant reality in the midst of unpleasant realities. They realized Larry’s plan of action was right after all.

I realize that sounds vague, but I don’t want to give too much of the story away.

Suffice it to say many of us may face situations where we’re forced to change our minds about how things really are in the wake of a long term disaster. And we may have to team up with those we wouldn’t have expected to.

The novel ends on an optimistic note. We’re left to hope the loose ends will tie themselves up in a favorable way. That would be a relief in a world damaged by disaster.

Thoughts About Other Stories

In the last portion of our DestinySurvival Radio chat Scott previewed his next series. It’s post -apocalyptic fiction, but no EMP’s are involved.

We also discussed the value of a good story. It can be enjoyable, but it can do a couple other things of benefit for us.

Stories can bring to mind ideas we may not have thought of. Also, as we imagine ourselves in the place of the characters, we can think through what we might do if we were in their shoes. And isn’t that what visualization is about?

Thoughts About Going Deeper

Hear my conversation with Scott B. Williams by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for August 24, 2017. (Right click to download.) Get Enter the Darkness, Horizons Beyond the Darkness, or any of Scott’s books by clicking on their titles where you see them in this post.

Whether you cultivate your survival mindset now by contemplating fictional scenarios or by practicing preparedness techniques (or both), don’t wait. When disaster comes, the level of that mindset will be revealed.

Once Upon an Apocalypse – More Ponderings on the Aftermath of an EMP Attack

Everybody likes a good story because stories entertain and enlighten us. Sometimes they’re the only way to express significant ideas people will pay attention to.

And that’s what Jeff Motes had in mind when he began writing is Once Upon an Apocalypse novels. He wanted to tell the kind of story that would get people thinking about what they would do if we were hit with a widespread disaster, such as an EMP attack. The aim is for us to put ourselves in the shoes of the characters and consider the possibilities.

Apparently it’s working because reader response has been much better than Jeff expected. He’s making inroads with people who haven’t given much thought to being prepared for trouble.

As of this writing, there are two novels in the Once Upon an Apocalypse series. The first is Once Upon an Apocalypse: Book 1 – The Journey Home – Revised Version, and the second is Once Upon an Apocalypse: Book 2 – The Search. A third novel will be released shortly.

In April of 2016 Jeff and I visited on DestinySurvival Radio about his first book. He came back to talk about the second book and give a glimpse of what’s in the rest of the series. Below I’ll share a mix of highlights from our conversation and my thoughts on why you’ll want to read his novels.

See my thoughts on our first visit here.

Meeting the Story Teller

Like many authors, Jeff fits his writing around his day job. Here’s info about his background.

Jeff received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1984 and a Master’s in Business Administration Degree in 1994. He is a licensed Master Electrician and a licensed Professional Engineer.

He owns and operates an electrical contracting business and has provided electrical services to many of the industrial plants and water systems in Southwest Alabama. Prior to entering into business with his father, Jeff work for 10 years as the System Engineer for the local electric cooperative.

Jeff is a strong believer in “life-long” learning and holds to the idea we should do “the best we can with the best we have to live, and help those around us live.”

Jeff lives in the Salitpa community, near Jackson, Alabama, with his wife, Donna and youngest son. His two other sons are married and living with their families elsewhere in Alabama.

You’ll enjoy my chat with Jeff because he’s a soft spoken, modest, Southern gentleman.

 

Once Upon an Apocalypse--Book 1--The Journey Home--Revised Version

 

Getting Acquainted with the Series

The Journey Home has been rewritten in the first person point of view of each character. Jeff went to considerable trouble (and expense) to make sure it flows better and is easier to follow.

Chapters in both books are short, making for quick and easy reading.

Incidentally, the voice actors who read the audio version of The Search are the same pair who read the first edition of The Journey Home, and they do an excellent job.

Book 1 gives the account of John and Jill from Alabama who meet up in the wake of an EMP attack and struggle to get home. How they developed a love for one another unfolds as the story progresses. Book 2 tells us about their teenage children, Will and Lizzy, and how they fared in their community after what people call the day.

Though these stories aren’t meant to be “how-to” books, plenty of instructional information is woven into events. For example, two chapters in the first book describe the packs John and Jill carried. Near the beginning of the second book we see how John, his father and several neighbors put a preparedness plan into action and formed the Repose Alliance Group.

A few books on preparedness mindset and self defense receive several mentions in Book 2, including one by the late Col. Jeff Cooper.

Both novels are openly pro-gun. We meet women and girls who aren’t afraid to use firearms.

In contrast, we’re introduced to Jimmy, the father of Lizzy’s friend Amy. He and his family typify those who aren’t well prepared. You and I don’t want to be like him. He’s an example of what desperate people will do when things get desperate.

As I said in my earlier post about Jeff’s first book, these novels defy genre labeling. They’re prepper adventures, but they’re more than that.

Most of the main characters are Christians. Yet, because some profanity and violence are scattered throughout these stories, they wouldn’t likely qualify as strictly Christian fiction.

There’s enough romance to keep the interest of romance fans, but the books aren’t strictly romances either.

I’ll be honest. Romances and Christian fiction aren’t my cup of tea. And, believe it or not, I don’t read much so-called prepper fiction either. Nonetheless, as I read Jeff’s novels, I couldn’t help but be drawn in.

Regardless of what niche this series might fit into, I invite you to give the stories a chance, and you’ll be drawn in as I was.

 

Once Upon an Apocalypse--Book 2--The Search

 

Exploring The Search

The Search picks up right at the cliff hanger Book 1 has left us with. The first two chapters continue the narrative of John and Jill before giving way to a flashback in chapter 3. We’re taken back to “The Day” of the EMP to see how the area copes where John and Jill came from.

While Book 1 takes us to 13 days after the EMP event, the second only takes us through day six. We know there has to be more to come in a third book which will bring us through day 13. Jeff said Book 3 will tie up several loose ends.

We meet John’s son Will for the first time in chapter 3 of Book 2. We meet Jill’s daughter Lizzy in chapter 5. Several chapters throughout the book feature Jimmy, the father of Lizzy’s friend Amy.

At first people sought to figure out what happened. Endeavoring to maintain the sense of a normal life, Jimmy went to the mill where he worked and got stuck there.

He made it home, but it wasn’t easy. To make things worse, he received an injurious welcome, thanks to his wife’s incompetence with firearms. You’ll have to read the book for details of how that plays out.

Will was fortunate to have support from his grandpa and several other men in the community who pulled together a group for survival in the event of the kind of situation they were experiencing.

While Will searched for Lizzy, he and his friends encountered a number of challenges, such as vandalism, looting, and dangerous bullies. Just when it seemed like things were going reasonably well, bad guys popped up from nowhere.

Jammer, one of Will’s good friends, is black. They got along famously and didn’t experience racial tension until they found themselves in a crime and drug infested area by mistake.

Will discovered more than once how costly seemingly little mistakes can be.

The Search contains plenty of suspense. It’s amazing how the characters manage to make it through each situation as well as they do.

Of course, this is fiction. But we should all be so fortunate in the real world.

Pondering Issues Beyond the Story

We must be extra alert. We never know just what might happen in the aftermath of a long term disaster.

The mistakes Will made should serve as reminders to us. How important is it to follow protocols set up by family or the community group? Who can be trusted and when?

Will there be bad guys around every corner? If we must be on guard all the time, and we have to forget about trusting others, how can we maintain such a tense demeanor?

After an event like an EMP, how many towns and cities will roll up the sidewalks, so to speak, and not readily let people in or out. How will we cope with road blocks and checkpoints as the new norm?

How might we become part of a well prepared community like the Repose Alliance Group?

What does it take to start such a community?

In my chat with Jeff, you’ll hear his advice for starting such a community preparedness group.

How prepared do we need to be?

Consider John and Jill in Book 1. Some readers may think it isn’t realistic that John was so well prepared. But Jeff meant to show us the positive possibilities of preparedness.

What could you and I accomplish if we started now to work on getting prepared with those around us? It’s something to think about and act on whenever possible.

As noted above, Jeff’s stories aren’t “how-to” books. But The Search shows us how everyday situations might be handled, such as doing laundry by hand, patching up cuts and scrapes, the need for a dentist, and giving birth to a baby.

Other topics Jeff and I covered include…

  • Aftermath in rural vs. urban areas
  • How people will behave in the short and long term
  • Response of police, military and government authorities
  • The rise of good and bad militia groups
  • Avoiding costly mistakes
  • How and when to trust others

Hearing Our Conversation

Hear my conversation with Jeff Motes by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for August 10, 2017. (Right click to download.)

To get either of Jeff’s books, click on their titles where you see them linked in this post. You’re welcome to connect with Jeff on Facebook.

During our conversation we didn’t give away too many details about the events that take place in these novels. But I hope we wwhetted your appetite to read them and ponder what you would do to survive in the aftermath of widespread disaster.

Prepper’s Survival Navigation Will Help You Get There

We’ve become dependent on our cell phones and GPS devices to help us get to our destination. But what if you’re out camping, hunting or hiking and your GPS quits?

Perhaps your batteries have died. Or you don’t have good service where you are. Or maybe “the big one” has happened.

Do you know how to find your way without modern technology? Do you know how to use a compass and a map? Your survival could hinge on these basic skills.

For DestinySurvival Radio I talked about land navigation, and more, with Glen Martin, author of Prepper’s Survival Navigation.

It’s about land navigation without the high tech gadgets. But it covers other basic survival skills as well.

Below I’ll share thoughts about the book and my conversation with Glen Martin.

Who Is He?

Walter Glen Martin is the name of the author given on this book. But most people in the prepper community know him as Glen. He chose to be formal and used his full name as an author.

In case you don’t know who he is, here’s a little background. I’m sure you’ll agree he’s well qualified to write this book.

“Born in California, Walter ‘Glen’ Martin was raised at the base of the Strawberry Mountains and later near the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. He spent his youth as an avid hunter and fisherman. Knowing how to live off the land, it was not uncommon for Glen to head up into the mountains on a hunting or fishing trip with little more than his rifle or fishing pole.

“After earning his degrees in architecture and mechanical drafting, Glen spent the next 30 years as a design consultant in several Western states, including Alaska. Now living in the mountains of northern Idaho with his fiancé, Glen has settled into an off-grid lifestyle. He owns and operates Prepper Broadcasting, a 24/7 Internet radio station devoted to self-reliance and independence. When not at his desk, you’re likely to find Glen somewhere in the mountains.”

 

Prepper's Survival Navigation

 

Why Have This Book?

Watching videos and DVD’s about navigation is good, but I’m glad Glen’s instruction is in the form of a hard copy book.

If you plan on traveling, take it with you. Keep it with your compass in your bug out bag or pack. The info on direction finding, maps, making a shelter, getting water and dealing with medical issues makes it indispensable.

Prepper’s Survival Navigation wasn’t written to say using a GPS is all bad. In fact, according to Glen, if you have knowledge about navigation, you’ll better understand how to use your GPS.

But keep in mind that bad weather or low battery power can make it inoperative. Therefore, have along this helpful instructional guide.

Chapters cover…

  • Finding North without a Compass
  • The Topographical Map
  • The Compass
  • Movement and Routes
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Terrain Association
  • Terrain Comparison and Navigation
  • Exposure and Treatment While Navigating
  • When You’re Lost
  • Finding Shelter
  • Obtaining Water
  • Fire Craft
  • Survival Medicine while Navigating

In each chapter Glen relates some of his own experiences. You know he’s not merely theorizing about wilderness survival.

But he told me, for something he didn’t know, or when he didn’t trust memory, he sought out credible information from military manuals and other survival experts.

You’ll find plenty of useful drawings and illustrations. References are mentioned within the text with a few more given at the end of the book. You’ll find the extensive index helpful, too.

How Do You Get There?

As good as Prepper’s Survival Navigation is, you and I need to practice. You need to know what to do if you should ever lose your way.

Land navigation can be fun for children to learn. And there are benefits throughout life to knowing these skills.

Glen told me about an event he’s planning a few weeks after this writing in which he would incorporate navigation into one of the activities.

Did you know you can determine which way is north by looking at the branches of a tree? That’s just one of the direction finding tidbits Glen has written about.

Could you use the sun to find which direction you’re going? Would you know how to tell time by the sun? Glen shows you how in his book. We also touched on it in our conversation.

Finding direction by the sun isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Changing seasons and weather conditions make a big difference.

Travel at night isn’t recommended, unless you know the stars. Even then, you’d better know what you’re doing. For example, did you know the Big Dipper looks different because it changes position from season to season?

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, be familiar with the Southern Cross and its appearance throughout the year.

Glen recommends getting well acquainted with topographical maps. They give you a three dimensional view of a given area. He gives us a primer on reading these maps. Much of what he discusses throughout the book calls for their use.

And, of course, a compass is absolutely a must for land navigation. Get to know how yours works.

Your compass is a precious instrument. In the book Glen gives us tips on caring for your compass you might not have thought of.

You’ll also find explanations of important matters like declination, dead reckoning and terrain association.

During our visit he said not to walk and stare down at your compass needle. You won’t get where you want to go by doing that. Instead, find a reference point in the direction you want to go and walk to that point.

To understand declination, remember there is magnetic north and true north. A compass finds magnetic north. A topo map indicates true north. You have to know the difference between the two norths and account for it when plotting a course.

You can use dead reckoning when visibility is low or if you’re in thick woods. It involves traveling from one point to another a number of times. If you’re traveling with others, each person can act as point men.

Terrain association entails recognizing a landmark and plotting your way to it by associating the real landmark with the one on your map.

Glen explains these terms better than I can.

What Else Should You Know?

As noted above, there’s more to Prepper’s Survival Navigation than land navigation instruction. If you’re lost, you’d better know how you’ll survive.

The chapter on exposure points out the importance of having the right clothing. Pay attention to conditions to avoid over heating (heat exhaustion or stroke) or getting too cold )hypothermia).

The chapter on what to do when you get lost warns against being over confident. It can get you into big trouble. When your senses tell you something isn’t right, pay attention.

If you do get lost, stop, think, and observe your surroundings. Above all, stay calm. Don’t be motivated by panic to do something foolish.

You have two options when you’re lost. Stay put or get moving. In the book Glen discusses pros and cons of each option.

If you stay where you are, your first priority is finding or creating shelter.

When it comes to signaling, be creative. If you light a fire, or more than one fire, be careful not to lose control of the fire.

The shelter chapter gives a good survey of natural shelters and those you make yourself. Don’t overlook the simple poncho because it can serve more than one purpose.

But what about water? Glen has drunk from outdoor streams and has lived to tell us about it. But it’s not something he would recommend to the uninitiated. You and I had better know how to filter and purify water outdoors.

You’ll learn from the book how to find sources of water, make a primitive still, filter and purify water.

In our chat Glen reminds us that making a small still is a temporary measure to help you keep alive, hopefully until someone finds you. If you’re dying of thirst, you’d better know how to signal for help, too.

The best way to avoid dehydration is to plan ahead. If you can’t take enough water with you, know where to get it.

As you might expect, the chapter on fire craft tells how to start a fire a number of different ways. Several kinds of igniters are discussed. Find out how to make a Dakota fire hole.

The last chapter is on survival medicine and covers dealing with dehydration, finding food, hygiene, taking care of fractures, bleeding and insect and snake bites, and more.

As for his own wilderness experiences regarding medicine, cuts and scrapes are what Glen is most familiar with. So for the chapter on survival medicine, he went to the experts. Namely, Joe and Amy Alton–Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.

Is There More?

Glen enjoys living off grid. It’s been a fun, learning experience. I asked him about his biggest adjustment when making that move. Find out his answer by listening to our chat.

Do that by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for May 18, 2017. (Right click to download.)

You shouldn’t have to worry about getting lost. Get Prepper’s Survival Navigation by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post.

Stay safe when you travel, and survive.

 

Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook Will Help You Power Up When the Grid Goes Down – Part 2

What would you do for electricity in the event of a total grid failure? How about taking advantage of free energy from wind, water or the sun?

Setting up a solar power system for your whole house might seem out of reach at first, but Alan and Arlene Fiebig show us how it can be done in Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook. DestinySurvival Radio features a two part conversation with Alan Fiebig.

If you missed the first half of our conversation, click here for part 1.

Keep reading for highlights of the second half of our visit as well as a few more thoughts on the book. And, of course, below is a link to hear the podcast.

 

Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook

 

Switching Over

If you had to live totally off the electrical grid, you’d need alternative ways to power devices and small appliances.

You wouldn’t try to power energy hogs like a washer and dryer. You’d find ways to do laundry and dishes by hand.

You’d have fans instead of an air conditioner.

You’d find alternatives to an electric stove, such as a wood burning stove and a sun oven. You might be able to use a microwave oven on rare occasions.

You’d use people-powered generators to charge phones or other small electronics.

You’d do it like the Fiebigs have done.

The bottom line is, you’d use less power overall. And that’s the power the Fiebigs can guide you into providing for yourself.

Alan says doing laundry by hand was the biggest adjustment they had to make. They miss central air conditioning, but they’ve come up with other ways to keep reasonably cool.

He reminds us that the worst application for electricity is to create heat of any kind. For example, forget about using an electric toaster oven. Don’t even think about a clothes dryer.

How the Fiebigs handle refrigeration makes for fascinating reading in their book. Alan described it in our conversation as well.

Spending Less

It’s a myth that solar power has to cost thousands and thousands of dollars. The Fiebigs’ system cost about $2,500.

That’s a good price for getting energy from the sun. It’s also a good deal compared to what you’d pay for other alternative power options.

Alan says a solar power system shouldn’t cost $10,000-$20,000 for a system like theirs. He advises you and me to walk away from anyone who offers financing.

Stepping Carefully

Alan and Arlene wrote Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook to give you the guidance you need for becoming more self reliant where electricity is concerned. And they want to help you avoid the mistakes they’ve made.

For example, one of the mistakes they hope you’ll avoid is the use of thin film panels. The kind of panels they use are much smaller and more efficient. They give specific component recommendations because they know they work, but they’re not promoting a turnkey system.

Speaking of efficiency, the Fiebigs’ system is a winner. They use one tenth the Wat/hours the typical home uses. And they’re not suffering. They have the electricity they need for survival.

Fiebigs have done workshops on why they use 12 volt DC power for nearly everything in their home, but Alan concisely packed critical information into a few minutes durin our chat. The biggest advantage to doing it their way is efficiency. Alan’s comments are sensible and convincing.

Sourcing Higher Power

On the book’s dedication page you’ll find the mention of Noah of Bible times and a reference to Hebrews 11:7. The Fiebigs wanted to dedicate their book to the Savior, Jesus Christ, who they believe has guided them along the path they’re on.

In the King James Version, that verse says:

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

People in Noah’s day likely thought he was crazy for building an ark, but he was proven right for doing so. So it is with getting prepared. Those who are ready will one day be vindicated.

I appreciate the verse cited above because it shows Noah had both faith and fear. Faith and fear aren’t mutually exclusive. The lesson for us is to keep moving forward because faith can overcome fear.

Seeking More Knowledge

If you’ve heard the first part of my visit with Alan Fiebig, you know how well he makes the complicated simple. I invite you to hear the conclusion of our conversation by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for May 4, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Get Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. Keep up to date with the Fiebigs by going to http://off-grid-geeks.com.

 

Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook Will Help You Power Up When the Grid Goes Down – Part 1

What if you could build a solar power system for your home that would give you all the electricity you need for survival?

What if it cost just under $2,500?

And what if your home used only a fraction of the Watt/hours used by most American homes?

Think it’s impossible? Alan and Arlene Fiebig have done it, and they tell about it in Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook.

Alan Fiebig was my DestinySurvival Radio guest for what turned into a two part conversation. In this post I’ll share highlights from that conversation and the Fiebigs’ book.

A Glimpse of the Power Team

Here’s background info on the Fiebigs..

“Alan and Arlene Fiebig (aka Off Grid Geeks) leaped off the grid in 2012. Their goal in this pre-emptive bug out was to become as selfreliant as possible while still maintaining their high-tech lifestyle and work-from-home jobs. While Alan’s 40-plus years of expertise in all things electronic and Arlene’s degree in mechanical engineering proved to be beneficial in their new lifestyle, their ability to think outside the box allows them to come up with inexpensive alternative solutions for costly projects.

“This husband-and-wife team lectures and consults on a wide range of off-grid and self-reliance topics and are appreciated for their ability to explain technical subjects in an easy-to-understand manner. You can learn more about going off the grid at their website, http://off-grid-geeks.com.”

Alan was an articulate, knowledgeable guest. During our chat he went into teaching mode a couple of times. I believe you’ll find it enjoyable because I think you’ll understand what he said when you’ve heard him.

 

Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook

 

A Glance Inside the Book

Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook is a fascinating read.

Fiebigs have made an effort to make their subject matter understandable to you and me. Even if you’re not pondering the possibility of going off grid now, this is an informative book to get you thinking.

If you’ve forgotten what you learned in school about electricity, you’ll be glad for the simplified explanations the authors give. For example, do you know the difference between a dynamo and an alternator? An engine vs. a motor? Wiring in series vs. parallel?

This book is meant for both preppers and homesteaders. The Fiebigs want to help their readers make fewer mistakes than they did. Thus, they give specific component recommendations.

If you’re not sure if you want to build a solar power system yet, you may find the material later in the book to be challenging. Much of it went past me.

But if you’re serious about going off grid, I’m confident you’ll get what you need from this book. Start from the beginning and go through it. You should be able to follow instructions and descriptions given. Have a highlighter marker handy as you read.

Here’s a ray of sunshine on what the Fiebigs show you how to do…

  • Create your own power
  • Manage energy storage
  • Choose cost-efficient solar panels
  • Select durable battery banks
  • Rewire for energy efficiency
  • Control energy consumption
  • Install a high-efficiency refrigerator and LEDs
  • Charge laptops and cell phones

You’ll find a number of black and white photos throughout the book. Some are small. You’ll also find helpful charts and tables.

Appendices deal with zoning codes, the charge controller Fiebigs recommend, and keeping batteries healthy. The last appendix lists resources mentioned in each chapter.

A Nod to a Possible Threat

The prologue is a brief, fictionalized account designed to get you and me to think about what might happen in the event of a CME (coronal mass ejection) from the sun. What if a massive EMP (electromagnetic pulse) knocked out electricity and fried electronics everywhere?

What about an EMP or solar CME? Would the Fiebigs’ system stand up to one? Alan thinks it will.

He further explained why an EMP might not be as devastating as some predict. He’s no longer actively seeking to buy a pre-1980 car that doesn’t have today’s computer technology.

Of course, no one knows what will really happen until it happens.

An Overview of the Possible Solutions

Here’s something to keep in mind. Energy can’t be created. It can only be transformed. What’s the best way to transform that energy into something usable?

Alan and I discussed the merits of solar power compared to wind and micro-hydro power. Your location will be a determining factor as to which should be your primary alternative power source.

These other methods are touched on first in the book. The authors point out drawbacks compared to the advantages of solar power.

For example, if you use a generator, you’ll need the right kind of fuel. How will you store it? How long will it keep? How and when will you be able to use it to get the most out of it?

One of solar power’s greatest advantages is that there are no moving parts.

Solar power can be economical, too. The price of photovoltaic technology has come down considerably over time.

Decreasing cost and improved efficiency have made solar power more attractive and useful today. Alan hopes for continued improvement in storage battery technology.

But what about a string of cloudy days? Believe it or not, they don’t present the problems for the Fiebigs you might expect. They’ve figured out ways to have enough power to get by.

 

Spring with Sunny Background

 

The Way It’s Done

Fiebigs started with a goal of becoming as self reliant as possible. Their book is for anyone else who wants to move in that direction.

Fiebigs began with only one solar panel, but they eventually ended up with four. They decided to go cold turkey and worked themselves up to the system they have now.

Alan and I talked about why they went cold turkey. In their situation they didn’t have much choice. The two of them agreed that, if you start with nothing, it’s easier to come up with solutions you can live on,rather than having to wean yourself off of what you’re used to.

If you’re thinking of setting up a solar power system that lets you sell electricity back to the utility company, you need to hear Alan’s comments first. Also read what Fiebigs say in their book.

The Fiebigs aren’t trying to equip you to use 100% of the electricity you use now. Rather, they want you to have enough power to survive should the grid go down. This means adapting your power usage to your power production capability.

In chapter 5 they walk us through the activities that might take place on a given day using their solar power system.

Chapter 7 and following chapters describe components needed–batteries for a battery bank, charge controller, an inverter, and, of course, solar panels.

Incidentally, if you’re thinking you need to put solar panels on the roof, Fiebigs tell you why you shouldn’t do that. They’ll tell you where to put them instead, since they must be repositioned at least twice a year.

Fiebigs give specific guidance on batteries–which ones to use and what to do or not to do to keep them going.

As for smaller electronics, which rechargeable batteries are best? How can you deal with all those wall warts that call for different voltages?

What about lighting? Fiebigs use LED lights which require much less electricity to produce the amount of light we’re accustomed to from other bulbs.

Fiebigs make a strong case for operating as many of their electrical devices as possible from 12 volt DC. Alan and I discussed that in the second half of our conversation.

The Path to Greater Enlightenment

Reading the above is no substitute for hearing the first part of my conversation with Alan Fiebig. You’re invited to listen to DestinySurvival Radio for May 2, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Get Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. Keep up to date with the Fiebigs at http://off-grid-geeks.com.

Click here for Part 2.

 

Going Beyond Off Grid – A Conversation with Jason Matyas – Part 2

Going beyond off grid. Where did the concept come from? And how can it be lived out?

DestinySurvival Radio features the conclusion of my two part conversation with Jason Matyas to talk about the documentary film entitled Beyond Off Grid. We discussed more, too, so you’ll want to hear what we said.

If you missed the first part, click here for Part 1.

I included Jason’s background info in that post about the first part of our chat. He volunteered a little more in the second part of our visit. It will help you understand something about why he and his family have chosen the lifestyle they’re living.

 

Beyond Off Grid - DVD

 

Overview of the Film

Someone else had started working on Beyond Off Grid a couple of years before Jason got on board in 2013. The project was a long time in the making. You can tell by watching that a great deal of thought went into crafting the message.

An excellent summary is included in promotional info I received from Jason.

“…It’s primary purpose is to inspire fundamental lifestyle change so that we can start rebuilding a solid foundation for the future from the ground up, starting in families, then working up into our churches, communities, and regions.

“As current events make the future look more and more uncertain, you need to understand what’s coming and take action to prepare for the future.

“And the Beyond Off Grid film can be an inspiration and motivation to help you do just that.”

Overview of Our Conversation’s Conclusion

I asked Jason to talk about the dozen or so experts featured in the film. They include:

  • Michael Bunker, author of Surviving Off Off-Grid, which inspired the film
  • Codey of the Wranglerstar YouTube channel
  • Permaculturist Paul Wheaton
  • Rick Austin on homesteading
  • Franklin Sanders on economics
  • Jim Smith, owner of a back to the land store
  • …And others

I agree with Jason’s assertion that we can’t thrive or survive alone. With that notion in mind, the film spends time focusing on building families and communities.

It’s Jason’s hope that churches will take the film to heart and act to provide solutions. If a church isn’t prepared to meet the needs of their people, how can they serve their community?

This is important because we can’t count on the federal government or politics in general to solve our problems. We should know that by now, shouldn’t we?

What lies in the future–a dramatic collapse or slow burn? I invite you to hear Jason’s thoughts. Then draw your own conclusions.

But regarding our present circumstances, consider this. What would you do if you lost your job?

Jason recommends we act on diversifying our income streams. What possibilities exist for you outside of typical employment?

How is this working out for jason and his family? You’ll want to hear what he says about his career change, which led to home schooling their children, starting a family owned seed company (Seeds for Generations) and the challenge presented by the Beyond Off Grid project.

 

Beyond Off Grid - Return to the Old Paths

 

Overview of Action Steps

You and I should be leaders, according to Jason. Why wait for the collapse, hoping to rebuild afterward? Take steps now to live a more self reliant, fulfilling life.

Listen to the conclusion of my conversation with Jason Matyas on DestinySurvival Radio for April 27, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Then watch Beyond Off Grid by first clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post.

Why should you explore returning to the old paths? Because it’s not about nostalgia. It’s about survival.

 

Going Beyond Off Grid – A Conversation with Jason Matyas – Part 1

Many preppers and homesteaders are working toward living off the grid, if they’re not already doing it. But is going off grid the final answer for survival?

This week’s DestinySurvival Radio features a conversation with Jason Matyas to talk about Beyond Off Grid, a documentary film that can provide answers and inspiration for those of us wanting to make significant lifestyle changes.

In this post I’ll share thoughts about the film and part one of my two part conversation with Jason Matyas.

Incidentally, I’m releasing the first of two parts on Tuesday, and the second part is being released on Thursday, the normal day for releasing DestinySurvival Radio.

The Knowledgeable Guest

 

Jason Matyas

 

My conversation with Jason Matyas centered around the Beyond Off Grid film. If you’re aware of a number of the big issues we face in the world today, and you’re looking for solutions, Jason’s comments will resonate with you. But if you’re not familiar with who he is, here’s some background.

“Jason Matyas is a husband and father of seven, lifelong gardener and growing homesteader, 18 year Air Force veteran with 9 worldwide deployments, entrepreneur and business consultant, and is the Co-Founder of Beyond Off Grid, Executive Producer of the documentary film, and producer of Beyond Off Grid’s training series and courses.

Beyond Off Grid is devoted to inspiring and equipping you to reduce your dependence on the modern economy and seek true freedom by returning to the old paths of productive households and local community interdependence.”

“He is the founder of a family business with his children called Seeds for Generations that provides heirloom garden seeds and inspiration for gardening as a family.”

At the site for Beyond Off Grid, “Jason is featured in our Summit Online Course, Summit Event Video Course, and Grow More Food Course.”

The Information-Packed Film

Beyond Off Grid lasts about an hour and a half. It’s very well produced. Getting distracted by poor quality won’t be a problem.

There’s a lot to digest. You’ll want to watch it more than once to soak it all in.

The first half of the film takes the time to define the problems we face. A number of parallels are drawn between the Roman empire and the U.S. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s presented well.

If you’re like me, you’ll agree with the assessments set forth.

As the film moves on, we’re given an explanation of modern society’s grid. As I mentioned to Jason in our chat, I can imagine someone picking up a sentiment of anti-structure and anti-progress. Over regulation is indeed a problem, but could talk against regulations cause someone to think of survivalists who promote anarchy?

If someone isn’t already of the prepper mindset, they may find parts of the film to be offensive. Yet we all know that all that’s claimed to be progress isn’t good. For example, one of the presenters describes a toddler who was given a print magazine, and the child tried treating it as if it were a touch screen.

Beyond Off Grid is family friendly and comes from a Christian emphasis or perspective. But it’s not preachy or heavy handed.

There’s a significant turning point in the film where the topics discussed are more familiar to preppers. For example, what would be the impact of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse)?

One of the other issues touched on is the dangers found in GMO foods.

Homesteading, developing skills and going back to the old ways are encouraged. You’ll see info on having your own water supply, raising your own food, and restoring the family and community.

Thankfully, this documentary proposes solutions. We’re not left without hope. This isn’t one of those presentations that leaves us steeped in fear and in the dark about possible outcomes for the future.

The Thought Provoking Conversation

During our chat Jason said the film and the term “Beyond off grid” were inspired by Surviving Off Off-Grid, by Michael Bunker. The idea is that going off grid isn’t enough because isolation isn’t going to solve the larger problems we face.

Beyond Off Grid is designed to encourage preppers and homesteaders to see a bigger picture and, at the risk of sounding cliche, think outside the box. This may mean a change of mindset.

Once you know how we got where we are and can put what we face into context, then you can make lifestyle decisions to address those issues. That calls for consideration of what’s appropriate for you, your family, your church, and your community.

What does it take to become more productive and self reliant? How can we break the chains of our consumer-based society?

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but wonder how many will follow through to make life better for themselves and their families. The task of real change seems so daunting.

Making lifestyle changes is no small undertaking, but Jason believes it’s not impossible. He encourages taking one small step at a time.

It’s in the second half of the film that we see positive examples of the changed lifestyle of several families. And those examples are simply there to show us the possible alternatives.

Beyond Off Grid will reinforce what many preppers and homesteaders already understand, but it can also serve as a tool to help others wake up to enlightenment and action.

 

Beyond Off Grid - Return to the Old Paths

 

The Next Step

I’ve only shared highlights here. Find out more by listening to the first part of my conversation with Jason Matyas on DestinySurvival Radio for April 25, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Then watch Beyond Off Grid for yourself by first clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. You and your family will be glad you did.

Click here for Part 2.