Nearly a year ago, I wrote a book called “Being Prepared Without Being A Kook.” It was my antidote to the stereotype that most people stick on anyone who identifies as being a “prepper”. This stigma has all preppers as people who are preparing for the “end of the world.” In truth, preppers come from a variety of economic statuses, career choices, areas, ethnic backgrounds, and ideology. They are inclined to be interested in sustainability and outdoor activities as well.
My basic theory is that the end of the world actually makes life as we know it truly impossible. As humans, we don’t survive in the vacuum of space. Therefore, if our planet is destroyed, we’re not going to survive. End of story.
That does not mean that emergency preparation is a waste of time, effort, and money either. I am a firm believer in the value of emergency preparation, and in the old days, it was simply common sense and “being prepared” in general. A hundred years ago, almost everyone would have qualified as a prepper, as they stocked their pantries to live comfortably through long winters, and put things up to have supplies for a rainy day or hard times.
Today, most people have less than a week’s worth of food in their house. Most cities, even without rushes on the grocery store shelves, have about three days of food within their borders. It does not take a rocket scientist to come up with a dozen or more ways that new supplies could not arrive in a town or city, or that stores were not open to sell goods in an area. Add in situations when it would be physically impossible to get to a store to purchase additional items, and the situation quickly can become more than inconvenient.
Granted, I live on the Gulf Coast (although inland now) and I lived in Greater New Orleans for Katrina, so I have a different perspective on nowhere to buy anything than someone in Iowa or Oklahoma would. Each area has their own potential disasters that are more than a remote possibility, and those all influence how and why someone should be prepared.
Tonight, I interviewed Brian Breedwell from Southern Preppers on the Dawn of Shades. (The recorded program is here.) Southern Preppers is having an expo in Oxford, Alabama on September 5-7th, 2014 focusing on sustainability, emergency preparation, and homesteading. All of these go hand in hand with the common sense approach to managing emergency preparation, since it is really about being practical rather than tactical. It isn’t what people expect in terms of the prepper stereotype, but rather focused specifically on being practical. There are no gun vendors in attendance, but there are vendors with everything from a home freeze drying unit to grain grinders and long term storage food going to be in attendance. They will also be offering a long list of classes, also free of charge, just like admission to the expo is free to attendees.
Oxford Alabama is about four hours away, far enough away that few things would tempt me, but this sounds like an expo worth attending, just to see the vendors!
Like most people today, I’m a savvy shopper online. It saves me immensely in terms of time and gasoline when I don’t have to chase down elusive products that are on my shopping list, whether its freeze dried fruit, powdered butter, or a new backpacking stove. At the same time, I don’t know every single product on the market for use in the outdoors or for emergency prep. I also don’t know what is new or the latest-and-greatest, let alone what these items are priced at. Seeing the vendors means I can get a feel for how the company is to deal with (I love great customer service!) as well as what products are going to make it to the top of our own wish list or simply sitting there until the cows come home or our ships come in, whichever the case may be.
Then, there are the other attendees to expos. It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded people and have real conversations. I can hear what they like or don’t like, what worked great for them, and what didn’t as well. I can find out about a lot of things in relatively short order when I get the chance to be face-to-face with other customers too. I have always loved the other attendees at special events and conventions for that reason alone.
Offering free classes on a variety of topics is a bonus. Most of these classes will typically run $1o or more, sometimes pushing the $100 mark, and having a chance to take as many as I like (and have time for) without paying any fee at all is a huge bonus! Each one is also an expert in their field, not merely some guy who has done it once or twice. That’s also a benefit that can’t be beat.
Take a look at their website–it’s worth your time. If you live close enough or are inclined to a September road trip, consider attending this expo, especially if you are like me and interested in things like sustainability, homesteading, and emergency preparation. There is also plenty that falls in the camping category too. It’s a great opportunity, and one that isn’t found as often as we would like to see them happen.