|Not actually Erin.|
Picture by KJ Photography
& is used with permission.
Being a prepper means maintaining a careful balancing act between maintaining operational security (OPSEC) and cultivating a circle of friends with similar skills and outlook. On the one hand, you are unlikely to survive by yourself, and not only is there safety in numbers but there is also a greater collection of useful skills and life experiences within a group... but to find these people, you have to break OPSEC. On the other hand, if you ask the wrong people, in the event of a disaster you are likely to have a group of unprepared folks showing up at your front door asking for a handout... but if you maintain tight OPSEC to prevent that, you will never meet the right kind of people either.
I have some small degree of experience in realizing that a shell meant to keep me safe also isolates me from those who care about me and want to help me. I won't go into it here, but if you follow my other blog, you know full well what I'm talking about.
So here is my dilemma: Thanks to the internet, I have many friends whom I trust and who have similar outlooks to mine. I even have several standing offers for sanctuary with them, should STHF and I have to seek shelter from the radioactive zombie cannibal hordes. The problem is that none of them are in my state.
It's all very well and good that I have allies in Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Oklahoma, but unless the apocalypse very kindly gives me a heads-up that disaster is about to happen and I have a few days to get my act together, none of those people are going to be able to help me.
The easy answer, of course, is "cultivate relationships with people close to you." And I have tried to do that. In the case of my neighbors, I know them to varying degrees of familiarity, and while they are decent people, most of them don't seem to take the concept of prepping as seriously as I do. If they aren't serious, then I am reluctant to let them know that I have emergency supplies, because my preps are for MY family, not theirs.
In other cases, I have gotten in touch with friends who are preppers, but either they are playing their cards close to their vests or they are rather flaky. The net result is the same, however: they say it would be a good idea to form a prepping group, and then nothing ever comes of it.
Perhaps I just suck at making friends in person?
Regardless, the question is the same: I have far-away friends but none nearby -- how can I make use of this? "Move away" seems to be a popular suggestion, and it's one I'd love to follow, but for financial and familial reasons I can't leave Florida.
So I put it to you, my readers: Does anyone have any experience in integrating long-distance friends into their circle of preps? If so, how did you make it work?
Similarly, how best can I go about building a circle of preppers in my area? How can I trust them? (I don't want to end up like this guy just because someone think preparing for a disaster is the same as being a domestic terrorist.) What activities can said group and I engage in, to build that teamwork and trust? How do I make sure that everyone is fully invested in our crew? In short, how do I go from "group of individuals" to "tribe"?
Please, leave comments below. I'm throwing discussion open as much as possible. It doesn't matter if you ramble -- if you have an idea you think is worth sharing, then speak your mind!