1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
It was my background as an adventurer that eventually led up to writing survival-related books, both nonfiction and fiction.
I have never and do not now think of myself as a ‘survivalist’ or ‘prepper’ in the sense that I spend a lot of time considering and preparing for all the ‘what-ifs’ that could happen.
Learning survival skills and cultivating the ability to be comfortable in a wide variety of environments and with minimal gear was simply essential to be able to undertake the long solo sea kayaking journeys and other adventures I have been pursuing for more than twenty-five years.
That these skills also crossover and become applicable in the aftermath of a disaster is a great side benefit of becoming competent at wilderness travel and living.
2. What made you start bugoutsurvival.com? Give us a “taste” behind the scenes stuff.
Because of the experience and skills I had accumulated in my adventures, as well as all of the really remote and little-known areas I sought out looking for wilderness solitude, in 2009 I hit up the idea of writing Bug Out: The Complete Plant for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late.
The idea was that most of the book would be focused on the ‘where-to’ rather than the ‘how-to’ of survival.
I wanted to make readers in all regions of the Lower 48 aware of possible places they might seek refuge (or bug-out to) in the event of some long-term catastrophic breakdown.
The website was launched after I signed a contract for the book, as I knew it would not be possible to cover everything I wanted to present in a single book.
3. I love your “Plan, Prepare, Escape and Stay Alive” – can you give us a little insight into it?
Aside from my previous wilderness experiences, living in south Mississippi and keeping a cruising sailboat docked on the Gulf Coast, I was directly affected by Hurricane Katrina and the breakdown of law and order in the aftermath of that storm.
It really got me thinking about how anyone, regardless of lifestyle or occupation, skills and knowledge or lack thereof, could suddenly be cast into a survival situation whether they wanted it or not.
Having stores of provisions, water and fuel on my boat gave me a big edge after the storm, even though I didn’t ride it out aboard.
I was able to use those supplies to stay self-sufficient when others had practically nothing, as well as help out my family members who had lost everything.
But the header on the website that you refer to is simply a reminder that everyone should have a plan, and should be prepared. Doing so makes it easier if you find yourself in an untenable situation from which you must escape in order to stay alive.
4. What is your favorite multi tool and what do you most often use it for?
I received a Leatherman Wave as a gift around ten years ago, and it pretty much goes with me everywhere.
I use the knife the least, as I have other knives more suited for specific uses.
I find that having the needle-nosed pliers and wire cutters, as well as the assorted screwdrivers and saw blade is quite handy and I’ve used them all in working on my various boats as well as for things like motorcycle maintenance.
It’s certainly a handy tool that I wouldn’t want to be without after having owned it, and it pretty much goes with me everywhere.
5. Tell us a little more about “Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late”.
As mentioned already, the main focus of the book is about planning for evacuations and choosing bug out locations.
There is a chapter in the first part on the general considerations for this and the methods used to locate potential bug out locations.
The balance of the book deals with specific regions and the considerations applicable to each.
For example, the natural resources such as wild plant foods will be different in each of the eight regions this part of the book is broken down to.
Natural hazards will also vary, for example: poisonous snakes in the Deep South vs. the threat of avalanches or blizzards in the Northern Rockies.
The environment of the region in which you live will dictate different requirements in packing your bug out bag and planning for a short or long term stay in your bug out location.
At the beginning of each regional section in the book, I discuss both the good and the bad to be found there.
Then I give examples of large, undeveloped areas in each region that could be utilized by those who are properly prepared to do so.
My goal in writing the book was simply to make people aware that wherever they might live, they have options, even if they don’t already own or can’t afford to purchase a private retreat property in a safe location.
Those who benefit most from this information are the urban dwellers in the large population centers of the country who will not likely be able to stay put or bug in, depending on the circumstances.
6. Who is your survival hero?
More so than any of the contemporary survival experts, I’ve always been inspired by those who lived this lifestyle every day, particularly the mountain men and other frontier explorers and settlers, and the Native Americans they often learned from.
7. A message to your fans and readers.
Learning and passing on survival skills and knowledge is a long-term or even lifelong endeavor.
Keep an open mind and always be willing to listen to those with different perspectives and experiences.
Focus on knowledge and skills rather than simply acquiring gear, and make learning fun for you and your family or friends by getting outdoors and putting these skills to use by hiking, camping, hunting, fishing or whatever activities you enjoy doing outside.
Don’t focus on the negative and spend all your time worrying about the what-ifs of the future.
All any of us have for sure is today, so get outside and make the most of it.