The Grim Truth About Survival After the Apocalypse

Congratulations! You’ve survived the end of the world. Now what? The truth is, yes, you’ve survived, but there were seven billion other living people just the week before. So yes, congratulations, you have survived another of the major apocalyptic events which strike the Earth every so often, but that also means that you are now alone. All alone. Solitary confinement for the rest of your miserable life. And yes, it will more than likely be miserable, and for the vast majority, this is not all bad news, there is a chance that your life will not exceed the week. Also, it is likely that everyone you know is dead. So, this triumph of yours will go unrecognized, and you will spend a lot of time in the dark. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but there is no other way to really squeeze that little tidbit in. The age of believing that you and your girlfriend of boyfriend will be just fine and live happily ever after with a sack of goods and a naval cruiser are essentially over, in fact, you may not even want to look at a girl a couple of weeks into the PA world.

Yes, yes, total killjoy, but it is a matter of fact, most people have no idea how to survive without the plentiful resources which we have been nurtured with for our entire lives. And by the time the world ends, the Internet will no longer work, so Google cannot save you. Some of my personal best advice is really rather simple, when in doubt, go for the classics. In this age of tablets and cell phones with the operational capacity of a computer, many people have moved away from books. The local library is one of the places that I have on my list of things to hit first. As prepared as I may be with my hunting equipment to hold out the rest of Winter, I have the foresight to admit that I am not God, and therefore not all knowing. I couldn’t do jack in terms of rebuilding or settling in beyond scavenging and using existing structures, especially not in this twelve degree morning chill.

“Art is the triumph over chaos”

The List:

– The library, or many libraries, not only are the structures themselves built to last, the information stored in books is everlasting, provided you don’t break your prescription glasses, and it doesn’t require a battery, plus, reading and spreading knowledge to others can help with your people skills and ensure that the continuation of the human species does not resort to caveman levels of intelligence.

– A firearm. Now think, yeah, you could get a bow and arrow and be reminiscent of a Commando/Predator level bad ass wannabe with a lot of hungry nights due to inexperience, or you can just point and shoot, accurately, every time. A rifle can go a long way. Especially if you come across a dangerous situation. While many claim that a gun will provide no use after a while, let me tell you that this is false. As long as you keep your empty cartridges and can get a hold of simple chemicals or minerals, you are fine. A book can teach you to become a blacksmith, and while you learn, you can scavenge gun powder in whole barrels and keep your supply up in that way, make it so that eventually, you are no longer a petty scavenger, but a safe, smart, productive member of the PA world.

– A knife of quality. Yes, there are websites that allow you to buy cool looking knives for a nice price, but let me tell you guys, size doesn’t matter. Not in the way of blades anyway. Yes, while that 17” Kurkuri or bowie looks bad ass, it provides little to no practical use. Smaller multi-tools or fishing knives are all that one would need, and they serve multiple uses, multi-tools are basically a whole tool box in one nicely compacted package, and fishing knives can assist in casual slashing, cutting, carving, and skinning of a kill. A machete or hatchet can provide you with anything that needs more of a kick. Also, be sure to have a whetstone handy that way your edge doesn’t go dull.

– Paper and a pen. I’ve got my journal, it allows me to retain my sanity through expression, and these tools could be used for documentation. Knowledge is power friends. Writing, again, can help to retain your center of focus and can keep you sharp, you don’t want to go and survive the end of the world just to burst your melon.

– Water purification, and storage. Basic filtration and boiling are better than nothing, friends. You must be sure that now that you have survived the end of the world, you don’t go down to a bacterial infection. There are tablets, and again, books that can teach better and more efficient ways to purify your water sources, whether it be a coal/sand shoot, or chemical cleaning. Not to mention that now that you are the only person alive, you aren’t going to want to drink from contaminated water. By contaminated, I mean water polluted by the dead. Rotting flesh does hell on your immune system. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and be careful of the water you drink. Not to mention that you will be on the move to continue collecting resources, so several water bottles would be necessary to maintain the bodies health. Plus thirst can drive a person mad.

– Playing cards. I’m being serious. Your X Box is now useless, and a deck of playing cards are gold, and is a great way to pass the time by yourself and meet new people, provided you wander onto other cardsharks like yourself.

– Adequate clothing. You don’t want to freeze to death, and it is always easier to remove clothing when it gets hot than it is to become warmer. A nice jacket and pair of boots could save your life more than a gun could in the freeze of Winter.

– A first aid kit. Keep yourself clean, and be sure to be aware of your body at all times, if you feel as though you can’t do something, don’t do it, you will not respawn. There will no second chances in the PA world.

– A compass and map. Keep your bearings. You do not want to get lost, whether you are in a city or in a rural area, a map could keep you from aimlessly walking about, which wastes energy. And whenever you get into a new area, get a new map. Its that easy.

– Transportation. A bike would work great, in terms of realistic capability. No naval warships for you. By the way, those naval ships are usually nuclear powered. Take a guess at what happens to anything nuclear powered in a PA world? I’ll give you a guess, it may be best to stay away from those areas. And it would be best to stay on the roads, because that is where you are most likely to come across others, which at first, is a good thing, you will want friends. Power lies in numbers. Roads and rivers, friends. That is where you will find easy travel.

– Sanitation, similar to the first aid materials you would need to survive, you would want basic soaps and to actually look healthy. You don’t need to bathe in mineral water with a mountain of suds as your companion, but you would want to be clean-ish. You don’t want to repulse others by your scent.

– This next bit is more important than any of these other items. A picture of your loved ones. Though they may no longer be with you, you carry them. Your efforts of survival will question and test all of what makes you, you. An image to hold dear can keep you going in the hard times, not to mention you don’t want the guilt of forgetting their faces.


Its not as easy as many would believe to survive. The implications of being the only surviving being in the area will crush you. I know that I will likely sulk around for a few weeks, talking to and walking about the dead as though everything will be okay. No one is heartless enough to go from everyday life into PA life. That transition will not be easy. And denial the first step to acceptance, so its okay to lose it for a little while. As long as you come to accept that everyone you love is dead, and that you must go on so to not end up like the rest of the world. Harsh, I know, but what else can you do?

You will want to bury or burn the dead, and respectfully say goodbye to those whom you have lost. Once this is done collect the essentials of your survival. One of your goals now is to move, and continue to move. You will want to learn as much as you can, documenting your journey, keep yourself entertained, and maintain your equipment. Your goal would be to eventually find other survivors and organize a self sustaining colony of individuals, and continue to collect resources. You would want to share your knowledge, and begin an archive of information for public display, that way you no longer have to do everything yourself.

Surviving doesn’t mean a thing if the world resorts to self reliance. The only hope of not letting seven billion people die in vain is ensuring that humanity makes a comeback, as we always will. The individual is weak, the colony will reap the benefits of collecting and maintaining the human mind. Archiving their knowledge for the future and rebuilding a society of farming, agriculture, and books will allow us to skip past the boring years of the Middle Ages. We could use our paper friends and scavenged materials to build generators, which would again provide us with energy. Which we could use to broadcast a signal to other survivors, further expanding the colony.

At this point in survival, you are no longer surviving, you are living. Freely going about life in the new world, with a new infrastructure of people that coexist together, building at a rate that will astound even the most cynical of people. At this point, you can relax, years after the world ended, you can finally sit, and listen to your wonderful heart beating. Earths human population shot from seven billion to a few thousand over night, and you are one of the people responsible for helping to push for life, and not give up. At this point, you would have discovered everything that being human is, and you could die knowing that you did something. Congratulations, you’ve not only survived, you’ve made history.

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