Pandemic nomads? Hmm…

JULY 21, 2020

I Sense Some Skeptics Among You Readers

Only you can decide what’s important in your life, what priorities you might have to weather this pandemic (and the politics and the civil outbreaks).  Maybe it’s ok with you to just sit at home and whatever happens, happens.  You’ll deal with it if/when it’s necessary to do so.  That’s certainly a fair “plan”.  I certainly can’t judge because I surely the hell do not know how things are going to turn out by the end of the week, much less months from now.  It doesn’t matter how much you manage to hoard for your survival stockpile.  Once you have the need to start diving into it.. well, that’s when you’ll start running out of it.  After that.. well… are we gonna care?

Much about the surviving and even survivalist  mindset is simply about the idea of being able to hunker down for an unknown period of time, until presumably whatever threat there is has been eliminated or certainly minimized enough to resume living life the way it might have been before it all started.  In our current pandemic we need to buy enough time for the science to catch up to having a fix on what to do to treat this virus… and certainly try and develop a vaccine.  Included with all that will be our social response to accept changes and adaptations required to live with this bug for a long period of time to a point where it’s more routine acceptance and less about political emotion.


Back To My Plan

So I figure my more immediate concern in the event I am “forced” to leave my job is to find housing at nearly half the amount, or less, of what  I currently pay for rent… and do it within my 60 day window.  Fortunately living in a rural area the cost of living is far lower that the California coast or immediate outlying cities.  But that does not mean it will be easy.  Yet there are alternatives.  There are advantages to owning a home or renting a home.. but either way, be it rent or a mortgage, the amount for housing each month fits a budget you had at the time you entered the contract.  My reasons for not buying a home was more along the lines that as I aged I opted to have the option to be more mobile if necessary.. and not tied to a mortgage.  Although home ownership as an investment makes far more sense…. in the longer term.

So part of my “plan”…. purchase an RV trailer.  One might think this a bit lavish or excessive given I am looking to save money, but we are not talking the latest-and-greatest of wheeled mansions here with slideouts galore.  I have a buddy in Phoenix who over the last year entered retirement and decided to do the see-the-country thing and bought a brand new 5th wheel  500 foot (or so it seems) Taj Mahal.. which now sits next to his new home waiting for Covid in the land to go away so he can use it.  In my case it’s less about recreational escapism and far more about being prepared in the event of a survival need to re-locate (escape).

Initially the plan is to purchase a moderately size used trailer that will sit in the driveway or the back yard for any one of two possibilities… or both.  The first, an “isolation ward” in the event one of us gets Covid.  It makes for a good self-contained habitat to at least try to save the other party from getting infected.  Obviously if we both get infected we can weather it out together inside the house.

The second purpose for the trailer is in fact where we can retreat in the event I lose the job and subsequently the home… I can send into storage the things we have left, then move the trailer to some local long term RV park.  Should things in our little town get a little too “hot” with disease or other pandemic-related situations, I can hook the trailer up to one of our vehicles and we can move to another locale entirely and hunker down and wait it out.

It’s interesting to point out that I have not been the only one with this “travel trailer” mindset.  As I have been searching online for local used trailers people are literally gobbling them up nearly as quick as they are being listed for sale.  So that has been a challenge as well.  Very possibly folks are buying them with the idea of getaway road trips and not being willing to stay at motels.   Again, my point in providing my own example of trying to be prepared is simply to get you, the reader, to set your own mind into play on what you might do to make it through all this chaos and try to keep the family safe.


If I Had To Leave Town Where Could I Go?

What would make me actually consider leaving town would be the disease, or an element resulting from the disease, making it prudent for us to leave for our personal exposure safety.  Since I don’t have an Aunt Edna (or any other family relative) with a cabin in the mountains to be my Covid redoubt, I am figuring two essential requirements for re-location.  The first is an area with far less people, hence less chance of catching anything.  Also… just in being prepared and not being alarmist simply for some drama… I need to take into consideration the loss of utilities… even if only for a short period of time.  I want to be near a body of fresh water… and have a self-sufficient ability to have electricity… even if only intermittent.  The latter would be solved simply with a small generator and plenty of gas.  In fact, having a generator even in my home in an un-pandemic world should the electric go out I can save the food in the fridge and in the big freezer in the garage.  The “stuff” in there would be expensive to replace, even if still available in the stores.  Obviously being located near fresh water allows for the option of boiling water for consumption if that extreme is ever required (mostly for personal hygiene in the event the local water supply is rationed).  Just giving myself some options and being prepared.

I have picked out such a remote community that also includes a regional hospital in the event either of us need “senior” attention.  A Walmart within driving distance.. the common daily items.  Again, keep in mind my move is less about some prepper survivalist thing and more about simply watching out for ourselves and buying some time.  My plan also easily allows for going back to the town from which I left should the pandemic become a vanishing threat, if that is what I still desired to do.  I have no desire to spend the rest of my life in an RV trailer and would likely rent an apartment using the things in storage, and resume some living normalcy.  My “escape” plan allows a certain flexibility to move about.  To those reading this who own their homes and have chosen to simply lock it up and head outta town for a while, there’s a flexibility to return to your home at any time.


And Food?

Only you can determine what you need, what you think you need, and why you think you need it.  The assumption is buying a bunch of canned food items and this is fine.. but remember….. you need to be able to transport it all (cans are very heavy), and you have to store it all somewhere.  While canned food is naturally a longer term storage item, you will still need to give consideration to avoid freezing (Winters) and avoid excessive heat (deserts).  Your storage unit will likely not be climate controlled.  Be wary.

How long should you figure for stocking up on food?  There is absolutely no way of knowing.  I have about 60 days supply of canned food.  Fresh foods, like meats and poultry items get eaten first.  Now, that does not mean we would be dining on three nice meals a day for 60 days.. or more.  We let our ability to re-supply what we eat daily from the local stores.  As the local stores might run out of certain foods, that will dictate our basic consumption.  When we can’t get fresh meat or veggies then we shift over to the canned items.  If we are unable to re-supply the canned items we eat daily, then what we have at the time is all that’s left and you self-ration.  For example, one can split between two people.. per day if necessary.  But by that time you better be concerned with spending your stored supply of canned goods to keep you alive long enough for you to figure out how to eat when the canned goods run out.  Likely things won’t get that desperate.  But.. be prepared for the things you can’t think of.


Total “Insulation” From Other People?

Nope.  We humans need others of our own kind to survive emotionally and physically.  Masks or not… interacting with others enhances everyone’s survivability.  In some areas you might be able to sustain pandemic “bubbles”.  Those would be clusters of people who have had a reasonably tight accounting on anyone who has left the group and returned.  If no one has left the group and it’s been the two week quarantine period, then social distancing and mask wearing could be relaxed.  This obviously takes a lot of universal trust and honesty with all participants of the group, but once the “bubble” is established, much more can be accomplished.  But keep in mind as well… one of the reasons you left your former home was to minimize any threat in catching the virus so diving back into being surrounded by people might not be overly wise even if everyone is maintaining social distancing and mask wearing.


Is It Really Going To Get This Bad?

I’ll reference that by referring you back to Part 2 and that list of “stresses”.  We are at a crossroads of immense unknowns here as a nation.  No question we have a health immediacy with the pandemic which is killing and maiming Americans, and people of the world of all ages.  We also have a totally unpredictable person occupying the Oval Office which is up for re-election and is positioning himself to disrupt the election process and for the first time in our history he is threatening a smooth transition of government.  We’ve never been here before as a nation.  Tempers have been, and will be, flaring up in the days and weeks ahead.  It becomes a future of the unknown.  The pandemic itself might prove to be the easier of all to remedy.. the politics of our upcoming election may be haunting us for years to come.  I generally have hope and faith in the Constitution and in the concept that IT defends us when we use it.  It’s not a guarantee that our democracy will be a bed of roses and frolicking unicorns.  If we want it we have to use it.  It becomes an issue of knowing the nation will survive all this for sure… but will you or I?  Being prepared might give us an edge.

 Return to Part 3 HERE 

Return to Part 2 HERE 

Return to Part 1 HERE