Imagine waking up and life as you know it has changed drastically. Most of the people you know are now dead. Stores are closed. Basic supplies and food aren’t available. Electricity is out--indefinitely.
Would you give up, or would you persevere with hope for survival?
Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, The Road is a 2009 film starring Viggo Mortenson that portrays this eerie scenario. The film tells the story of a father and son who are fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
While the viewer isn’t aware of what kind of cataclysmic event occurred--we know most people subsequently died off as a result of the event. The father and son are traveling to the coast in an effort to find warmer weather. Although the film portrays an extreme and bleak situation (including cannibalism), there are a few valuable survival lessons we can take away that can be applied to real circumstances we may face.
Here are six of them...
#1: Understand That Health Is Wealth.
In The Road, the man gets sick due to the ash in the air (no, the movie didn’t say it blew in from California), and his condition worsens as time goes on. It becomes clear that his time is limited.
It’s really a “survival of the fittest” situation when you’re forced to face adverse physical and mental situations. The more mentally and physically prepared and resilient you are, the more likely you are to survive longer. Take the time now to analyze your level of health. If you need to adjust your diet, start today. Incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. If you are dealing with a lingering ailment, treat it now, if possible.
One thing people overlook in an emergency is caring for their feet. Soldiers know how important this is. If you can’t walk, not much else will matter. Make sure you have at least one rugged pair of shoes or boots at the ready. Ideally, they have already been broken in. Keep a supply of Foot Rescue on hand, too, in your medical supplies.
#2: Stay Mentally Resilient and Maintain the Will to Live.
If you’ve seen the film, you know that the wife of Viggo’s character isn’t around during the present-day scenes. In a flashback, we see her gradually lose hope after the birth of their only son. At a certain point, she becomes angry with her husband for using a bullet to shoot an intruder. It becomes clear that she intended to use the bullet for her own suicide. Sadly, she ends up leaving the family, walking into the woods, and disappearing.
The wife didn’t have the mental resilience needed to continue to survive in bleak conditions. It’s understandable since the situation had very little hope.
However, when you hear stories of triumph and heroism in overcoming the odds, you realize that the common thread is that someone held onto hope and persevered. The setting in the film is dark, grey, and desolate. The circumstances mirror this physical landscape, but the will to live remained for the father and son.
Your will to live will be stronger if you ride out a disaster with your loved ones. You know they rely on you, and you feel a sense of purpose. Bearing this in mind as you face challenges will only strengthen your drive to overcome the worst-case scenarios.
Our nation’s first citizens knew this, too. We’ll save that story for a future Survival Scout.
#3: Acquire Tools for Survival in Advance of a Crisis.
When it comes down to it, having enough food, clean water, clothes, supplies, and even simple items such as dental floss is key for survival. In The Road, nobody was prepared for the epic tragedy that befell the earth. Those that took the time to store up food and essential supplies were the ones that had a competitive advantage for survival and self-reliance.
Make a list of the items you think you might need in case your power goes out, banks shut down, an epidemic spreads, or violence breaks out. These items may include…
- Gardening supplies and heirloom seeds.
- Water filtration systems like an Alexapure Pro.
- Layers of clothes.
- Medicine and first aid supplies.
- Flashlights, candles, and lanterns.
- Cooking stoves.
#4: Always Be Prepared for Expected and Unexpected Crises.
Some people may scoff at the idea of storing up food and supplies in case of an emergency. (But they probably have jumper cables in their cars so they are prepared for something… go figure?!) When it comes down to it, those who are going to fare better are those that take the steps and time to prepare.
In The Road, the man and boy discover an underground shelter full of canned food and supplies while traveling. Even though these weren’t originally their possessions, they benefited from others’ strategic thinking. Someone prepared. Best be you!
Craft a contingency plan for various possible scenarios and share them only with your family. Best to do that sooner rather than later. No one can be prepared for all things overnight. But taking a few steps now and starting by securing a basic food storage supply for one week or one month will put you ahead of most. Build your plan from there.
#5: Know How to Defend Yourself from Widespread Violence.
In the film, the father and son have to defend themselves from cannibalistic gangs carrying weapons and looking for fuel and food.
Originally, the father and mother have a gun with three bullets that they aim to use as a suicidal last resort, but the father is forced to use the gun in two separate self-defense situations, leaving only one bullet. Luckily, he finds a flare gun aboard an abandoned ship, which he is able to use as a weapon of self-defense against cannibals and gang members.
In times of desperation, people will likely become greedy and mentally unstable--endangering your and your loved ones’ lives. Owning weapons, knowing how to use them, and having plenty of ammunition safely stockpiled are extremely valuable assets in long-term survival. If not used for defense, weapons will certainly be used for barter.
#6: Be Selective About Whom You Trust.
In The Road, the father and son could only trust each other. The situation was so dire that most others had resorted to cannibalism, meaning that any person they met was a source of food. Look back through history. It happens.
Of course, widespread cannibalism is a far-off notion for most today. But the lesson this movie teaches us is that in times of crises, it’s not easy to trust others. Be on guard, and analyze situations with a careful eye. Viggo Mortenson’s character continuously drills this sentiment into his son throughout the movie, to be on watch for “bad guys” and to minimize trust.
Though it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in these characters’ position, these lessons are still applicable to practical disaster and emergency situations today. Keep these six lessons in mind, and take proactive steps now to prepare for seen and unforeseen disasters that may rapidly change life as we know it.
Have a safe weekend and please stay alert!
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply