However, there was no camp, there were no sleeping bags, no tents, no food, no matches or lighters—only the Swazi gear I handed out. If they wanted to survive the subzero temperatures for the week, they would need to build a camp, hunt for their food and figure out how to make a fire. Making do with what you have to hand is a pivotal moment in camping. Sticks and stones don’t just break your bones, but they can help you survive.
If you’re lost, stop, sit down, and stay put
Getting lost in our bush is a real possibility, though I have to admit, it has never happened to me. Sure, I’ve been confused for two or three days, but never lost... So the first thing is to sit down. Why? Because panic is 100% sure to set in.
Start talking to yourself if it eases your mind—just be sure not to get into an argument! You need to get over the panic aspect of your predicament, because the next symptom coming down the pipe is despair. And that’s what can kill you. Despair takes away the will to live, so focus on reasons to pull through your ordeal. Family, loved ones—the motivation to survive. The number one factor in successful survival stories is the drive to get home. Getting un-lost takes a clear mind.
Focus on your last known location, can you confidently backtrack to that point? Slowly retrace every single meter of ground you have already travelled over. Most people get lost within a few hundred meters of the track. Look for telltale marks, scuffs, or signs of the direction you were taking. If you’re not feeling confident enough, then it’s time to hunker down for the night. Make this decision early so before it gets dark, start gathering what you will need to get through the night.
If you have all your gear, make the camp comfortable and gather firewood. If not, then start gathering tinder and firewood, ferns, and shelter in your immediate area. It will be a long night, so get comfortable. Stay put. You will be found. You will be rescued. Think you may get hungry? As for making a spear and hunting food, catching eels in the creek... Forget it. That’s a movie. Unless you are practised in doing all of those things, you shouldn’t bother, you will not die of starvation. You simply need to stay put.
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