I grew up in southern Illinois in a quiet nearly suburb. I was active outdoors hiking in the woods with my dog, shooting BB guns with my neighbors, hunting for fossils/arrowheads and playing hockey in the winter on a frozen pond near my house. My hometown had about 30,000 people and was in decline. I rarely went into a city until I entered Seminary near New York City.
During seminary, I went into the city nearly every weekend: attending church in Queens visiting friends in Brooklyn and sightseeing in Manhattan. I grew to both love and fear New York, for it seemed to have the best and the worst of humanity with surprises around every corner. Those were the days when the Mayors were named Koch and Dinkins. During those years, I knew the city in a brief, superficial way, yet I could not deny its great allure.
In 1992, I moved to Taiwan and lived in and around the great Asian city of Taipei working as an English teacher and ministering in various churches. I settled down, married, had a child, started a business and lived a quiet life in the bustling metro area. Technically, I live outside Taipei but our neighborhood is incredibly dense like any big city. I live in an average sized apartment of 8 floors, my office in a nearby 10 story building. Parking is rare and expensive, so most everyone rides motorcycles or takes mass transit. I have adapted my whole lifestyle to avoiding trouble in the city, and enjoying a well-lived life, through proper, gear, skill, attitude, and above all good networking with family, church, friends and customers.
After a recent trip back to my mother’s home, I was surprised to realize that I have become a city person and would not wish to live anywhere else. I would rather continue to spend my days as an Alien in the city rather than a citizen in the countryside.
WHY I WANT TO HELP YOU
As a boy scout, I adopted the motto “Always be prepared”. I even carried my Victorinox scout knife on airplane flights, thinking I could use it to cut my seat belt off if it refused to open during an emergency. That was before we worried about shoe-bombs and box cutters. In America, I faced Illinois tornadoes, New York winter power outages, Fog delays over Washington DC, and floods of the Mississippi River. In Taiwan, I encounter earthquake swarms, seasonal typhoons, massive political protests in the Capital, more blackouts, city-crippling multi-day religious processions, and the constant existential threat of war with China; all while being an alien resident, who is still an outsider to the deep complexities of the local culture and language.
Thus, it was only natural that I became interested in disaster prepping and survivalism. I loved reading all the survival ideas and buying some gear (shipping items to Taiwan usually doubles the price of the item bought). However, I eventually came to the conclusion that, for me and everyone else in Taiwan, wilderness survival is a fantasy. The people are many, and the land is scarce; natural resources and wild food is even scarcer. No, the only way to survive disaster in Taiwan is to stay close to the city using a network of formal and informal relationships to survive. Thus, the survivor in Taiwan is by necessity, an urban survivor. Since a city’s greatest asset it’s interlocking network of relationships, we must learn to employ its strengths and avoid its weaknesses.
This is largely true everywhere in the developed world. More and more people are living in cities – there is not enough work for them in the countryside. Modern people are tied to the cities and couldn’t live in the countryside even if they wanted to. I believe that many readers of survival sites, like myself, are engaging in the fantasy of surviving “alone in the woods”. Since most of us must stay in our cities, we need a guide, many guides, in fact, to thrive in good times and survive in bad times. It is time to engage our future with practical positivity rather than despair and fantasy.
There is hope! Cities are made for people and they are dynamically stable – they are always changing in detail, but they remain largely the same over time. The city of Jerusalem, troubled though it is, has been inhabited for over 4,800 years and the city of Damascus is over 11,000 years old. On the contrary, the wilderness was not made for man – nor is a farm dynamically stable, it is always one season, one crop away from failure. I offer a no-apologies guide to both daily life in an urban environment and preparation for the disasters that cities tend to experience. With the proper gear, skills, attitude and networks, you can survive and even thrive better in a city than anywhere else.
THE GOAL OF Urban Survivor Guide
I want to help you survive in your urban environment. This site is designed for
- Young urbanites with a passion to make the most of every opportunity
- Conscientious metropolitans who want to be prepared for any trouble
- Travelers seeking safe harbor, far from home and friends
- Wilderness preppers who want to help family and friends who will never willingly leave the city.
The means of this help will come from:
- Awesome Gear: You will learn the best options and alternatives for phones, edc, clothes, car equipment, home supplies, emergency items and more.
- Life Hacks: You will discover how to reduces the stress and overload typical of urban environments; simplifying your life while multiplying your opportunities. Gear is awesome, but what is essential is invisible to the eye.
- Disaster Preps: You will find out to prepare for, endure and/or escape from every common urban nightmare scenario from terrorism and war to environmental disasters and economic collapse.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out. Perhaps we can form our own little community of like-minded urban survivors!
All the best,
Peter J Barban
Urban Survival Guide https://urbanesurvivor.com/