How to Survive When You Have Nothing

The world is a dangerous place, and things can go south in an instant. Without warning, natural disasters or unexpected events can leave you stranded with no supplies and little means of getting by. Whether you find yourself stranded after a hurricane or simply have the misfortune of being caught without proper preparation for winter, it is important to know how to survive if you have nothing.

To begin with, there are two main types of situations in which having nothing poses a threat to your survival: long-term and short-term scenarios. You may be inclined to think that these are the only two ways in which having nothing poses a threat to your survival, but either way – whether it’s for a few days or weeks on end – being without basic essentials can be dangerous and life-threatening.

Topic Index
  1. Long-Term Scenario
  2. Short-Term Scenario
  3. What to Do When You Have Nothing
  4. Build a Fire and Find Shelter
  5. Collect Rainwater and hunt for food

Long-Term Scenario

A long-term scenario is one in which you find yourself with no supplies and no method of acquiring more for an extended period of time. This could occur as the result of a natural disaster or a sudden event, such as a power outage in your region that prevents you from accessing any food or water. Another example would be if you are traveling abroad and become stranded after a local disaster, such as a flood or a hurricane, leaves you with no supplies or way to get back home.

Depending on the situation, you may be able to survive without food or water for a few days, or you might need to last up to several weeks without any supplies whatsoever before you have any hope of getting back on your feet.

In this type of scenario, you need to rely on your surroundings and do your best to remain calm in order to have the best chance of making it through. You are likely going to be in a very frightening and difficult situation, so being prepared goes a long way in helping you stay positive and survive.

Short-Term Scenario

A short-term scenario is one in which you are without supplies for anywhere between a few hours and a few days. Maybe you find yourself stranded in the middle of a blizzard and are left without food, water, or a way to get home because the roads are blocked off. Maybe you go on a hiking trip and fall into a wild river, getting your supplies and navigation equipment wet and ruined.

Or maybe you simply forget to bring enough water bottles for everyone on a camping trip. Regardless of the cause, a short-term scenario may leave you without supplies for a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks if you do not have access to the right resources. Regardless of the time frame, being without food, water, and other necessary items can be extremely dangerous and can put your life at risk.

What to Do When You Have Nothing

In a long-term scenario, it is best to remain calm and try to stay safe. While water and shelter are necessary, food is not as crucial, so focus on maintaining a positive outlook and finding a way to stay warm if it is cold outside. Finding water is important in every scenario, and long-term situations are no exception.

Be sure to look for natural sources of water and collect as much as you can. You can also melt snow, as it is clean and safe to drink even if it’s not from a natural source.

In a short-term scenario, the best thing you can do is try to stay warm and make yourself visible to rescuers. If you are near water, try to find a boat or raft that you can cling to, and make sure to stay hydrated at all times. If you are in the wilderness, try to locate a nearby shelter and make a fire. If you are in the middle of a city, stay near buildings and make yourself visible.

Build a Fire and Find Shelter

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to make fire, find a nearby source of wood as soon as possible. It is important to find wood that is dry and flammable, so try to stay away from plants and trees that have moisture in them. Ideally, you will want to find wood that has already been partially dried out by the sun, as you do not want to waste a lot of precious time trying to dry out the wood yourself.

Once you have your wood, make a fire pit and apply a thick layer of dirt around it, as this will help the fire to spread and stay burning longer without burning through the fuel you have collected.
Put your fire out before bed or leaving it unattended at any other time, as forest fires are a real danger that you do not want to accidentally contribute to.

Collect Rainwater and hunt for food

In a long-term scenario, try to find a nearby source of water such as a river or stream. If you are near a river, be careful not to get swept away in its flow, and avoid entering the water if there is a significant risk of flash flooding. If you are near a stream, follow its path until you find a place where you can safely access its water.

Find as many nearby edible plants as you can. Be sure to look up a guide for edible plants in your area before you start searching. Try to avoid plants that have thorns or other harmful characteristics, and be sure to double check that you have identified the plant correctly before consuming it.

In short, the best thing you can do when you have nothing is stay calm and make sure to keep yourself safe and warm. These two things are essential to your survival, and if you lose them, your chances of making it are slim. Make sure to find water and food if you can, and keep yourself in a safe shelter or campground so you will not be at risk of danger or harm. Most importantly, try to stay positive and remember that help will come. You might not think you have much of a chance, but there are people out there who want to help.

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