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Everything posted by Almeida

  1. Almeida


    Hello Survival Threads Community. I'm from Portugal, the oldest country in Europe. I have an interest in survival, security, EDC, natural disasters, bushcraft, steel, DIY and a few more topics that are relevant to this forum. I probably won't participate all that much, but I will throw some ideas once in a while. Portugal is a small and peaceful country with a lot of people in it, so our idea of survival is probably quite different from yours. English is not my main language, so if you see something that is not well written, bare with me and feel free to give me a "heads up", so I can improve. Thanks. PS: Congratulations to Thomas and Elise, you have been doing a great job. Thank you.
  2. This is an interesting question. Not something I usually think about but I'll give it a go. Excellent point, situational awareness belongs on my list, definitely. Here's another four skills: Remain calm: for some people, the most difficult skill in any survival scenario;Be self-confident: "you can manage this, piece of cake";Know yourself, know your limits: understand how your body and mind react to different situations and act accordingly;Find water: Air is easy, next is water, you can't live long without it. If you find water, probably you'll find food as well. As you can see, most of the skills on my list are psychological, but probably wouldn't be good for introducing someone to bushcraft. Maybe it would even scare a few people instead! For true beginners who want to try and see what they are capable of, probably something like making a fire, building shelter and learning how to use tools (knife, axe, etc.). Those are always fun. I want to hear more opinions and, who knows, maybe change a few items on my list.
  3. Almeida


    Thank you Elise. I'm just providing my point-of-view, but I understand how cultural differences are always interesting. I love some culture-shock myself, I just wish I could feel it more often. I will reply here again, but maybe it would be a good idea to create a new forum topic about this discussion. I believe more people could have interesting things to say but don't find this because it's on my presentation post. I understand what you say and I agree: it's about experience and what you learn from your parents and/or other people. But still, I believe it's mentality. Or maybe my definition of mentality is slightly different from yours. "Glamping" is not common here, but you can find some places if you look for them. However, I think the glamping market is very small, the prices are just too high if you compare them with other alternatives. I think a lot of portuguese people would like to try glamping, but they don't even consider it because of the high prices, and that's one of the top priorities. So, people choose to have less comfort so they can spend less money. If people have money, they would rather go to a hotel. That is true and also applies to here. Although I was born in the mountains, countryside of northern Portugal, I was raised in a small city but my parents passed me the "countryside" mentality. My parents never actually passed me any survival skills or outdoor knowledge, but the psychological factor was 100% there. For example, I was taught that if I want something done right, I have to do it myself and I must find a way to do it correctly. For me that's a huge survival skill. If something happens, my thought is that no one is coming to save me, so I must do it myself. Only after that I can concentrate on helping others. Also, I was taught to identify the problems I face and then find a solution. If something is wrong, it's not critical that I understand why, but it is crucial that I understand what. After that, I must solve the problem. Another huge survival skill that was unconsciously taught to me. Maybe in big cities like Oporto or Lisbon people are not taught these values the same way they do in the countryside. I totally agree. Although we are "taught" not to rely on gear, it sure helps. I can speak for myself that I always have my pockets full of stuff, and use most of them almost everyday. I always carry a SAK, electrical tape, pen, flashlight, the usual stuff. Of course I would manage without these things, but they help me avoid small problems that would take more time, so I can concentrate on things that really matter. That's the whole point of EDC, I guess. I understand what you say, but it can actually be the opposite. I've seen videos of people practicing or teaching bushcraft with a lot of gear, sometimes it seems they are just showing off. We all like gear, but what happens if we lose it all? Sure it would be good to have a firesteel and a knife in a survival situation, but what happens if you don't? Sure, I have an outstanding knife which is really special and I like to use it. But if I always make a fire with the help of my knife, will I be able to make fire without it? Understood and agreed! I think we all know how difficult it is to explain someone how survival skills are important. Of course we are not experts, how many of us have actually been in a survival situation? And how many of us want to be in a survival situation? I don't want to, that's for sure. I like my quiet and peaceful life, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be ready. I understand that people are more confident and comfortable practicing outdoor activities with gear, I do to, but many overdo it. However, here is another difference between the Portuguese and other cultures (Americans, for example): we don't feel the need to go to the woods and practice survival, for us it doesn't make much sense. Our thoughts are more like "If I'm in a survival situation, I just need to get out of it". Not saying it's the better approach (because it's not) but it's just different. However, I don't think I'll ever heard the news about someone in Portugal who was "testing" himself/herself in a survival situation and got into trouble. I think this expression you used is a good bottom line. In the end it doesn't matter how you train or if you don't train at all, what matters is what you can do (physically and mentally). If you manage without resources that's perfect, but if you don't that's fine. What matters is that you are safe and can carry on with your life. I agree and think everyone should practice this way. Also, always tell at least two different people where you're going and keep them informed about how things are going.
  4. Almeida


    Well, like I said before Portugal is a very small country (about 560 km / 350 mi N-S) with 10 million people, so everywhere you go there are houses. It's difficult to be stranded in the middle of nowhere, because you are always somewhere. Of course there are some "kind of" remote places, and people have been lost for days, but it's not common. Also, survival is part of our culture. We are one of, if not THE, oldest countries in Europe, so historically we have survived a lot of stuff since 1139. We have a word that defines our living/survival skills which can't be directly translated but wiktionary says something like: (Portugal) disentanglement (removal of complications or confusion)(Portugal) hack, improvised solution; a "MacGyverism"(uncountable, Portugal) the ability to find improvised solutions to problemsRoughly, it's something like finding a "good-enough" solution to a problem with little to no resources and knowledge. We have always been a somewhat poor country (besides what the history books might tell you about empires and all that), so we had to work with what we have. Sometimes we have nothing, but problems need solving anyway. We are the only country in the world that eats all parts of a pig (from head to tail, including bowels, blood, liver, brain, testicles, you name it!) because we had to fight famine. Two or three years ago, there was this old man who got lost in the woods for 7 days, he survived with nothing but a bottle of wine until his dog found him. When people asked him how he did it, he said he just had small sips of wine just to taste it, and that it was quite good. Typical portuguese mentality. I believe that for example in the USA (don't know how things are in Canada), people rely too much in gear. In a survival situation, let's imagine earthquake followed by the usual fires and then tsunami, you can't really rely on your gear, because by the time everything is over and society has collapsed, you might not have any. In the end, it's all about mentality.
  5. Almeida


    Yes and no. There's a lot of options for camping, sure, but it's always legislated "camping parks", like we call them. You can't just put your tent wherever you fell like, that is forbidden by law unless you belong to a nomad culture. Well, the only nomad culture we have here are gypsies (illegal immigrants), so it's an awkward topic. So, for camping you have three choices: 1 - Look for a nice "camping park". At this time of the year it's not recommended, since they are all pretty much full of crazy people. Portuguese people don't have much money, this is the cheapest way to have vacations near a nice beach. Camping parks are ultra-crowded and it's not very pleasant. However, during spring, autumn and even winter, you can find almost empty parks near rivers and natural parks which are outstanding and provide some memorable time. 2 - Find a nice private spot, find who the owner is and ask to camp there. Most of the times in the countryside people, will tell you that it's okay to camp. Probably they will invite you to dinner and maybe even offer you a bed to sleep inside their home. We are considered one of the most hospitable countries in the world. 3 - Go illegal. As long as people don't notice your tent in the woods (no funky colors), you probably should be fine. Main problem might be the trash, you can find it in the most amazing places. As for outdoor, we have some nice natural parks, some UNESCO sites and a lot to explore (even for urbex). Of course we are a very small country (I read somewhere that Portugal is smaller than the state of Indiana) so don't expect too much. However, a lot of rivers, mountains (highest is 1,993 m / 6,539 ft), cliffs, beaches, dams... We also have the volcanic Azores islands which are supposed to be amazing for outdoor adventures, but I've never been there.