The key to urban survival
By Joseph Parish
While talking to a newly found homeless friend nicknamed Samuel on the dangerous streets of New Jersey recently I was informed that his utmost asset for surviving lied in his ability to maintain a low profile and operate in a “stealth” mode. Not everyone is compassionate for those who are unemployed or lacking any means of livelihood. These people are frequently look upon as non-human and must continually be vigilant in the event that the wrong person would discover that they were residing in their BOV. It doesn’t matter to some that these conditions were imposed upon the person by our current economic conditions and their only thought is to do something malicious towards the homeless individual.
I asked Samuel how he managed to accomplish remaining invisible when he essentially was living in his van and he drew closer to my ear and muttered something about people in general being too tied up with their own concerns to actually take note of their surroundings. Samuel starred at me waiting for a response as I pondered his statement. When no response was forthcoming he continued, “This common trait is particularly noticeable in large malls”. With this I contended he was very observant for I too had sat in the refreshment area and watched as individuals wandering around the mall and visiting the various shops. The majority were literally unaware of their surrounding environment. They simply had no clue what-so-ever as to the events which were taking place around them.
At this Samuel explained how we can make this work effectively to our advantage. He has installed solar film on his van windows in order to prevent prying eyes from seeing inside. To enforce the self initiated blackout conditions there are thermal curtains over the whole window. This keeps the dim inside light from being noticeable at night. Since the curtains used are thick they also act as a means of insulation. Years ago I did something similar to this by painting the windows of my camouflaged Dodge Caravan BOV in an olive drab color which prevented curious eyes from seeing any of the inside “goodies”.
My homeless friend explained that once he has parked the van for the night he never leaves its confines. He further explained how when he would moves inside the van he does so in a slow easy fashion so as not to attract any attention by a wobbly van. Observation is extremely vital in situations where you are using your BOV in an urban environment. Samuel explains that you should, “Look around you very carefully prior to retiring for the evening. This will make you aware of any sort of activities or potential dangers that may be lurking near you.” After evaluating your current location you can than make a determination if this is really a safe place to spend the evening or perhaps you should move on and find another location. He stated that you should take about a half hour to merely to listen to the outside noises and learn what normal sounds are for this specific location. This will help you to identify any sort of unusual sounds during the evening as you are trying to sleep.
He stressed that he never parks at the same location twice in one week. Keep your distance from other nearby parked vehicles with occupants inside. The exception to this rule is if you stay the evening at a Wal-Mart parking lot. When and if it is possible try parking in a 24 hour business location rather than a residential area. If you have a job even a part time one, chances are good that your employer will allow you to park at your place of employment. This is mutually beneficial for you and your employer as it provides you with a safe place to spend the night and saves you gas money while offering your employer a added measure of overnight security.
In order not to wear out your welcome keep in mind you should never use the businesses bathroom continuously, shower so you do not offend the owner or his customers and above all don’t barge into his office in front of customers and ask to use his phone. These types of actions tend to irritate peoples and wear out welcomes rather quickly. Be considerate in your actions and people will be more willing to help you through these difficult times.
As a survivalist you should always have a BOV ready that could perform this type of service if necessary. It could be either a pickup or a van. If fortunate enough your pickup could have a camper or cap attached while the van may easily be configured with a makeshift bed.
What about you? Don’t even believe that you are totally depression proof because you are not. As a survivalist you should plan ahead and practice the skills that you have learned. Living in this manner eventually instills a “can do” attitude which could eventually save your life.
Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish