Getting lost isn’t fun, whether you’re shipwrecked, lost in the woods, escaping a kidnapping, or getting trapped in the Winchester House!
That said, there are some basic things that you should have on your person, or at the very least skills you should know to help you avoid disaster and survive. After all, it’s no guarantee that you’ll have your cell phone on you, and even if you do, you may not have a signal or have any battery to actually make it work for you.
OK, so you’re stuck and you have no idea where to go. Pretty standard stuff, really. If you’re lucky, then you have a map and compass, in which case it shouldn’t be too hard to find where you’re going.
Realistically, however, you probably don’t leave the house with a map and compass unless you’re planning on going camping in the first place.
Luckily, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you will be able to navigate by finding Polaris, also known as the North Star. If you are familiar with the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, it’s as simple as tracing the two stars at the end of the cup on the Big Dipper, and tracing a line to the end of the ladle on the Little Dipper.
The North Star only negligibly moves during the night, making it a permanent indicator of how to get north, and in recent years it has been even brighter than in the past!
Setting Up Camp
While the North Star indicates which direction you’ll want to take, you may get too tired or it may be too cold to simply press on. Now would be a good opportunity to set up camp and get a fire going. In an ideal world you’ll have weather and waterproof matches but that is unlikely if you’re stranded unexpectedly.
If you’re rather resourceful, you may be inclined to buy a steel striker, which can make sparks. When building a fire you want to direct the sparks into some kind of tinder, which is usually dry, easily flammable material like the hair of a coconut, or extremely dry brush and leaves, or wood shavings.
Naturally, without these tools you’ll need to create a fire by using friction, which can be achieved by vigorously twisting or rubbing a stick into another piece of wood.
You’ll also save yourself a lot of time and effort by having a knife on your person, and if you haven’t gotten a Swiss Army Knife or something similar, now may be the time to begin carrying one, because you never know when it will come in handy.
Signaling For Help
If you can get someone to help you, you’ll want to do it.
If you’re in luck, you either have some battery left on a cell phone, or even better, you have a flashlight. Even a small LED key chain light is useful in this situation. If a ship or an out of reach building is simply too far away to hear your voice, you can always use Morse Code to send out an SOS.
To send out an SOS simply pulse your flashlight short three times, long three times, and short three times again. Like this: …—… This is simply one of those skills you should probably learn!
I’ve got the skills, but it looks like I need a few basics.
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