Over the past couple of years, I've read many books and websites on the characteristics of wilderness survivalists. Even though survivalist's backgrounds may vary, there are common survival traits they share. Two of my favorite survivalists are Ernest Shackleton and Zebulon Pike. Ernest Shackleton overcame extreme conditions, not only for himself, but for his team. Some will argue he put himself and his team in danger, but despite this perspective his story is quite heroic. I consider Zebulon Pike the "Ernest Shackleton of the Rocky Mountains" due to the paralles of their stories. Another story that is quite impressive is that of a 3 year old girl, who survived 11 days in a Siberian Forest by herself. At age three, she had just enough common knowledge of water, food and shelter to keep herself safe until help arrive. I honor all of these survivalists and find their stories inspirational.
After a lot of curiosity, research and just plain creative thinking, I decided to come up with my own list of traits found in true survivalists. Below is a list of Six Traits All Survivalists Share I think are necessary to survive and thrive in the wild.
Since my recent intentional survival experience in a Central American jungle, I've re-evaluated what survival really means to me and what type of person can truly survive and thrive in the wild. Some of my thoughts parallel Charles Darwin's famous quote, "Survival of the Fittest". I grew up thinking this statement meant only the strongest and fastest survive. This is a common misconception. Upon further reading, I found Darwin's quote has a much different meaning. He defined "fittest" as meaning those that can adapt to their surroundings verses always being the strongest. After my survival experience, I consider Darwin's theory to be true. I may not the strongest or the fastest in any given group of people. However, my ability to survive in the wilderness is definitely higher than the average person. Why? Because I have all six traits listed above. Some might be more pronounced than others, but I'm willing to strengthen and improve my shortcomings to become an even better survivor!
What survival traits and skills do you have?