Did I ever get an eye opener?!!. No ... not from my eye lash curler! I mean a real “wowwwww” moment. You know - the type that hits you right square in the noggin and says “hellllooo - any body home”?
I was doing my usual research and needed to find the distance between one location to another. So, like anyone who is even remotely computer savvy, I typed in the search on one of those where do you want to go sites - you, know, the ‘you are here and you want to go there’ sites? Well, I plunked in the first address and then the second and as I was about to hit the “go-baby-go” button, something caught my eye. I noticed, the menu had the options to reaching your destination - by vehicle, public transits or … WALKING. “Waaaalking???” I thought. “Hmmmm, I wonder.” So as quickly as I started, I totally abandoned my original quest and opted for a more interesting query - a quest to see how long it would take me to walk home from my former downtown city office? I must admit the thought was verrryyy intriguing. I mean, if the truth be known, it had been hard enough to walk downtown during lunch time in good times - dodging people in all directions in 4 inch heels (and let me share with you that heels and asphalt are not a good marriage.) The thought of walking from the heart of downtown to the suburbs – my feet immediately started screaming … "where’s the foot bath?" "Calgon take me awayyyy!" But this was just for fun, so what’s the harm. Right? Wrong.
First, I inserted the information for my former work address and then my former subruan home address. Next, selecting my mode of transportation as “vehicle” I hit the “go-baby-go” button. Presto! It was twelve miles from my house to the office … on a perfect day - when all the planets are aligned and the angels were singing. And, according to the computer it would have taken me 20 minutes to get home. Well the truth of the matter was, after driving this route day in and day out, it really took more like 45 minutes given all the congestion, accident looky-lou's, and the perpetual construction. So to me, 20 minutes? Heck that sounded great. 30 minutes opposed to the dreaded daily 45 minutes compute? And, besides where can you go now-a-days in a busy city that you don’t drive at least 30 minutes?’ Right?
Now for the “un-presto” moment. I inserted the same query as before, but this time I selected the mode of transportation as “walking”. What glared on the screen back up at me was a shocker. Looming bigger than life the screen read - 3 hours 55 minutes. It would have taken me three hours and fifty-five minutes to walk twelve miles?!! And again all the planets I'm sure would have to be aligned and all that other good stuff.
Let me tell you, that thought stuck with me the rest of the day. It kept rolling over and over in my mind. It would have taken me almost four hours to travel twelve miles on foot. Four hours to walk home. "How would I have been able to walk all that way?" Thinking of the difficulty of just going out and walking around during my lunch hour with all the pushing and shoving that goes on just to get a sandwich in downtown.
As I thought more and more about this, I began to wonder what would happen in a natural disaster of some sort? What would happen if we all had to “get-outta-dodge” quickly from where ever we were? What if we weren't able to get to our car due to some unforeseen reason, or if we could, we were stuck in the gridlock traffic that was surely to ensue on the streets?
And what about this? What if we were at a location other than our home? The grocery store, work, the dry-cleaners, getting our nails/hair done, in a movie theater or picking up the kids at day care or school?
You and I have heard time and time again, you need to be prepared. Have your things in order. Have your evacuation planned. Have your food. Have your bug-out-bag (preparedness/emergency go-bag) and maps ready to go. And for the most part I'd have to say most, if not all, have done these things. But NEVER, EVER did I calculate the time it would actually take to get from one point to another if walking. Talk about a reality check.
This my dear friends, is when I started to think, it is almost a guarantee that we may need to go farther than twelve miles if a disaster of some sort strikes to get to a place of safety or to our retreat locations. That is, unless you are already where you need to be, then lucky you, I say. But, for the majority …? Think of the logistics of walking to our homes to get our family and/or our supplies. Just by using the example of walking the twelve miles, we would actually be four hours behind everyone else that is also getting-out-of-dodge.
How far is the distance from YOUR home to your office by vehicle? How far is your home to the closest safe retreat? If you had to "get-outta-dodge" and couldn't get to your car, how far would you have to walk to safetly? To your retreat?
Let me give you a for instance. When I insert the address of my former home to my retreat via walking? It states, it would take me seven days according to the “walking” directions. That is seven days - (24/7), all day and all night walking - seven days. Or for simplicity sake, 168 hours. And, because the route is made for walking, you are kept off the main roads and interstates and instead are directed to off-the-beaten paths, taking you through neighborhoods both desirable and undesirable and in proximity to wooded areas and lakes - all the time exposed to the elements and unknowns.
Can YOU walk three hours? Two? One? Most of us whine about our feet aching after a day of shopping at the air-conditioned mall. What did we cover? Maybe a mile? And that is between lunch and coffee breaks along the way. Right?
This is some serious food for thought. Think back on New Orleans … (I use this example for the reason that it was televised so much that the images of the mass exodus are burned into our minds.) Seeing displaced people walking down interstates with whatever they could gather. They had no idea where they were going. They just knew they had to get out. They were NOT prepared for a disaster. They were not prepared for much of anything. You are? And if not, you need to start today. You know you need to have a go-bag ready. You know you need to have food, money, and a destination. But do you?
We need to start focusing on where we are going, and how we are going to get there. Me? I just assumed, like many of you, that I would be driving (if not staying put.) But if there is a major traffic grid lock and we can’t move, we will be forced to walk to get to safety.
Think back, say on the movie, ‘War of the Worlds’ (the new one), or ‘Knowing’. I know, I know you are saying, “those were just movies”. Yes and no. Yes they were 'Hollywood-ed' up with all the sound effects, lighting and characters (and I’ll give you this … I’m still out on the alien thing.), but the truth of the matter is, the disasters and situations were are all too real. The threat of EMPs are real. Hurricanes are real. Floods are real. Civil unrest is v-e-r-y real.
The bottom line? Not only do we need our maps, our bags, our supplies, and yes, for sanity sake, our favorite tube of lip gloss. But we also need to begin investigating just how long it would take to get to our destination and what alternative plans we will need to make should our vehicle be out of commission or we are not able to get to it.
And, how long would it take to WALK? We need to find these things out and then plan accordingly - NOW.
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