It is no big secret that my interests are best described as eclectic. My tastes in just about everything are all over the place. So, while in the Army-Navy store in Belfast, I was beside-myself happy with this little discovery. It is an Army Survival Manual!  The date on the front is 1970, but inside it is dated from 1957. It is a great read and some very cool skills.

It covers everything! There is first-aid, how to survive in special areas like the desert or jungle or extreme cold.  There is a great section on finding water and back to basics on starting a fire. But I found some super clever information on how to get across a river in both summer and winter.  For example, in winter, ice can be your friend.  Most big rivers are icy on the edge, but open in the middle, a big chunk of ice can be carved out and used as a “raft” to move you across the river. Clever!

It also addresses how to build a shelter, move across quicksand and improvise a set of snow shoes. There is also some old-school information on how to navigate using landmarks, maps, the sun and stars. In this case ‘no, there is not an app for that’. You would do this by observation, knowledge and your own wits.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not outdoorswoman. The last time I slept in a tent was about 10 years ago. Even then, I was provided with a twin bed. I am talking the mattress, box spring, bed frame, linens, and a nice pillow. (Sadly, that is no exaggeration. I have witnesses.) I like creature comforts.  I love technology like the internet and smartphones and all those apps.  But I don’t think we can forget HOW to do thing. For example, I think the calculator is nice, but we should still know how to do math.

If I ever end up on a desert island like on the T.V. show “Lost”, I am going to be ready. After all, I have read my Army Survival Manual.