The online female prepping star known as Survivor Jane was just your typical career woman going about her daily life, until everything about her entire life perspective was altered during an attempted robbery. The old saying “the straw that broke the camel’s back” may be a cliché, but it accurately describes the scenario that prompted Jane to begin focusing on a more self-reliant existence.
Jane already knew how to handle a gun but was not skilled in other modes of preparedness. She embarked on a journey of self-discovery and education that led to the creation of a legion of faithful online followers. Survivor Jane started a website designed to aid other novice female preppers. Jane also created a now-viral Twitter hashtag that attracts thousands of homesteading, survival, and preppers fans from around the world.
Survivor Jane recently sat down with Off The Grid News to discuss her transformation into one of the most followed preppers in cyber space. This is part one of that interview.
OTG – You began your prepping experience after growing concerned about crime and economic civil unrest. As your website indicates, you were robbed at gunpoint during an attempted car-jacking. How did that tragic experience impact your sense of safety?
Survivor Jane – By nature, I am a trusting person. And in fact, I was doing what came natural to me at the time of this incident. I was letting two people who were running down the sidewalk, seemingly in a great hurry, cross in front of my car before pulling out of the parking garage. What I didn’t know was they had just robbed someone at gun point and were looking for a getaway vehicle. Mine. Doors locked, they began pounding on the front and back passenger door windows with theirs guns.
Luckily, a 911 call had been placed about the prior robbery, and in minutes my vehicle was surrounded by law enforcement vehicles. I was already a prisoner in my own home with security alarms and motion detector lights due to the escalating crime in my neighborhood.
I didn’t want to live in fear. I was trained in handgun use and would frequent the range for practice. But because my place of employment was in downtown, there was no escaping the threat of harm. With the burst of the housing bubble and the crash of the stock market, people were becoming desperate— even good people.
OTG – When many people conjure up an image of a prepper or survivalist, a burly man comes to mind. You have managed to retain femininity and preparedness flawlessly. What kind of reaction did you first get from friends and family when discussing prepping?
Survivor Jane – Femininity and preparedness flawlessly? Well, thank you, but in all honestly, as with anything, preparedness takes a lot of thought and effort.
As for the reaction I’ve received from friends and family to my prepping, I guess I’d have to say it has probably been the same reaction that most preppers or survivalist get, “You’re doing what?” and “Why?”
I realized a while back that just because you are family or friends, does not mean that people will just jump on-board with you in prepping. So, I try to lead by example. Like for instance, if a non-prepping friend or family member comes to visit, I serve them foods I’ve made. Like fresh homemade bread made from hand-milled wheat berries from my food storage, and I serve it with homemade peach preserves made from peaches picked from my garden and canned.
This invariably opens the door to conversations ranging from “how they can’t believe I made the bread,” (After all, they are talking about the girl who used to think the kitchen was simply to hold up the rest of the house!), to “fresh foods always tastes so much better than store bought.” This allows me to ease in to other aspects of preparedness, like how a grocery store only has three days of food due to their computerized auto-replenishing system, so it’s always good to have some food storage backups or a garden “just in case.” Or use experiences, like when Hurricane Charley came through how I didn’t even think to fill my car tank up with gas and ended up sitting in traffic, lined-up on the side of the road, creeping along with less than an 1/8 tank of gas for over an hour, only to learn the station was limiting gas to $10 and it had to be cash; the pump was working off a generator.
In the past, I never carried cash. Thankfully I had an emergency $20 tucked away. What a lesson! So, by sharing experiences and seeing what I have physically done, it makes more sense to them. In fact, some family members and friends, although not actually taking the name “prepper,” have begun compiling food and putting a little emergency cash away. I love it when I receive a call to tell me what they have done. Like I say, preparedness is like eating an elephant – one bite at a time!
Preparedness or “prepping” is quickly becoming mainstream. Yes, I think girly-girls are a minority, but that too is coming around. Think about it: the manly-man prepper has always had the upper hand. Beginning with Boy Scouts at a young age and then learning to fish, hunt, use a rifle and bow – all things manly. While girly-girls—well a lot of them anyhow—focused on all things girly.
OTG – What prompted you to begin a prepping for women style website?
Survivor Jane – SurvivorJane.com was created out of my frustration at the preparedness sites on the Internet. Most of them were geared to men who were way more advanced than I was as a beginner prepper. They often discussed topics I didn’t have a clue about, or were written by women who actually knew bread was made with flour.
I spent more of my time researching what a phrase, term, or word, meant on a site, than actually learning from the site. And then it dawned on me: there has got to be more people out there like me, people who had a desire to learn more about preparedness but were just too overwhelmed by the information on the Internet. So, I took the “meat” of the information that I researched and put it in short, easy-to-understand preparedness topics.
OTG – What advice would you give to other women who considering enhancing their survival skills or engaging in prepper activities?
Survivor Jane – I always suggest to everyone, but women in particular, to focus on their personal basic needs of water, food, shelter (an alternative place to go), warmth (clothing and/or way to make warmth), and protection first. We all live very different lifestyles from one another. Preparedness is not like a cheap pair of pantyhose, one size fits all. It is individual. We all need to look to past disasters and learned from them. I also remind people that disasters have no time. They don’t take holidays or weeks off.
(Check back this afternoon for Part 2 of this interview…)