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laureth's avatar

What was the longest/hardest time you've had, living in some primitive conditions?

Asked by laureth (27091 points ) November 30th, 2008

Was it when the power went out during the ice storm, and you were left without your X-box? Did you have to wade through Katrina floodwaters until FEMA brought you a trailer? Did you survive a plane crash in the Andes and live for weeks by eating the flesh of the dead? Tell us your story!

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29 Answers

jessturtle23's avatar

I did go three weeks without power after a hurricane. In highschool I use to get dropped of in the middle of nowhere with a couple friends and we would camp a couple weeks at a time during the summer. One time I went with two of my buddies that were eagle scouts and all we had was a tarp, ball of twine, and two sleeping bags. We also had a knife and a bunch of cans of spaghetti. It was fun.

Snoopy's avatar

@jess w/ respect….that doesn’t sound like fun…..that sounds like torture.

My idea of primitive is staying in a hotel w/out a complimentary hairdryer.

And, oh yeah, it sucked when we lost power for a few days.

cak's avatar

After a pretty bad snowstorm, not something we’re used to dealing with in my area, we didn’t have power for 5 days. All the hotels were booked and I had two dogs and a kid. Luckily, I had gas logs, we stayed close to the fireplace to stay warm and I cooked on the grill. I had to move everything from the fridge and freezer to coolers and put them outside – it was below freezing for several days. Unfortunately, a tree did punch a hole in the roof, but it was over the attic. I was able to cover things with a tarp, so I didn’t lose a lot of items I had stored. My then boyfriend, now my husband, left his vacation early to come and help me out, little did he know, I had it all under control and just turned it into inside camping for my daughter. Lanterns, (battery, not propane) and sleeping bags, she had a lot of fun!

The only other primitive living was a primitive camping trip to get certified in primitive camping with the girl scouts. For some reason, I thought that might be fun for the girls. Funny, they never seem to want to primitive camp!

Knotmyday's avatar

My air conditioner pooped out this summer, and then the water went out. This is Arizona, people! I had to shower at work. Pri-mi-tive.

asmonet's avatar

I grew up in a family with three kids and a single mother with very severe health problems. Many, many times—too many to count—we were without water, power, heat, whatever.

And in a week I might be homeless. So maybe my most trying times lay ahead.

arnbev959's avatar

My grandpa owns a little cabin in the woods in upstate New York. It now has running water, electricity, and a toilet, though it didn’t when he bought it. Only a wood burning stove for heat.

I go there a lot. Sometimes for weeks at a time during the summer. If I go alone I usually don’t turn on the electricity.

I don’t know how “primitive” it actually is. I eat store bought food. I shower in the lukewarm water. It’s a simpler life, and very relaxing, but not really primitive.

forestGeek's avatar

Definitely remote forest-fire fighting in the cascades for a week – working 14-hour days, sleeping on the fire-line, eating MREs & bad sack lunches dropped in by helicopter, no bathing and being filthy from the soot!

Runner up however, was traveling/living in a small Chevy van for two months at a time in a punk rock band, drinking in excess, sweating badly every night and limited showers. A whole different kind of primitive living for sure!

forestGeek's avatar

@asmonet – If you can survive that stuff, you can survive anything! I really hope things work out for the better for you!

cak's avatar

@forestGeek – wow! A friend’s husband generally works the forest fires on the west coast and hearing what he goes though, I have nothing but respect for you guys.

jessturtle23's avatar

@forestgeek: Firefighting, forestry, and punk music. I think I am in love.

cak's avatar

@asmonet – You will be in my thoughts. I will hope things work out, in your favor! :)

susanc's avatar

When winter storms knock trees over the power lines, we have neither light nor water, because the water comes from a well, and the well pump won’t work if the power’s out. Lanterns are okay for light. Wood okay for heat. Cook with gas. Buy drinking water, beer, wine, juice. But! TOILET! No water = no flush! Rainy/freezing and we have to go out on the beach to pee! And into town to poop. (And shower.) Can’t put salt water in the toilet, it would mess up the septic tank. ?primitive? Feels like it.

syz's avatar

I spent 6 weeks in Lac Xoa, Laos, training our local staff on animal husbandry. We had electricity 4–6 hours out of the day, bathed in the river, and were a 6 hour bus ride to the nearest medical facility. On the day that we hiked the perimeter of the property, it was literally 103 degrees. I had a volunteer veterinarian with me and word got out, so there was a long line outside our door each morning at dawn – we treated humans for the first few hours of every day and then moved on to the animals.

poofandmook's avatar

For about 4 months, maybe more… I can’t remember, I lived in a cabin with a friend of mine and my boyfriend. My room had about a foot all around the bed to move and that’s it. The logs had little holes between them. The bugs that I saw I’ve never seen before or since (did I mention I have entomophobia?), every time it rained the power went out, once with laundry in the washer and it was growing things by the time my roommate got it out. Speaking of which, my roommate was a total pig, and there was always an inch or so of sludge on the shower floor, so I had to go to my dad’s or my mom’s to shower. We couldn’t leave food in the kitchen because she and her pothead friends ate EVERYTHING so anything we made had to be non-perishable and microwaveable, with no more requirements than milk or water, occasionally butter. It was hell on Earth, thankyouverymuch.

forestGeek's avatar

@cak – Thanks! I did it 15 years ago, and not so sure I could anymore!

@jessturtle23 – :) I’m blushing right now! BTW, I think that sounds like fun!!

Snoopy's avatar

@forestgeek thank you for what you do…

@asmonet :( hang in there. you are in my thoughts….

Judi's avatar

Lived in a tent for 2 months with a bi-polar hubby, a baby (almost 2 yrs old) and 8 months pregnant during the rainiest summer I can remember in Oregon. (1982)

Snoopy's avatar

@Judi By choice?!

Judi's avatar

Crazy time, crazy husband. We thought we could pay for the tent by not paying for rent. It was sort of by choice, sort of because we were young and irresponsible. My children (who now have children of their own) can’t imagine what I must have been thinking. It’s hard enough to pack up 2 kids to go across town, much less camp out!

Snoopy's avatar

Wow. No kidding! It is a tactical effort just to go out to dinner :)

mrswho's avatar

Once my dad was thirty minutes late picking me up after school and all I had to eat was gum. It was mildly windy and I didn’t have any thing good to read… (shudder). It’s a miracle I’m alive today.

Horus515's avatar

Well everyone has a different definition of primitive it seems. So I don’t feel so bad for my answer. The longest I lived in primitve conditins was 4 years at a military boarding school (NMMI). A bed, a floor, a window, a sink. No cooking and you had to leave your room and walk to the bathroom no matter the weather. Thats primitive to me. Of course eventually you get privileges like a radio and even a TV but its still primitive.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

In ‘78, I was a counselor in a youth program. We went from Tuscon to Denver and back again by horseback and covered wagon. We slept in tipis, rain or shine, snow or blazing heat. The only time we moved using more modern technology (by 1978 standards) was to avoid a blizzard while going through Raton Pass. There was a large storm coming up and we decided on safety over authenticity.

Zen's avatar

Two tours, airborne infantry, all the trimmins’. Two wars, many operations, lots of desert and mud.

Wouldn’t do it again, but it made me the knitting gatherer I am today. I’ve learned to listen; to my body, to my thoughts and to people. I’ve learned to watch and observe.

I’ve learned to love and respect.

I learned how to live.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Zen thanks for doing that when you were called. Glad you made it through.

Val123's avatar

@poofandmook Just out of curiosity…how old were you? Was it one of those, “I’ll show you Mom and Dad, that I don’t need you!” When you have no clue as to what’s out there! :)

poofandmook's avatar

@Val123: no.. I had to move out as soon as I graduated high school. We lived with my grandmother to help her with my grandfather… once he passed away she couldn’t afford the house anymore but kept it so I could graduate high school. I had to get my own place and move out right away. I was forced out of that place, and had to live with my dad for a couple of months. I slept on the pull out couch in the living room… it was rough… so when my friend from high school mentioned she had a room for rent I jumped at it. Obviously, she’d cleaned the place when I went to look at it, and left vital information like the bugs, the shower, the power outages.. all for me to find out in time. I never would’ve moved in there if I had known any of that. When one of her lovely friends stole a check from my checkbook and cashed it for $100, I enlisted everyone I knew to help me move out while she was at work, a few days before rent was due.

Val123's avatar

@poofandmook What a mess! Sorry you went through that…

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