I've been a heavy contributor to various forums for about 10 years now, but I'm new to this one. My interest in emergency preparedness started around 2007 following the aftermath of the various hurricanes. They didn't effect me personally but the more I learned about the government response the more I realized the value of self-reliance. Over the following years I became increasingly isolated because of a fall-out with a business partner and I lost most of my freelance web design contracts that were my sole income. I found the best way to lift my spirits was to be outdoors. Although I had Boy Scout training earlier in life, my years of being indoors at a computer desk accumulated into severe anxiety of what could happen outside the comfort of my four walls. Slowly I developed what most people would now call an 'EDC Bag' which started my journey acquiring and practicing with the tools that would aid in survival if I was ever lost in the woods. Through this experience I became more and more comfortable being alone in nearby forests. I met like-minded individuals and over the next few years we went on several multi-day backpacking, hiking and camping trips that helped me hone my skills and gear to accommodate. Building up my backpacking equipment, I learned what I needed for a solo trip and what was necessary to help support a group of up to 8 people in austere conditions. Most importantly I learned what I didn't need so I could better keep up with seasoned wilderness guides barreling down the trail. I witnessed then and now many people making the same mistakes I once did with their "Bug-Out Bags" carrying more gear than they could trek any significant distance on foot. After another long swath of time being unemployed for the second time I left everything I knew behind and traveled with what I could fit in my truck to live with my wife in the Southwest. The transition from temperate rainforest to the high desert has been trying to say the least but over time I've learned to adapt. Without the support structure of family and friends we spent our "poor time" living out of my truck for months with only a small respite once every week or two to recharge our auxiliary deep cycle battery. Almost two years later we took advantage of free rent - essentially "squatting" with permission in a foreclosed property living without household running water and natural gas for months. Through this we learned the logistics of living semi off-grid while still holding down steady jobs working overtime. We're now apartment dwellers and my focused has turned to home defense and security, namely firearms and becoming acquainted with weapons manipulation and training in the national forest as often as my schedule allows. I've always been passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience and learning as much as I can from those around me. I'm excited this forum will be a good fit. Glad to be here..