The Top 3 Mistakes I Made BEFORE the SHTF

by J.G. Martinez D, The Organic Prepper:

There’s a lot of concern out there over rising fuel prices as the US and European economy heads off a cliff. As an outside observer who already passed through one of the worst economic downturns in the world, I can identify with that concern. There were mistakes I made before SHTF that rocked my world.

I learned from that experience, however, and I think I have valuable advice to share you may find beneficial here. I took my time to elucidate the things I regret the most, so you don’t fall for the same pitfalls that I did. My three biggest mistakes were…


  1. Miscalculating the duration of the crisis period.
  2. Believing that my closer partners were on board while trusting in their support without confirmation.
  3. Not following my instincts to increase the sustainability of my compound, and improving whatever I could when I had the resources. My gut talked to me. I just didn’t listen.

Mainstream media seems desperate to make us believe that the “world” is falling apart. Very much has been written about this already. Yet there are few out there shouting that this ISN’T the path we need to follow. Why is this?

We preppers just want to be ready for hard times.

Job loss. Hyperinflation. A flood, a drought, hurricanes, monsoons. Wildfires. Social turmoil. Some of us are aware now that a collapse or crisis can last for decades.

There is some personal information below about a few past relationships I’m making available to the public. I want to apologize for exposing you to those personal affairs. I’ve made mistakes, but I include them below so you can learn from them. 

My first mistake was thinking everything would blow over.

Once I first learned about different “prepper worthy” events in different countries and cultures, I believed six months’ water and food reserve would suffice. Water is not much of a concern (it rains a lot in my area) but purifying and filtering it is. I covered that prep fairly easily though.

However, what happened was an entirely different event from what I’d prepared for: a politically-induced Holodomor that generated a refugee crisis and spread instability in neighboring countries. This is a technique that the communist world uses against targeted countries. See Spain and the sub-Saharan invasion.

Two hundred males between the ages of 18 and 35 hardly can be considered “harmless.” This is NOT a regular or normal “migratory” situation, in my opinion. There is clearly an agenda behind this. (Some precedents are here and here.)

After their policies caused starvation, the socialists in power here needed to get as many people out of Venezuela as possible. No matter if they were followers or not. (Many socialists actually flooded Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru).

They needed to calm down the social pressure caused by the hunger, homelessness, death, and crime, and thus, the migration. Things were actually so bad here that it generated an intervention by the International Court of The Hague, leaving the socialists nowadays with severe reports of Human Rights violations and in the middle of an awful swamp. How was I supposed to know all this back in 2017?

Never in my life had I imagined something like this would happen to my Venezuela.  

And it didn’t just blow over. This induced crisis lasted for four years, give or take. Timing allowed me to avoid most of the turmoil in Venezuela from 2018 until 2020. I had my quota, sure. Surviving in Peru was not easy at all. But Venezuela was much worse. A friend recently referred to the period 2016-2018 as the “Years of the mangoes.” When you see his reasoning, I think you’ll see it’s an apt description.

My family could have ridden this out, though. 

I’d been prepping for a while, and I had some savings in USDs, but I wasted it all by running away from my country. In hindsight, I should have hunkered down in the countryside.

Mind you, all three of these mistakes are intimately related. Our current situation is a direct consequence of this fantastic trio, and I’m aware of that. All of us in my family are well-fed (very important in a crisis to avoid sickness and keep morale high), as everyone in the family collaborates and pulls their own weight as much as possible.

Household cleaning, clothes, sweeping, and mopping floors – we all do them. We just need to tune up our bulk buying process, but there are no big chains here anymore. The commies kicked out Makro, a Dutch company, because they needed complete control of the food chain. They’re still working, but not as the major player they once were and under the force jacket of the surveillance every totalitarian regime exerts.

(Do you have enough food stored to weather a crisis? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage plan.)

This leads us to the second mistake I made during the crisis in Venezuela.

Our original plan (I have a scheme I wrote back in the day to prove it!) was to get together and head out to our country cabin. Back then, I had six people in my family: the (now) ex, her kid and our baby, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law (Plus two kittens and our dog.). The plan was for everyone to travel in the SUV, fully loaded. I would ride the motorcycle.

There were two bedrooms in our cabin. Grandma would sleep in the living room in a folding bed. Once there, we’d use our savings to buy necessary supplies in bulk, and start immediately preparing the land for our crops. Using the motorcycle, we would transport the supplies from town up to the cabin. 

Those days carrying a 24-kilo package of ANYTHING was like having a bull’s eye on the back, but we didn’t know things were going to get that way. Our plan was to buy a lot of pasta, flour, cornmeal, etc. With the saved cash, we could have easily made the supplies last quite a bit of time.

People were desperate to get USDs to leave the country. We would have done well. Getting seeds and labor (indispensable in our case!) would have been much easier. Getting raw milk up there in the mountains is easy. Even these days, you can find raw milk anywhere it seems. They only stopped production a little bit in the worst of the pandemics, but that is old news now. Dairy farmers here are making more money with 60 cows under full production in one year than whatever I made in 15 years in the oil industry.

As the state of Venezuela got worse, I knew that it was time to put our plan into action.

It was time to go. I told the now-ex to pack her suitcase, as I was sick of watching how people in the Caracas demonstrations was being shot without mercy. Mercenaries were on the loose all over the country. Unlicensed trucks full of masked men toting AKs and sidearms were everywhere. No plates, no names, not any visible ID. A patch on the shoulder with the initials of the “corps” (which “corps” I’m not mentioning here.).

But my wife’s answer was shocking. “I’m NOT going to lose my time and youth in that God-forsaken mountain. We have to leave the country,” she said.

After meditating on things on my own for a while (trying not to laugh at the “youth” part), the disappointment felt like I’d just been hit upside the head with a bucket full of ice water. Leaving my parents was never an option we had considered together. Her family was already abroad. Her only desire (it seems so obvious now) was to go with them.

However, our savings wasn’t enough for everyone in our family to escape by plane. In one of the worst decisions of my life, partially because of the possibility of having our borders closed and being trapped, we decided to flee to Ecuador, where my ex’s sister and mother were. They’d made plans of their own without telling me. Their plan was  for me to get a job, work my backside off, find an apartment, and then ship my wife out with the baby. (The older kid was by then a grown man, and his biological dad had taken care of him since he was 17. He became a productive human.)

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