“Survival in any form for any environment is an act of prevention and or recovery.
The urban survivalist’s mindset for situational awareness does not end with the immediate vicinity or the path ahead. It extends to the path and vicinity already taken with post-route mental mapping.
A revertive navigating cognitative strategy for urban environments. Not for knowing how to get somewhere going forward but to have potential backtracking pathways, for when it’s the best or only recourse.
This is applicable for escape, evasion, rerouting or simply to go back from where you came – for maximum efficiency and not limited to survival needs.
The process is elementary as we already do this subconsciously on the most basic level whenever we’re on the move, such as walking through a city. The path just taken and bits of details of the surroundings are automatically recorded as passive short-term memory. Making it hardly usable inforamtion.
Our brains “label” them as unimportant passing data so most of it dissipates from memory as new street data replaces it as we continue our path through a city – being in a readily available state for moments.
However, doing this process in a deliberate and proactive manner refines it to a deeper level. Where much more accurate detail and usable informaton is retained and available for longer.
Almost as if you’re recollecting your own neighborhood, so you can effortlessly navigate the streets more strategically and with speed.
As an already natural action, there isn’t much to it, it’s easy to apply and only takes practice to master:
Without even trying, when we walk through an unfamiliar street, we tend to only put significance and remember already familiar elements of the area like a McDonald’s or other common chain business.
Now do this actively for each intersection, side street and alleyway as you walk past them. Make a quick visual inspection of each and try to correlate it to the street name, interesting landmark or other memorable characteristic of each section.
Do this with intent and it should help strengthen it to your memory, even if just for a short while.
Depending on your cognitative capacity or with practice, also retain at least 1 element like a marker in between each intersection.
In effect, it’s leaving mental breadcrumb trails to where you just came from. It’s not important to remember your entire path as the longer and farther you try to retain, the less reliable the data becomes.
The first step back to the last step you can take while running at moderate speed is a good calibrator of how much route you should mentally map.
Integrate this strategy with human activity analysis and traffic pattern recognition in the streets to enhance urban survivability and proficiency.
[The featured photo was taken in Hanoi, Vietnam]