Survival of the Fittest
Let's be real, the Mayan apocalypse could totally happen, and when it does, being a really fast texter and having 1000 followers on Pinterest isn't going to get you very far. It's all about survival of the fittest, so get fit and pick up some useful skills at these survival schools.
1 CALIFORNIA SURVIVAL TRAINING
Tehachapi, CA (122 miles from Los Angeles)
"Knowledge equals power, equals freedom" this school explains quite simply, giving you the tools for "indefinite survival."
Skills: Bow harvesting, arrow-making, stone tool-making, fire-starting, trap-setting, recognizing edible plants, cooking without utensils, herbology, cordage, water-purifying, survival shelter construction, first aid.
Course length: One to 14 days.
Chances of surviving theapocalypse: 9/10: You'll be a regular Bear Grylls after this.
2 ANCIENT PATHWAYS
Flagstaff, AZ (152 miles from Phoenix) and Phoenix
What if a pandemic breaks loose? When this school isn't teaching wilderness survival and primitive technology to Emile Hirsch for Into The Wild their Urban Survival class teaches you how to survive in a city.
Skills: Drafting emergency plans, home preparation, food and water storage, evacuation strategies, pre-disaster planning, shelter-making, fire-making, signal mirror practice, water location and purification.
Course length: One to 14 days.
Chances of surviving the apocalypse: 8/10: Seems like you'll learn to hide out and survive, but what about self-defense?
3 THE TRACKER SCHOOL
Manahawkin, NJ (65 miles to Philadelphia, 92 miles to New York City)
Learn from the teachings of Apache elder Stalking Wolf just like founder Tom Brown Jr did. You won't just learn survival but the philosophy of nature.
Skills: Tomahawk throwing, fishing, hunting, fire-starting, bow-making, bone and stone tool-making, mythology, chants, fish net-making, weaving, hide-tanning, basketry, canoe and kayak-building, clothing and footwear-creating, trap-setting, food drying and preserving, shelter building.
Course length: Seven to 10 days.
Chances of surviving the apocalypse: 10/10: He who understands the philosophy of nature like an Apache... Should be all set.
4 THE HUMAN PATH
San Antonio, TX
This school prides itself in teaching people "to become the best possible human in even the worst possible circumstances." Talk about negative Nancys.
Skills: Fire-making, self-defense, stick fighting, shelter-building, trap-making, knot-making, wilderness medicine, herbology, local ecology, outdoor fitness, permaculture, food harvesting, hunting and preservation, tactics and security, tracking aquaponics and green homesteading.
Course length: Four hours to six days.
Chances of surviving the apocalypse: 10/10: We don't even know what some of these skills are, so they must be advanced.
In a world of emails, instant messaging, pings, text messages and phone calls, being off-duty is nearly impossible. These hotels make the impossible, possible, by (maybe forcefully) taking away all your gadgets. Whether this digital detox sounds like heaven or hell is your call.
Trembling hands proffering smartphones, tablets, laptops and what not are met with a $25 gift certificate to a local book store (real reading, without a battery!), flashcards outlining self-guided city tours and insider information (who needs Google Maps?) and a journal to write in (gasp, no keyboard!).
COST: Double occupancy, two night minimum starting at $229 per night. www.thequincy.com
LAKE PLACID LODGE
Lake Placid, NY (262 miles to Rochester)
Check-In To Check-Out Package
Surrendering your gadgets to the friendly staff (though they'll pry them out of your hands if need be) will quickly allow you to feel truly off the grid in a cozy lakeside cabin. Twitchy thumbs will be kept busy with complimentary boating, yoga, hiking and fishing, your pick of a current New York Times bestseller novel and a cooking class with Chef Nathan.
COST: Two night minimum, starts at $1,340 www.lakeplacidlodge.com
HOTEL MONACO CHICAGO Chicago
"The Tranquility Suite" and Black-Out Option
This hotel has a "Tranquility Suite," whose peaceful design uses soothing textures, serene colors and amenities like massage rollers, sound machines and sleep masks to make stress melt away, the sound of your phone beeping quickly becoming a distant memory. Add the "black-out" option to create ultimate seclusion by forfeiting all your technology at check-in.
COST: Double occupancy starts at $459 per night www.monaco-chicago.com