New from Austria - Introduction and Question

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TatjanaH's picture
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Joined: Aug 7 2011
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New from Austria - Introduction and Question

I’ve been lurking around this forum and reading quietly for some time now, but I have decided that it’s time to introduce myself:

I’m 35 and live in Vienna, Austria with my husband and 3 cats. I work for one of the obligatory health insurance institutions in Austria.

I came to the Crash Course and this site via my interest in permaculture.

I’ve already watched the Crash Course video and read the book. Currently I’m reading “Currency Wars” and the Post-Carbon Reader.

I’m only beginning to take the steps outlined in the “What Should I Do?”-Guide and Series. My husband is in favor of preparing for small emergencies (Vienna is pretty safe concerning natural disasters) but doesn’t want to go as far as thinking about a real economic crisis. Although I’m not happy about this I can do a lot of preparing with my own money. (But even with my husband’s financial help we would not be able to buy a farm in the country and become self-sufficient.)

I’ve never been very interested in economy and politics, but that has changed. Nevertheless I’m afraid, I’m not really able to recognize how grave the situation in Europe really is.

So here a question for all the experienced readers here:

How grave is the situation in Central Europe? How urgently do I have to pursue my prepping-efforts?

Thanks in advance for you advise,





joesxm2011's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 16 2011
Posts: 259


Welcome to CM.

I recently finished reading Currency Wars and thought it was a great book.

How common is it in Vienna for people to speak English?  I am wondering how difficult it might be for a tourist that speaks only English and some weak French to visit Austria.  My co-worker went to Germany and Vienna last year, but he speaks a little German.  He had a great time and said that Vienna was a beutiful city.

My advice is for you to start out slowly and not be overwhelmed with trying to do everything at once.

Trying to learn more about the economic situation is a good idea as is trying to learn skills that will make you more likely to do well in a crisis situation.  That would include learning about camping and surviving in the cold and perhaps some first aid or medical skills.

We recently lost power for a week and my co-workers that lived in urban settings had no alternative source of heat and found it to be quite a problem.  I had a wood stove and a warm sleeping bag so I was ok.

As far as European economic problems, your guess is as good as mine but I would not rule out something serious.

On a happy note, Simon Black on his sovereign man blog mentioned Austria as one of the more stable places in Europe.

Good luck in 2012.



Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
welcome, tatjana

Gald you came out of lurking to say hello. And you're looking at the distilled wisdom in the "What Should I Do?" series, which is excellent. As for Austria? Certainly the Euro is in terrible shape and you might end up with a "bank  holiday" until the coming currency mess is sorted out: if I were you I'd try to have things I buy weekly duplucated and on my shelves to at least last out that process. How long will it take? From a week to months: no one knows. No one knows how bad things will get anywhere; whether we are in for a long decline or a sharp crash. Certain themes are obvious, like going from energy-intensive to simpler processes, and buying local whenever possbile, or stocking up on things that are imported since they will become more expensive to ship or unavailable.

While many members of the CM community live on farms, you need not drop everything and move to the mountains and raise goats. My husband and I are in a semirural area; some members of the community live in cities. You simply do the best you can where you are. Concentrate on food, water, shelter, energy, and health. And if you keep moving in the right direction, with your eyes open, you'll be better off every day.

Personally, I am comfortable as long as I do a little toward my goals each day, each week. For example, I asked for a French press coffee maker (no electricity required) for Christmas and gave my husband a piano tuning kit (no electricity required). OUr young people asked for board games (no electr- do you see a theme here?) This week I am taking a friend to a local farmer's market to see if we can split the cost (and huge size) of cases of vegetables to can now and/or dehydrate in the summer. I'm putting the planting dates for all my veggies on my calendar. Little things, but they all add up.

For someone just starting out it might be as simple as sitting down and making a list of things you want to do, and then ticking off one item a week - even if it is just an extra bag of rice or pasta.

Let us know how things are going.

Best wishes,


thc0655's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1714
Welcome TatjanaH

Welcome to the CM site and our little virtual community!   I don't see how you can escape the majority of what's happening in Central Europe.  Europe, USA and China: whether we like it or not our fates are closely correlated.  That's not to say that individual people and locations won't have a lot of variability because we will.  But we're all in for a beating of some kind.  We're like 20 mountain climbers all roped together climbing a sheer face.  If one slips and falls, the rest of us are going with him/her. I'm finishing Currency Wars too, and that's part of what Rickards has to say. I agree with the others. Formulate a plan, and work at it consistently a little bit at a time.  Besides giving up in despair, there's nothing else to do.

MrEnergyCzar's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2010
Posts: 54
Don't need to move...

Welcome.  I've been preparing for the negative effects of Peak Oil for 5 years now and I'm not on a farm by any means.  It takes time.  Scroll through my website in my signature below and look at my earlier video's showing what I did to prepare...... Ironically, doing regular things in life are much more enjoyable since you know that you may not be able to do them anymore.  The world looks a lot different now.


Poet's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
If I Were Austrian

Welcome, TatjanaH.

if I were an Austrian, I would reflect on the past 100 years history of money in Austria:

It appears to me that there have been quite a few currency changes: from the Austro-Hungarian Kronen to the first Austrian Schilling (10000 to 1 exchange) to the German Reichsmark to (3 to 2 exchange) to the re-introduced Allied Military Schilling of 1945 (1 to 1 exchange, but with a limit of only 150 schillings), to the second Austrian Schilling in 1947 (1 to 1 exchange, but only on the first 150 schillings, after which it was 3 to 1), with value fluctuating until conversion to the Euro in 2002 (13.7603 to 1).

At those times of currency changes, many ordinary people lost wealth. Even during years when the currencies were not being changed, inflation was rampant and many ordinary people lost wealth steadily - especially savers and those on fixed pensions. The story told by the past should be a major cause of future concern to your husband.

What does this tell me? It tells me that wealth in the form of paper money may be necessary in order to buy necessities and pay taxes on a regular basis. But the Euro zone countries are in fiscal crises. We all know that the Euro may collapse and/or experience wild swings. The effect on Austria cannot be predicted.

And yet I suspect that, throughout all these currency changes and hyperinflationary times, there were certain things that retained value. A hammer, some nails, a saw, a few bottles of cheap vodka (no one really cares about the brand when desperate), some fresh herbs or vegetables, cartons of cheap cigarettes, sleeping bags, trash bags, paper plates and disposable cutlery, a portable stove that burned many kinds of fuel, a few gold or silver rings (strangers are more likely to believe you're parting with your family's last jewels in desperation, but if you had gold coins, they might want to rob you), jars of baby food or infant formula, disposable cigarette lighters, a radio, a first aid kit, some antibiotics, some canned foods, some stored drinking water and water purification tablets, practical skills (medical, mechanical, military, manual), etc. will always retain some value - either to you or in trade.

If your husband doesn't think Vienna may suffer natural disasters, I would encourage him to look back at the summer of 2010. Who was prepared for that heat wave?!?

Now how about an earthquake, widespread fires, power outages causing traffic jams at intersections and loss of street lighting to keep crime at bay, blizzards, or flooding? If he is not worried about natural disasters, considering Europe's history, I would think civil unrest and economic/political chaos would be a major worry.

If I were Austrian, I would be carefully (over time) spending on preparation materials (and securing safe access to them) equal to at least 5% of my net wealth or €1000, whichever were greater.


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