“Survival” means living through an involuntary situation of extended duration where death is a likely outcome.
If it’s a voluntary situation it’s a misadventure. If it’s of short duration it’s a narrow escape. A lost hunter who overnights in the woods had a bad day. If he’s mauled by a bear but lives, he had a close call. It’s not survival. Stranded on an Arctic island is survival.
It’s survival when you’re forced to make daily life-or-death choices, often between bad and worse, forced to discriminate ruthlessly between wants and needs, and to not obsess over the situation or its cause, nor dwell on regret. It’s survival when your best days are your future nightmares. Actual survivors don’t want to repeat the experience, but if they must, they’re more prepared empty handed than are most preppers with all their gear.
A survivalist prepares to outlast unrelenting mortal danger where others will die in big numbers. Likely and otherwise imminent death is what he intends to survive. Anything less is a lifestyle, however admirable or entertaining.” – O’l Remus, writing in his Yer Ol’ Woodpile Report blog