Cassia & Sam Help You Survive The Zomb-Pocalypse

So this conversation happened.

And it got the road warriors in us thinking about where we would want to end up in the United States if (read: when) the inevitable zomb-pocalypse actually happens.

Here are the results, because, as resident America cross country travel experts (read: enthusiasts) we’ve scoped it out for you. And we don’t want to leave the good people hanging when the undead come a-knocking.

Samantha’s Vision:

I’ve been binge watching an unhealthy amount of The Walking Dead. While Georgia is gorgeous and the forests provide good cover from the swarms of zombies, the cast always looks hot (sexy and sweaty), hungry, and far from everything. zombie apocalypse go-to would have to be the California coast. Why you ask?

A. Climate

A mild climate seems huge for survival...and comfort. If you’re low on water you don’t want to overheat and if you’re without shelter or fire you don’t want to be somewhere with tons of snow fall. Also I think we’re allowed to enjoy the ocean breeze if were running from zombies all day, am I right?

As you travel south to north, the climate changes but stays pretty temperate. This allows you to change up the scenery, but never run into extreme weather.

B. Shelter

California is heavily populated with tons of places to set up camp. There are more houses, factories, schools, hospitals...etc. The coast is also diverse in that you can bop into a city or run inland to a forested area for cover.

Also (taking a hint from Woody Harrelson in Zombieland), you could always pop over to the Hollywood Hills and set up camp in an A-Listers mansion. Big fences, lots of space, and probably well stocked.

The ocean is also HUGE. If things get too crazy on dry land, steal a boat and anchor for a few weeks.

C. Food

Walking corpses roaming the earth should not stop you from enjoying a trendy avocado toast once in awhile. California’s climate is great for growing fruits and veggies. And with an abundance of farms, you can load up and learn how to grow them yourself. You also would have the ability to fish on the ocean.

WINE. There are a ton of wineries on the California coast. The vineyards might be abandoned, but wine only gets better with age right?

The zombie diet: wine, fish, fruit, and veggies. I feel like Gwyneth Paltrow would be really into this.

D. Weaponry

Dotted with cities and highly populated towns, the coast will have restaurants full of knives and guns abundant. The ocean is again a huge asset here. There are several marine army bases on the coast. Big guns on boats? Yes.

So if the dead start walking the earth, head west. We’ll get a tan on while we kick zombie ass.

Cassia’s Vision:

As indecisive as I am about what I want to eat for dinner on a daily basis (but is there really a straightforward answer when you’re choosing between tacos at the Mexican place down the street, Southern barbecue, and Chinese leftovers?), I have thought long and hard about where I would want to be if the zomb-pocalypse ever became a viable threat to my safety. Zombies aren’t difficult to study; watch the movies and you learn enough about their undead nature to construct a tentative sketch of their strengths and weaknesses (i.e. strength: can smell human flesh miles away, weakness: not very good at walking up stairs). And so it is without a doubt that I can say at the slightest hint of this cannibalism-disease bearing down on America, I’d drop my life in Atlanta (apologies in advance for betraying you, my lovely city, and your cult-like following of The Walking Dead) and make my way to Charleston, South Carolina.

A. Climate

It’s simple geography. Charleston is a city built almost as if with the intent to prepare for the zombie-pocalypse and protect inhabitants from these mutants. The seaside provides mild winters to prevent frostbite during a long, electricity-less winter (though the smell of rotting corpses in the summer may be a bit of a con). It’s also surrounded by farmland and maintains perfect weather for growing vegetables and fruits.

B. Shelter

At the city’s core is a marina, where there is a bounty of oysters to dig out for food and plenty of snazzy yachts and boats just waiting for someone in need of escape from the undead. The marina itself is framed by historical, pastel-colored, colonial-style mansions (read: mini-fortresses). These gated, four- and five- story homes of yesteryear boast fireplaces, tons of staircases, and lots of rooms to barricade oneself in. There are big windows on the upper floors to open up during the sweaty summertimes and I’m sure at least a few of them still have an outhouse in the backyard (you have to prepare for everything).

C. Weaponry

Charleston’s has deep South roots. It’s the kind of place where one can pretty easily find the #1 Zombie-Re-Killing Weapon (according to the resident experts; 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Zombieland, World War Z, and Warm Bodies): the shotgun. I figure that in Charleston, not only am I going to be able to access plenty of shotguns and ammo at the nearest Wal-Mart Superstore, but I’ll be able to find a few other survivors who already know how to hunt (or attend Charleston’s military school, The Citadel) and can bring down a zombie while wasting the least amount of shells per undead monster (thanks for the lesson in survival, Zombieland).

D. A Fortress

And last but not least, there’s the fortress on an island just a little ways offshore. Yeah, that’s right. If the zombies overcome all your blockades and you run out of ammo and you’re in a pinch, you can just steal away on one of those yachts and make your way to a fabulous island paradise for fun-in-the-sun while you wait out the end of the world as we know it.

Lovely & Unkempt: The View on Cannon Street

Charleston, South Carolina

by Cassia Reynolds

Charleston is an emblem of southern charm and hospitality. The tea is sweet, the humidity is heavy, the tobacco is chewed, the catfish is fried. Whenever a foreigner asks where in the United States they should visit, it’s on the top of my list.

I’m not the only one that thinks so, either. Charleston was voted the #1 Best US City by Conde Nast Traveler (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011) and one of the World’s Best by Travel + Leisure (2015, 2014, 2013). It’s a unique, artsy, cultural hub, especially for a state as traditionally conservative and rural as South Carolina. There’s tons to do, but every time I visit (which is often because I only live an hour and forty-five minutes away), I always end up walking around, taking in the scenery.

The blocks are laden with slatted wood buildings, cobblestone alleys worn from hundreds of years of use, intricate columns, and hand-painted signs. And the further you go away from the busy downtown, the more gritty it gets. If you just stay by the historical district, it’s like visiting Manhattan and only checking out Times Square and Central Park. There’s just so much more to see. If you want to get a real feel for this good ol’ southern city, make your way inland.

On Cannon Street, some of the arched porches are so old the wood has become warped and curved. Many homes wear a crumbling mask of cracked paint chips, the molding beams seemingly held together only by the glue-like grip of the kudzu vines twisted up the sides. But the area doesn’t appear totally abandoned: a faded fence frames a garden crowded with pink blossoms; there is a set of shiny, pastel-painted shutters on one corner; a hammock woven from fuchsia cloth hangs in the shade of a particularly plain brick house.

These little bright bits of humanity, quirky and colorful, radiate positive vibes. There’s a soft heartbeat that pulses from this place, a faint lifeblood still pumping through the dusty veins of this half-dilapidated neighborhood.

My favorite building on the street is a large, traditional, white, two-story, colonial-style structure. It stands out even among other similar buildings because of its spotless, perfect upkeep, and the intricacy of the carved wooden decorations that overhang the ledges. A classic wide bay window overlooks the second floor balcony. It’s one of those places that feels rich with history, and is so well-maintained that it must be loved by the owners. It’s also a business; the little sign dangling out front reads “Dorothy’s” in curly script, and underneath “HOME FOR FUNERALS” in blocky lettering.

Before I came across Dorothy’s, I’d only seen funeral homes set in drab brick buildings. You know, very formal and pretty empty of personality. I’d never come across such a quaint setting for dealing with such a serious business as death. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of Dorothy’s. The name, the intimacy of the neighborhood house, and the fresh garden of flowers out front all emanated an aura of hope.

And isn’t that kind of necessary when mourning - a reminder that there’s still so much life?

Dorothy’s Home for Funerals exemplifies Charleston’s vibrant nature, the one that I’ve come to appreciate so much. It’s that essence of comfort, embodying the warm, cheerful character of southern hospitality and the traditional grace of southern charm. And even more than that, it’s the spirit of optimism and the “gung-ho-carry-on” attitude that is so much a southern outlook on life.