Survive the Zombie Apocalypse with Exploration Skills


Many of the skills needed for your favorite adventure sports will prove useful during the (so-far) unlikely incidence of a zombie apocalypse. So get outside, get adventuring, and get ready. (National Geographic)

Where are nature’s real walking dead?

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

No zombies, just masks awaiting shipment in Hong Kong.
Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • Thanks to National Geographic, you can take steps to avoid obliteration during a zombie apocalypse. What is a zombie?
    • The Oxford English Dictionary defines the supernatural, fictional creature as “a soulless corpse said to have been revived by witchcraft.” Modern zombies have also been revived toxins, radiation, and general mad-science mayhem.
    • The modern zombie owes a debt to Haitian folklore and mythology, but not to Haitian vodou (voodoo), a religion with which the concept of zombies is often mistakenly associated.
    • The legend of the zombie is variously rooted in the chemistry of psychotropic substances, neurotoxins, mob mentality, or mental illness.


  • What is a zombie apocalypse?
    • Wikipedia identifies a zombie apocalypse as when “a widespread rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization.” In most zombie apocalypse ecosystems, zombies prey on living humans, and can also turn living humans into zombies themselves. Everyone is at risk of becoming what they fear and loathe most: It’s an apocalypse.
    • Zombie apocalypse settings are a familiar trope in the arts:
      • film
        • Night of the Living Dead (1968) is an American film that basically defined the modern “cannibalistic cadaver” zombie.
        • Train to Busan (2016) is a terrific Korean zombie movie that doubles as a runaway train movie.
        • Shaun of the Dead (UK, 2004) and Juan of the Dead (Cuba, 2010) show that zombie comedies are a global phenomenon.
      • television
        • The Walking Dead is the most popular zombie series around these days.
        • Game of Thrones’ “Walkers” are basically ice zombies.
        • iZombie, like The Walking Dead, was adapted from comic books.
      • gaming
        • Resident Evil, a mass media franchise from Japan, is on its seventh iteration.
        • Call of Duty has zombie modes.
        • Minecraft is set in a zombie apocalypse.
      • literature
        • Frankenstein, of course, has a monster that can be interpreted as a zombie.
        • World War Z imagined the zombie apocalypse as a pandemic.
        • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies blends the genres of romance, satire, and horror.


  • Why would adventure sports skills help you survive a zombie apocalypse?
    • You need to escape! Zombies comfortably live in all Earth’s ecosystems, have incredible endurance, and, depending on your apocalypse, can be very fast. The athleticism and quick thinking associated with adventure sports might help you outwit the undead.



  • What other assets or skills might benefit you during a zombie apocalypse?
    • STEM! A background in electrical engineering might help you establish well-lit spaces, protective fences, and luxuries like cooking on a stovetop. A background in chemistry might help you identify what toxins repel or eliminate zombies.
    • money, of course. The Zombie Research Society’s list of zombie survival tips includes zombie-proofing your home, which may be cost-prohibitive for most survivors.



National Geographic: Use These Adventure Skills to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

The Zombie Research Society

National Geographic: Nature’s Walking Dead: Real-Life “Zombies”

National Geographic: Map Skills for Elementary Students

National Geographic: Going the Distance

National Geographic: Conquering K2

National Geographic: Alexksander the Great Wins ‘Adventurer of the Year’

National Geographic: Gobi Desert Paragliding

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