These two concepts are sometimes used as if they were the same thing but there are mayor differences between the two that need to be addressed.
When bugging out you leave in a hurry, if you had the foresight of preparing a couple bug out bags that’s all you’ll be taking, plus maybe a bit else prepositioned already in your bug out location.
Now that works for certain scenarios and under some circumstances, but there’s a monumental difference between bugging out and relocating entirely, with no intention of coming back.
The scenarios where bugging out is called for are diverse, but they usually involve events or disasters that occur all of a sudden. Loss of electric power during extreme weather condition and no means of staying warm, floods, the loss of your home in structural terms because of natural or man made disasters, think earthquakes, fires or chemical spills. In many of these scenarios you may not even have time to reach for a bug out bag. We actually so this during the tsunami in Japan, where a man just rushed out of his home and in the same footage frame you saw the wave approaching, devouring the structure seconds later. Because of this its not a bad idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle as well. Your car being you home away from home in many cases. In my opinion just as important, work on being consistent with your EDC (every day carry ) kit. If you at least have a LED flashlight, a folding knife, a multittol, an some cash along with your credit cards, you’re already better off than not having them. If you add to that a small amount of stuff to whatever bag you tote on daily basis, may it be an office briefcase, laptop or messenger bag or purse, you can add a bottle of life saving water, a small first aid kit and a couple energy bars. Imagine having that instead of only having the clothes on your back.
Bugging out requires a predetermined location to go to. Ideally you’d have one near by in case the incident affects you alone or a smaller area, and another one a bit further away in case the entire region has been compromised. Think relatives or very good friends, people you know would open a door to you in a time of need. Don’t just take it for granted, actually have a conversation about it so as to be sure you can count on them. Leaving some gear and supplies, including a spare set of clothes and shoes for each family member, some cash and food, and weapon if possible would be recommended.
For many years I’ve been trying to get out of Argentina and from time to time when I wrote to relate a particular distressful event that I’ve observed in my country or was involved in, people would comment “bug out NOW!” “Pack your bags and leave!”. Yes, my dear friend. That’s easy to say sitting from the comfort of your warm cozy home 7.000 miles away, the kids tucked in bed dreaming of the great day they’ll have tomorrow in school with their friends. Bugging out for real is an extremely traumatic experience. I’m not talking of waking up the kids and wife a Sunday morning at 5 AM, rushing into the car with the bug out bags and going camping for the weekend, knowing fully well you’ll be home by Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about all of a sudden leaving everything behind, loosing not only almost all of your earthly possessions but losing your life as you knew it as well. It happens all the time, its called being a refugee, and its not anything like going camping. While bugging out because of a limited term incident may not be as bad, bugging out of a country with no intention of coming back involves mayor emotional trauma for the entire family.
Now relocating, that’s an entirely different creature. Here we’re talking about a more calculated decision, analyzing the pro and cons of the new place being considered and if its worth making the effort both financial and emotional. While relocating for example to another State within the US may leave opportunities of visiting in the future, even collecting some more belongings left behind in the first trip, when you leave with no plans of coming back in the future it’s a different game entirely. Having done just that recently I can relate to it. Where to start? Your loved ones that you leave behind because you cant take with you, in some cases knowing you’re probably staring into their eyes for the last time. Leaving behind your culture, your idiosyncrasy. Chances are I’ll never do an asado or share mate surrounded by friends that understand what that means. Think of it as never again watching a Football game with your buddies or sharing that which you can only share with people of your same cultural background. The jokes, the slang, those things you share just with a look. I’m not particularly sensitive nor am I a person with a million friends, but I understand that’s something we’re losing.
Relocating allows for a better planed move in financial terms as well. If you bug out and it becomes permanent you lose thousands of dollars worth of belongings you could have sold. Poor or no prior planning means more expenses in general.
Unless you have already a place to live in, if you bug out you cant crash in a buddy’s couch on permanent basis. You’ll need to find a place to live.
Maybe the most tricky issue of them all, bugging out means in many cases leaving your current job. Unless you’re extremely lucky, given the current economic scenario, its not going to be easy to find another job any time soon and that means at the very least digging into your savings. That is, if you had any left by the time you’re done moving. On the other hand, relocating is something you don’t do in a hurry, carefully research the location your going to, wait until you actually find a job, school for the kids, and only then leave you life behind. As complicated as it can be its much better than just bugging out in a hurry.
When researching the location you’re considering, I can’t insist enough using Google maps to know the location almost as good, sometimes even better, than actually being there. After zooming in in google maps and looking at the streets and roads, look at the side of the map where you have a yellow human figure, like the one in the W.C., click on it and drag him to the map. Where you drop him, you’ll get a pedestrian street view of the location, and you can actually move around as if you’re there. This is an outstanding resource to gather information, know the neighborhoods and what’s on the other side of the road. A real estate picture may look nice, but you don’t know what’s waiting for you in the next block. You can even tap into live stream cameras in some areas and see live what certain places look like.
When do you relocate?
When the living conditions have become unacceptable for you and they are clearly worse than in other places you have the possibility of moving to. That would be the dictionary kind of definition. But how do you know you’re not falling for the “grass is greener on the other side of the hill”? You have to try to be as objective as possible, and after that, take a look at what other people are doing as well. Are people leaving too, or is it just me? Finally take a look at how many people are trying to get INTO the country or location you’re planning to leave. Leaving USA entirely for example, that’s something I simply wouldn’t do. I understand moving to some other state but not leaving America, not when in spite of the bad things going on, its still better than anywhere else in my opinion and based on what I want for myself and my family.
Take care folks.
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