Monday, April 30, 2012

Traveling to Argentina: Women Raped in Cafayate, Salta

Kena Lopez Moreno was raped in Cafayate last month.

Yesterday, twenty one year old Swiss volunteer, Jael Krummernacher, was raped in the city of Salta. Krummernacher had traveled to Salta doing evangelical mission work with the Anglican Church.
Last month Kena López Moreno from Mexico was raped in Cafayate.
On July 29th  last year, two French tourists Cassandre Bouvier and Houria Moumnihad been brutally raped and murdered.
On February 11th 2012, Meriem Hammontene and Melina Cognac, also French, had been mugged and sexually abused in Salta capital city. Sixteen days later, American student Small Lauren Frances was raped in her motel and just a few hours after that 23 year old Japanese tourist Ushiki Risako was raped in Cafayate by a local tourist guide.

Adding insult, the Security Minister of Salta Maximiliano Troyano blamed the victims by saying and I quote “people have a bit of excessive trust when visiting foreign countries”.

I’ve posted more than enough about the topic of relocating to isolated parts of South America. People, wherever it is you decide to go if you ever relocate, do your research well. look up both good and BAD aspects of the potential location.
For some reason I also get a significant amount of email from people that are either visiting Argentina or have loved ones traveling that way. A couple of pointers here: No, Argentina is NOT as safe as the first world country you probably come from. Don’t ever forget that. As long as you stay in the well-known locations, surrounded by lots of tourists like yourself, chances are you’ll be ok. Play Indiana Jones or even more to the point, Lara Croft, and those chances decrease significantly. If you’re feeling adventurous, try backpacking across Europe first. Europe is safe in comparison. South America isn’t. Women backpacking across Argentina and Latin America in general often fail to understand how different these places can be. Maybe influenced by movies, or after reading about how wonderful this or that place is, they fail to see the danger in lawless, isolated parts of the world. What one young woman may see as spiritual and worldly adventure, in the mind of an unscrupulous local she is just another dumb white woman he can have his way with. Local women in these northern provinces get raped all the time, they even get kidnapped and turned into sex slaves, sent to brothels all across the country. A naïve young woman with a life experience limited to safe environments is in an even greater disadvantage.  Even for seasoned and experienced female backpackers, its simply not safe.

Some parents have emailed me about their children going to Argentina on mission work with their church. If you’ve already made up your mind, then good luck and have a nice trp. Now if you ask me, I can only say that I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t send my own son or daughter. Even with a group, its simply not safe enough, especially when you consider that missionary work is usually performed precisely in the kind of places you should avoid from a safety perspective.
This may seem a bit off topic, but it is about safety and I get too much email asking about this to ignore it.
Stay safe,
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Friday, April 27, 2012

“Duct Tape Alert” and Stay Put Kit

In February 10, 2003 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that Americans should prepare for a biological, chemical, or radiological terrorist attack by assembling a “disaster supply kit”, including duct tape and plastic sheath, three days worth of food and water, a radio with fresh batteries and emergency kits both for the home and vehicle.
The warning was made because of recent intelligence reports explaining the risk of a terrorist attack. Of course, the following day stores all across America saw a surge in sales of these items. Because Duct Tape sold out in many places, the incident became known as the “Duct Tape Alert”.


“The Duct Tape Alert” was essentially a recommendation so that people would have the materials needed for a Shelter in Place strategy.
What Shelter in Place basically means is that due to a NBC attack or other disaster you find a room with no windows or small ones, maybe a bathroom, walk in closet or large pantry, and you seal it as well as possible using duct tape and plastic sheet. The plastic would be used for windows and doors that would be harder to seal using duct tape alone. AC, electric sockets and ventilations should be sealed as well.  You are supposed to stay put listening to the radio until told its safe to leave the shelter. In theory, you shelter in place for just a few hours until the threat is over.
How effective is this strategy? Based on several reports that I’ve read I’d say its of marginal efficiency, and it will strongly depend on how effectively sealed the room was, but it is still better than nothing.

Stay Put Kit

Besides Sheltering in Place there’s other reasons why a kit for when staying home makes sense. Expanding the kit just a bit makes it applicable for various other scenarios, many of them much more probable than an NBC terrorist attack.  Thinking of tornado and earthquakes, your home may suffer structural damage which you would need to patch up as well as you can until proper repairs can be made. Having plywood pre-cut for windows before storms hit is common practice for many in tornado country. In sieged Sarajevo, plastic sheet was used to shut windows that had been blasted after the city was shelled. What if a tree smashed through the living room leaving a huge gap opened or you have to pull someone out of the rubble after a quake?
The suggested kit does not include obvious tools most people already have, like screwdrivers, hammer, a saw, or even better for those in wooded areas, a gasoline chainsaw.
A SP Kit should include:

Duct Tape:

3M 2245 Scotch Heavy Duty All-Weather Duct Tape, 1.88-Inch x 45-Yard, 1-Pack
We all know how useful it is so you probably have some already. I’ve mentioned how Gorilla tape is probably the best tape on the market, but you may want to buy some more rolls of cheaper common gray duct tape because Gorilla tae is probably overkill for sealing a door. Don’t go too cheap though, some of the cheapest stuff hardly sticks at all to surfaces and easily comes off on its own. So as to have an accurate estimate, choose in which room you would shelter in place and add up the necessary linear yards to seal the chosen room. Add to that 20% as a margin of error and waste and keep that duct tape apart to be used only when sheltering in place.

Plastic Sheet:

Clear Plastic Poly Sheeting 10′ x 100′ 6 mil
Another common multi-purpose item. Can be used for everything from sealing openings, making shelter or collecting rain water, just to mention a couple of the many uses it has. It helps a lot that it can be found dirt cheap sometimes in hardware stores. Here in Ireland, I’ll tape a large plastic sheet with me when hiking in case I have to improvise shelter.

Staple Gun:

Stanley TR45K Light Duty Staple Gun Kit
Havent seen this one mention often. It will not seal of course like duct tape would, but it makes for much more solid shelter construction. If a section of your house is destroyed or a window broken, folding over the edge of the plastic sheet two or three times and then stapling it will make a better improvised window or wall. A nail gun would be perfect to use in combination with plywood.
If you are ever left with nothing, but you manage to salvage some plywood, some 2x4s, plastic sheet, duct tape, staple gun, a hammer and some nails, you can make a pretty acceptable shelter until you find something better. People in third world countries and now tent cities in first world ones do it all the time.


Stanley 55-136 36-Inch Forged Hexagonal Steel Ripping Bar
A big one. For some tasks such as removing wreckage, a prybay can be priceless. The typical cheaper ones have hexagonal shapes, but sometimes you can find better ones, I shaped,  for slightly more money. I like the ones that have a 90º angle, or as close to it as possible, these you can sometimes hammer into places before levering.  Little Tip: If you have a length of metal tube, it can be used along with the crowbar to get even more leverage force.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why use Big Knives for Survival and Preparedness?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Relocating, Bugging Out and Living Off the Land … :-P


This short essay seems to compliment your views on bugging out.
Thought you might enjoy reading it and perhaps post it for others on
your blog.
Keep up the good work and best wishes in your new home!

Thanks Flyboy.
I suppose that everyone that follows my blog has long ago forgotten about childish fantasies of bugging out and living off the land in the closes national park, hunting and gathering, along with everyone else that came up with the same brilliant idea.

Still, bugging out is a very real possibility. There’s disasters, accidents and terrorist attacks that may force you out of your home. Its not a matter of you wanting to, it’s a matter of having to leave like it or not. If that ever happens, heck if your house just gets burned down or destroyed by a flood, you and your family will be much better off if you made at least some plans ahead of time and have a kit or emergency bag ready to go. If that ever happens I wouldn´t go to the nearest park to set camp. I’d go to friends or family, or a hotel until I manage to get to a better location. Bugging out with a forest as your destination is as stupid as it gets. You need a place where you can get yourself together, regroup and rebuild your life. For me, that would be moving back to my folks place, for someone else, it could be some other family or friend.

This is different from relocating which is what we did. Granted, we left pretty much everything behind to start over elsewhere, a place we’ve never been to before. Yes, it wasn’t a walk in the park, it was pretty stressful, but you do what you have to do when the country or state you live in no longer keeps up with your bare minimum expectations of what life should be. Millions still live in Argentina. Many may want to leave but I bet that millions are perfectly happy living there, but for me that kind of crime, corruption, social and cultural degradation was too much. It had gone beyond what I was willing to accept both for myself and my family.

In that case you organize as best as possible, do tons of research and leave. As hard as it may be and it is hard to relocate, you can manage to pull it off and not feel entirely like a refuge. One thing is leaving like we did, and another very different is just grabbing the kids, a couple bug out bags and running out the door into an uncertain future.

I think that everyone should (intelligently) organize so as to bug out just in case they ever have to, just because you never know if one day you may have to do so. In other cases an event may have such as impact in your world that you may contemplate relocating elsewhere.
As unlikely as either one may be, I believe you are much better off if you prepare for such an eventuality, just in case.
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Questions from a Reader: Krav Maga, Relocating, Preparedness in Europe

My name is K. I am a huge fan of your work. Some of my family and friends read your blog so I was wondering if you post this if you could leave my name out. Even though they read this they think I’m a little “out there”.

I have been reading through your back log and have some questions.
1) I read your post on Poxitas tape and would like to get some to try out but I can not find a supplier. Do you have any ideas on how to get this?
2) I read your post on Krav Maga and while I respect your knowledge, experience and expertise I must say that your view seems a little harsh. It seems to me that what you don’t like is the sensationalism surrounding the system. I have seen the same sensationalism used by proponents of any system out there. I have not studied any system extensively but there are benefits to most. As for the “to dangerous to practice on people” business, its kind of BS. Any system can and potentialy is dangerous either through technique or carelessness. Protective gear and anatomical stand-ins allow a complete knowledge of the system. Things like choke holds should never be “practiced” on people and yet we see them in MMA everyday. What I have learned of krav maga is that there is a philosophy to it which I will try to summarize: Be fit(by continuously working hard at it), avoid any fight you arent forced into, attack week points using any thing you can as a weapon then retreat, protect your “group”. The choice to teach one martial art to every person in the country as there is mandatory service is sound considering there neighbors and a certain political faction would love to kill them. It teaches them to use what they have and to improvise with basic moves that work. My question here, I guess, is have you ever taken or “audited” a serious class in Krav maga? Sorry that was kind of long.
3) My girlfriend and I have talked about retiring to South America. I found your site while researching it. Would you recomend Buenos Aires as a retirement options? Also how do you pronounce BsAs? Is it just an abreviation and its pronounced normally? If you were retiring with about $1million USD in South America where would you go?
4) How are you finding northern Ireland interms of your preparedness? What are the money issues? Are there any specific things you would like to do but are prohibited? Are there any things you couldn’t do in Argentina but can do there? How is the economy/Job market/petrol prices/expatriate situation?
5)Are you planning on doing any preparedness events in europe or even back in America? My GF and I are Gearing up for a big trip in the next year or so after we get school loans paid off and I would love to see the european side of preparedness.

I have a bout 30 more questions but I’m gonna lay off and try to shrink the list and give you some time do your thing. Moving to another country has got to be an adventure and a bit of a hassle, then pile on work and side projects. Then some guy on the other side of the planet wants you to write a small book for him.

Anyway, I just wanted to say congrats on your good fortune of getting out of a bad situation. I know you put in a lot of hard work to accomplish it and I thank you for sharing it with all of us.


Hi K, thanks for your email.
1)A lot of people have asked me about Poxitas. They are a very neat product but I haven’t found it outside South America. Its basically the equivalent of a short duct tape strip, like a plaster or band aid, made of a thicker material with a stronger glue. Gorilla tape is actually pretty good, maybe not as strong as a Poxita but close. Its worth keeping an eye out in case you come by something similar under a different name. On the meantime I can only recommend you using Gorilla tape which is outstanding, so strong that it cant be compared to ordinary duct tape. Keeping a couple feet wrapped around an old loyalty plastic card or a lighter like I do will allow you to have some when needed and you´ll soon see how useful it is on various occasions.

2)Yes I’ve taken classes of both Krav Maga and Kapap. I found Kapap to be better, but it still have many of the same problems in my opinion. Its one thing to use a system that boosts a soldier´s self-confidence and then hand him over an AR rifle, and its another to do it with a soccer mom and have her think she can kick anyone’s ass. Fortunately enough, odds are that in the civilized world most soccer moms and dads live in, they will never get to know how misguided that confidence was. The problem is that as someone once said, the world is ”moving” and the odds of actually having to put that to test are increasing even for those that live in the nice burbs with neatly trimmed lawns. When that day comes a criminal or other determined violent person will painfully portrait how naïve it was to think that you can learn how to fight for real without ever getting hit back in return.

I don’t want to get much further into this. Last time I commented on it I got more hate email from krav maga fans than I would have gotten from thirteen year old girls if I had made fun of Justin Bieber. My recommendation is sticking to both Brazilian jujitsu and Muay Thai and having some modern combatives thrown in the mix so as to learn how to combine that with gun, knife and stick. The most important thing is finding a good instructor. No need to get the latest MMA champion or yakuza assassin, just a honest instructor that knows what hes doing and you’re comfortable with. Whatever martial art or system you are doing, how useful or not it is will strongly depend on the instructor you have. If there’s no sparring against non cooperative partners, chances are you’re just wasting your time. You must fight someone that fights back. Even with gloves, even with rules, its MUCH better than doing it for real on the streets for the first time, bare knuckled and doing it to save your life, of all things.

3)Because of everything I’ve written the last four years I’d definitely stay away from Argentina! I don’t know if you kept up with the latest knews, Argentina just nationalized Spanish owned YPF and is threatening to nationalize other foreign companies. Crime is as bad as always if not worse, and inflation makes it more expensive to live in than USA. If that’s not bad enough the loss of freedom in Argentina has reached amazing proportions. You’re not allowed to buy foreing currency, you can’t even leave the country with dollars unless you can explain where you got them from, and I saved them up isn’t an explanation any more. My sister in law is telling me some horror stories. She’s trying to come here to visit and learning the latest “requirements” to be allowed to leave the country. Among others, you must have an USD account in Argentina so as to explain where you’re getting the money for the trip. I’d be surprised if 1/10 of the population has such an account, meaning that according to the books they can now restrict most people from leaving if they feel like doing so. The price for getting an Argentine passport for leaving te country doubled last week.

If it has to be South America, I’d go for Uruguay. While Uruguay is probably your best option in South America, its still a far cry from the life and the freedom you enjoy in USA. Especially with the funds you mention, I think it makes no sense whatsoever to go to South America. You can already live pretty well with that money in USA if you invest it wisely. In Argentina the government will eventually steal most of it, one way or the other.
Bs. As. stands for Buenos Aires, which means “good air”, kind of ironic giving the smog and pollution spread all over the city. The way you pronounce it correctly is by phonetically saying “s” on the ending of each word instead of “z”, s as in snake.
If I had a million buck? Oh my God I´d stay in USA of course! Find a nice town in a nice State, close enough to a bigger city. If you put a gun to my head and force me to go back to South America, then Id go for Uruguay.

3)I’m loving Northern Ireland. Its exactly what I thought it would be, maybe even better. I tried to keep it as down to Earth as possible when doing my research for relocating so I dug deep into everything bad I could find about it, so as to move within a certain margin of error so to speak. Its beautiful, safe, not as expensive as England or Scotland. It rains a lot of course, but it never gets that cold. This winter there was no snow in my area at all. Schools are great, great place to raise kids. Gun laws aren’t as bad as in the rest of UK, you can own handguns. Houses here are nicer than in England and Scotland, a bit more American without being cheesy and poorly built Mc Mansions for the most. I like how the urbanization is laid out. You have lustrous green countryside all over with mostly small towns and cities sprinkled evenly. Everything is surprisingly clean and tidy, people don’t litter as much as they do in USA, let alone South America cities which at times it looks like a dumpsters. Gasoline is very expensive, about 9 or 10 dollars a gallon! Thanks fully I don’t have to drive that much and it does help a lot that the country is relatively small, so in spite of the price difference if everything is 2 or 3 times closer compared to the distances you would have to drive in USA, the price of fuel has much less of an impact.
Here is where realistic preparedness clashed with fantasy preparedness. I didn’t go for the common yet unrealistic survival strategy of being as far away as possible from cities. I went for the much more logical and realistic one of being in a small town yet close enough to a mayor city. If the worst that can happen to you is a 15 minute drive to the big city whenever you need it and your daily driving is just 5 miles because you are close enough to everything you need, then the price of gas doesn’t affect you as much. As a contingency plan, given that 90% of your needs are so close you could easily use a bicycle to get around. That’s much smarter than being half a gas tank way from the nearest town, because as well all know, people will riot in cities, turn into flesh eating zombies and head to the country…

About jobs, there’s less unemployment than in the rest of UK, but at the same time because its smaller you will probably have more trouble finding one. The nice thing is that any job you manage to get will allow you a very nice quality of life, because its good in general terms. In terms of immigration, there’s very few immigrant which I like a lot. A lot of people still think that Northern Ireland is a warzone where Catholics and Protestants still bomb each other on daily basis. Not so, while there is the occasional incident here and there its not common and rarely gets people seriously injured or killed. Among the middle class people I guess we all just want to get along in spite of the different political agendas each one may have, and simply live in peace. Besides certain specific locations where segregation still exists, there’s no clash between immigrants of different cultural and religious backgrounds. I read how sometimes in England they have these Islamic terrorists, the diversity gets shoved down people’s throats because its so different people forced to live almost one on top of the other. An added benefit to that is that being the rare immigrant, people are more opened to you and less suspicious. Locals are surprised you even chose to immigrate here. ”Why did you move here?”. My answer is “because it’s a great place to live in!”. That brings a smile to people’s faces and they quickly agree, proud that someone thinks that way instead of just looking scared because of what they’ve heard of the Troubles.

4)The survival and preparedness community isn’t that big around here. There’s some folks that I met that are interested in shooting and are more like minded, but for the most you don’t see it as clearly as in USA. The huge nanny state certainly doesn’t help. If I find enough people interested locally I might organize a few meetings or classes, but mostly to get to know like-minded folks and network a bit. There is interest in bushcraft and wilderness survival, which as much as I enjoy I know it has very little to do with modern survival of the type that I write about. For a post economic collapse scenario haggling, sales or even marketing would be a much more useful skills than starting fire with a bow drill, and a class on knife fighting and defense would be much more valuable than a carving class where you make your own wooden bowl.

I still haven’t gone that much into it. Spain, France, Sweden, Norway and Germany are places where theres some potential, not to mention Switzerland. If anyone in these places or others is interested in organizing a meeting or event, feel free to contact me. About doing something in USA, I had planned to go to the next SelfReliance Expo, but settling is taking bit longer and I just wont be able to make it. We’re happy but relocating the way we did to a place that is completely new to us takes time and lots of work.
Take care,

Friday, April 20, 2012

ESEE Junglas Knife: One Of the Best Big Knives in the Market

ESEE / RAT Cutlery Junglas 10″ Knife with Sheath
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chances of another Falkland/Malvinas War?

Yes things were roped when I was in BA & Bariloche earlier on this year.
Trouble is ennui on the part of my family who think the cycle is just repeating & things will get better. I think that’s a common attitude amongst the 40 odd % who aren’t peronists.
Who knows maybe Christina may still go for broke and try and re-take the Falklands (with Chavez’s help of course as the military won’t want to be massacred )!

There really isnt a chance in hell that Argentina will go to war. They just cant, its impossible. Chavez talks a lot but he’s not stupid nor is he suicidal.
First of all there’s no military force. At all. The Kirchners themselves made it their policy to completely destroy the Argentine military as their political stance.

To understand this you have to understand where the Kirchners come from. In their youth they aligned with an organization called the “Montoneros”. These where supposed to be left leaning peronists. They were so much to the left that not even Peron liked them. During the Argentine “Dirty War” the ruling Junta committed crimes against humanity thought they claimed to be fighting local communist terrorists, groups like the Montoneros. Where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between. Its true that innocent people got killed by the Dictatorship just as its true that these Montoneros and other terrorists groups murdered innocent people themselves and even bombed schools.

When the Kirchners took power it was time for payback, the Montoneros now had the power (in fact many known terrorists became government officials) and they dismantled, disarticulated and very much destroyed the Argentina’s already weakened military.
Argentina hasn’t bought a fighter plane since before the war, nor has it bought any serious weaponry and most of the local military machinery got sold to Brazil long ago. Today there’s even a lack of properly kept small arms, ammo and other elemental supplies.  Argentina couldn’t fight a war against Lady Gaga´s dance squad, let alone UK.

Cristina Kirchner is using this as a way of distracting people from the much more serious local problems such as rampant crime, inflation and corruption. I dare say that given the fact that media such as the BBC reacted as if another war was coming David Cameron was likewise using it both to appeal to people’s patriotism to regain some support and as a smoke curtain to cover more real and urgent problems like the local economy.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Argentina expropriates Repsol YPF

Lets see…  what’s that expression? Oh right: I told you so!
Argentina seizes control of YPF
Argentina, Spain at odds over oil company expropriation
For years I’ve been saying that Argentina was turning into Venezuela.
They stole our savings. They stole our retirement funds. They taxed the life out of us. They investigated your finances if you bought a big screen TV for the world cup or send your kids to a private school. In a way they “nationalized” and ruined private health care by including every crappy social medical plan into private health care services that used to be of acceptable quality. They banned the purchase of foreign currency, pretty much froze importations even taking a Fahrenheit 451 twist when they banned the importation of books, like a poor taste Bradburian joke.

No one saw this coming? Really? Hey, those guys that said Argentina was great for expats and that expropriation wasn’t a risk, I suppose they crawled back under a rock in Salta or somewhere.
Yes, Cristina Kirchner just stole the oil company YPF from the Spaniards. Sovereign oil resources that were stolen by greedy capitalist corporations, now Cristina comes as a patriot hero to claim it back for the proud Argentine nation. Its our oil, its in Argentine soil after all.
But what kind of evil monster SOLD YPF to Repsol ten years ago in the first place, who could that be? Oh right, she did! Cristina Kirchner and her husband ex president Nestor Kirchner eagerly did that, voting for the sale of the Argentine company from the senate seat.

Why would that be? A brain stroke moment where she forgot her patriotism, maybe she didn’t know that oil is kind of an important resource. Oh, right! Her husband Nestor Kirchner was governor of oil filled Santa Cruz back then, and wanted to sell the company and collect a little paycheck of 700 million USD. That money that was supposed to be for the people of Santa Cruz was sent to a Swiss bank account so as to keep it protected from the 2001 economic collapse. After the collapse when it was time to bring the money back so as to help rebuild the collapsed country …. well… it never made it back to the country because you know how that is. You buy a Coke, think you have $5.43 left of change in your pocket but then you look and its only $4.43. Then you spend all day wondering what happened with that dollar you thought you had? Don’t you hate when that happens? Well this is the same thing but with 700 million dollars, they just got lost somehow. Now lets not be mean, it could happen to anyone!

We must admit though, it’s a pretty clever business strategy. Its like selling a car, then stealing it, then selling it again. The problem is that eventually you run out of fools to trick and right now that’s whats happening with foreign investors. I wouldn’t invest a half-eaten BigMac in Argentina, let alone any amount of money. They are already threatening to nationalize banks and other companies if they don’t plane ball with the government.
By stealing YPF, Cristina bought herself some more time, but as anyone that reads my blog knows the country had been falling apart for some times and it just now took yet another serious direct hit. As I write this there’s still lack of importations, many shelves in supermarkets are empty and its cheaper to buy a kilo of mate, a traditional Argentine staple similar to tea, in New York City than in Argentina. While the situation in Argentina is already bad enough, further disaster is inevitable.
Watching Argentina from the distance is very much like watching yet another Titanic documentary, so popular here in Belfast these days: It’s a horrible slow motion cataclysm and we all know how the story ends.

PS: Say you only now see what was obvious to many of us and you want to leave Argentina before it goes to hell again, you better hurry: The price of getting your Argentine passport went up 100% yesterday. If you my friend are still in Argentina and still deciding between leaving or not, hurry before Argentina turns to Cuba.
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Spanish Civil War Photo Documentary‏

    Hi Fernando,
    You mentioned your grandparents left Spain during the 
    Spanish Civil War.

    I saw a trailer for a documentary about thousands of war
    photograpshs from the Spanish Civil War that were discovered
    in a Mexican suitcase.

    I thought seeing some pictures, although some are shocking,
    might help you feel more connected with your grandparent's

    Here is the link http://www.themexicansuitcase.com/
    Take Care,


  Thanks Lisa, very interesting. Indeed, my grandparents left Spain
  escaping the misery of the Civil War.

  I'll see if I can catch this documentary somwhere.
  Its always good to learn from history.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Relocating: What is a good sized town?

At the turn of the century I retired in my mid-thirties & moved to a
very large city.
Lots of fun. Easy living.
Then the financial crisis hit & things declined very quickly. I moved
to a small 30.000 inhabitant farming town.
Today, most farms are in receivership & the population has dropped to
ca 9.000. Most services have closed. The place looks run down.
What is a good sized town?
You retired in your mid-thirties? Good for you man!
What you describe is basically the problem with thinking that a small rural town holds the solution in terms of survival. I’ll again blame Hollywood for these weird ideas people have.
I get it that the romantic notion of going back to the old ways is very appealing, the nostalgia of the “good´ol days” lives in our memories, even for people that have never seen them! TV plants that seed and some people want to believe that after the infamous “SHTF” or “end of the word as we know it”, it will all go back to being as it used to be, or more accurately, as we think it should be given the notion implanted in our heads by movies and TV shows.
We want to believe that Jericho would be true. Hey! What can be better for a small rural town than a nuclear war, right? Wrong.
As you noted in your area, smaller towns are usually hit bad by hard economic times or times when resources as scarce, the smaller the town and the further it is from main populations the worse it gets. People lose their farms, their jobs, younger folk move to the city looking for jobs, the cost of transportation takes a toll on more distant communities and closer ones that end up being cheaper to transport back and forth from are preferred.
The same can be said of mining towns or cities that depend too much on one specific industry. When that industry suffers, a smaller town or a too specific community will be at risk.
Lets start by what you want to avoid. First of all you want to avoid anything too isolated. If you have to drive 15 minutes to buy a Coke then you probably have to drive 15 minutes or more to get immediate medical attention, and this is the kind of thing that you want to avoid. When you suffer a serious accident or stroke time is the key to your survival. I’m not saying live and die by this because people have to live wherever they are happier but from a strategic point of view its still worth considering. After 10-15 minute of the incident, your % of survival starts decreasing by the minute. The way I see it, being more than 15-20 minutes away from basic medical care , especially if you have kids, that’s the kind of risk I at least would not consider acceptable from a preparedness point of view. Mel Tappan himself died of heart failure at the age of 47, located in an isolated ranch in Oregon.

Then there’s the lack of services and infrastructure. Soon enough you realize that everything is several dollars worth of gas away, and it gets old fast.
From a survival perspective it also has the significant flaw of being less of a priority compared to more populated regions. If money has to go to fix roads, if help has to be sent or if internet connection has to be improved, will they do it in the 1.000 population town or the 100.000 population one first?
This is something that a lot of people don’t get but I’ve experienced it first hand in Argentina. When power went down, the closer you were from Buenos Aires the sooner it was restored. Some of the smaller most distant communities would go without water or electricity for weeks. When arsenic was found in the tap water, they took care of it first in Buenos Aires and the larger nearby cities, and it stayed contaminated for years in the smaller towns, the infrastructure repairs needed always being to expensive to do given how few were affected.
On more mundane ground, it also means less jobs for you and your kids and less education opportunities.

Being isolated, too far from main cities or in towns too small is something you want to avoid.
Big cities aren’t a good idea either. People themselves are generally the problem during disasters, and even on daily life its just unpleasant to be in crowded locations. Homo homini lupus. Man is man´s wolf. While civil unrest isn’t 1/1000 as dangerous to people that stay put as the media or fear mongers want you to believe, its not fun either. Big cities can also be favorite terrorist targets and if there’s social degradation they will be centers of common daily violence, drug and crime. When crime gets out of control bigger cities may still be safer than the outskirts where police hasn’t got a solid presence, but this is more of an extreme case of general social degradation.

Most of all, you want to avoid Alpha Cities, this is main Global cities such as New York, Paris, London, Buenos Aires, and such. Millions live in these places, usually its people packed in very small area which could get ugly if there’s a disaster. They are also favorite terrorist and war targets.

Choosing a location
Based on my experience and research, while there’s no perfect location that fits everyone, this is one of those cases where you usually want to compromise and end up in an in between point.

I would go for a 50.000 population town. This is usually big enough for the things you want a city for yet not so big that it would fall apart. Small enough that people eventually get to know each other and there’s a sense of small town community yet at the same time tis not that small that no one would give a damn about it. This size of town usually means that there’s acceptable services, hospitals, maybe a community college or university your kids can go to rather than moving hundreds of miles away.

I would avoid main alpha cities, but still be close enough to large ones, Beta and Gamma cities, cities with a population of 250.000 or 300.000 give or take. This is important in case you end up needing more advanced medical care and trips to the city become more frequent, or if for financial reasons you or your wife are forced to find a job and none happen to be available in the population 50.000 city you happen to live in.
A town or city of 50.000 with a diversified enough economy should get by in spite of a recession or at least has better chances of doing s, while at the same time enjoying a better life quality than living in a main metropolitan location.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hike in Donard Forest

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Its all just stuff

It takes some drastic life changes to put things into perspective sometimes. You could say that relocating the way we did does just that. When you leave not only nearly all your belongings behind but also everything and nearly everyone you knew, you can’t help but to reassess your priorities.
We realized that what at some point seemed important, it wasn’t so. People generally know that material possessions come at a far second place compared to your loved ones and yourself, your beliefs, that part of you that defines who you are as a person and isn’t dictated by material things.  Still, its not often that people get to experience that first hand by actual events.

Its when you leave all behind that it hits you, that its just stuff. I can write reviews and articles time and again about gear and supplies but when looking at the complete picture you have to put it in the right place and never lose perspective of the fact that your skills, knowledge and heart will always be your greatest assets not only for survival but life itself. The heart to fight for survival is the same as the heart to fight for life in general to achieve your goals on everyday basis. The person that lacks that today will rarely find it during dire events. This goes along with what I’ve said in the past, about getting your life in proper order today because if you really want to be ready for a worst case scenario or at the very least more complicated times, its just going to be harder to achieve afterwards.

Something similar goes in terms of skill. It is said that people don’t rise to the occasion but fall to their level of training, or the one they’ve managed to master. What skills have you acquired? How useful are they? Have you mastered such skills and practice often enough?
When we throw into it the true first line of material assets which is your body, your health and physical ability, “stuff” falls even more in terms of priorities.

It really is just stuff. Granted, some of it can be extremely handy and can be hard to improvise in terms of preparedness, but its not your reason for happiness and it does not dictate who you are, and while this is supposed to be common knowledge, an awful majority don’t live their lives as if they knew this. They obsess over the latest trendy junk the media tells them to buy, or the survival movement equivalent of that which is stockpiling tons of supplies of debatable necessity. If you had to walk out the door right now, who are you, what are you capable of, who would go along with you? Its only after taking a good look at those questions that the finer details of bug out bags or survival emergency kits have relevance.

Having little besides a suitcase worth of belongings I found myself realizing two things. The first one was that I couldn’t remember ever having so few belongings. The second one was that I’ve never been happier in my life. My wife and kids and their happiness, that’s all I need. I love collecting guns, knives, etc, and gear is already piling up all around me either because someone managed to bring some back for me or because I get it for testing and reviews. Yet as much as I enjoy doing that, the moments when I feel I couldn´t be happier, when I wouldn’t trade shoes with anyone in the world has nothing to do with material wealth, but instead treasured moments with the truly important people in my life. That’s all that matters.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Treating The Hemorrhagic Wound

This is a guest article written by Joseph Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy can be found at http://www.doomandbloom.net/. I’ve met Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy before and did an interview for them not that long ago. They recently published a book called “The Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook: Keep your loved ones healthy in every disaster, from wildfires to a complete societal collapse”.

Treating The Hemorrhagic Wound

Cuts in the skin can be minor or catastrophic, superficial or deep, clean or infected.  Most significant cuts (also called lacerations) are associated with bleeding, sometimes major.  Bleeding can be venous, which manifests as dark red blood, draining steadily from the wound.   Bleeding can also be arterial, which is bright red and comes out in spurts that correspond to the pulse of the patient. As the vein and artery run together, a serious cut can have both. The first course of action is to stop the hemorrhage.

Oftentimes, direct pressure on the bleeding area might stop bleeding all by itself.  The medic should always have nitrile gloves in his/her pack, to prevent the wound from contamination from a “dirty” hand.  If there are no gloves, grab a bandanna or other barrier and press it into the wound.  Additionally, pressing on the “pressure point” for the area injured will help slow bleeding.

Pressure points are locations where major arteries come close enough to the skin to be compressed by pressure.  Pressing on this area will slow down bleeding further down the track of the blood vessel.  Therefore, we can make a “map” of specific areas to concentrate your efforts to decrease bleeding.

For example, there is a large blood vessel behind each knee known as the Popliteal Artery.  If you have a bleeding wound in the lower leg, say your calf, applying pressure on the back of the knee will help stop the hemorrhage.  A diagram of the major pressure points are below.

 Source: armystudyguide.com

If this fails to stop the bleeding, it may be appropriate to use a tourniquet.  The military uses a CAT tourniquet, which is simple to use and could be even be placed with one hand, if the injured person is the medic!   It is important to note that the tourniquet, once placed, should be loosened every five-fifteen minutes or so, to allow blood flow to uninjured areas and to determine whether the bleeding has stopped. Tourniquets are painful if they are in place for too long, and prolonged use could actually cause your patient to lose a limb due to lack of circulation.  As well, your body will build up toxins in the extremity that will be concentrated, and rush into your body core when you release the tourniquet.  It takes less than an hour or two with a tourniquet on to cause this problem.  As an aside, if the hemorrhage is severe, you may have to use the tourniquet earlier in the process so that you can clearly evaluate the source of the bleeding.

Once you are comfortable that major bleeding has abated, lossen the tourniquet and see where you are..   Packing the wound with bandages is useful to apply pressure to the wound (the bandage is not just for sopping up the blood..  Wet the cloth with clean water, if available, and wring it out until almost dry.  More than one bandage may be required to keep the wound from bleeding further. It’s important to make sure that your bandage puts the most pressure where the bleeding is occurring in the wound.  Again, keep pressure on the wound.  Cover the whole area with a dry dressing  for further protection.  The Israeli army developed an excellent bandage which is easy to use and is found almost everywhere survival gear is sold. The advantage of the Israel battle dressing is that it applies pressure on the bleeding area for you. Don’t forget that bandages get dirty and should be changed often.  Twice a day is a minimum until it becomes completely dry.

 The above process of stopping hemorrhage and dressing a wound will also work for traumatic injuries such as knife wounds and gunshot wounds. You have probably heard that you should not remove a knife because it can cause the hemorrhage to worsen.  This will give you time to get the patient to the hospital, but what if there are no hospitals?  You will have to transport your victim to your base camp and prepare to remove the knife.  It can’t stay in there for months while you’re waiting for society to stabilize.  Having substances that promote clotting will be useful here.

 In particularly heavy bleeding, the use of hemostatic powders such as Celox or Quik-Clot will help stop the hemorrhage.  These products also come in “combat gauze”, which is a gauze dressing impregnated with the powder.
Bullet wounds are the opposite, in that the bullet is usually removed if at all possible.  In a collapse situation, however, you may want to avoid digging for the bullet as it can cause further contamination and bleeding.  For a historical example, take the case of President James Garfield.  In 1881, President Garfield was shot by an assassin.  In their rush to remove the bullet, 12 different physicians placed their (ungloved) hands in the wound.  The wound, which would not have been mortal in all probability, became infected; the President died after a month in agony.  Think twice before removing a projectile that isn’t clearly visible and easily reached in a wound that has stopped bleeding.

Back to bandages:  Wound dressings must be changed regularly (twice a day or whenever the bandage is saturated with blood, fluids, etc.) in order to give the best chance for quick healing.  Whenever you change a dressing, it is important to clean the wound area with boiled water(cooled) or an antiseptic solution such as dilute Betadine (povidone-iodine).  Use 1 part Betadine to 10 parts water.  Remember the old saying, “The solution to pollution is dilution”!  Using a bulb syringe will provide a little pressure to the flow of water (also called irrigation), and wash out old clots and dirt.  You may notice some bleeding restarting; apply pressure with a clean bandage until it stops.

This article could be a book in itself, but this should give you a good idea of where to start when dealing with a bleeding wound.   Learn as much as you can now, in the present, to preserve your health in an uncertain future.

Dr. Bones

The Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook: Keep your loved ones healthy in every disaster, from wildfires to a complete societal collapse

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Spyderco Endura 4: Almost Perfect Folding Knife

Spyderco Endura 4 Folding Plain Edge FRN Knife $57.49
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Monday, April 9, 2012

The reality of homesteads, farms and SHTF

THE FARMER AT WAR (click to read the book)
By Trevor Grundy and Bernard Miller

“The Farmer at War” tells the story of white farmers in Rhodesia. This is what I mean by learning from REAL EVENTS folks. This on line book is a real gold mine full of gems of reality-based experience you can learn from. Reality may not be as fun as killing raiders or shooting it out with UN goons in a holier than thou chairborne commando wet dream, but it is much more useful for realistic survival.
You want to know how it would really be like for you surviving in a farm or homestead surrounded by people that want to steal from you, rape and kill? Has happened before so read up!!
I don’t say it often but when I do its because of a good reason. Must read link folks. If nothing else at least read the quotes below so as to see what you are missing.

After the store attack Don and his wife tightened their security precautions. “Where I go, I carry my FN. My wife always carries a pistol. It’s damned nuisance, but necessary if we’re to stay alive. We used to love riding the motorbike around the farm. But not now. It’s too dangerous. It’s too vulnerable to an ambush.”

“We’ve learnt to live with it, we’ve adjusted. God only knows how, or why really. It’s sheer madness in many ways. If you had told me before all this happened that today I would be living like this, armed to the teeth, locked behind fences, chasing terrs(Ferfal edit: terrorists), checking farm roads for landmines, spending half my time in the army, I’d call you a bloody fool… I’d laugh you out. But here I am doing just that… must be sick in the head, or something.

“What’s left on the farms? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just some walls. It’s a terrible sight. I don’t even go there now. It makes me depressed just to look on it. A life’s work in ruins.
“Life in town? What can I say. At least we’re safer. She’s safe. Me? I’d sooner run the risk out there on the farm. I don’t think I can settle down to town life. It’s not in me. I was born and bred in the bush, wilderness all round me. I will die in the bush, I know that.”
Kuni’s bitterness is shared by his wife, but she admitted, “At least I can sleep at night now. On the farm I would go to bed, just doze for an hour or so and then wake up and lay there waiting for the dawn. Here we’re safe. We’ve friends and neighbours. But it’s hard living away from the farm. We miss the small things too.. .like having our own meat and eggs, baking our own bread and making our own butter. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to shopping for groceries. But it’s safer for us here.”

“Real fear? It was something one experienced every six months. But then you don’t mind, every six months. But when you get a hammering every fortnight and it gets worse — it intensifies — then you’ve got to start thinking. I was only worried really by the heavy stuff. The rockets and the mortars. The small arms fire I could handle. The ambushes are the thing, though. Especially when you’re in an unprotected vehicle. Then the heavy stuff could put paid to your ticket.”
Because of his experiences in the operational areas, especially on border farms, he has plenty of tips for farmers. He suggests that many are “under-dogged” — a word he has invented. “All very well having these little yappy things underfoot,” he says. “True, they make a noise, but what is needed is big, fierce, Alsatian or Labrador-type dogs — I’ve often known terrs running from dogs like that. And they must sleep outside, it’s no good having them indoors.”
He’s also horrified at the number of farmers who keep fire-arms locked up during the day. “You’ve got to have them right beside you, readily available, at all times.”
And, while he sympathises tremendously with wives in the sensitive security areas he’d destroy the trees and large shrubs in their carefully tended gardens if he had half a chance. He points out that the value of a security fence is diminished if you have lots of cover within the fence. When there’s a shoot-out, it is all too easy for terrs to reach the house, through garden vegetation.
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Movie Review: The Hunger Games

I watched “The Hunger Games” this weekend with my wife.
The film is basically about a futuristic reality TV show where 24 kids have to survive in a forest and basically kill each other until only one is left alive. There’s some survival elements in the movie, the heroine of the story is a bow hunter and knows how to gather food, set traps, etc. Her mentor explains the importance of shelter and water and early in the movie she ends up with a kit that includes matches, crackers, beef jerky, sleeping bag, NV goggles, snare wire, rope, iodine, water flask and the backpack itself which she uses to stop a knife thrown at her that she manages to secure as well.
But whats in my opinion even more relevant is the idea of a totalitarian government that eventually kills people for control through fear, while using it as entertainment with the masses cheering in approval. Given the mind numbing stupidity and insanity of reality TV shows and how governments keep taking away people’s rights, this kind of fiction movie hits a bit too close to home.
The Hunger games is actually a novel trilogy but it seems more oriented to teens and its not the type of book I´d waste my time reading. Still, it makes an ok movie. The flick is pretty decent, mostly thanks to the solid performance by Jennifer Lawrence, the same girl from “Winter’s Bone”. Thumbs up.
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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Everyone!

I hope all of you had a good time today, spending time with your loved ones, your family and friends. Though survival and preparedness is of course the main topic in this website, it´s something that many of us do not that much for ourselves, but so as to provide better for our families.
It is time like these that are good moments to remind ourselves of what’s important in our lives. It´s also a good opportunity to call those people you haven’t talked to in a while for one reason or another. I’ve learned a thing or two about relationships and the more time that goes by, the more reassured I feel about the following: You never know the twists and turns of life and you never know who you may one day ask for help, and that its always better to plant seeds (metaphorically speaking) and build relationships than to hate and destroy relationships. Call it karma, call it common sense or logic, its just the way it works.
I hope today you had the opportunity to do just that.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hammaro: A pretty cool tinder to keep in mind

I’ve seen a good amount of commercial tinder, most of which isn’t that good. Hammaro fire paper card is something I had never tried before until now. Its made in Sweden and it´s not that popular. It can be a bit hard to find but its compact, nontoxic and it works rather well.

Tinder Cards – 18 Pack – For Survival Kits
Because of its thick card format its easy to include in kits and a small piece is enough to turn a firesteel spark into a flame.
In this second video I show how to improvise tinder, in this case using some dry tree bark.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fire Starting Implements

Urban or wilderness survival, it doesnt matter, the ability to start a fire is just as important.
Its use as way of keeping warm, cooking, signaling and the psychological comfort it provides during times of emotional struggle, a tool for starting fire is part f the “sacred triad” of everyday carry tools along with a knife and flashlight.
In this video I explore a few options for starting fires.

UCO Stormproof Match Case Kit – Dark Green

Survival Matches, Bulk Tube, NATO Approved (# 9920-00-966-9432), Military

Swedish Firesteel – Army Model, Black Handle

Jarden Home Brands 2235 "Diamond" Kitchen Match Strike On

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adapting to Normal Life

I was driving around with my family the other day, talking about places to visit. We’re still in that period of time here in Ireland where everything looks and feels new, as in that point in between living here and being here on vacations. We look up interesting places to visit and keep them in mind for going during the weekends.
“I want to go to Derry” my wife said. “The photos I found on line were beautiful”.
Having read a bit about the place and having kept up with the news for the last few months I told her. “OK, lets go, but keep in mind that it may not be as safe as the places we’ve been seeing lately. The other day I read that someone threw a Molotov bomb at a patrol car during some kind of protest”. She looked at me and said “You´re kidding right? You’re worried about a f!*%$ molotov? You forgot already where we used to live?”. Apparently I had. “I know its no big deal, just letting you know that it might not be as perfectly safe and nice as everything else we’ve been seeing lately”.

When I was living in Argentina there were times when I thought that maybe I was exaggerating things, that life there wasn’t that bad. Now that I’m not living there anymore, I feel the other way around. I don’t understand how we could live that way, with that constant fear, fear based on very real, constant threats. We got used to living in a way no one should ever get used to, no one should ever consider it “normal”. Argentines try to convince themselves that everything is just as bad anywhere you go, that it’s a global problem. Like hell it is.

While my wife talked today with my mother in law yesterday, I overheard some of the conversation. She had gone to the supermarket and came back without many food supplies. There’s a shortage of many food items including cooking oil, and cheese seems to have reached record prices. It reminded me of that time when tomatoes in Argentina had reached a global record, the highest price for tomatoes anywhere in the world. Instead of worrying my mother in law said “oh well, I’m sure they will restock next week”.

Later that day I checked some of the news. There was an article in Clarin website about “Baby” Etchecopar, the guy that I wrote about who was involved in a shooting during a home invasion. He related how violence isn’t just a word, but its screams, it´s crying, it´s your loved one lying in a pool of blood, the smell of gunpowder, your son turning to you and a string of blood squirting out of his chest as he says “I´ve been shot!”, your wife plugging the wound with her finger so as to stop the bleeding until the ambulance arrives. That’s violence. And we are supposed to believe that is normal?

These last few months in Ireland have been the happiest of my life indeed, but we can’t change where we come from, what we lived through. At thirty three there are things that will be part of me for the rest of my life. I’m still careful, I still watch over my shoulder, make sure doors are locked and mind my surroundings, but at the same time I see that there’s not that much of a need to worry. Yes, trouble can happen anywhere, it is always possible, but around here you just don’t see that ruthlessness in people’s faces. In Argentina you could just tell by looking at some people, you could tell that they were predators. Sometimes you would walk past them and you could see in their faces that they would have no remorse in stealing from you and hurting you if they had the chance. You could tell they have done it before, you just feel it, you could almost smell it. I haven’t come across that kind of faces around here, and I would see them every day in the streets of Buenos Aires.

A few days ago, my wife and I, we were checking to make sure the doors were locked before going to bed. Just like you automatically lock the doors of your car when you get out of it, doors in our house are kept locked at all times, we’ve been doing it that way for years since the crime in Buenos Aires allows no mistake in this matter. The stress of living that way is just too much, yet at the same time the risk was so very real. It eventually gets to you, that’s why so many Argentines just give up and leave it all to faith, and believe that if something bad happens to you then its just because your number was up that day. Going nuts over it isn’t living according to them. After checking the front door my wife went to the one that opens to the back yard. She twisted the doorknob and it opened. She looked surprised, then she smiled back at me “We forgot to close it”. And still it was all good.
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Monday, April 2, 2012

How much money do you need for bugging out?

So now that you have experienced the ultimate bug out scenario, do you feel you had enough cash set aside for when you decided to go, or do you wish you had been able to have more? Is the one month's expenses worth of cash still a good rule of thumb or would you increase that now, based on your recent experiences?

 Good question. I had been planning to move for sometime so I had more than that read to go. More money certainly makes things easier. Yes, I’ve mentioned that a months worth of expenses in cash is a good idea in case of emergencies such as bugging out. Keep in mind that too often people don’t keep any cash at all or just very little of it. Sometimes you see bug out bags with a few 20s or 50s but little else.

Money is one of the three essentials I mentioned in the “3 Must have items when bugging out of the Country” video for a good reason. While credit cards are readily accepted in most places, it just doesn’t work that way when there’s complications and hard cash rules. Even during normal time cash appeals to people in a certain way and can land you good deals. For example when buying used cars or furniture, “so whats the final price, cash in hand right now?” are words that will get you some discount more often than not. Other times you just cant get around it. Some hotels will ask for a card of some sort, getting car insurance in some countries requires a local bank account, and its difficult to do that with no credit history.

In terms of how much cash you need based on my recent experience, I’d have to say now that a month’s worth of cash is indeed a bare minimum so as to make such a huge change in your life and the life of your family with an acceptable level of comfort and safety. Just landing in some country with only the clothes on your back and little else and expect to be taken care for by family, friends or the estate is a desperate, last resource idea. I’d say that two months worth of expenses would be more realistic. Consider that the plane ticket alone for getting out of there to begin with would consume most of a typical family’s monthly budget.

A good way of knowing more accurately how much you would need would be to make plans ahead of time. Leaving a country with no prior planning is risky and bold to say the least.
Know where it is that you would be moving to. Contact family or friends there and see if you could count on them and hear their advice. No family, no friends? Make friends then! Choose a country that suits you based on cultural equivalence, hopefully a place where you can speak the language fluently.
Once you chose one location or two try traveling there and getting to know your way around. I left for good having never been to Ireland before but it took a lot of researching, I have had experience in moving before and given that I’ve been seriously involved in survival and preparedness for over a decade I may have more experience in these things than the average Joe. For most people, I would not recommend relocating to a country you haven’t visited and spent some time in.

After making up your mind regarding what country you would move to if you had to do so, work on a budget, the more realistic and detailed it is the better. Think rent (don’t forget the deposit) car rental, eventual car purchase, insurance, cost of living, electricity and heating bills, etc. Take a look at the country’s average income to have a better idea of what two months worth of expenses would look like. Try finding out how much a family similar to yours would spend, and when finding different opinions go for the least favorable as probably the most realistic. Another way of looking it would be taking the average income. Supposedly a small family should be able to get by with that and a larger one would probably do ok with two average incomes per household. Once you have an idea of the budget your looking at, add 20% as unexpected expenses and error margin.


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