Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bug out and Relocating: Destination Criteria

Hi, I am a recent visitor to your blog. I have been researching a bug
out location (I'm in the US, formerly in Los Angeles, but relocated to
Montana for obvious reasons). I have seen many like Doug Casey touting
Argentina, and others touting other places in South America/Panama. I
have been skeptical, which is what brought me to your website. I was
very interested to know that you picked Ireland. I am of Irish decent,
and have considered Ireland, except that they are notoriously
socialistic. I would really be interested to read more about your
decision to move there, all the criteria you considered before making
the move, and all the pros and cons you have discovered since moving
there. Also keeping us updated on Ireland as you learn more over time
would be great. If you would do this I would be eternally grateful,
Thanks a ton! -Jim-

Hi Jim,
If socialism isn’t what you want, then South America in general is a bad idea. You have strong authoritarian socialism, leaning towards tinpot dictatorship in many cases. Argentina was already a bad choice 12 months ago, today only a fool would voluntarily move there. With a Chavez-like authoritarian government, you might as well go to Venezuela and get over it. Extreme corruption, restriction on transferring funds, a ban on foreign currencies and a rip off  “official” exchange rate (about 40% less than the real USD to Peso rate) that makes it very expensive for foreigners. The latest news is official government indoctrination in schools and preschools! How about what I wrote in a recent article, about the government recruiting  from within prisons themselves and assassins, murderers and rapists getting an out of jail pass not a year after their conviction? The president´s words? “Its for purposes of social reinsertion”…
Our close friends and family tell us two things very often. The first one is “Don’t come back”, the second one is “you left just in time”.

About my relocation criteria, I’ve written and made videos about it before but here’s the general idea:

1)Your relocation and especially your international bug out location (fancy word for relocating in a hurry!) should be a country in which you can hold a legal status as a resident. Some people take this for granted or underestimate it, but unless you’re pretty wealthy you may only be welcomed as a tourist for a short period of time. With money you can claim to have the funds to start a company of some sort which most countries will welcome. In certain countries retired people are welcomed as well if they show sufficient income. Either this or you get a job visa, which of course would be hard to do in short notice. Family or good friends in the country of destination may help though.
 Another option is going to a place where you hold second citizenship. Thanks to having dual citizenship, I could choose from any Mercosur South American country or anywhere within the European Union, so that narrowed down my criteria for a place to move to when needing to do so in a hurry. For many years I had been trying to move to USA instead, but with the tough immigration laws and us having to leave fast after seeing the rapid deterioration after Kirchners reelection we had to go with plan B.

2)First world life and stability. I had enough of 3rd world life experience. Maybe to some it sounds exotic and exciting, to me it brings memories of corruption, poverty, decadence and foul smells on the streets. If at all possible, I want to live in a first world country. 

3)Climate. Not too cold, not too warm and with a good supply of water. Extreme temps cost money during good times and can cost your life during SHTF events, and water isnt that far behind in importance. This basically means to avoid deserted locations, the northwest of Argentina is a good example of a place to avoid due to desert climate alone. Many parts of Australia being desert have this same problem.  It would seem that simply living close to a river takes care of this aspect, but in a desert climate rivers may run low or even dry up entirely. On the other hand, if you need water in Ireland you just pull a cup through the window and wait for a minute or two… The negative side here is that the general cloudy and rainy climate may be too much for some, especially those easily depressed. 

4)Safety. A place where people walk around without being worried about kidnappings and armed robberies 24/7. Having that safety means the world of a difference to us, and we see that people used to living safe just take it for granted. While crime can be found everywhere not all places are the same. In some places you live caged up, I lived that way most of my life, so much that a window without burglar bars seems ridiculously unsafe to me, I’m still getting used to the idea. While theres places of the world where most homes will have them, there’s others that no matter how much you drive around there’s none to be seen. Northern Ireland would be such a place. Its safer than England, even Scotland.  

5)Cost of living. You may like a place a lot but maybe cant afford to life there. The cost of living was an important factor as well, but we had made up our minds about paying more if we had to just to live better. If I wanted to save money I would have just stayed in Buenos Aires in some gated community. I could have moved to an Argentine province and live a more opulent lifestyle. Having lived in the province of Cordoba for two years before, you could say I’ve already been there and done that. I much rather live a normal middle class life in a first world country than live in a 3rd world one surrounded my poverty while I sip wine and feel good about myself. Different people want different things I guess. But to me the freedom of living in a truly safe part of the world is just priceless, and only those that are ignorant regarding how bad it is when you don’t have such freedom can take it for granted.  A good guideline to go by is looking at the medium income per household for the country that gives you a basic idea of the cost of living. There’s people making less or more but at least you know you can live there. The medium income also has to be taken into account with the general status of the country itself. The medium income of Bolivia, Paraguay or Argentina for that matter will not get you a middle class quality of living by first world standards. In developing nations the society is usually very polarized, with a majority of poor, a small rich elite and a relatively small number of middle class society. 

6)Economic Stability. Already looking towards Europe I wanted as stable an economy as possible. While Ireland appealed to me in many ways, its recent economic crisis was hitting to close to home. Then I started looking toward Northern Ireland, which while still Ireland Island its part of UK, therefore has a different economy, even a different currency (British pounds instead of Euros)

7)Culture and language. We wanted to be in a place where we knew the language. Huge Point: Moving somewhere where you cant speak the local language is a bad idea, makes everything 10 times worse. In Europe, Spain would be the only country where they speak Spanish but first its limited to most of the country but not all of it. They speak other dialects in some of Spain´s biggest cities. Besides that, Spain has been going through a big crisis for the last few years and the situation isn’t getting any better. That left us with UK and Ireland. For anyone making any plans of possible relocation, its important to know a second language, hopefully of the country you consider bugging out to.  For Americans, I’d say that Spanish is a smart choice as a second language. 

8)Narrow it down. After looking for a specific place I had a certain criteria that I’ve mentioned before. I wanted a safe middle class town, with good hospitals, schools etc. While not within a mayor city I did want to be close enough in case I need to go there, maybe start going often. The specific town you end up in is as much of a call as it is choosing the country itself. Moving in to one place or another may make a world of a difference so choose wisely.


James family outpost, Iowa. said...

Jim, with all due respect, you're in Montana - why would you bug out of there? Anyhow it was a very good question, and a good answer, thank you both. My opinion Jim is consider coastal Southern Alaska or Canada. - J.J. in Iowa
P.S. Ferfal, love the book and the blog, glad you found your way to the Green Island.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can answer this, as someone who has made a choice of security:-
In a recent blog discussion on being able to be armed, I was on the side of saying I'd rather live in a country where violence is so rare that you dont need to be armed. The other side were saying they couldnt imagine not being able to be armed whenever they want, and no matter how bad the violence and danger got where they lived, they would never move somewhere where they couldnt conceal carry.
You've seen both sides of it, what would your choice be?

Don Williams said...

Re Jame's question " Jim..you're in Montana--why would you bug out there?"
How about this?


US Minuteman nuclear ICBMS are spread across a large area around
Great Falls , Montana. Target Number One in a Russian attack.

If Putin gets an itchy trigger finger, not even the cockroaches will survive.

Don Williams said...

Much less James Wesley Rawles.

Don Williams said...

1) I think military security of a refuge needs to be considered as the USA's relative power wanes (huge debt, aging population,etc.) and other nations like China grow stronger. My wife's wealthy cousin is relocating to New Zealand
because he fears social unrest and high taxes are coming to the USA but I think he is making a mistake. New Zealand has no military forces of any
consequence and depends on Australia for protection.

2) However, the population of Australia is 20 million, New Zealand's is 4 million and there are 3 BILLION just to the north across a chain of islands.

Japanese submarines freely cruised around New Zealand in WWI and Japanese planes flew unopposed over her cities until President Roosevelt sent 100,000 Marines
to protect her. Australia would be speaking Japanese today if not for the US Pacific fleet. She may be speaking Chinese tomorrow. China just bought
38 square MILES of New Zealand farmland (Crafar Farms).

3) Plus New Zealand and Australia are going to receive swarms of refugees in the future --there are several Polynesian nations with hundreds of thousands of people living on islands less than 6 feet above the Pacific. See what happens when global warming melts the polar ice caps and raises the sea levels. The nation of Kiribati is already pressing Australia and New Zealand to accept its 100,000 people
as permanent refugees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiribati#Independence_to_present_day

Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC list Ferfal. Thanks SO MUCH for the great blog, the book and for giving of yourself so much. Your readers really do appreciate it!
P.S. -So, how's the Irish Whiskey? You should tell us a few of your favorite 'things' about your newly adopted country!

Maldek said...

Hi Jim and FerFal,

having relocated myself and family from europe to south america a few years ago, I would like to offer you a different point of view.

0) Do not bug out. Prepare for the worst where you are now. Bug out is also called "refugee" and you do not want to be one. You do that to survive a desaster - you do not do that because of "a bad feeling". Got it?

If we talk "relocating" that is a different story entirely. Relocating is done while times are good. Quality of life is ok and you have the time, money and social resources to plan a relocation.

You normaly do that to IMPROVE your standard of living. To find "greener" pastures, so to speak.

1) You better plan at least 1 year ahead of relocation how to meet the requirement for permanent residency. Dont expat and "see how it goes" - bad idea.

2+4) I have had enough of 1st world lifestyle, its overregulation, high taxes and complicated laws.

Corruption works both ways - if you can afford to pay the corrupt, it really makes your life a lot easier.

Poverty works both ways too. Sure crime is a problem and you have to protect yourself and your worldly stuff. (Read *YOU* - dont rely on the police to do your dirty work.)

On the other hand poor people work for peanuts and you have the luxury of having a chica for your house (and bed if you wish so), servants, workers and so on.

As long as you have an income (or enough money already) from US/EU you can really enjoy life in SA.

5) Cost of living is a biggy. With U$ 2000 per month you live somewhat ok in most of europe/US but you would live very well in Paraguay for example.

6)Language is very important. Dont expect a single latino to speak english. Be happy if they understand your castillano.

Culture: The western nations (EUSA) have a culture of socialism, high taxes and lots of regulations. And yes my american friends, that does apply to the US - very socialist.

8) The stronger the goverment and the bigger its share of the economy, the more socialist of a state you have. Great britain is an excellent example of such a state.
Many, many rules and regulations - freedom in my book looks different.

But it is just as FerFal said, personal preference makes all the difference in the world.

Don Williams said...

1) In contrast to the Pacific Rim, there are good reasons why a LOT of Smart, Wealthy people fleeing their countries (Russian oligarchs, former African dictators, Greek shipowners, Saudis, French tax evaders,etc ) have taken refuge in the UK and invested huge sums in London

2) A major reason is that they get the full force of US military protection but without the
annoying US government sticking its nose into their business accounts and extracting taxes.
The City of London rivals New York as a major financial center --courts protect property rights and the government is eager to attract foreign investment.

3) There are some strong reasons why the USA supported the UK in WWI, WWII and the Cold War.

a) The Pentagon looks at the capabilities, not just the spoken intentions, of nations.
For 100 years, a unified Europe has been the one entity on earth with the assets to challenge US power. That continues to be true in the present, especially if the EU allied itself with China or Russia. So our policy is the same as the UK has pursued for 600 years: Divide and conquer

USA GDP: $15 Trillion
EU GDP: $17.3 Trillion

China GDP: $7.3 Trillion
Russia GDP: $1.9 Trillion
UK GDP: $2.4 Trillion

Ref: CIA Factbook 2011

b) For that purpose, the UK is our unsinkable aircraft carrier -- our springboard for invasions into Europe.

Plus she controls useful points for our Navy -- the Gibraltar chokepoint, the Baltic chokepoint, Diego Garcia, Ascension Island, Bermuda, northern exit for Russian arctic ports like Murmansk and Archangel, etc.

c) The US developed the atomic bomb due to early warning from the UK and while we initially cut her out from the Manhattan program we resumed collaboration after she developed nukes on her own. (Klaus Fuchs lived because he gave the atomic bomb design to the UK --in whose custody he was held -- as well as to the Soviet Union.) Today the UK has her own Trident submarine with enough MIRVed missiles to turn significant parts of Russia or China into a pile of ashes.

4) For the survivalist worse case, the UK also has several backdoor exits. There are several 2 mile long airplane runways located in the northern wildernesses of Greenland, Canada, and Maine USA.

Those formed a major air ferry route to the UK in WWII (via Iceland with the Faroe Islands as backup). During WWII, Churchill had plans to evacuate from the UK via this North Atlantic Air Ferry Route and carry on the fight from Canada if need be.


Some people even fly it today with just Cessnas and Pipers but I think they are nuts.


5) And while the English Channel is a formidable moat to military invaders from the European mainland
(if protected by the Royal Navy and US Navy), the Channel is easily crossed by sailboat if someone wanted to leave the UK for the European mainland or head south to Africa.

Plus the Trade Winds and calm weather make the trip to the Caribbean from Spain a reasonably safe trip for a yacht (even Columbus managed it.) Note also that It's about 1 mile across calm water from the British Virgin Islands to the US Virgin
Islands (which are part of the USA, not a protectorate.)

Anonymous said...

"Northern Ireland would be such a place. Its safer than England, even Scotland"

Hmmm not so sure this is true. considering the war that raged there for 20-30 years. There are A LOT of weapons and ammo stashed there with 2 very bitter 'gangs' still very much alive and kicking (maybe not so visual now) guess the only problem then is you've got to pick which team will win.

Anonymous said...

As an european, i will be you i'll choose Iceland, Norway or Finland instead of Ireland.

Anonymous said...

I saw someone else comment about Iceland. I wonder what you think of that? I looked into it based on their- in my opinion- appropriate response to the financial crisis. They seem like they are pro-freedom and common sense. They seem cohesive and not likely to collapse into rioting the way some other countries might. But on the other hand the cost of living is high and the population is very small and they are rather isolated.

Unknown said...

Very good tips there, and I do agree about Australia – I live there! Ashfield to be exact. I know of a few who have place their belongings in a self storage facility to travel. Some finally settle somewhere else, returning only to have a garage sale for their items in storage. Some never settled for long and return because they simply cannot take the culture or even the food. I suppose seeing a country as a tourist and as a citizen are two different perspectives altogether, the former has fun, the latter has to pay taxes.