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How to take a Strategic Vacation
Let's say you're awake and aware. You follow the real news, and don't even bother turning on the TV anymore. At some point, a line will be passed and you may choose to take a "strategic vacation", leaving your home country because of a government clampdown. You hope to come back in the future, but if things don't improve - you're entirely comfortable living abroad. You're aware that the DHS recently purchased more bullets than there are people in the United States, that FEMA camps are being prepared throughout the U.S. with the fences pointing inward, and not outward, and that Obama recently passed an executive decree called National Defense Resources Preparedness. Reading that, I get flashbacks to Hitler's enabling act and the false-flag Reichstag fire he used to obtain dictatorial power. So if at some point things get really bad, and the fascists in charge decide they want to bring down an iron curtain and stop both people and capital from leaving the country - by that time you already want to be out of the country.
What you need to take a strategic vacation
That means two things:
Keep an eye on the news, both local and national. Use the websites I've linked to in the sidebar. You won't get the real news from your TV or from any mainstream media outlet. Forget about them now - they're all owned by just five corporations who are very much interested in the Status Quo. You want to predict when things are going to get really bad so that you can leave before the borders are closed due to some bogus reason like "national security".
Have Your Shit Together. Or HYST. This isn't something you do at the last moment once you've decided to leave. This is something you prepare beforehand, and then just grab and go when the time requires it.
Have Your Shit Together
This is similar to having a bug-out bag, except you might never come back, and you probably don't need to survive in the woods. This is the kind of bug-out bag that is used when civilization is still intact, but when your national government is about to start rounding people up. I've been writing this from the point of view of someone living in the United States, but this is true of anywhere. Half the world's governments have gone mad with power, and the other half are waiting to join the bandwagon.
No. 1 - Get yourself a second passport
Your government might put a hold on its citizens (subjects) from being able to move, but it's more diplomatically tricky restricting the citizens of another country. This is why it's a good idea to reside in a country as a foreigner, or better yet, to have dual citizenship. A simple Google search will reveal a ton of advice on how to obtain dual citizenship.
No. 2 - Scan all your precious photographs
You probably have tons of albums of family photos dating back to the pre-digital age. Who doesn't? But what happens if there's a house fire, or you simply have to suddenly leave and never come back? So scan all your family photos, but don't forget to make backups of any important documents too. You want to make backups of all your documents such as insurance papers, passport, ID cards, driver's licenses, home or car ownership papers, etc. This might take you a few hours, but you'll have huge peace of mind later. Remember to store the scanned documents in an encrypted file container. I've been using Truecrypt and it's worked wonderfully so far. Check out my article on anonymous browsing and computer security for more detailed advice on encryption and password vulnerabilities.
No. 3 - Move your wealth beforehand
If you've got all your retirement funds sitting in one account, denominated in one currency - you're just asking for trouble. Open some foreign bank accounts and start moving your money around. If you have no money (like me), you still want to have a foreign account open with a little extra cash just in case. What if you have to buy a ticket online, and the local banks are all closed due to insolvency? If you're looking to buy accommodation, consider diversifying abroad. Rather than buying an expensive house in your home country, why not buy a few small apartments or chalets in multiple foreign countries? You can rent them out while you don't need them, but if you need to take a strategic vacation, you can settle in and won't find yourself desperately looking for accommodation the way a lot of your countrymen will be (because you won't be the only person fleeing potential persecution).
No. 4 - Pre-pack a suitcase
Ideally, you want a suitcase pre-packed with everything you will need. That means you may have to invest in some redundancies, like having a spare toothbrush, netbook, hard disk with personal data, etc., all stored away. Time can be really crucial here, and you don't want to be running around like a headless chicken packing all your stuff at the last moment. Not only are you losing valuable time, but you're liable to forget important things too.
A comprehensive packing list for when you might never be coming home
Your aim is to be able to start life anew at your destination (or someplace else) if your strategic vacation turns into a permanent leave of absence. So here are a few points to keep in mind:
Foreign cash! Local cash will be useful for getting you out of the country, but once you're outside...
Assume banks might not be working. If martial law is about to be declared in response to a global financial collapse, for example, then you want cash on hand - not virtual ones and zeroes in a bank's database. On the other hand, if you want to order tickets online, you want money in the bank too. Diversification is really important here.
Clothes you can wear to work at a new job.
Print-outs of your résumé so that you can immediately start looking for a new job.
A computer with an internet connection. Maybe that means buying a 3G dongle that works for your entire home country. If possible, this would provide you with unfettered access to the internet and information gathering while you're on the move and trying to leave the country. Of course, during a clampdown internet access might be censored or blocked altogether, so have at least some basic proxy configurations you can use.
A (second) hard drive with all your data backed up. If you can, fit as much as possible on some SD or MicroSD cards. Put them in different places. They're small, so will likely go unnoticed. If someone steals your laptop or netbook, your data will still be with you. Remember to encrypt everything!
A hard copy of all your important information. If your phone numbers, addresses, and any other vital information is stored in electronic format, it will prove mightily useless if it becomes inaccessible. I keep a small waterproof memo book with all my vital information written down.
Pack clothing for a year-round stay. Not only might your vacation turn into a more permanent exile, but you might find yourself moving to yet other countries. Unless you've got a lot of cash, I recommend having clothes for all seasons. In fact, I think it's a good idea to do this even if you do have lots of cash.
Don't put anything in your suitcase that is vital to you. Keep a smaller bag (which you wouldn't check on a plane) with you at all times. If you arrive at your destination but your suitcase does not - you should still be fine with your smaller bag.
Don't over-pack. You don't really need to bring more than three shirts, or two pairs of trousers. Half a dozen socks and pairs of underwear will do just fine, too. The last thing you want to be doing when you're trying to escape with time working against you, is struggling with a heavy and bulky load of crap you don't really need. If (for a man) your hygiene kit consists of more than a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a small shaving kit - then you're doing it wrong. Women have a tendency to over-pack even more than men. Think about what's really necessary.
Disaster preparedness is about hope, empowerment, and being positive about your ability to deal with whatever may happen, not cowering in fear and feeling helpless
The essence of disaster preparedness is being ready for as many different scenarios as possible. And while your neighbor is either blissfully ignorant of what's going on, or desperately trying to stuff his photo albums into a suitcase that won't close - you're already out of the country and your family is safe. And all because you were willing to do a little preparation, which frankly benefits you regardless of whether you'll ever need to take a strategic vacation or not.