Guest Post: Bugging Out of the D.C. Burbs

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Guest Post: Bugging Out of the D.C. Burbs


Mrs. Cog


(And now a few words from my better half on creating a lifestyle change we can live with. - Cognitive Dissonance)


If there is one thing I dramatically misjudged during the great looting of the past five years, it has been the depth of the bag of tricks the banksters and politicians could use to perpetuate the game. How many times have we said in the threads here at Zero Hedge "This is it. Cue the deer Tyler"? We fall for it again and again. The dungeon masters are so artful in their game to pit us against each other simply because it works. If we are focused on "them" we are not focused on "us." Whether it is them at the NSA or the perceived enemies of the state, the state itself, or the crooks at 33 Liberty, our angry energy is collected and dispelled in ranting threads which are largely unproductive at bringing about any real change. In the end, we can only change ourselves. I think self reliance is perhaps the most important act of revolutionary change available.

Whether change comes roaring into our lives express freight train style via collapse or as a crumbling away of the periphery of what we thought made our individual world stable, the leading edge of the storm is here. Change is here whether we like it or not. Options are still available, but it is getting harder and harder to maneuver. Cog and I have elected to completely change our lifestyle so that we can at least try to deflect or redirect the nature of the change rather than waiting for it to be forced upon us.

After spending many months choosing the criteria we would use to best position our family for the future, there were several discoveries. There is no shortage of cheaply priced homes for sale in very rural areas. Although it is not "the norm" yet, other city folks are bugging out (permanently) to live in the sticks. Within a week of putting our new home under contract there were two other contingent cash offers on it. We had considered waiting to buy because the prices would be dropping dramatically when that shadow inventory hits the market. But we don't really know that for certain.

If inflation has set in when the excess housing inventory becomes available then we could miss the opportunity to buy at today's prices. What if capital controls (something we cannot accurately time) prevent us from moving funds around to pay for the property? We actually liquidated some of our PMs so that we would have no mortgage, considering it the act of trading one precious tangible asset for another. What if it becomes illegal or a huge red flag to sell physical gold or silver? The truth is no one really knows just what future constraints the banking or political elite will impose upon us so we have chosen to err on the side of caution.

Conversations we’ve had with a wide variety of people were by far the most revealing aspect of our decision to move. While interviewing the first moving company representative we found that there was an unusual trend going on in the DC area. People were moving in and out in droves, a phenomenon we were told usually only occurs immediately after a presidential election brings a change in leadership to usher out the old and in with the new. Not only were people moving out of DC to all the usual places such as the West Coast, Texas, and Florida, but there was a large and peculiar exodus to strange out of the way locations such as Montana, Colorado and the Dakotas. She was at a loss to explain why.

Our neighbors, mostly employees of the Federal government or companies who support it, have had interesting reactions to our news about moving far away. When we get to the part where we somewhat tactfully say, "we don't think things will be improving anytime soon with the economy or other conditions in this country..." everyone nods vehemently in agreement. They know. They, like us, support the very system that is bringing about our social destruction, yet we are all bound to operate within it. Complete strangers who we strike up conversations with, like vendors who come to work on our current house and see our boxes ready to move, all understand why we would leave a nice, large condo and move to a house on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I keep expecting someone to ask if we have lost our minds, but no one does. The cat appears to be out of the bag.

Of our numerous encounters with present and former government workers, the more "inside" their experience and knowledge (their naturally gained intel) the more adamant their agreement is that indeed something wicked this way comes. One former Special Forces and FBI employee, now a small businessman, practically said run. <Talk about confirmation endorphins clobbering you over the head.> Thank you sir, I am in scadaddling mode!

This whole self sufficiency thing isn't easy either. Having heirloom (non hybrid) seeds doesn't imply organic gardening knowledge, let alone the ability to preserve the food and the seeds for next season. I have spent more time in the past year reading about herbal, alternative and emergency medicine than reading charts or attempting to trade. Although I have no intention of deliberately living without electricity (the new place has DSL and central heat/air), I am trying to prepare to take us off grid if only to combat future soaring energy costs. Hand tools for the garden, manual systems to cut logs for the “water” wood stove, solar panels for certain necessities... I am still astounded as I learn how "not" self sufficient I have lived my entire life without ever realizing it.

Acquiring the tools and the knowledge to begin living this way has been an adventure unto itself. It turns out it is far less expensive to buy books than to use all the printer ink and paper to print and retain, then learn the new skills we’ll need. Although I will certainly use it as long as I can, I am not depending upon electricity to enable me to read my .pdf eBooks and articles because that would require me to rely on outside help, in this case the power company. It's now evident to me that I am going to need many books to understand how people lived before the age of modern convenience and specialization. I am discovering that the actual tools needed are not what I thought they would be.

One recent purchase was a grain mill that can be powered manually or electrically. The mill will enable me to make our own flour from alternative grains I can grow or purchase in bulk and then store. After all it would be silly to be making maple syrup from our trees if we didn't have pancakes to dribble the syrup on. We also have a gluten intolerant child and I am not going to gamble that specialty foods will always be available or affordable to feed her in the future. Turns out there are really only three decent brands of hand operated grain mills available and they vary dramatically in quality and price. Do you think there will be any available when the first hint of a real food crisis finally takes hold in the mainstream media? How about solar ovens, dehydrators, pressure canners and the like?

There’s also the matter of being able to acquire what you need. Over the last year we have learned that many home improvement items from the big box stores are defective, warped, substandard, you name it. This includes brand name products. Quality control is not what it used to be. Things are made out of cheaper materials than in the past. In addition, processing the transactions for various purchases seems to be glitching more often. Cog was none too happy when his check/debit card was double billed for a tractor just a few weeks ago. This was done by a major corporation who kicked him around to several different departments without solving the problem. Thank goodness he IS Cog and could finally resort to his mind control powers in order to get resolution lol.

Step by step we are accomplishing what we set out to do, but it has taken a great deal of patience. For everything we set in motion we expect it to go wrong at some point and it often does. Just getting our utilities turned on with the services we were assured were available became a major problem. We consciously steeled ourselves for these types of troubles when we made the decision to purchase a home at the end of a back road, off a back road, off the back road on a mountain. If we had not learned to anticipate these problems I am not sure how we would have mentally handled all the roadblocks. I cannot imagine trying to do what we have done in the past six months in a year or two from now.

After all the effort and work towards establishing a new lifestyle it turns out that where we are going WE are "them." We are the “city folk” who think they can make a go of it in the country. We are the ones who used to work for banks and play in the stock market and think we have answers. We are the new people at the farmer's market with a funny accent and strange ideas and clothes. We are the one's invading the bunny, turkey, deer and bear stomping grounds. It turns out "they" is a relative term. It is not lost upon us that we have our work cut out in order to begin to fit in to our new community and show our value as good neighbors.

Our new digs are not exactly Galt's Gulch, completely independent from a decaying society, but one step at a time we are withdrawing our consent from the system we were indoctrinated into from birth to rely upon. At some point, with someone somewhere, the simple act of withdrawing will be the snowflake in the avalanche that will be the end of the long con, at least this leg of it. I know that I can once again sleep peacefully at night, knowing that we are working towards depending only on ourselves going forward.

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Mongoose's picture

@Aerojet. In one of the past hurricanes to threaten the Houston area (Rita, I believe) there was a massive (and overdone) exodus. The highway grid lock was what one would expect when over one million people attempt to exit a metropolitan area at the same time. Sometime about the second day of the exodus, of the seemingly thousands of "on scene reports" during the local news casts, one had a video clip featuring an adult male indignantly whining and complaining about how the authorities (Read Gov.) needed to DO something! "We got people out here needing food, babies needing formula,..." At which point I immediately thought, Wait, you live on the Gulf Coast where hurricanes threats are a way of life. You know it's out there like 5 days in advance. You decide to take the local government's advice and haul ass. Yet knowing all of the above, you have made absolutley no preparation to feed yourself or your family for at least a few days?

To me, the above really drove home the point that there is a significant percentage of the population in these United States that simply will not think ahead much less plan and then execute said plan. They depend on others to make sure their needs can be met if there is a natural disaster, or any disaster for that matter. How many have considered that to get it right regarding the whole "interdependent" thing, it is predicated on first developing yourself through the dependent, and then independent stages before you can have interdependent groups? The more independent you can be when the need arises, the more choices you will have regarding who to associate with, who to conduct business with, and who your allegiences are with, period.

I read one piece of advice that said, "Don't be a refugee." What I've told my family is, "plan so that you are not in the crowd of 9000 in some Walmart parking lot waiting for a tractor trailer to come in with supplies of MRE's and water. You will be in a herd of cattle and will be treated as such."

OK, back to killin' snakes.

ZerOhead's picture

Congratulations on your big move... and this is one of the best threads ever... geez what 16,000 views now? crap... that's more than an NHL hockey game...

Two teensie issues...

1) Do not worry about the bears. I have an extremely large population of black bears due to the blueberries/raspberries and rich meadows. Do make sure however that there is no human food around for the bears or they become conditioned to people as they associate them with food. Human food is like crack for them when you consider a bears normal diet. Clear the trails you have out wide with good sight lines and make noise when your berries etc. are in season. A problem usually occurs from sneaking up on them accidentally and startling them at which point the fight or flight mechanisms kick in. Do not run from them... it tells them that you are a prey species. A can of peper spray on a belt is a good idea as is an air horn. Chances are you will never need either. Keep an extra eye out around hunting season... all bets are off on wounded animals... oh and keep your distance if there are cubs.

2) Humans. They will violate all of their values and beliefs and (usually decency) to meet their needs. Never ever forget this. If things do progress to collapse as bad decisions are compounded by worse decisions it is best that even your friends (I know that is awful but it's a personal experience thing here) do not know about your food supplies etc. Anything you tell anyone will soon be known by all so be selective with your informational disclosures.

Other than that pick your friends wisely and stick close to the good ones.

Later Gators! Love you both and enjoy your voyage from the aquarium of 'civilization' back into the sea of nature where all happy and healthy little fishies belong!

Godspeed to you both!...

Spanky's picture


Observed reality...

Anything you tell anyone will soon be known by all... -- ZerOhead

You've made your pitch... what is your process? It serves no point censoring yourself, as I think there are no magic bullets. Only hard, smart work.

ZerOhead's picture

Very very briefly...

You strip out anything remotely partisan in this Bill... ie Tea Party > Solution + Lower taxes bigger military etc... Occuppy > Solution + Higher taxes and bvanking regulations etc. to just the bare essentials that WILL make a difference and can be supported by nearly everyone...

You give it a nice name... hmmm... nope Patriot Act is already taken... perhaps LIBERTY ACT?... WE THE PEOPLE ACT?... it's kind of hard to be opposed to Liberty and We the People after all...

You wait until the time is right... 2014?.. 2016? (better date) and you embark on a public relations campaign to run the Bill.

Are the local Democratic and Republican candidates (or others) FOR or AGAINST the Bill. Will they publicly pledge to vote for it and resign if they don't? If not will the other candidate? Close race? More MSM coverage...

If the Bill is written properly and is widely known and will be supported by the public it may just convince enough Democrat & Repuplicans to agree to support it to make it pass...

You only get ONE nail for this hammer however... bcause if it works it will be copied... and the result will become massive noise in the system. But the public (oh fuck) will finally become part of the process..

Lot's of hurdles Sparky... lots of potholes... and I know most of them but not all... but it takes the heretofore proprietary process out of the partys corrupted Leadeships hands and puts it back into the peoples...

More later... dinner is on...

ZerOhead's picture

No... not a Norquist strategy per se but understanding the POWER of such a strategy... understanding the POWER of an idea with the right message capable of going viral when the time is right.

The time is not yet right.

It is already obvious that the majority of people know the system is disfunctional... just as it is obvious to someone who's car is making an unusual noise that it is in need of repair.

There simply is no mechanic to take this problem to to be solved. Less than 5% fully understand the true nature of this problem... and of those 5% who 'know' less than 10% of them will ACT because they lack the multidisciplinarial background necessary to appreciate the magnetude and ultimate consequences ... and so as long as the system manages to function well enough to meet their minimum needs... there will be no impetus or even search for change.

One day that will change radically... the cracks are everywhere... but the people must become more educated on these matters.

In the meantime get yourself a nice place away from the thundering herds that you can enjoy and sustain yourself from and make yourself some good friendships. Enjoy the ride... there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop what is going to happen from happening at this late stage in the game anyway.

Expect to lose quite a few of your freedoms but find consolation in the fact that North America is still the best horse in the glue factory. I would hate to live in Africa, Asia or even Europe.



Spanky's picture

I'm sorry but we disagree, fundamentally, on several points.


The time is not yet right... 

There simply is no mechanic to take this problem to to be solved...

In the meantime get yourself a nice place away from the thundering herds that you can enjoy and sustain yourself from and make yourself some good friendships. Enjoy the ride...

Expect to lose quite a few of your freedoms but find consolation in the fact that North America is still the best horse in the glue factory. -- ZerOhead


My first thought was to get all up in your face, and scream "FUCK YOU"!

But I am a civilized man and cannot stomache this.


You condemn innocents without your forethought and wherewithal to simply burn? I've seen the ride, and it is a mistake to think you will sit back and enjoy it... No matter your station or place. You understand nothing of power, and certainly not your own.


I apologise but I am quite simply shocked...

ZerOhead's picture

Spanky... no need to take this the wrong way.

Actually my sentiments pretty much match yours but after witnessing year after year the public's (non) response to revelation after revelation of corruption and sociopathic behaviour on behalf of their 'leaders' staring them in the face ... and yet still they choose they look the other way... I am now inclined to quite simply say "Fuck them".

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816.

When the time is right and they finally understand and APPRECIATE the future that awaits them like an animal coralled between two fences as it heads into the slaughterhouse... then perhaps something can be done.

Until then you are wasting your time unless you are working on the preparation of alternative systems for when the timing is right.

Until then all you can do (much like myself and the Cogs) is prepare yourself.



Spanky's picture

I find it prudent not to discuss my lack of preparation.

Until then you are wasting your time unless you are working on the preparation of alternative systems for when the timing is right. -- ZerOhead

If you do not plan to do so, how can you affect the outcome when the time is ripe? Of course that is what I'm discussing. City boys sure tend to make thaings difficult... when simplicity is of the essence.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

I'm looking for opinion leaders to advocate a strategy that exposes us the least, by using the popular mythos of the Constitution and Bill of Rights politically against our adversaries. But you have to sign on for real democracy, tempered only by Constitutional process to make it happen. That Constitutional process is robust, and biased against the elite -- we control it by popular ratification.

However, the key to success is discrediting the elite twin-parties and de-legitmizing our current political leadership by voting against them to invoke that process... taking them out of the game. It's a political choice made in the ballot box. Peacefully.

This is the implicit promise the authors of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution included -- democratic evolution rather than bloody revolution to throw off would-be tyrants. All you must do is consider this question: Do you consent to what the US government is doing? And vote your conscience.

Anything else you care to do is simply up to you. But I'll walk point.

It's my turn you see. And it's personal. If there is ambush ahead, you'll see me go down. And you'll know two things immediately: Musta been doin something right to draw that much attention. Watch your ass.

And if you need further validation of just how powerful our use of the Constitution is, and how scared the elite that we might use it:

Now whom was that Georgetown history prof that pointed a young Clinton at a Rhodes scholarship?

Mrs. Cog's picture

When the time is right and they finally understand and APPRECIATE the future that awaits them like an animal coralled between two fences as it heads into the slaughterhouse... then perhaps something can be done.

Until then you are wasting your time unless you are working on the preparation of alternative systems for when the timing is right.

Until then all you can do (much like myself and the Cogs) is prepare yourself.

Thanks ZerOhead for the thoughtful discussion. Sometimes people just seem to need to direct it all outward instead of looking within. I appreciate your continued efforts here.

Spanky's picture

Your new home will provide plenty of time to look within. Good luck and I mean that sincerely.

My mouth is closed most everyday. All day. I'm here because of twenty-five and five year-old girls. Two generations. I would spare them... and my wife.

And if that means getting on here to communicate with the wider world, I'll do it. I know it's recorded, has been for years. That's just SSDD. If it means I sacrifice myself for them... Well, I've risked as much for far less many times. Risk, mortal risk, is an old companion.

One day you'll understand, if you're hungry and fishing for dinner, when you find a bear stealing your catch... talk about natural rights? I like John Locke.

Why should I write now? Indeed, why are you leaving? Because of their increase in domestic paramilitary capability? And clear intent in both legislation and executive orders...

I genuinely don't know whom Snowden represents; himself or... Is he selfless and courageous? Or a cautionary tale? We've got our eyes on you is a chilling message, don't you think? And what better messenger. Snowden himself may not even know. Also note that he hasn't released any information that was not already known. And apparently promises not to, in return for asylum.

So where does that leave us? Directing outward. I found time on tractors best for thinking. The steady, monotonous, hypnotic beat of the diesel down the row. Floating above a fertile black earth, pulling hard against it. And the smell. Pure sensory overload. Deep and rich and rot, sharply punctuated by diesel fumes and exhaust.

But now it's time to write. We can only perfect ourselves so much. I've written before, and pulled back because the popular, fashion and fad driven world didn't seem to care much about reality. And I've never been absolutely sure that I understood it either. I guess it's the natural caution of someone who makes mistakes.

But I don't believe I'm wrong about what is going on around us. Nor that it will take a massive democratic uprising to counter it. And even that might not be enough. But I'm willing to try...

We either find something that binds us together, in spite of our political, philosophical and religious differences, or...

Good luck.

Spanky's picture

A Grover Norquist strategy? 

Before I comment further, may I ask that you consider the following first? 


I no longer try to prove much of anything to anyone. I've researched, written and been published. I've quoted respectable, and mostly establishment, scholars til I'm blue in the face. Nothing beats the one-eyed-god.

Except maybe a virus.

Stop trying to prove it to them. Start trying to give them a choice. They understand choice. And they usually don't have one (esp. in elections)... and they know it. That's why they turn away.

Give them a choice that makes a difference. That's guaranteed to change things. Make them a promise that cannot be broken, unless by themselves. Real democracy is chaotic, messy and somewhat dangerous -- that is why the elite fear it so.

But it is much less dangerous (and destructive) than organized, institutionalized violence. And too many internet chickenhawks seem to be thinking with their trigger fingers, just like those in D.C. Silly rabbits. Politics is war by other means. All other means.

You want to arouse the slumbering masses?

Ask them this question: Do you consent to what the US government is doing?

Give them a way to use their choice to strike fear and confusion into the elite, because of its raw exercise of democratic power. No Candidates, No Consent leads to a Constitutional Convention. A citizens' convention. Because only we can call it. Only we can control it.

But the key to success is calling it by discrediting the elite twin-party at the polls, and having viable candidates ready to stand for immediate election as delegates (in all Congressional districts). 

Tell them it's dangerous. Tell them the truth. Tell them the elite will try to use it against them (because they will). Tell them if they don't act decisively now, they'll have no choice later... Tell them anyone doesn't show up, gets left out.

Step back and let the fur fly...

But, some things require a bit of "engineering". Band of brothers, decentralized, local, autonomous engineering. Perhaps TPTB can keep things floating, economically and financially speaking. But with things so precariously balanced, might not there be some actions, legal and rational actions (like withdrawing all small deposits from a TBTF bank), in which we could engage that might tip that balance? Boycotts. Home gardens. Student debt repudiation...

Just in the meantime, to keep busy... before the elections.


ZerOhead's picture


THEY don't care.

Not yet.

WoodMizer's picture

I frequently relate living in eastern Virginia to living in Berlin before WWII.  Our entire economy is dependant on federal spending, particularly military spending.  Many understand this dependency and it translates into federal fanaticism.  The economy aroung here has split into those who work for the politically connected and those who supplament income through the gray market.  All of my gray market contacts are looking to move; cities like Ashville NC, and Charlottesville VA are rapidly turning into centers of barter.  My only concern is that we will make it easier to crack down on us.  For now we have popular support, but if federal finances get pressed by raising rates the resulting war on tax cheats could get ugly. 

Mrs. Cog's picture

Yes, I must agree I found northeastern Virginia increasingly constricting. The military presence was inescapable there on a daily basis. I think I prefer dealing with the bear.

greatbeard's picture

Congratulations Ms Cog (and Mr Cog)

We bailed three years ago now.  The first time it was city slicker to one of those counties somebody mentioned in a reply, where if you're not second generation you are a newcomer.  I loved the county, and the people were very nice and honest, but they were not receptive to being friendly.  That's was ok, it was our job to fit in, not theirs.

We sold that place (to the first city slicker bailing out that looked at it) and bought another.  This time we're more on the city slicker side of the great divide.  The next town over is very remote and one of those you need to be second generation types of places.  The next town over the other direction is a decent sized college town.  People here are much more receptive to newcomers coming and going, because that's what happens.  There's good and bad to both.

I've always been a "have to stay busy" type of builder/remodeler and gardener.  It's suiting me perfectly to this new life style.  The countryside is brimming with run down properties that can be picked up at a good price.  I seem to be gravitation towards filling a nitch, renovating mini-farms.  The nice thing about this flipping situation is if the music stops, you're already situated in a crash pad of at least some reasonable value.

We're 10 months in our new place and I've competely gutted and rebuilt the interior.  I'm now about 50% done with resheating and re skirting the exterior.  The water system has been rebuilt with a full irrigation system put in.  I put in a fenced 110' X 70' garden plot (very productive this year but all the harvesting and canning is getting in the way of my renovations).  41 fruit trees and 30 blackberries, all individually drip irrigated. 

If the music stops, I'm sitting pretty (not under the illusion anything will be pretty if the music stops, but a darned site prettier than in the city).  If the music doesn't stop I'll flip it for a years income and grab another (I actually buy the next one first, then sell the old one).  It's a nitch I don't see anyone else filling.  And, to be honest, when these places are done I'm bored poo-less.  I love to garden, and preserve, and walk extensively with my dogs, but I have to stay busy interacting with the economy to maintain my sense of connection.

Anyway, there's my ramble on, good luck to both of you.

SgtShaftoe's picture

Great article. Though one question came up. Why stay in the US at all? I only ask because I'm considering changing my backup plan to an international destination (South America). If anything I'd like some feedback on my thought process. Here it goes:

Pros for staying-

*In the US, you won't be as much as an outsider as in a foreign country.
*There is some shadow left of a rule of law and property rights, though those are fading fast. (maybe this point is neutral)
*Familiar language.
*Familiar culture, norms, and informal rules
*If the US crashes and makes a recovery, staying here could be better than other places. If the world crashes, the US could still possibly be more stable than other countries.

Pros for going (or setting up a backup site)-

*Select SA countries have a more organic food system (little to no GMO contamination).
*These countries also have most food grown within 100 miles, local seed source and local developed markets - How's that for resilience!
*SA countries are not new to currency crises.
*Land and farms are Cheap, cheap, cheap, and you can grow absolutely anything!
*2nd passport that won't get turned off by BB when you need it.
*Ability to keep kids far away from the mayhem.
*US government will have a hard time stealing your assets.
*Foreign governments in SA have already shown how they go after assets, and will have a hard time doing so again in the future.
*The people are not on a hair trigger.
*Regime security forces (in the countries being considered) aren't SF wannabe super soldiers.
*Many of these countries aren't over-scaled to the point of structural criticality. They're already small scale - they aren't vulnerable to total collapse.

Not to be a Simon Black groupie, I'm not, and he annoys the shit out of me sometimes; however it seems like there's better value outside the US than inside.

AGuy's picture

Re; Pros/Cons of Intl relocation

1. It very unlikely the natives will have a postive outlook on Americans. When the US breaks down, everyone will hate americans and you will be targeted for genocide. Currently Americans are targeted for ransome where they are kidnapped and held for months or years locked in a cage until the ransom is paid

2. Few if any foriegn nations honor property rights long term. Especially in South America where many of the contries have imbraced full blown socialism. The nations that do honor property rights (ie Paraguay, Uraguay, Chile) are vulenerable to miltary invasion by the socialists (Argentina, Venzuela) which have been investing in their military. Many Argentineans and Venzueleans have moved assets to safe havens, which makes them increasing a bigger target for the socialists.

3. Language/Culture problems. Even if you speak the language, its unlikely you understand the cuture, you will stick out and be targeted for crime and be taken advantage of.

4. many nations make it extremely difficult to obtain firearms, especially for foriegners. Some nations do not allow foriegners to own land.


"The people are not on a hair trigger."

Incorrect! People are the same, when they realized they've been shafted they always go berzerke. Humans in South America are no different than humans anywhere else on the planet. When the US goes under it will create a global economic sh*tstorm everywhere, and it going to take a decade or more for the global economy to adjust. the US dollar is the worlds reserve currency. Every country has some sort of foriegn trade that is directly or indirectly connected to the US. S. America is reliant on Asia for car production (parts, electronics). When the US goes, Asian Car manufactures are likely go out of business. The supply of car parts going to S. America will shop or be reduceds to a trickle. Cars and trucks have difficulty getting serviced. It will be an utter Sh*tstorm!

The only realistic way to prepare is to be self-reliant, in a rural region away from big populations. There is also very likely that the crisis will end in a nuclear war, as the havenots go to extremes or stable gov'ts are overthown by angry radical groups seeking revenge, genocide, or seeking to take resources for other nations.

Also recommend avoiding regions that have nuclear power plants or processing plants, as they will meltdown if they can't be properly maintained or secured from radicals. at least do locate down-wind of them.




Balanced Integer's picture

It's a tough call. Personally, I'm resolved to ride it out here in the States. But a couple points of feedback:

*2nd passport that won't get turned off by BB when you need it. -I don't know what Big Brother is in Spanish/Portuguese, but the government in that country can rescind your 2nd passport at the drop of a hat, too.

*Ability to keep kids far away from the mayhem. -Who is to say that the mayhem won't follow you to your new homeland? I would wager that it will.

*Regime security forces (in the countries being considered) aren't SF wannabe super soldiers. -Probably not. I don't know what countries you are considering, but any regime can utilize its security force with extreme brutality. I also don't know if you would be allowed to possess a firearm to protect yourself, but my understanding is that SA isn't exactly a bastion of gun-owners' rights. (Been to Ecuador, Peru, and Chile several times.)

LIke I said, I ain't buggin' out. But if I was going to? I might look at Belize, Dominican Republic, or perhaps the hinterlands of Ecuador. In fact, Iceland holds a particular appeal to me, too. But anyway, happy hunting Sarge!

SgtShaftoe's picture

What were your impressions of rural Ecuador? That's one of the countries on the list. It also seems that it's acceptable to own pistols there (though no long-arms which is stupid).

Given where things are, it seems I'd have less need to do an escape and evasion in some SA country than in the US, and they likely wouldn't be after me specifically. In the US, if you just look at a cop wrong, or fail to sign your taxes legibly you could be in an E&E mode from a band of gorillas in 2.5.

Running off to South America is definitely not my primary plan, but diversifying some assets, getting some income and foreign residency has a certain appeal to it.

zebrasquid's picture

9th? generation, Born raised and left the D.C area(15 years ago).
Two kinds of people there: The natives who mostly feel invaded, and the invaders, mostly foreigners who think they're living large in an international Oz.
Now here is a bubble that needs popping. A cancer on the soul of the American ideal.

I hate going back for visits. I'm sad for the folks there I know that haven't

Baldrick's picture

I hope things work out well for you both.

I decided not to flee my smalish mid-western city. Someone must provide for the youth who have been mislead. I now converse with and teach these teen/young adults (various social strata) about the system and the coming changes (lack of cheap energy) in social/casual settings (btw - timewise it's about 18 mos according to dofd). I explain to them that they have the ULTIMATE mulligan coming their way (last seen approx 230ish years ago), with a template (art of confed) to boot! That cheers them up more than anything. I do emphasize that they must do what is right for themselves and future generations, but at the same time care for their elders, and they all get this. What wonderful kids, smart and creative. No anger over the waste of the energy, just ideas over how to live beyond it.

Forgot to add if you are in the hills of wva and you come across the Alkire's have them teach you how to make biscuits. NO ONE can make biscuits like the Alkire's.

Zero-risk bias's picture

Appreciation for spreading awareness and your insight here.

spekulatn's picture

Congratulations to you both.

Best  wishes to you  on your new journey together. I'm jealous.

daxtonbrown's picture

If you think you are going to start a prepper garden and have it produce squat the first year, you are nuts. I'm heavy int all the prepping trends and none of them come easy. However, I can also see the long term economic fundamentals aren't there, so you'd have to be crazy not to prep, no matter how inconvenient.

Here's a book on prepper gardening.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"If you think you are going to start a prepper garden and have it produce squat the first year, you are nuts."

We hold no such illusions. The first few years will all be experimental and we both know it. This is not a case where we are expectring to be able to survive off the land. That was not our intent, at least not initially. Baby steps is all we ask of ourselves.

aerojet's picture

I want to offer a dissenting viewpoint on all of this.  You prepper types are kooks!  Nothing you do makes any sense when you use this one overriding theme to justify your behavior.  Moving out of DC makes perfect sense--it sucks to live there with all the assholes and traffic congestion and high prices.  It makes sense to move someplace more sane, especially if you have grown up and lived in one particular place your whole lives.  But here's some advice:  Stop using the whole collapse meme to justify everything you want to do!  It's stupid.  It's beyond stupid.  I'm sick to death of hearing urbanites talk about herbal remedies, gardens, and guns like they know what they're talking about. 

Also, those "Special Forces" and "FBI" types always act like the world is coming to an end--it's the business they are in, and people in government especially act like everything they do is so critical to the world's survival.  Here's a clue:  It isn't.  The world did just fine without them and will someday do so again.

If there is a collapse, rural people will suffer right along with everyone else.  There are no safe havens. 

So enjoy your new-found rural sex lives in Montana or wherever.  I'm sure the locals will treasure their new former-urbanite neighbors, or at least they will politely try not to laugh their asses off at you!



tip e. canoe's picture

"Modern productive agriculture has been reinvented by grace of hundreds of innovations that were exported from the cities to the countryside, transplanted to the countryside or imitated in the countryside" - Jane Jacobs

keep playin those divide & conquer games, brother, winks The Eye.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"You prepper types are kooks!"

We are not preppers. However we are most definitely kooks. :)

Thanks for your feedback.  

risk-reward's picture

There are exceptionally few negative feedbacks regarding this wonderful article by Mrs. Cog.  Strange for the "normal" ZH crowd.  Think you two have hit the sweet spot and are adimred by most all of us.  Best of everything.

Mrs. Cog's picture

Thank you very much. I find the ZH crowd is mostly quite friendly. I actually feel kinda bad when someone is triggered because I tried to share something positive.

Imminent Crucible's picture

Aeroflot wasn't triggered because you tried to share something positive. He's just one of those deeply unhappy people who feel the need to take a crap on any good will he finds anywhere.

Yo, Aero. Go suck the air out of some other room. And as for "rural people will suffer like everyone else", let me refer you to the farmers of Weimar Germany, who sooned owned every piano, every wardrobe, every nice piece of furniture the city dwellers had ever cherished--all bought with cabbages, cheese and chicken eggs.

See Adam Fergusson's When Money Dies.

Gordon Freeman's picture

Defining the current American status quo as the D.C. area is ridiculous.  The U.S. is full of small-to-medium size cities, which have all the usual amenities, and where people nonetheless have a very different attitude/value set from both coasts.  People on the coasts are just delusional about what's out there.  

There is absolutely no need to become a back-to-the-earth Luddite to achieve lasting personal, positive change.

robobbob's picture

Anyplace that receives handouts from uncle sugar is just a crises away from being part of the tyrannical system that awaits. The only question is does the location possess sufficient resources to warrant the cost of enforcement

Just a quick review of the 20th century shows that it is only a matter of time before the State gets around to turning over every stone. If for no other reason, just to prove resistance is futile.

Gordon Freeman's picture

How is moving to bumfuck going to fix that?  Ag states receive much more from the Feds than non-ag.

AGuy's picture

"How is moving to bumfuck going to fix that? Ag states receive much more from the Feds than non-ag."

By becoming self-reliant and not dependant on the system to survive. Being self-reliant is no joyride, but it beats starving and getting the crap beaten out of you by an angry mob (see Egypt for an example) Its not possible to be self-reliant in a urban or suburban region. You need several acres of tilable land per person for food and heating (woodlot). One needs to grow two years of food per year per person so to occumidate crop losses. Being in close proximity to large number of people makes it impossible to secure crops from thief.





YHC-FTSE's picture

Nice job by Mrs.Cog. Great thing about blackberries,  they have natural yeast that promote fermentation.  Squeezing a few into a bottle is all it takes to make wine.

Not the first of the bug-out articles I've read, but it's always nice to read about how other folks are coping.  

tip e. canoe's picture

bug out, tune in, hunker down, open up

El's picture

Congratulations! Word of warning to the wise: Those cute little watermelons you sprouted in order to give them a head start WILL take over your WHOLE garden. Plan accordingly. ;)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


I have a fair amount of gardening experience from when I was a younger man. Mrs. Cog on the other hand is somewhat of a newbie. This is good and bad. She is just thrilled when she plants something and it actually grows. But she has an issue with planting things to closely and planting to many too close.

She declared that since we didn't actually move in until well past the first planting season that EVERYTHING this year will be experimental. What she is saying is to butt out Cog and let her make her own mistakes. However I am welcome to shovel, rake and weed anytime she wants me to. :) 

Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

A couple good resources for learning about gardening are on the following youtube channels;  (focus more towards smaller spaces & high density growing) (focus on small scale farming / hydroponics with and without electricity) (more geared towards large scale land design combining plants and animals)

I could list dozens of other channels that I have found helpful, but I will try to keep it short, they aren't too hard to find if you are interested in learning about self-sufficiency. I would also highly recommend some books on permaculture systems if you haven't already looked into those. It's always good to hear about people doing this sort of thing and I wish you the best of luck.


gaoptimize's picture

I congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Cog, and find it hard not to envy (the worst of the deadly sins because there is no pleasure in it).

My family lives in the outer suburbs of DC with more than 4 acres.  For a variety of reasons, we are stuck and have been prepping as best we can.  We joined the community pool this summer and immediately overheard a coulpe preppers discussing the local situation.  You see, of the ~$34.5K of income in our county, ~$27.8K comes from the Federal Government, putting us at #24 of 3,150 counties/locales in per capita Government spending.  Many Government and contractor workers here are being cut back 20% on their hours and pay due to the sequester until at least 1 Oct.  So our local economy will take at least a 16% hit (likely more due to multipliers), and the future looks even worse.

I spoke to the gentleman, who is a horticulturalist with a good deal of experience in aquaponics.  It turns out there are a least 6 prepping individuals or families within half a mile from us, and these people have an urgency (a few months, not years) that indicates they think the PTB don't have the tools or the desire to keep the wheels on the wagon much longer (I think they do and the US will follow the Weimar example).  Anyway, the chickens are going in, I am not alone in my aquaponics here, seing a smaller system the gentleman put in for a neighbor.   These people are committed to bugging in.  We are going to start regular meetings in a week. 

Whatever the timing, now is the time to get the hell out or steal oneself for SHTF.

aerojet's picture

Those conclusions you reach sound like bs to me--those other people don't shit, same as you.  Stop trying to justify your paranoia and try to be more objective.

Balanced Integer's picture

I'll never understand folks like you who crap on the notion of people preparing for grimmer times ahead. Seems to me that some people are purposefully reverting back to the behaviors and lifestyles (and mindsets, thank God) of their grandparents and great-grandparents, who understood the value of having some preserved food in the pantry, and supplies in the shed, in case of lean days.

Society has come no where close to leaving eras of privation behind. It only makes sense to extract as much of your sustenance from your land as possible, be it fruits, vegetables, or wild game, and to acquire the skills to preserve it for the long haul. This is especially true for families who rely on an increasingly insolvent federal government for their livelihoods.


shanearthur's picture

Couldn't agree more.

I work near DC and live in rural Maryland.

I have raised bed gardens (Thank you Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre book) using heirloom organic seeds (Thank you seedsavers(dot)org), and forage for wild, FREE, foods (thank you EatTheWeeds(dot)com - I'm loving the 4 pounds of wild raspberries I picked recently). We're trying to get debt free, and we're learning as much as possible to provide for ourselves; we have to, since heating, food, and electric costs have skyrocketed. Descretionary spending is a relic of the past. We only buy food that we can't grow and the occasional clothing item. Nothing else. Minimalism/self-sufficiency for the win.

Good luck to you Cogs.

falak pema's picture

Return to the middle ages; wandering in the wilds, hanging on to wind mill blades and eating flour made with artisanal skills.

While the Oligarchs make serfs of us in urban environments, some choose to become free peasants in rural ones.

All we now need is Don Quichotte.

By the looks of it Cog Dis has his role cut out. When the cloth is cut you have to wear it!


Winisk's picture

City boy here who moved to a small hillbilly town ten years ago with a few acres, a dozen or so chickens, three geese and a dog.  Large all purpose breeds of chicken such as Wyandottes are good layers, but they have retained their broodiness to incubate eggs the natural way, giving you excess roosters to eat in addition to the eggs.  The geese do nothing but graze the grass all season.  They are cheap to maintain and as good as meat in the freezer.  Excellent alarms as well.  I must confess though that my two daughters have a special bond with these birds so I have not put them on the table yet.  You will quickly learn that the other forest dwellers want to eat them too.  A good dog is invaluable.

The locals keep to themselves mostly.  Unless you are a second generation family in these parts you are still considered a newcomer.   Stay humble.  They will gradually warm up to you.  My clumsy attempts at homesteading are amusing to them but they respect me for it.  Most of my friends here have parents who lived the old way but have long given it up except in symbolic ways.  It is a hard life.  There is never enough time.  The learning curve is steep but it is very rewarding.  I keep it small scale and simple.  I don't pretend to think I'm anywhere near being self reliant.  Living here was touch and go in the past even with the traditional knowledge that has long been forgotten. 

Good luck to you both. 


kaiserhoff's picture

Wonderful piece.

The best time to SKEDADDLE is NOW, because something evil this way comes.

Welcome to the Mule Creek way of life.  You'll find it less primitive than you imagined, and far more fulfilling, a peace that passeth understanding.  I know DC well.  Yes, they know, but they don't know how to back off from their tyranny and abuses. 

If you don't already have some, buy a couple of good dogs. They'll teach you whatever you need to know and introduce you to the best people.

                                                 Happy Trails


Wakanda's picture

Get a labrador retriever from a smart breeder and settle in for 12+ years of canine/human bliss.

lab puppy porn:!/live-cams/player/service-puppy-cam