Planning Your Escape by JMD for Survival Blog
In a previous article in SurvivalBlog I wrote about things you could do to help you survive when you’re on the road and traveling. The focus of that article was on what skills, supplies and activities you should consider to increase your chances of surviving while you’re away from home for any period of time, but I received feedback from several folks that the article didn’t really provide much information about how to actually get back home if an event did occur. The goal of this article is to address that gap and provide some ideas and suggestions for planning on how to get back home if you’re away when a significant event occurs, which I’ll refer to a ‘Return to Base (RTB)’ planning. This type of Get Home Bag planning I’ll be focusing on is for large-scale events that impact all or most of the country. Options for smaller regional events where help will eventually show up is what I focused on in my previous article.
One quick note – I use the words ‘acquire’ and ‘obtain’ a number of times throughout this article, and I’d like to avoid a flame war regarding the legality and morality of how you can get hold of required supplies and equipment after an event. I carry gold and silver coins and a stash of cash whenever I travel, so I’m pretty comfortable that I can legally get hold of what I need in an emergency. I know a lot of folks emphatically argue that any form of scavenging or scrounging is nothing more than theft and that they would never do it, but I believe everyone will need to evaluate their own unique situation relative to the circumstances the find themselves in and balance their need to get back home to their family against their moral compass.
[JWR Adds: As previously discussed at length in the SurvivalBlog, “scavenging” would only be justifiable following a massive die-off, where lots of property is truly abandoned, and no heirs could ever be located. In any lesser situation, it is outright theft. There is also the issue of crop gleaning, but morally that can only be done with expressed permission, or permissive signage.]
Why RTB Plan?
Most people tend to at least occasionally take trips away from their home. Unless you’re the kind of person that never gets further than a mile or two from your homestead, there’s always a chance that a major SHTF event can occur while you’re away, and the more time you’re away, the greater the chance that an event will occur while you’re gone. Unfortunately for most people travel is so commonplace that they tend to not think about its ramifications. I recently had a conversation regarding emergency preparations with an acquaintance that commuted back and forth to work – her office was about 20 driving miles away, and it usually takes her about an hour to drive each way. She has a typical office drone job and dresses in decent business clothes for her commute. I asked her how she would get home if major event occurred while she was at work (EMP/CME, earthquake, civil breakdown, etc.) and she couldn’t drive, and she responded that it was “only an hour away” and that she could easily walk that. She had no concept of the actual distance involved, potential weather conditions, roadblocks or any of the other hundreds of factors that could prevent her from ever making it home.
RTB planning for shorter local trips that happen every day can be relatively straightforward, but things can get a lot more complicated if you’re traveling any significant distance to somewhere you aren’t as familiar with. That might be a business trip, a family vacation or even a day trip to visit some relatives or go hiking. Regardless of the reason, distance or duration, any time you’re away from home and/or family you should perform at least some basic planning on how you would return.