When we are considering a retreat location, we are typically looking for somewhere that isn’t too impossibly distant from where we normally live.
There are obvious reasons why this makes sense, but there’s also one obvious drawback : Whatever the event was that caused a collapse of society at our normal residence will probably be affecting our retreat as well.
So while our retreat gets us away from a dangerous and unlivable urban environment, and hopefully to somewhere where we can set about creating a low-tech sustainable self-contained lifestyle indefinitely into the future, we’re not actually escaping the loss of the previous benefits of civilization and returning to somewhere with water and electricity that works, and food that appears in the supermarkets every day.
Almost by definition, any event which causes a major collapse of society and its services in our region and which requires us to bug out, will be an event that is national in scope. Regional disasters, like Hurricane Katrina for example, or a massive earthquake or whatever else, are quickly responded to by FEMA and volunteer organizations, and while there might be some lawlessness and unpleasantness for a short while, everyone knows that ‘the cavalry are coming’ and help will soon be at hand. The rule of law will largely be intact and still observed by most ‘ordinary’ people.
But with a cataclysmic event, the country as a whole will be affected. A multi-warhead nuclear exchange with another major nuclear power, an EMP attack, a collapse of our electricity grid (whether from ‘natural causes’ such as the sun or from terrorists) or a cyber attack destroying most of the nation’s control systems would be examples of this type of event.
However, most of these types of events, while affecting the US, are not global in scale. Of course some could be global. All out nuclear war might cause massive climate change, destroying the world’s ability to grow sufficient food for several seasons; similarly an asteroid strike could also modify the weather for some time into the future. A nuclear exchange could see both the US ravaged, and other parts of the world too as we strike back, and as the aggressor nation takes out our allies as well as ourselves. A major pandemic is likely to affect the entire world.
But while some events could be global in scale, many others might be ‘only’ regional, leaving much of the world untouched and unscathed. In such cases, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to simply leave the affected region and move to somewhere unaffected by the problems we were leaving behind, and resume a reasonably normal and comfortable lifestyle, complete with flush toilets, television, and all the other fruits of modern civilization?
An option to bug out to another country accordingly has a lot going for it – at least on the face of it. But, in reality, it may not be as easy as we’d hope if the time should come.
An International Bug Out Option Should Not be Your Only Option
Considering the comments in the preceding several paragraphs, it should already be clear to you that while there may be some scenarios where it makes good sense to relocate internationally (if at all possible) there are also many other scenarios where such a move would simply be a transition from the frying pan to the fire. There are also many scenarios where your attempts to extract yourself from your current location and travel to a far away destination may not be feasible.
So, in case it isn’t already obvious, our point is simply this : Relocating internationally should not be your only developed option for responding to a Level 2/3 crisis. It should be a supplemental option, developed only after you already have a closer retreat created and able to support you if needed.
Specific Issues, Locations and Considerations
Please visit other parts of our series on international bugging out (currently being developed) for further articles on specific countries to potentially bug out to, and the considerations and constraints you would face when considering an international bug-out strategy.