A recent blog from The Survival Mom about why and where to relocate has prompted me to share my experience and perspective.
Strategic Relocation ur Doin It Rong
(When you follow the link, you’ll need to scroll back up to the top.)
In most cases, the question has been to Bug Out or Bug In. This question usually refers to where you are right now. Sometimes, though, the question becomes, “Is where I am right now a good place to do either?” I would venture to say that attempting to Bug In if you live in metropolitan Los Angeles, your odds are probably not good. Let’s face it, there are a LOT of people there! In fact, just have a look at the majority of videos being produced by Mark Dice. Mark has a way of showing the simplicity behind the mentality in the area.
How many of them do you think are preparing? Some folks are “prepared” to hunker down and try to stay safe because of the gang activity. Since I left in 1993, it seems the number of gangs has multiplied exponentially. Where I grew up we didn’t worry much about the Bloods and the Crips, we worried about Sangra and Lomas. The last time I was there, neither of them seemed to have a presence in the area. They had been replaced by Asian gangs.
Gangs aren’t the only reason for concern. Much of the L.A. area is populated by folks who have become quite content with their urban lifestyle. Go to work, send the kids to school, eat, sleep, repeat. This in an area that is prone to earthquakes that in the past have had devastating consequences. There are also the coastal slides that destroy multimillion dollar homes. There are the fires that also wreak havoc and destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I loved growing up there, but it just isn’t the same today. If a massive enough earthquake hits the Los Angeles basin, there are going to be a lot of people looking for food and water. It doesn’t seem to me bugging in is a good option. On the other hand, bugging out won’t be an easy task either. Los Angeles is heavily dependent on the freeway system.
Bugging out would be an option if you could predict the arrival of an earthquake and hit the road. At least a tornado can give you a few minutes warning, a hurricane a few hours, a snowstorm maybe a day or two. Earthquakes aren’t so generous. I remember. Ok, so you know one just hit, let’s say, downtown. You’re ten miles away. You feel the rumble and start packing. As do many of your neighbors. Some stand around wondering if the power will come back on. Some start panicking at the thought of the gas mains exploding. You and those of your neighbors who have anticipated this event, continue loading up for departure. Now, how many people in this residentially packed area are simply loading up what they think they need in order to get out of the way of Mother Nature’s anger? You’ll find out as soon as you reach the freeway. Everyone in the County knows what the freeways look like on any given weekday. Now imagine that same scene with all those cars filled with people who are panic-stricken.
Being the well-prepared person, you knew the freeway wouldn’t be a good idea. You’ve mapped out your bug out route along the other major arteries. If you want to head east, you’re looking at Valley Blvd. or Foothill Blvd. to leave the San Gabriel Valley. East isn’t a great option from the San Fernando Valley or even South Central, although you could try Carson St./Lincoln Ave. These routes will take you toward the desert if you continue far enough east. These are also major streets. Folks who get on the freeway and realize that was a mistake could easily have the same thought.
If you want to go south, there aren’t a lot of options that aren’t freeways. Where will you go? San Diego? Mexico? San Diego may not have felt the wrath of the earthquake, but as a potential escape destination, may be as congested. And I’ll just say it here, Mexico isn’t a destination for me, no matter the circumstances.
Ok, so that leaves north. West isn’t an option unless you’re a fish. North means you’re going over some mountains. On a personal note, I now consider those hills. I live at 6000 feet and the majority of the ranges north of Los Angeles top out at around that height. If you live in the metropolitan area, you hear every winter how the Grapevine gets seriously congested thanks to snow. Imagine what 2.4 million fleeing Angelinos will do to it! You could try I-15 up through Barstow and out into the desert toward Vegas. Or you could try Pacific Coast Highway out to the northwest.
By now you may be getting the impression that I think getting out of Los Angeles is not likely. You’d be right. Even if you were brave and decided to head up into the Angeles National Forest via Angeles Crest Highway, you’d still have to get there! I know many people would consider wilderness living up there. I would. Until I remember, snow accumulates up there, and fires rage up there. Oh, and the road isn’t always there.
No escape routes, no survival locations nearby. I know, the forest is a survival location. Imagine if you will, however, having to bug out again, but in a REAL hurry because all the trees around you have become potential bombs of fire. Thanks, no. I’ll plan further ahead than that.
Ok, so what is the solution? Is there one? That depends on your situation. Can you relocate? It takes some serious thinking, research and planning. I love the way Lisa looked at it. So here’s my take on what she did. Sorta.
Do you NEED to relocate? Well, of course not. You could stay in suburbia and hope for the best. If you look at the world situation, or even just the United States situation, and determine that the Stuff WILL Hit the Fan some time in the not-too-distant future, can you survive that where you are right now? I don’t think the majority of major metro areas are a good choice. If you come to the same conclusion, then you have to decide …
As I said, I grew up in Los Angeles. I have since lived in Norcross, Georgia (suburb of Atlanta), North Richland Hills, Texas (suburb of Fort Worth), North Kingstown, Rhode Island (just a bit south of Providence), Fresno, California, and now northern Grant County, New Mexico. It’s not a suburb of anywhere. In fact, in order to get here, you turn left at the Middle of Nowhere. Knowing what I know now, would I stay in any of those places?
Well, we left Fresno because there was a growing crime element in our area. There seemed no solution. We left North Kingstown because of a job, same for North Richland Hills and Norcross. Pretty much anywhere in California now is off the list for us. The politicians there are eroding all the rights of the citizens and it needs a radical overhaul. The one thing I loved about Fresno was the proximity to Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. I wouldn’t call them bug out options only because of the kind of winter they can get. Same is true for North Kingstown. Winter there is harsh, by my standards. It’s a beautiful area but I wouldn’t want to have to survive there. North Richland Hills, well, it’s kinda the middle of a desert. It’s brown all around most of the year. Winter is pretty mild, so it could still be an option. Yes, I’d keep it on the possible stay there list. Norcross is just too close to Atlanta. Although it wouldn’t be too hard to head into the woods. January of 2014 proved that snow could wreak havoc on the area. Getting out of Norcross would have been easier because it’s outside the Perimeter. Is Norcross an option? Possibly.
I’ve seen a pretty good portion of the country thanks to my most recent employment. I traveled quite a bit. Did I see a great place to go? Honestly, no. I was always in the state capital or some other large urban location. I did get to see some beautiful places though. The Ozarks were gorgeous. The deserts of Arizona had an odd appeal. Washington state, just east of Seattle looked like a maybe. As much as I enjoyed June in South Dakota, January definitely takes it off the list.
No, I haven’t mentioned New Mexico. Why? I LIKE it here! We’re far enough off the beaten path (40+ miles off I-10) that there aren’t a lot of big box stores here. Ok, there’s one. The others are roughly an hour and a half away. It’s quiet. The local police, all four towns worth, are pretty mellow. They respond well, even to non-emergency calls. We get the occasional state trooper cruise the main road. We see our County Sheriff vehicles on a pretty regular basis. I see one every day because the Sheriff live across the alley behind me.
There are some ranches and some farms in the area. We’re backed up against the first designated Wilderness in the country. We have the Gila Wilderness, the Gila National Park and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness within sight. There are campgrounds by the dozens to the north of us. There’s high desert to the south of us. There are maybe a couple of factors that are not ideal for a relocation option. But, we didn’t exactly choose this place on our own. It was another job move, that just happened to turn out very much to our liking!
So how do you choose the where? As Lisa did, I suggest crossing off those parts of the country where you wouldn’t want to live. Whether for reasons of liberty, weather, population density, cross them off. If you have the means, visit the areas that are now “on” your list. See if the community fits your way of thinking, living, worshiping. Does it feel comfortable to be there? If you’ve narrowed it down to a couple wheres, the next question is …
Not “can you load up the car and go”, but can you afford to go there. If you’re like the majority of Americans, you need a job. Sure you could add yourself the rolls of people accepting a handout from the government, but it’s not your style. You feel the need to provide for yourself and your family. Maybe you’re a two income household. That makes finding the right place maybe a little trickier. If you find you like the place, while you’re there take a look at what companies are there. What kinds of stores are there? How many schools? Whether you have children or not, schools are an indicator of the growth of the community. In essence, is there at least a potential for you, and your spouse if necessary, to support your family?
If there is the potential, it’s time to make the jump! STOP! Do you already have that job lined up? If not, sit tight! I’ve known people who have made the jump before having the job and then failed miserably. For some it’s possible to make the jump and then find the support. It could take a large amount of savings and/or some kind of home-based income, or at the very least, a side job. One of the problems with “side jobs” is that if you take a resume in that shows you’ve worked in, say, the computer industry for 20 years, most retail establishment won’t hire you because you’re “over-qualified”. Been there. Done that. Not fun.
If the why is compelling, the where is enticing and the can you is covered, now comes the …
If you own a house, that question is usually answered for you. You have to wait until the house sells, unless you can afford a mortgage and rent/mortgage in two places. If you can, my hat’s off to you! If not, now what?!? One of you goes ahead to establish your new home, the other stays behind waiting, as Lisa did, for the right buyer to come along. Eventually, all the plans fall into place and your family is together again. Hooray! Start unpacking and adjusting.
If you rent in your current location, and plan to rent in your new location, things are a whole lot easier, depending on the housing market in your new location. Of course, that was part of your research. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
Of course, you may have to consider the time of year as well. I can tell you from experience, it’s no fun to move during winter. Icy stairs can be not only treacherous, but also painful!
Now that you’ve found your new home, go back to the beginning. The same question that started this article applies again. Bug In or Bug Out?