Two Letters Re: Some Offshore Retreat Considerations, by P. Traveler


I see a lot of letters concerning ‘re-locating’ out of the U.S. What are these people thinking? If there is one country that still has a modicum of privacy, freedom, and the ability to ‘disappear’ into the wilderness, then it is here in the U.S. Where in the world can you own the variety and quantity of firearms than here? [Where else can you] stockpile food, go off the grid et cetera? The legal system is still intact here as well, so you can win in court under most circumstances. I just cant figure Americans willing to give up this uniquely free country for some Third World gamble in some distant land completely removed from family, friends, heritage and culture. It boggles the mind. – Jason in N. Idaho



I read with interest the article “Some Offshore Retreat Considerations”, by P. Traveler. There was much of value in the article. I hope I can add some information for your readers. My circumstances are that I work and live in a South East Asian country for an International NGO. My background is prior military (paratrooper), Police and Prison service, followed by working as an NGO security officer in Bosnia and Sudan before taking my current post. I have a degree in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management.

I am also married to a local woman which impacts my survival planning. In Asia you don’t just marry a wife. You marry the entire extended family which brings some strengths and weaknesses.

Personally I am in the Jerry Pournelle school of survivalism: Prepared for, but trying to prevent TEOTWAWKI. See [Pournelle’s] Foreword to the first edition of Tappan on Survival which says, in part:
“‘[Mel Tappan] saw civilization as hopelessly doomed. Collapse was inevitable, and the only prudent thing to do was to be prepared for it. I didn’t agree then, and I don’t now. I think civilization can be saved. Can be. But I won’t guarantee it. Be Prepared is a pretty good motto for anybody, scouts or anyone else. And of course there are times when I think Mel was right.”

As Pournelle says, being prepared is a good and necessary thing. I would not call myself a retreater. That implies running away.

Quoting from Pournelle again:

“There’s only one problem: I don’t want to move. I like living in cities. The word ‘civilized’ originally meant those who can–and do–live in cities, and I happen to care a lot for my civilization. When challenged, I can make a reasoned defense of city life, but I shouldn’t have to. I like it here. I don’t intend to let the barbarians chase me out, and there’s an end to the discussion!”

I have been following survivalism since I read the book ‘Starman’s Son’ by Andre Norton. I did the usual bush survival stuff. I read Larry Dean Olson, Mel Tappan, Dr. Bruce Clayton, Soldier of Fortune [magazine] and American Survival Guide [magazine]. I always had my bugout bag and stores so I could go about my duties in law enforcement without having to worry about the home front. I note that since the 1980’s the world has been collapsing so plan for things to go right as well as for things to go wrong. I am alarmed by people (especially on the Peak Oil sites) who tell young people not to go to college because the world is doomed anyway. If I had followed that advice I would be unemployed instead of working in interesting countries around the world. Just study something that is useful in both a collapse situation and in good times.

In Asia the survival unit is the extended family. I am particularly fortunate that the family I have married into is reasonably well educated but still has [native] survival skills. My wife’s parents survived a period of auto-genocide despite the fact that my father in law had served on the opposing side during the war. It was family connections that kept him alive. My wife and her older brothers and sisters still know how to live off the land and farm. The younger ones are more of a concern and would have a more difficult time adjusting to a survival situation. They tend to be more interested in mobile phones and karaoke. Having said that, the bulk of the family accepts my arguments for survival precautions and things like food storage. The younger ones think I am a strange foreigner but the parents get it because they have lived survival. In a crisis the young ones still do what their parents tell them!

If you have family (or marry into one) it is almost certainly a bonus.

A few tips you might want to consider.

* In developing countries the medical care is not great. Consider doing a Wilderness EMT [W-EMT] First Responder course before you depart. The training will not be available locally.
* Get skills. They cannot take skills away. People have survived extreme situations with next to nothing.
* Asia is a great place to learn martial arts! [Although there are equally effective trainers in the US, Canada, Australasia and Europe. Still it is kind of fun training in Asia for someone who grew up watching ‘Kung Fu‘ on TV.]
* Get mentally prepared. I would share with your readers the view that religious belief is important. Unlike most of your readers I am a Buddhist, as is my wife. But I follow the warrior view of Buddhismnot aging hippy pacifism which I believe to be immoral (and not really Buddhist).

* Study how the indigenous people survived and how any guerrilla groups operated in the country. If coming to Asia there are some jungle survival schools. (Web search engines are your friend!)
* If coming to Asia read some books about how non-Asians functioned behind the lines [during World War II] against the Japanese such as the Coast Watchers and the OSS/SOE. ‘The Jungle is Neutral‘ By F. Spencer Chapman is a good book to start with.
* The book “The Sovereign Individual” by William Rees-Mogg and Basil Davidson has some strategies for protecting your wealth when overseas.
* Enjoy life. Take precautions, learn defensive skills, medical skills,and so forth. But try not to get a bunker mentality.
* Learn about urban permaculture and food production.
* When researching a country you might want to look at some books about Country Risk such as the ‘The J Curve‘ and spend some time looking around the Carlton University site ‘Country Indicators for Foreign Policy
* Finally, while aimed at NGO security personnel, there are some good resources for people living in developing countries at this web site.

Regards, – Felix D.