Bugging Out, But to Where?, by Paddy O.

I read a lot of material in SurvivalBlog and several other similar sites about methods and means of bugging out if you live in a city or other area where it would be undesirable to live during some kind of calamity.  After seeing so much about this idea of waiting until the SHTF, or some other event that would necessitate leaving the area in which you live, I feel the need to weigh in and give the position of the person who’s already living in the area to which many of the city dwellers are being encouraged to bug out to.  I hope to offer a very swift kick in the seat to all those pondering the “bug out” issue.  This business of advising people about waiting until there’s a great calamity to leave the city has got to stop.
I cringe every time I see an article giving advice on how to make preparations to leave your city for a better place to ride out an economic calamity or other kind of disaster, man-made or otherwise.  My questions to all those pondering this issue are these: 1.) How convinced are you that you may need to “bug out” at some point in the future, and 2.) If you are at least mostly persuaded of the future need to bug out, then why haven’t you done it already? 
I realize that there can be myriad reasons why someone may feel unable to relocate even though they may want to.  You don’t want to move away from your family, your job, your kid’s school, your friends…You don’t want a longer commute, you’re underwater on your house, you like your house. The list goes on and on.  My guess, however, is that when the SHTF like so many of us are fully persuaded that it will, many of these things that now keep you from pulling up stakes and moving will drop distantly behind the desire to simply stay alive. 
If you believe in the crash what this web site and so many others are forecasting, get out now.  If you have to short sell your house and rent in the area that you plan to bug out to, then do so.  Don’t let a ding to your credit score or the “demotion” of going from homeowner to renter keep you from doing what you believe needs to be done.  Don’t let the tenure you have on the job keep you from making a wise and prudent decision.  If you don’t get out now, then plan on staying put.  If you refuse to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to relocate now while it is safe to do so, then harden your current domicile and settle in and ride it out. 
Post-SHTF, if you do succeed in escaping the city and reach the nearest rural like the one I live in, then what?  If you come to my town, what exactly am I supposed to do with you?   Are you coming empty-handed?  Do you have any skills that might make you a welcome addition to my community?  If the answer to those two questions is no, tell me exactly why I should welcome you.  “It’s the charitable thing to do”.  It certainly would be.  However, if being charitable to the empty-handed refugee means possibly starving my own family, for whom I have been diligently laying in store, then my being charitable to you may violate my own mandate to “provide for my own, specially those of my own house”.  If I do that, I’m worse than an infidel and have denied the faith (I Tim 5:8). 
No, it’s not at all that we in the rural areas are unkind, uncaring, uncharitable or unfriendly.  On the contrary, me and my neighbors are the kind of people you want to live near.  But if the cities are burning down, we will be overwhelmed by the influx of thousands refugees trying to escape to a safer place, which will inherently make the place they are escaping to less safer.  If you think you may have a mind to ever “bug out” then do it now, integrate yourself into the community and become a functioning part of it.  Learn the area and the climate and get started taking care of yourself and your family.  You’ll be miles ahead of those who waited. 
If your survival plan is to flee the city and live off the charity of others in the countryside, let me put this plainly; you’re going to die.  It’s not that there will be a lack of charity-on the contrary, in hard times, people can rise up and surprise you with how giving they can be.  But there just will not be enough to give.  Immediately post-SHTF, the amounts of most every vital commodity (gasoline, sugar, rice, beans, toilet paper, etc.) will be finite.  There won’t be any more coming, maybe not for a long, long time.  What I have may be all I will have for months or years.  And with my six kids, 2 kids in law, 2 parents and 2 siblings to try to care for, how charitable can I afford to be?
In Matthew 25, Jesus gives a parable of ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five of whom were foolish.  The five wise foresaw the need and made preparations (just like Proverbs 27:12 advises).  The five foolish, being in close proximity to the five wise, must have undoubtedly also foreseen the need, but chose not to make preparations.  In the end, the five foolish tried to borrow from the five wise, but the wise were wise enough to know that if they shared, there would have not been enough for everyone.  Read it folks.  Think about it.  And remember this key point; They were all virgins (good, godly people). They were just not all wise.  True wisdom is knowing your limitations.
Until last year, I lived in a rural area with a few acres, fruit trees, a garden, chickens, and lots of trees for firewood.  A defensible place too.  But believing like I do in the eminent crash, I felt it was not good enough.  We have since moved even further out into the hills to a larger plot of land that is much better suited to a self-sustaining life.  The new house is larger so we can take in more of my family members who live in places that will be undesirable WTSHTF.  Every decision I have made for the last several years has been with the goal in mind of taking care of as many of my family as possible for as long a period of time post-crash. 
Make the move now.  Don’t wait another month to decide.  If you read this site or any others like it, and you live in an urban area, get out now.  Make the preparations.  Do the research, retrain yourself in another field of work if you have to, and relocate.  If you read this site and others like it, your excuses for why you can’t…will not cut it post-crash.  I know many will think I’m unreasonable or unkind, or just plain ignorant of how difficult for some what I am suggesting may be.  I’m not an ignorant or unkind man.  I’m an associate pastor, a marriage and family counselor, and I give multiple thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours a year to help others.  And this is why I’m writing this piece now.  To help someone get off the fence and make a choice.  Decide to do it, or decide not to.  
There are three kinds of people when speaking of Emergency Preparedness; 1-those like JWR, myself and many others who are already prepared, 2-those who watch American Idol and play video games all day and are completely oblivious to what’s happening in the world around them, and 3-those who are right in the middle of the first two.  It’s those middle folks I’m worried about and talking to right now.  The ones who say “I’d like to prepare but…” or “I’d like to move to a rural area but…”  Because they are semi-aware and watching, these are the ones who will be the first out of the city and heading to the hills with little or nothing to sustain themselves but the hope that the folks “in them thar hills” will be ready for them.  We won’t be.  Even the most prepared among us will have our hands full when the gas pumps stop working, the electricity shuts off and the trucks stop rolling.
Either you make the move now and get settled on a little homestead in the country-whatever it costs you, or settle in where you are.  Store up some food, get some guns-even a used .22-and figure out how you can hide out where you are and ride out the storm.  It won’t be easy.  It will be very rough for a long time.  Even if you can move to a different home in the city you live in that has a more defensible scenario-one with a basement you can seal off and conceal-do it.  Leaving the city during a calamity will be at least as dangerous as staying put.  Know your neighbors.  If your neighbors are creeps, move and get some better ones.  If you live in apartment, get out.  Rent a house with like-minded friends and split the costs of preparing if you can’t do it alone. 
I will no doubt be accused of being cold hearted in telling people not to flee to my area.  If you show up on my doorstep, I’ll give you what I can-probably a Rubbermaid container of rice and a gallon of water.  I’ve already stockpiled lots of containers for this very thing.  But then what will you do?  Not everybody here can or will do that.  And even if they could, how long can you live like that?  The idea of going to national forest and living off the land is ludicrous.  I won’t even begin to list the hundreds of reasons why that won’t work. 
In looking at the current condition the world is in, we may still have 6 to 12 months before TSHTF, but it WILL HTF.  Use the time you have wisely.  Do something to become more prepared every single day.  Pray for wisdom.  James 1:5 says we can do that and God will give it to us liberally.