Letter: When to Leave

Dear Sir:

For those who plan to leave the big cities in the event of disaster, the critical question is when to go. Leaving too soon means missing work and family obligations, but leaving too late may well be fatal. I am guessing the Internet will be down by then, so do you have any wise guidance in advance of that time? Thanks – Worried

HJL Replies: This is always the million dollar question, and if I knew the answer I could be a very rich man. The real answer depends on you and your situation. For some, the answer is now. They are simplifying their lives, learning to be more independent and doing without, at times. Others are unwilling to leave their work or family and are planning on walking the fine line, leaving right before it’s too late to get out. Still others have no intention of leaving and becoming a refugee. There is no simple answer to this question. Only you can analyze the risks and rewards for “bugging out” at any particular time in your unique situation. You also need to have more than one plan. If you are one who wants to make that decision as close as possible to catastrophic circumstances, then you also need to be prepared with an alternative plan in case you misjudge the exact timing. My personal preference is to shelter in place. If I’m not in a situation to be able to do that, I need to make the necessary changes now to enable that. As part of that decision, I have chosen to have a much simpler life than I would if I lived in a big city. I have actually found that the choices I made to have a better family life were very compatible with the choices to get out of the big city anyway.