We are looking at what might be required if you are working in the city a great distance from your family’s home. My scenario is that I work 50 miles away, which would require a two day walk. I’ve already talked through the basics of day one, which is focusing on getting as far as possible while being the Gray Man. Now, let’s look at what might happen next.
Overnight and Day Two
So, you have had a fortunate day. You’ve covered 30 miles, but you are exhausted. You’ve eaten once; you are sweaty, tired, worried, and it is getting dark. The pedestrian traffic on the road is dying down, and people all begin to look the same– threatening. For those who are remaining near their vehicles, whether it is because they are still stuck in the normalcy bias or because they have nowhere else to go, desperation will begin to sink in. Remember, there are travelers intermingled in with commuting traffic. They probably will not have the type of supplies necessary to sustain them. Steer clear of these people.
Get Off Main Roads
You need to get off of the main roads. This is where your scouting of your route will pay off in spades. Just like with any road trip, you need to plan where you are going to stay.
Areas to Avoid
There are some areas to avoid. These include:
- Residential areas. Most people will be trying to get into their comfort zone, so they will, for the most part, be in these neighborhoods.
- Commercial districts (grocery stores, strip malls, Wal-Marts, et cetera). Nothing good can come from entering these places. You can’t get enough supplies to make a difference. (Remember you’re on foot.) Also, you risk being robbed, injured, or murdered for what little you have.
There are some safer areas. These include:
- Industrial areas, warehouse districts, et cetera. These types of areas are usually under-populated in the evening and not well lit, so you can travel or rest unnoticed.
The suburbs are defined as residential areas that surround the urban center. These neighborhoods are littered with neighborhoods, strip malls, gas stations, convenience stores, churches, and a litany of other businesses. These are going to be the types of areas you’ll be traveling through between your work site and your home. You probably live in a suburban area, and the other suburbs you travel past everyday on your way to work are unfamiliar territory. Moving through these areas is difficult at best. This is where remaining discreet is essential.
Knowing the type of neighborhood that you are stopping in can mean the difference between you making it home or not. You need to be aware of where you are going to stop. Are you stopping in public housing? Or how about an area with million dollar homes? Maybe it has many apartment complexes? Is it worth it to walk an extra three miles if it puts you in the middle of a high crime area? These are things that you need to take into account when you stop.
You Have To Rest
I don’t care how tough or how well prepared you are, you have to rest. After about 36 hours of no sleep, your judgment begins to be impaired, and if you have been walking all day and all night on minimal food, it is a recipe for disaster. You are going to have to rest. You are going to need to find a remote, obscure location that people would not normally congregate to. Cell tower or water tower sites are normally surrounded by chain link fences, and there really is not much to steal from these locations. They are good examples of an area you might be able to gain some much-needed rest.
You Could’ve Been Followed
You need to be cognizant of the fact that you could’ve been followed. This could’ve happened at any point, so don’t just go to a place and go right to sleep. You need to ensure that you were not followed. Doubling back is one way that you can determine if someone has been or is following you.
Noise and Light Discipline
The quickest way to attract attention at night is a fire. One of the problems with building a fire is that most don’t know how to control the size of it. They’ll make it too big. Unless you have to, don’t make a fire.
Flashlights can be helpful if used appropriately, but they can also give away your position. Use it when you absolutely need to, but avoid it if possible.
Noise travels at night. There are some clothes that are very noisy. Test your clothes. See how they are when you walk in them. If they are noisy, you may want to reconsider what you wear in this type of situation. However, sometimes this is out of your control, so be mindful. Key chains, gear that is not secured, or anything else that makes noise will draw unwanted attention to yourself, so be aware of your gear.
Nothing will zap the heat out of you like laying directly on the ground. Remember, one below is worth two above. If you are freezing all night, you’ll not be able to get any rest, so it is necessary for you to stay warm. Also, staying dry is a matter of life and death. Cold? Okay, wet? Okay, but cold and wet is miserable and sets the conditions for hypothermia. You need to try to find a place that puts a roof over your head. Partially constructed homes or warehouses can serve this purpose. Just remember that others will be thinking the same thing, so be mindful.
OPSEC While Resting
So, you’ve found your place to stay, and it will keep you dry and relatively warm. Now it is time to get some much-needed rest so you can make it home the next day. Ready to sleep? Not quite yet. You need to ensure some type of security. Remember that you are alone.
There are several ways that you can set things up to alert you if someone or something is coming. Blocking doorways with materials is one, a plastic water bottle with pebbles in it secured with dental floss and tied off as a trip wire device will make noise, but you must create some type of alarm system to wake yourself, so be creative.
Starting the Next Day
The next day has begun, and you have approximately 20-25 miles of walking remaining. Your sleep was fitful and only somewhat helpful. Try to rise early if possible, that time right before the sun comes up is a good time to travel. I know this seems odd, but a really quick brushing of teeth will help. It will wake you up some and assist in raising morale. Obviously, you need to be alert, but this helps.
Most people will be exhausted from the previous long night, and you might be able to make some good time before you see people begin to stir. It’ll be hard to stay alert and focused, but at this point people will be desperate.
A Small and Discreet Pack
This is why your pack, being small and discreet is essential. You will inevitably get the, “Excuse me sir/ma’am, hello, I’m Bob Smith and I am not going to hurt you, I just want to talk. I (or my family and I) have been out here all-night long. I/We are from Anywhereville. I/We am/are on vacation/business. I notice you have a pack and I was just wondering if you have any food or water to spare? Please sir, just a little something that you don’t need”. Now you are in a pinch. Do you give or risk being confronted by a desperate person who possibly has children. If you give and someone else sees, then you risk others approaching. It is hard to watch hungry frightened children. This is why remaining very low-key is essential. Keeping your get home bag small and discreet will save you all kinds of hassle.
Your Final Approach
You are now approaching your neighborhood, you must resist the temptation to drop your guard and rush in. You don’t know what the situation is on the ground there. Approach cautiously. Nothing would be worse than to make it all the way there only to be injured/killed accidentally by a well-intentioned neighbor or family member. I recommended observing for a few minutes before you move in.
If you get home and your family is not there and you don’t know where they are, you have a whole new set of problems that will not be addressed here.
You Are Home
Finally, you are home. All your preplanning and preparations have paid off. You are with your family safe and secure for now, but you realize quickly the real challenge has just begun.
Final Thoughts and Observations
This is a very dangerous time. You need to understand that this is when you are most vulnerable. I know everyone here is “tough” and they can “handle themselves” when necessary, but you need to understand that you are alone. You have no friends on the road, and you are moving through hostile territory. The dirt-bags are beginning to learn that the cops are no shows and they will begin preying on others more and more as it progresses further. Also, the panicking will start and relatively docile people (notice I didn’t say good) will begin to act irrationally. Moving rapidly but safely is absolutely essential but also recognizing things for what they are is paramount. The folks who keep prepared and study up on the signs of an EMP, economic collapse, natural disasters should know when to pull the trigger and respond accordingly.
Getting home to those who depend on you is absolutely the most important thing you can do. Avoid contact if possible. Keep your mouth shut, keep your ears and eyes open, maintain your moral compass, never give up, and always remember that the Spirit is your ally.
Good luck and GOD speed.
A Get Home Bag
A Get-Home-Bag (much different from a bug-out-bag, which is larger and more thorough) is essential for your survival in the initial stages of a collapse and needs to have certain items. In my mind, these are not optional but almost an absolute necessity. Some items will be no brainers, but others are not so obvious. I work long distances from home, and if I have to walk I want to have what I need. However, I also want it to be small, light, and discreet.
My Get Home Bag
The following is what I carry as/in my Get Home Bag:
- I have a small camelback pack  (without the bladder). It holds some of my gear, but I try to spread out essentials on my person to avoid losing everything in the event that I need to ditch my bag.
- A folding knife or multi-tool  (or both) are carried on my person.
- Some type of fire starter  (carried around my neck). I don’t recommend staying put long enough to start a fire, but it may be necessary in the winter and if it is not large enough to be a hindrance. OPSEC in this scenario is crucial, so be cautious when starting a fire.
- First Aid Kit  (IFAK) (with Tourniquet) (easily accessible)
- Water filter straw  (no time to boil water in get home situation)
- Water purification tablets 
- Small wire cutter  (for cutting through chain link fences)
- Zip ties  (for closing chain link fence back up)
- Pistol, concealable (follow applicable laws) and enough ammo to extricate yourself from trouble. (carried on person)
- Small flashlight (carried in my pocket, on person)
- Two (2) MREs  and multiple power bars . (I have five, but this depends on you.)
- Small roll of toilet paper and small pack of baby wipes . (Nothing is worse than having to clean yourself and not having the paper.)
- Folding toothbrush , dental floss  (has multiple uses), and tooth paste  (raises morale if more than a day getting home)
- Emergency Poncho  (no bright colors)
- One (1) water bottle  (not disposable kind)
- Small notepad  and pen  (my pen is aircraft aluminum and can double as a weapon).
- Travel size Gold Bond medicated powder  or Johnson’s, if your sensitive. Chafing is awful and can make three hours feel like three days.
- Cash in small denominations. (Definitely not bigger than twenties but preferably 5’s and ones.) Not gold or silver. Most people in the beginning of the crap don’t look long term, at this point cash is king. Spread the cash around in different locations. $50.00 is my rule but locale may require you to adjust. (carried on person)
- Have an extra pair of glasses. NEED TO SEE.
- I prefer (and this is just me) some type of discreet, non-lethal weapon (slapjack, monkey-fist, blackjack, something to increase the density of your fist, et cetera) (carried on person)
- Tic-Tacs  (to have fresh breath when you get home and kiss your loved ones) (In your pocket) (optional).
Food For Thought
It’s some food for thought that carrying around a pack of cigarettes or a half pint (or smaller) of liquor (even if you don’t drink or smoke) can be an excellent trading item in a pinch. I know that there are those who object to items like these on moral grounds. However, in my humble opinion, it is morally unacceptable for you not to use every reasonable means to return to your family safely.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest . The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator  from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course  (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses , excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper . These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees  in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product  from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses .
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4  Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit  from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of  Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners , donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections , a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord  (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail  us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.