The Reality of Bugging Out

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Editor’s Note:

A few months ago, we posted about What Really Happens in an Economic Collapse. Today we are looking at a real life bug-out situation.  It is my hope we never have to evacuate our homes, but hearing such a story from someone who has been there gives us a glimpse of what it’s really like so we can better prepare ourselves.  This post originally appeared in The Organic Prepper.


What Bugging Out from Venezuela Is Really Like

by J.G. Martinez D.

Hello fellows. I have ignored (perhaps because of having it so obviously in front of me) something very important for us, and it is the bugging out on a massive scale. Nearly 4 million, maybe more, Venezuelans have left the country. Those who migrated first were those who could afford it.

My wife´s extended family is leaving from the Andinean States. They are selling everything and leaving with what they can carry with them.

We just suggested to them the following:

  • Pack as much socks as you can and keep them clean. Most of the migrants on foot, have old shoes which are likely to break.
  • Use backpacks and duffel bags. They don´t have any delicate equipment and hard cases are not justified.
  • Include some ginger roots in their food bags. Good for cold and nausea.
  • Do very complete research about the papers needed.
  • One good blanket for each member of the team, and a good raincoat or an umbrella.
  • All the dry food supplies they can carry, easy to eat without heating or cooking.
  • Medicines for the kids and those by prescription. All they can carry, without too much effort. Two or three changes of clothes and two pairs of shoes.
  • If there are little kids, a good idea is building a push or pull cart. I have not seen anyone doing this, and they are carrying their babies in their arms, or strapped to their shoulders. This is extremely tiresome. I guess that some people never learned how to do things efficiently.
  • A cooler bag is important.
  • Plenty of drinkable water and candies for a sugar boost. (My wife´s cousin fainted in the Ecuador frontier and had to be treated. He had not eaten in 2 days.)
  • A thermal bottle, or even a couple of them. Tea can be done, and in most of the restaurants, one could find someone to fill them up. I have myself asked for vapor sterilization of baby bottles with an expresso machine :).

This is not a regular hiking. These people don´t know when they are going to come back. Or if they are.

Migration Stories

Plenty of young migrants have not come back. Some of them have commited suicide, like this young boy that decided to kill himself, leaving his sister to keep walking alone..

We can learn a lot from these experiences. I have been collecting some of these stories. In a couple of years of seeing people migrating, I only heard about one family leaving by car, and they are almost heroes: their SSNN profiles have lots of followers. For me, the best way to bug out is by motorcycle, provided that I am on my own, without small kids. A small 3-persons group is the only fellows I have seen doing this. Hope to find them on the road soon, they have been on the road for some days as I type this. Here is an article about these people.

They have left their families behind, most of them, but there are lots of persons traveling by bus and even by foot, with and without kids. I just saw a video where a family with 3 small babies were walking in cold weather, and thank God, they received some assistance of the car drivers passing by, and they could do most of the distance by car, as passengers.

It is quite interesting to note that almost no one has been able to leave in their cars. This is for several reasons: getting foreign currency is almost impossible by now, and gas prices, plus the cost of international travel insurance makes this prohibitive for most people.

Some people along the roads have been extremely charitable with those bugging out. They have provided food, water, warm drinks and even shelter to my people, and I want to give you thanks with all my heart for that.


Bugging out by car, in the worst case scenario has lots of advantages of its own. It will depend on the distance. 2000 kilometers up to Ecuador is a lot to drive, and the road conditions are not exactly ideal. Mechanical conditions should be optimal, and I won´t elaborate on this because it is common sense. There is a lot already written about this. However, please feel free to ask for an article about this with the topic of your interest if you feel so.

We have some issues regarding bugging out, though, and it is the frontiers crossing. Venezuelans did not migrate because we had it all: read my former articles and you will see. It is quite easier to go through a custom with a motorcycle, indeed, or with an RV.

Of course, custom officers know where Venezuelans are headed to, and they only hope they can arrive safely to the next border. But Colombia has closed their border on the Venezuelan side, and this is not possible. Brazil is the other option.

I mentioned in one of my other articles how much less traumatic our life would have been bugging out in an RV. Jeez, years ago I had money enough for even buying one of the ambulances my best friend was selling me at a bargain, and survival-engineered it enough for living in it for a while, the 4 of us. Perhaps even including our furred family.

You need to take downsizing seriously

One thing I do know, is that those who don´t take the downsizing of their lifestyle seriously in the future, specially if they are not young enough, perhaps are going to have to face some financial risk. There is a lot of nasty stuff I can see in the horizon, I mean in a global scale, and prepping against that is not going to be easy.

I always wanted a home with a studio, for example. Being almost useless for something more complicated than adapting a new voltage regulator to a motorcycle, or changing the oil, a man cave was not in the blueprint (leave me in an oilfield with specialized equipment and the history is going to be pretty different, trust me – insert cool face with sunglasses here – ) . Our house was way too small after all. The RV was a good option, whenever I could need some peaceful place in my scarce spare time for working in my home-based business that is struggling to take off.

After watching a video of a real nasty flooding, the option of buying a Pinz and engineer it as a very spartan and functional RV (I am kind of minimalist, after all, I have never needed too many stuff in my life, other than some equipment for business, and functional stuff) seems more and more attractive, despite a flood in this place is almost impossible.

But I don´t know where we will go from here and perhaps the next place we go will be prone to flooding, and I would hate to look back and say “I should have prepared for this when I could.”

I heard the stories about people living in vans, RVs, and…these people´s situations are so similar to ours that I feel immediately some empathy with them. It is impossible not to.

There are migrants going away as far as Argentina. Just take a look at the map.

One of the things I left behind (I had enough trust in finding a job so soon that never thought I would need it) is my camping stove. Bad idea. This is another item that you can not definitely leave behind. And I just checked some of those stoves with modern alloys and rocket designs, that can use twigs and small pieces of wood: those would be really helpful for those bugging out on foot. Preparing a hot chocolate and eating a good loaf of bread in the middle of a windy, cold road in Los Andes could mean a lot.

You are probably much more used to harsh environments than myself. I used to wear a jacket just in a meeting room with a good air conditioning; now, I can hardly sleep without my heater next to my mattress (both of which were, by the way, acquired with YOUR help, and I bless you people everyday I am about to sleep). My Caribbean bones are used to the hammock and the tropical weather.


Thanks for your support.

You have definitely helped to avoid very difficult moments. I can survive with just coffee, cookies, some onions, garlic bread and bananas, but my kid needs something better, and your assistance is very much appreciated.

This has been another difficult article to write: I try to provide a prepping approach, but emotions start to flow, somehow, and blur my vision. I think I should write another article about this soon.

I don´t have more words, truly.

Stay safe people. And God bless us all.

About the Author: J.G. Martinez D

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country.

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  1. I would add use the best expedition type backpack you can find(this is the type that has an external frame) and has a belly strap. Small cheap backpacks fail and are harder on the shoulders that a good quality backpack. And use a walking staff a good 1.5 to 2 inch diameter hard wood staff makes a fairly good shelf defense weapon (quarter staff). put a rubber cap on one end so it will not slip. The tip about socks is a real good one just get wool socks if you can and use silk or nylon inner socks and wash them as often as you can. Clean dry socks make a world of difference to your feet. Try to have good heavy duty boots or shoes that fit and are broken in. This is not the time for cheap shoes or fashion basketball sneakers. Be sure to check and watch kids feet for blisters and sores.

    1. Hi Ben, this is true going cheap is not recommended as you will have to rely on gear. Comfort and durability are also very important. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  2. I get Bugging out… BUT, if things go south for America, where do you bug out to? Answer is no where… So Americans will fight to help bring our country back… So why do not other people fight to turn their country around? They want to scurry away to America and use up their Charity paid for by the Tax payer… NO, stay where you are and fight the best way you can to turn your country around. Do you think a American can go to Mexico or South America if the shoe was on the other foot?

    1. Hi tuesdayissoylentgreenday, Sadly, there are not a lot of places for us to flee other than just moving to another safer area within the country. Thanks for the comment.

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