April 13, 2014 at 11:57 pm #8496
My wife and I are meeting my son and daughter in law out of the country for a short vacation soon. It got me thinking about what would happen if the SHTF while we were gone. For example if an EMP hit. Need to check out what is legal to carry in a foreign country. Sure my EDC would raise eyebrows with TSA. Could we even get back into the country. Could we access our assets, if the government would not allow us back in. More mouths to feed with limited resources. How would the host country react to a horde of displaced Americans.
From my perspective, it multiplies the challenges we face. Cut off from family, resources, facing a language barrier, etc.
Any thoughts???April 14, 2014 at 12:21 am #8501
Try and find/get to closest embassy?April 14, 2014 at 12:44 am #8504
Depends on which country, honestly.
If you were up here in Canada, you would be in a far better situation than you would be versus say, Mexico (even though the S already HTF in some areas there). Some nations are far more friendly than others toward Americans and westerners than others. You could walk down the street here and not raise a single eyebrow, where as some cities the mere sight of an “outsider” will make you target #1.
A few things to note are; where your nation has a presence in the country you’re in (embassy, mil base/station, etc) or that of a friendly nation (Canada, England).
If they use a language other than english, look up some important words and phrases before you go. I know that U.S. border patrol have a book on important words/phrases/commands in Spanish so they will know what to say if they aren’t already fluent or partially fluent in the language.
What are the laws on self defence there? Are you allowed to use force if you were attacked/mugged? Obviously things may change depending on what’s happening, but the situation will dictate what you can do.
Is this nation one where violent crime is high in the outlying areas? Large drug or weapons trade? Any anti-government forces/guerillas there?
That’s just a few things off of the top of my head that I’d want to look into were I travelling to a foreign nation. For sake of your own OPSEC you may not want to share where you’re going and stuff, at least in the specifics, but knowing the nation would make things a bit simpler if you’d like me and others to look into it for you. But most of all, enjoy your time away! It’s not often do many of us get to go on vacation to other lands, so make the most of it!
Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.April 14, 2014 at 2:25 am #8512
Other countries are risky. Depending on which one, of course. We go to India a lot, and it is terribly corrupt. We had to pay police bribes (twice in one hour) just to get out of the city with “suspicious” luggage on top of the hired SUV–just to avoid getting hauled down to the police station and questioned for hours. (It was obvious we were not locals, therefore had to be rich… and a source of money.) If things go down, your American money will be worthless for bribes. Or for getting out. It’s a risk we take every trip.
We have a friend who grew up in Haiti (missionary daughter.) She nods her head at our stories, and said if she or any other American/foreigner were within sight of a traffic accident, it was somehow their fault and they would have to pay something to somebody, or risk a mob. Similar in some parts of Mexico (not even counting drug cartel areas.) Yes, I am cynical, but you are not going to fare well in some countries if it is known that something major has occurred back home–which I am assuming is what you’re asking about. I’m also making the assumption that you’re going to a risky/somewhat unstable country.
If the problem is local to that country, it’s a different story, if you can get to an American embassy–or find someone willing to take your money and get you out. Also, much lower risk if you are in a “friendly” country as stated above. Or one where you do not stand out as a foreigner until you open your mouth, at least. We cannot blend into the crowd in India…so we are obviously outsiders.
We have had to dodge bandits in the mountains, angry political strikes shutting down entire towns, protesting mobs, and were told it was wise to leave in March 2009 before the April national elections–due to probable bombs and other violence targeting railways and marketplaces. After we left one tribal area just last year, Maoist rebels ambushed and killed 27 state police and politicians travelling in a convoy. So far, God has protected us.
Plus, we have found ordinary people, if not part of a mob or faction, are usually much more helpful and humane than authorities.
Assess the risks, and make the choice. Then enjoy your trip unless/until something actually happens. We do.April 14, 2014 at 2:45 am #8513
+1 on Mr. Red suggestions. Having various means for communication with people that can help you get home comes to mind. I always have a stash of cash for emergencies when abroad as well as some concept of an exit plan if worldly affairs go sour and risk getting stuck. Stay up to speed on current events and issues that may affect you in the area you’re visiting.
It’s great you’re giving this topic consideration.April 14, 2014 at 7:01 am #8526
We had to pay police bribes
How does one go about paying a bribe? Are they direct and say what they want, or do you have to hint in some way? And what is the going rate to have some official look the other way?
Bugs Bunny: "I speak softly, but I carry a big stick."
Yosemite Sam: "Oh yeah? Well I speak LOUD! and I carry a BIGGER stick! and I use it, too!" BAM!April 14, 2014 at 11:26 am #8531
I think you should look at your the clothes you are wearing and always try to blend in. Avoid big crowds. Always have local currency in small notes in different places on your body. One need to be careful paying brides, because that can land you in trouble as well. Read the situation without looking tense.
Do your homework before every trip. Plan ahead before you leave. Look at the specific region of the country you are visiting. What is happening in the news? Hopefully the people you are visiting knows more and have good friends that will be able to assist you to get you to a border.
In South Africa you need to watch out for Metro Police (Traffic) They love bribes – especially those just outside international airports. I always try to avoid them. I record them with my phone and keep my dashboard camera running. They are not used to dash camera’s and usually do not notice it.April 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm #8545
I agree that it depends from country, but generally speaking I think it is not good thing to be “foreigner” when SHTF.
Most probably you are gonna stick out, and that alone is reason for be in danger, not to mention that by some logic people often accuse some folks just because they are different.April 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm #8591
We had to pay police bribes
Elijah: How does one go about paying a bribe? Are they direct and say what they want, or do you have to hint in some way? And what is the going rate to have some official look the other way?
In our experience, as Tweva says in the “Bribes” thread, they are never direct. It’s a dance and you have to be sensitive to what is actually happening. We were motioned over to the side at intersections where police were directing traffic, and told to wait. And wait. Then told our luggage looked “suspicious” and we would have to go down to the police station for questioning and investigation. Inferring that this would take a long, long time. Our host (a local) handed us 1000rupees ($20US equivalent) from the back seat, which the driver passed out the window to the officer obviously in charge of the small contingent, stating we were in a great hurry to get to our destination. We were waved on.
Our host had to pay the equivalent of $500US in bribes to get the plans approved for a Children’s Home; more for the inspectors, etc etc. He also has to pay bribes to pick up freight shipped to him, unless it’s Registered Mail (no one wants their signature on a bribe-associated document.) It’s part of doing business in India.April 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm #8597
Selco: I agree that it depends from country, but generally speaking I think it is not good thing to be “foreigner” when SHTF.
Most probably you are gonna stick out, and that alone is reason for be in danger, not to mention that by some logic people often accuse some folks just because they are different.
Very true, Selco. Unfortunately, since we are white, and most of poor/tribal/Untouchable Indians are dark and quite short, we cannot blend into the crowd nor escape unnoticed. We “stick out” seriously. This is a risk we are willing to take for what we do. If you read “Kim” by Kipling, the character was a child during the Mutiny and his amah could stain his skin and drag him to safety along with her as his “mother”.
And yes, as our friend from Haiti pointed out, foreigners get accused just because they are different. Esp if presumed rich/ a money source. (Similar to runaway litigation/settlements in this country.)
Another caution in foreign countries (and after things do down here) is: Don’t give to beggars even if they look pitiful. You will soon be mobbed by others looking for handouts. It could turn into a riot with dire consequences.
As Selco often says, don’t be seen as a “source”. Even when I was weak and woozy in the hospital right after an emergency appendectomy in India (“hospital” is a euphemism)–a woman sitting in the hallway waited until the nurses left my room–then barged in with her hand out, insisting I give her money. White/foreigner=rich money source. I had to be quite assertive to get her to leave me in peace. (We do help the poor a lot, but always quietly through local partners on specific projects, like wells or Children’s Homes–nothing public or just giving stuff away.)April 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm #8628
Great insights. To be more specific we will be in an urban area of Mexico. Pretty touristy, so a lot of Americans and Europeans around. I suspect that will help somewhat. Traveled enough internationally to be sensitive to appearance. No fancy jewelry, watch or clothes. The same confident demeanor that holds us in good stead here at home, seems to carry over to international areas. Also have found that being respectful but firm with locals goes a long way.
Really do appreciate everyone’s insights.July 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm #17630
It is true that, throughout Latin America, you have “VICTIM” written on your forehead.
Yet, there are many good people.
Do not stay in a foreign enclave; it will be a perfect target for their bad guys.
Expect no help from your embassy or consulates. The way American reps treat their own countrymen is a disgrace. The British are just as bad with theirs.
Rather, apply the Chinese principle: if you fall to the ground, you must get up with the help of the ground. Find local allies. There are always kind people who will help you, locals who are more humane than your own nationals. Talk with a priest; talk with a bellboy; talk with a doctor; talk with nuns. You will be surprised at the effectiveness of the natives’ help.July 8, 2014 at 12:42 am #18148
The way the world is now I wouldn’t go to any country other than Canada. Flying never agreed with me (severe motion sickness) and over the years flying has otherwise grown to be an uncomfortable/unpleasant experience, so I no longer go anywhere that I can’t drive. Throw in all of the problems around the world and this New Englander isn’t leaving the US anymore except maybe to visit the Canadian Maritimes and Quebec. I would add that I have dual US-Canadian citizenship.
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