Advertising
Advertising

How to Disappear Completely and Start a New Life

How to Disappear Completely and Start a New Life

We live in a dog-eat-dog world. Everyone’s doing what they can to stay afloat. As NSA whistleblower and gestapo “traitor” Edward Snowden has shown us, though, somewhere along the line, any of us could find ourselves in need of an escape route. You’ll have a lot on your mind, and disappearing takes discipline. You’ll walk a tightrope without a net, and you can’t ever lower your guard. Keep this page somewhere safe to use as a checklist in case shit ever hits the fan, and you have to disappear completely and start a new life…

meditate

    Remain Calm…

    A clear mind is always better than a cluttered one. Think about how your house is arranged. If everything is cluttered and things are in the way, you’ll have a harder time getting around, be less efficient, and get less done. Your mind works the same way: If you’re too busy dwelling on things that you can’t change (bills not currently due, a job you’re not currently at — anyone or anything that doesn’t exist in your physical present), you’ll miss opportunities in the present moment in which you’re able to act. You switch from P(roactive) to R(eactive) and your life begins to slide in reverse as your Spidey-sense loses that tingling feeling. I digress…

    The point is, you need to have a wide open mind. Starting a new life is possible in many ways, but you have to decide both what you’re willing to give up and put up with. The reason for this life change will drastically impact the way you start a new life. Resetting your social circle, family makeup, etc. based on a voluntary career decision takes a different approach than escaping from prison and going underground in the modern surveillance state in which we live. You’re about to embark on a serious life decision, many steps of which can’t be undone.

    Now Bug Out

    You need a bug out bag. I keep several for different situations, but you don’t necessarily need to go that far — I’m just giving you choices. Create a bug out bag that works for you. A lot of this will depend on your financial capability and resources. I have a backpack and messenger bag. Each one has different necessary items that help in various situations. Having two styles of bags helps you blend into different situations. My backpack is a well-designed High Sierra that has a high storage capacity. It’s useful for carrying basic survival gear along with personal electronics (laptop, music player, cables) I need to survive. The messenger bag helps in urban situations. There are times when you may want to blend into a city or professional environment, and a backpack won’t help that.

    Advertising

    Fill your bug out bags with universally necessary items. You’ll need at least a small amount of currency for emergency situations. Keep identification on you. People will tell you that you should destroy ID cards, but there are more reasons to keep them than discard them. Think of how many identification cards you’re given in your life at school, work, conferences, parking garages, stores, etc. You never know when you may need to recreate an ID for something, so keep them all. As a whistleblower, I spend a decent amount of my time conversing with law enforcement and security personnel as both a consultant and person of interest. What I can tell you from detailed analysis of extensive field training is that police officers and security guards often tend to be human beings with jobs to do. More often than not, pairing an ID with a cool head and friendly demeanor can get you out of tough situations. Not every encounter wit’ the po-po gotta end wit’ yo .44 makin sho all dey kids don’t grow. They look at a situation in terms of the amount of paperwork they’d have to do to contain you. There are plenty enough ways of beating the house rules, but that’s a discussion for another time…

    Your bug out bag should also contain any of these survival basics: condiments, hygiene essentials, a water bottle, Camelbak, tea bags, spare stores of any medications you take (prescribed or otherwise), peanut butter, honey, chocolate, nuts, salt, trail mix, crackers, cookies, seeds, powdered drink mixes, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, sunscreen, a small mirror or compact, minor hand tools, writing utensils, a tape measure, duct tape, a sewing kit, cables (especially fax/telephone), chargers, batteries, a laptop (preferably sans wireless card…and I mean physically nonexistent, not turned off…), cell phone, several firestarters, vitamins, hand sanitizer, a flashlight, small umbrella, poncho, map, compass, eating utensils, radio, atlas, and almanac.

    You want to have at least one bug out bag on hand wherever you are. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a survival situation. A few months ago, for example, I woke up in a hospital with nothing but a pair of bloody shorts (sans Australian accent), my iPhone 5, and a cloudy recollection of the chain of events that led me there. The point is, things sometimes happen, and you want to be prepared for the basics. What’s important is maintaining your sanity, surviving, finding comfort, and continuing to push on. If you don’t already have one, put together a bug out bag and keep it in a safe place. You never know what the future holds, and you never want to be left out in the cold with nothing.

    Advertising

    disconnect

      Disconnect

      If you’re starting a new life, hiding from the internet seems like the most logical move. That’s not necessarily so. We live in a society where you blend in by hiding in numbers and not sticking out. If a police officer stops you, and you don’t have ID, you stick out and require further scrutiny. Applying this principle to the internet, you’ll still need to stay abreast of our constantly updating and evolving society. The internet is like having an all-knowing deity in your pocket at all times. Depending on the individual circumstances surrounding your personal disappearing act, you may need to connect to the internet in more creative ways. Hiding from the government is different than hiding from your family. Either way, digital isn’t the type of disconnect I’m referencing.

      In order to disappear, you’ll need to cut off connections to your family. In order to obtain a government security clearance, you’re asked a lot of questions about your family and friends. This is because your emotional connections can be used against you. Your enemies can tug at your heartstrings and torture you by opening wounds that have nothing to do with physical harm. I used to be a skip tracer for the banks. My job was to find you anywhere in the world you may be hiding. Carmen Sandiego couldn’t hide. Waldo couldn’t hide. You’re a three dimensional person, though. You have free will. You can take precautions. Disconnecting from your family and friends cuts off potential routes of finding you. If you’re seriously trying to start a new life, you can’t bring those connections with you, and checking them in is akin to returning to the scene of the crime.

      As a side note to cutting off personal connections, I realize that this is difficult. The thought of it provides anxiety and fear. You’ll have to face these afflictions sooner or later, regardless of whether it’s in your new life or your old one. Know that if you do lose someone in your life, you can meet new people. Life will go on. It’ll take effort and work, and you may have sleepless nights of feeling like a failure, but the journey will make you stronger and more resourceful. There’s a brave new world out there that’s yours for the taking.

      Advertising

      shutterstock_72417484

        Hiding in Plain Site

        One of the most effective defense mechanisms you can use is the tactic of hiding in plain site. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it works a lot better than it sounds on the surface. The most obvious way of hiding in plain site is by simply ignoring someone. If the reason you want to disappear and start a new life is to get away from someone, it may be possible to simply ignore them. To apply this concept to a different perspective, when I first blew the whistle on Bank of America, they retaliated with some brutal tactics. My lawyer advised me to keep my head down, but I was already in too deep with Anonymous by that point. I instead hid on the internet and eventually in the media. By hiding in plain site, I effectively defended myself against a lot of underhanded tactics used by a large machine against a single unknown.

        Here’s another example: back in high school a, ummm… guy I knew… and his friend would test store security with some admittedly creative techniques. What… they… discovered was that the best way to circumvent security is to hide in plain sight. They’d test this theory out by walking into grocery stores at various “rush hours,” filling a cart, bagging it, and walking out without paying. The patterns were repeatedly tested in more and more brazen ways. Later on as an adult, one of those guys ended up testing the idea with various work badges and uniforms. The lesson to be learned from all of this experimentation is that the more obvious you are, the less likely someone is to believe they’re seeing what they’re seeing. If you want to disappear, tell everyone you’re invisible. Or just stand still until everyone just accepts that you’re there. Whatever you decide to do, own it. Reality exists at the intersection of perspective and perception. Learn to dance in the streets.

        good or bad

          Good Ideas/Bad Idea

          Good Idea – Using cash for all purposes…

          Advertising

          Bad Idea – Plastic… and tipping your stripper more than your waitress…

          Good Idea – Having a plan, but being open to spontaneously reacting to hurdles…

          Bad Idea – Going in blind and getting upset when things don’t go as planned…

          Good Idea – Being friendly to every person you encounter…

          Bad Idea – Being friendly to every snake you encounter…. 

          More by this author

          Say Goodbye to a Skinny Body: How to Gain Weight Fast 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About (+ How to Ditch These Worries) 7 Signs You’re Truly Unhappy in Your Relationship 24 Easy Ways To Make Money On The Internet What 500 Calories Really Looks Like in Different Foods

          Trending in Communication

          1The Gentle Art of Saying No 217 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things 310 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 4Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 5Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

          Advertising

          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

          Advertising

          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

          Advertising

          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Advertising

          Read Next