Saturday, August 4, 2012

What's In Your Walk Away Bag?

You have a BOB and you are well aware of the implements necessary for EDC but do you have a walk away bag?  Judging by posts here, here, and here, the idea of simply walking away from your life is pretty popular.  In theory, walking away from your life sounds like a good answer to a variety of difficult situations.  In reality it is much more complicated than that (cutting off ALL contact with everyone you have ever known? Restarting your life from scratch?  It's easier said than done).
There are some situations, however, that may necessitate you having a walk away bag close at hand.  These situations don't include fraud (life insurance scams) or avoiding your responsibilities (skipping out on child my book, you made the kid, you feed it).  But I have suggested having a walk away bag to a few people over the years (all were victims of domestic violence/stalking).  In cases where you need to leave town quickly and occasionally permanently and the possibility of hauling a BOB with you in the event you get a chance to escape would make it too obvious to whoever is following you, you will need a walk away bag.  Here's what to put in it:

  • A bag (obviously).  It needs to look like a large purse, a school book bag, a briefcase, or a computer bag.  A full-sized backpack that you would use for your BOB won't work in this situation. 
  • A thumb drive with all of your computer files regularly backed up on it.
  • Cash.  And lots of it.
  • A new pre-paid cell phone (purchased with cash) and a new SIM card (you don't want this phone to ever have been used and you don't want it associated with your name in any way).
  • ATM/debit/credit card associated with an out of town bank.  Preferably the account has a lot of money in it.  Obviously you don't want whoever is following you to know you have this account set up.
  • Original documents if possible (copies if this is not possible) of your birth certificate, passport, driver's license, etc.  
  • Small jewelry or other pawnable items.
That's it.  It's pretty meager but you don't want it to look like you are moving.  You want it to look like you are going about your normal day, going to work or school or to visit your mother for a few hours...then you will disappear.  With a bit of cash you can stop by Walmart and buy some toiletries.  With a bit more cash you can stop by the Goodwill and buy a change of clothes. But first you need to leave and you need to have these few necessities in order to help you get away quickly.  A few other things:
  • You want to carry this bag with you as part of your everyday habit.  Anything out of the ordinary (gee I wonder why she is carrying that big, stuffed bag today?) will draw unwanted attention to you.
  • You want to stash the bag where you will be able to grab it and go but where the person who is after you won't find it (at work? in the crawl space? at your aunt's house?).
  • You don't want to tell anyone where you are going.
  • If you can pop the hard drive out of your computer and take it with you, do so.  If not, be sure you haven't left behind any information on it for someone who may be tracking you (erasing your browsing history won't cut it).
  • Leave everything behind except what is in your walk away bag.  Leave your cell phone, your wallet full of loyalty cards, and your keys behind.
  • Know the difference between walking away (legal) and faking your own death (not legal and tends to waste a lot of time and resources of various government agencies that are enlisted to search for you).
  • You need your original documents to start over.  The days of finding a dead kid in a cemetery and assuming its identity are long gone.  You can use these documents to change your name legally and in some cases (generally stalking/domestic violence) to get a new social security number.  If you have reason to need a completely new identity I suggest either a government wit sec program or going to a third world country where you can hide out for a (long) while.
  • The ability to do odd jobs, off the books, will be quite useful.
  • If someone is determined enough or has enough money it's not if, but when, they will find you.
  • Leaving a trail makes you easier to find: calling friends and family, hanging out at Starbucks just like you have always done, using your cell phone/car which could have a GPS tracking device on it, using the debit card from your regular checking account, etc.
  • You must abandon every social media network you have ever used.  Ditto for email.
  • Disappearing forever is extremely difficult...and lonely.

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