Expats Opinion: Argentina vs. Uruguay

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While doing some more research (Dear God, I need to sleep) to wrap up my upcoming book I came across an expats opinion on living in Argentina compared to Uruguay.
I think it is interesting to see someone else’s opinion. It does reflect my own but sometimes I’m afraid of not being as objective as I would like to be. 
In this case though, I agree 100%. Regarding driving, anyone that can drive in Argentina can drive anywhere else in the world, blindfolded and with one arm freshly amputated. I’m not exaggerating. Not one bit.

 

Expats Found it Easier to Move to Uruguay than to Argentina

“I faced the same choice 2 years ago, Uruguay or Argentina. I already had an apartment in Buenos Aires, wanted to relocate from coastal Brazil and did not want to live in a big city. We ended up near Punta del Este (but a world away in many respects) in Uruguay. The political and financial situation in Argentina is impossible. A few months ago it was impossible to get dollars (by decree of the President) and no one outside of Argentina wants their pesos. Inflation is 25-30%. I gave up trying to get residency. We still have our apartment in BA and enjoy the 35 minute flight from Punta to be in a great city every month. Since you mentioned you need to be near an airport there is one (Laguna del Sauce) 5 minutes from our house. And Uruguay seems very stable, the people are friendly, inflation is 7% and banking is easy. Both countries have winters and August is particularly gloomy. If you are visiting in July and August you will see the worst of the weather. I thought I would share my experiences with both countries,” explained one expat in Punta del Este.
……….
You will have to have a car anywhere outside of Montevideo, whereas in the city you won’t need one. (Frankly…I wouldn’t DRIVE in Argentina, much less own a car. I’ve lived in Mediteranean Europe, Mexico, etc…and Argentina is BY FAR the most dangerous place to drive I have ever seen. Noone stops…EVER. Uruguay by contrast is simply ‘sort of bad’, comparable to many other places outside the U.S.”

Relocating to a Different US State

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Not as easy as it seems. Even when going from one State to another, especially in small towns, you will be treated as a foreigner. Maybe even worse than coming from another country all together due to negative preconceptions people may have of where you come from!
Do plenty of research and choose wisely. For anyone in USA considering relocating it’s a much better idea to look State side than abroad, at least as of right now, but know what you’re getting into.


Relocating to Uruguay: Is it a Good Option?

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Preparations for Bugging Out of the Country

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Hey Fernando,

I have been a viewer of your YouTube channel for a while and finally
had the chance to read your book. I just have a few questions about my
particular situation that I am hoping you could give me some answers
to.

I am a young expat teacher living and working in Thailand. I am
Australian by nationality. Whilst I have a desire to be well prepared,
I know that if things get truly bad in Thailand (which I feel is far
more likely than things going wrong in Australia) I would leave,
rather than sticking it out.

As such I have a much more limited set of supplies, as I don’t
foresee them needing to last long – if a situation that has me
living off supplies arises I will be on a plane within the month. I
know that in a collapse situation that as a foreigner I may attract
unwanted attention or not receive assistance from local authorities.

I have the following things in place to ensure my survival should
things go downhill here, and I would like your comments on them, as
well as any additions.

•        I live within walking distance of a top quality hospital, a local
police station and have comprehensive, international health insurance.
I can speak enough Thai to speak with the police or emergency services
if needed. The airport is 20-30 mins away if there is heavy traffic.
•        My home is on a no-through road in a middle class neighborhood and
has security bars, motion lights etc and have established friendly
relations with my neighbors.
•        While I am unable to carry a firearm here, I do have knives
available for everyday carry and home protection. I was trained with
the basics of how to use these when I was in the Australian military.
Iam young (under 30) and relatively fit. I have had some (basic!)
martial arts training.
•        I have food, water, lighting and cooking supplies available in my
house to last for 2-3 weeks. I live alone, but have made provisions to
accommodate certain friends who are also expats if required. (I know
in your book you are not fond of charity, but I feel doing this is
well within my means).
•        I keep some money in local currency and US dollars physically in
my home, as well as some small pieces of gold jewelry. In my bank
account I keep enough to cover my monthly expenses – the rest is
sent to my savings accounts in Australia (obviously here I have enough
to fund an airline ticket)
•        I monitor the local news and try to keep abreast of any political
or economic events that may cause problems (there have been mass
protests in the past, terrorist attacks etc).
•        Anything that will not fit into airline baggage limits I am
prepared to abandon. I am also aware of routes to land border
crossings with nearby countries should air travel not be an option.

Now these preparations seem quite rudimentary compared with the depth
you go into in your book and in your videos and I am worried that I
may have missed something. Bearing in mind that I will only look to
bear a collapse situation for a month before abandoning the country,
what are your thoughts on my preparations?
I know this is long – if you made it this far I really appreciate
it!

Kind regards,

Eric

Hi Eric, thanks for your email. Just for the record, I’m of course not against charity. I simply recommend people not to do it from their front door. In a country ravaged by poverty and misery the word does get around and you’ll find a line of people waiting for your help every day. What I did myself was find organizations such as churches or an orphan home close to where I used to live and helped there, anonymously, rather than from home.

About your email, it sounds as if you are well prepared. As you notice there’s a few differences between what is typically considered Bugging Out, which often means evacuating within short or medium distances, and bugging out of the country (BOTC) which in spite of some similarities calls for different planning.

BOTC means that something severe has happened or is about to occur and the entire country, maybe even the entire region across several countries have been compromised and you are now at risk. This could be anything from natural disasters to war and pandemics.

There’s three main keys here at play:

1)Resources: You need to actually have the means to get out of there. This means money to buy a plane ticket out of there, a boat waiting for you on the marina or a car with gas ready to roll with a plan ready to go. You will also need a small basic Bug Out Bag (check my video on BOBs) and most important, passports to make it across customs and into your country of destination.  You will need enough money to get around and a pre-selected country where you can bug out to. For BOTC you’re generally looking at flying out of there. Trying to cover mayor distances by land will take longer and will certainly be dangerous, so it should fall on the plan B category for BOTC scenarios. Road blocks, riots and control posts may be set up in a matter of hours, and slowly moving by land means there’s more time for this to happen and borders getting closed depending on the given event.

2)Intelligence: You need to stay up to date on what’s happening all around you. The media in most parts of the world is well within the control of the local government, sometimes its even worse on developed nations than in the poor ones where you are used to more improvised sources of information. Within that mess you seem to be more likely to get real info rather than the sanitized version you get fed in more civilized parts of the world. Its important to keep track of events, everything ranging from weather forecasts to the political and economic landscape. During tough times my advice is to at least check a couple sources at least three times a day, morning, noon and before going to bed.

3)Timing: Gathering information and having the habit of checking often is crucial because it gives you the advantage of time, and timing may be the difference between catching the last flight to safety and finding that the borders closed or airports shut down and you’re either going for a much more risky plan B alternative to get out or you’ll have to ride out the disaster as best as you can without leaving. An hour, even a minute too late makes all the difference in the world during these sort of events, so its important to stay informed. At the same time, you cant jump on a plane every time something goes down in the country. Especially during these troubled current times there’s lots of red flags going up and you can BOTC every week or month. What you are looking for is significant events such as significant military action involving your location, verified widespread pandemics or severe political events. You want to watch out for “I cant believe this is really happening” events. Instead of staring like a deer caught in the headlight, get moving!

FerFAL

 


Russian Family Spends 40 years living isolated in Wilderness

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Very interesting read here folks. As you can imagine, conditions were miserable and even these hardy people spent most of their lives fighting starvation. Makes you think about the “living off the land in the nearest national forest” approach.
FerFAL

For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII

In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga

{extract, see link below for full article}….

Under the Soviets, isolated Old Believer communities that had fled to Siberia to escape persecution began to retreat ever further from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov’s brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest.
The Lykovs lived in this hand-built log cabin, lit by a single window “the size of a backpack pocket” and warmed by a smoky wood-fired stove.Peter the Great’s attempts to modernize the Russia of the early 18th century found a focal point in a campaign to end the wearing of beards. Facial hair was taxed and non-payers were compulsorily shaved—anathema to Karp Lykov and the Old Believers.

That was in 1936, and there were only four Lykovs then—Karp; his wife, Akulina; a son named Savin, 9 years old, and Natalia, a daughter who was only 2. Taking their possessions and some seeds, they had retreated ever deeper into the taiga, building themselves a succession of crude dwelling places, until at last they had fetched up in this desolate spot. Two more children had been born in the wild—Dmitry in 1940 and Agafia in 1943—and neither of the youngest Lykov children had ever seen a human being who was not a member of their family. All that Agafia and Dmitry knew of the outside world they learned entirely from their parents’ stories. The family’s principal entertainment, the Russian journalist Vasily Peskov noted, “was for everyone to recount their dreams.”

The Lykov children knew there were places called cities where humans lived crammed together in tall buildings. They had heard there were countries other than Russia. But such concepts were no more than abstractions to them. Their only reading matter was prayer books and an ancient family Bible. Akulina had used the gospels to teach her children to read and write, using sharpened birch sticks dipped into honeysuckle juice as pen and ink. When Agafia was shown a picture of a horse, she recognized it from her mother’s Bible stories. “Look, papa,” she exclaimed. “A steed!”

But if the family’s isolation was hard to grasp, the unmitigated harshness of their lives was not. Traveling to the Lykov homestead on foot was astonishingly arduous, even with the help of a boat along the Abakan. On his first visit to the Lykovs, Peskov—who would appoint himself the family’s chief chronicler—noted that “we traversed 250 kilometres [155 miles] without seeing a single human dwelling!”

Isolation made survival in the wilderness close to impossible. Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.

The Lykovs’ mountain home, seen from a Soviet helicopter.

The Lykovs had carried a crude spinning wheel and, incredibly, the components of a loom into the taiga with them—moving these from place to place as they gradually went further into the wilderness must have required many long and arduous journeys—but they had no technology for replacing metal. A couple of kettles served them well for many years, but when rust finally overcame them, the only replacements they could fashion came from birch bark. Since these could not be placed in a fire, it became far harder to cook. By the time the Lykovs were discovered, their staple diet was potato patties mixed with ground rye and hemp seeds.

In some respects, Peskov makes clear, the taiga did offer some abundance: “Beside the dwelling ran a clear, cold stream. Stands of larch, spruce, pine and birch yielded all that anyone could take…. Bilberries and raspberries were close to hand, firewood as well, and pine nuts fell right on the roof.”

Yet the Lykovs lived permanently on the edge of famine. It was not until the late 1950s, when Dmitry reached manhood, that they first trapped animals for their meat and skins. Lacking guns and even bows, they could hunt only by digging traps or pursuing prey across the mountains until the animals collapsed from exhaustion. Dmitry built up astonishing endurance, and could hunt barefoot in winter, sometimes returning to the hut after several days, having slept in the open in 40 degrees of frost, a young elk across his shoulders. More often than not, though, there was no meat, and their diet gradually became more monotonous. Wild animals destroyed their crop of carrots, and Agafia recalled the late 1950s as “the hungry years.” “We ate the rowanberry leaf,” she said,

roots, grass, mushrooms, potato tops, and bark, We were hungry all the time. Every year we held a council to decide whether to eat everything up or leave some for seed.

Famine was an ever-present danger in these circumstances, and in 1961 it snowed in June. The hard frost killed everything growing in their garden, and by spring the family had been reduced to eating shoes and bark. Akulina chose to see her children fed, and that year she died of starvation. The rest of the family were saved by what they regarded as a miracle: a single grain of rye sprouted in their pea patch. The Lykovs put up a fence around the shoot and guarded it zealously night and day to keep off mice and squirrels. At harvest time, the solitary spike yielded 18 grains, and from this they painstakingly rebuilt their rye crop.


Relocating to Canada, Part IV: The Maritime Provinces

3 comments

Blog reader and contributor J. Vanne continues to share his knowledge regarding Canada. Thanks J. for taking the time!

FerFAL

Relocating to Canada, Part IV: The Maritime Provinces

The maritime provinces – Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – are generally regarded as a region that has chronic unemployment , and in one sense, is almost “the land that time forgot,”  in that much of the economic development that has gone on in Canada moved west for various reasons.  However, where there are issues like this, there may be opportunity for you. This article will explore those possible opportunities.

Newfoundland

If you consider this province, first attend the Newfoundland 101 class: the province may be pronounced by an emphasis on either the first or last syllable – never the middle one.  Newfoundland joined Canada only in 1949, after some brief toying with the possibility of joining the US. One key economic item is the Hibernia oil field off the coast, which is a plus for economic stability, but generally Newfoundland is a place that has had chronic unemployment and people leave to find work. Jokes about “Newfies” are abound among Canadians – similar to the “Okies” stories told in the Great Depression.  Excluding Labrador on the mainland, which we will not examine, NF is not called “the Rock” for nothing.   While hunting, fishing and abundance of both fresh and salt water will not be a problem, generally the land is not fertile, nor will one be growing mangos, let alone corn, as this area of the world does not get hot even in summer.

 

In a serious implosion, the positive is that one would be isolated from the “zombie hordes” in NF; however, this same isolation means that during more normal times, or even a the slow, grinding socialist malaise we are continuing down the path on under Obama ,  getting to and from the province is both expensive and time consuming.  A flight from St. John’s (not to be confused with St. John, New Brunswick) to New York will set you back around $600 as of 2012. To get a sense of the geographic distance Newfoundland is from the  other major North American population centres, one is actually a half hour to the east of the Atlantic time zone, which itself is, of course, one hour to the east of the Eastern time zone.  You will not be close to anything.

 

The above being said, there may be entrepreneurial activities in Newfoundland, particularly in the ecotourism area. In a more grinding socialist downturn, the favoured cronies of the Obama administration will be getting richer, as has always been the case under every socialist regime that has ever existed (as George Orwell noted, in the socialist workers’ “paradise,” we’ll all be equal, only some of us will be “more equal” than the others.)  Will they have money to spend on eco-tourism, and decide to visit there? Perhaps, if a very, very strong business plan is put together.  Ecotourism is in its infancy around the world, and even less developed in Newfoundland. The key thing to remember about Newfoundland is the chronic, heavy unemployment, and distance from other major centres.

 

The capitol and main city (really, the only city), St. John’s, is located on the Avalon Peninsula in the far east of the province, with a population just under 200,000. In other words, the city is large enough to have some opportunity – particularly with a aforementioned Hibernia off-shore oil project – but not so large that one has to worry about urban issues encountered in, say, a Detroit or L.A. Weather will not be a plus, unfortunately.  Described as a humid continental climate, the average January high in St. John’s is just under freezing, with the average high just under 70F in July. Temperature is moderated by the Gulf Stream, which isn’t too far offshore from St. John’s, and in fact the city has the mildest winters of any major Canadian city outside of British Columbia. On the downside, of all the cities in Canada, St. John’s  is the foggiest (124 days/yr), snowiest (wet snow, usually, 141 in./yr), wettest (just under 60”/yr) windiest and cloudiest.

 

Memorial University, www.mun.ca, is a well-regarded university within the city, so you would not be leaping into an area where everyone wears coonskin hats and canoes to work.  There are several other smaller cities on the island, while on the west side of the island, the Long Range with its fjords make for Norwegian-like scenery – culminating on the northern tip of the island with the only confirmed Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows (Parks Canada website at http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx ).  In sum, though  the Hibernia oil fields offshore could provide employment for those in certain professions, and the cost of housing is cheap, the island is probably not a viable alternative for most, in any scenario, although in a zombie apocalypse, the island would certainly be well protected from the ravening hordes. Similarly, NF is too far out to be impacted by, say, an EMP burst from North Korea detonated over Kansas. However, one would have difficulty growing crops, and heating would be an issue if you were expecting to use solar. Similar to Alaska, in a serious apocalypse, one would be cut off from the mainland, and all that implies, both good and bad.  Unfortunately, my summary is that the bad outweighs the good overall, and that Newfoundland be bypassed in your considerations.

 

 

Working southeast , let’s next move to the tiny province of Prince Edward Island, whose capitol is Charlottetown in the map above. PEI is where Canada confederated as a country in 1867. The land is exceptionally fertile, flat, and one is literally never more than 20 -30 minutes from the ocean. If you would like to get a sense of the land, rent the critically acclaimed TV series Road to Avonlea, or the movie Anne of Green Gables. Not everything is filmed on the island, but much is, and might help to get a sense of the area.  Charlottetown has a population of around 60,000, but feels larger as it serves as the hub for the whole island, population 150,000. Tourism is very heavy, particularly from Japan, which has developed a  strong affinity for the Anne of Green Gable character  over the years;  more tourism is facilitated by the magnificent new Confederation Bridge, linking PEI to mainland Canada over Northumberland Strait (see http://www.confederationbridge.com/  or http://www.confederationbridge.com/about/confederation-bridge.html if you are interested in this feat of modern engineering) . Farming is definitely possible on the island, which is flat, fertile and serene.  Winters are not overly cold, nor summers hot, due to the maritime influence found everywhere on the island.  Business opportunity might revolve around tourism, fishing or Revenue Canada, the Canadian version of the IRS, which has a major office in Summerside – and which might possibly allow for consulting opportunities. But, on the downside, PEI is the worse province for economic freedom in Canada. There are many pluses to PEI, but these must be carefully weighed against the lack ability to make a living and the intrusion of the state against your business freedom. My analysis is that PEI would be either an excellent choice for relocation in a serious collapse where government is not hanging all over you like a cheap suit, but in a more muted downturn, the lack of economic freedom makes the island a bad bet. If one thinks a more apocalyptic scenario is at hand, perhaps purchasing raw land and simply sitting on it for the present time might be one way to go.

 

Long story short, the un-business friendly attitude of the province would argue against relocating here in a continued Obamanomics inspired malaise, although if tax and spend attitudes continue, the Revenue Canada site in Summerside might insulate one against a downturn.  If, that is, one could stomach being part and parcel of the parasitic tax gatherer class.  In an apocalyptic scenario, the island is off the beaten track, not near anything or anyone, and has substantial fishing and agriculture, and moderate winters. In a zombie apocalypse, with the un-tender ministrations of big government is gone, PEI would have a lot of positives, including the ability to get started purchasing land now for a fraction of the prices currently found elsewhere across the country.  PEI, like Newfoundland, is on the periphery of an EMP blast’s effects (all the Maritime provinces are shown either not affected, or else marginally so, by an EMP nuke set off over the central part of the American continent.  Of course, this assumes a single blast over the central part of the county, which may or may not be a reasonable assumption).  In sum, my analysis is that PEI would not be good in a continued  Obama-esque economic malaise, but in an apocalyptic, TEOTWAKI situation, might be an reasonable option. An added benefit is that land could be purchased right now for a reasonable price as “insurance.” www.dignam.com sells land all over the Maritimes, including PEI, and – as noted elsewhere in my articles – I have personally had a good experience with them.

 

Let’s move next to New Brunswick.  The three major cities there, Moncton, St. John (not to be confused with St. John’s) and Fredericton, the capital, are all somewhere around the 150,000 range. Economically, they are mostly stagnant. While there are fertile agricultural areas is some spots, it is mostly rocky and forested – very similar to next door Maine. Key advantages to this province is that there has been no housing boom, there is easier access to the large cities down the road a number of hours, such as Boston  or Montreal, yet the province is sparsely populated. However, in my opinion, this province does not have much going for it in a recession/depression, and in a zombie apocalypse, other than being remote, there is really not too much to recommend this area, other than low price of entry for land and homes.  I do not believe this province warrants further attention – knowing, of course, that there are always special occasions, deals or locations that might make your choice different.

 

The final stop in our tour of Canada is Nova Scotia, a province I am going to heartily recommend.  Let me first admit, I am biased, as I own land in this province on Cape Breton (at the far east in the picture above). The capitol, as well as the regional centre for all the Maritime provinces, is Halifax, population around 400,000 in the metro area. As the city is influenced by the Gulf Stream, the average high temperature in January is just below freezing, so temperatures are not unbearable at all. (Halifax monthly averages are found here: http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/CAXX0183; Canadian temperatures country wide are found here: http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatravelplanner/tp/temperatures_canada.htm ).

 

Incidentally, if you are a “newbie” to Canadian winters, a good summary of how to live in colder temperatures and deal with hypothermia can be found at http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/01/18/f-hypothermia-cold.html . Freezing to death is about as likely to happen to you as dying from killer bees or lightning in the US. The last figures I have cited are from 1997, which indicated a death rate of 0.3 per 100,000 for “excessive cold” (86 cases). But remember – this includes all kinds of individuals engaged in outdoor sports, backcountry hiking and skiing, etc., and well as people dying, for example, by getting drunk and passing out in a snow bank (literally, this does happen!)  If you are reading this, have more than 100 functioning brain cells and exclude winter sports activities, your risk of freezing to death is about the same as being kidnapped by Martians.

 

Halifax is a major port, was historically a major naval base, has reasonable cultural attractions, an international airport (e.g., IcelandAir flies out of there to Europe) and two universities. It is definitely a livable city – but without having to pay the price of larger cities you may be familiar with. Part of this is due to the fact that Halifax – the sister city of Boston – was much more significant 100 and more years ago. While population growth and development has migrated elsewhere, the city retains some of its old clout and attraction. For example, the two universities – St. Mary’s and Dalhousie – are still vibrant, strong schools well known throughout Canada.

As noted in my earlier articles, the Maritimes have been chronically depressed, and herein lies the opportunity, in that most people who needed, or wanted, to leave have already done so years ago (often moving to Toronto or Vancouver). In my opinion, there is little downside left. In a “soft” depression, Halifax would probably be no better, or worse, off than anywhere else. In a major apocalypse, it is a city of 400,000, which I think says it all – viz., that there are enough people to pose problems.  Interestingly, in an EMP attack, examine the map below. Assuming a single blast over the centre of North America, Halifax is left untouched. Certainly, a single blast scenario exactly over the centre of the US may not be how things play out, but this map is nevertheless instructive.