What Bugging Out from Venezuela Is Really Like

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Editor’s Note: So often in the prepping community, you see people giving flippant advice like, “just move” or “don’t be frivolous and you can afford it.” But, as you’ll see in this article, picking up and leaving your lifelong home after a lengthy financial collapse that has drained all your resources isn’t that simple. While bugging out might seem to be the obvious answer, Venezuelans love their home just as much as we love our country and unless a family left before things got bad, they may no longer have the resources to do so. Most of us have never thought about what it would be like to leave your home forever, with no money and only the things you can carry. In this article, Jose shares what that is really like for millions of Venezuelan migrants.~ Daisy

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 travelling 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 coud 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 floodings, 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.

Here is a video of those who are migrating on foot.

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.

Picture of J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose 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. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations: paypal.me/JoseM151

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  • It is encouraging to hear how those passing by would help those who were migrating on foot. The image of God still exists in people. I liked his idea of making a push or pull cart to ease the load of carrying your stuff. There actually is such a pull cart on the market which is strapped to your waste. Very expensive, though it enables a person to move a lot of gear easily.
    Rocket stoves? Definitely, the way to go. You can always find a few twigs to cook some food or boil water. I have one and am surrounded by free fuel. I left a big city, Toronto, in 2009 and lived in a much smaller city in Niagara for 4 years. Since then, I’ve been in a small cabin in rural central Ontario for 5 years. I had to let go of a lot of my stuff because I had no room. I’m not living high on the hog. I have no bathtub or shower or running hot water. But I have more than what I need. I bet many people on this earth would only dream of having my situation, as trimmed down as it is. It is very good training for a disaster which appears to be unavoidable for the west. One of the things I love about Eastern Orthodoxy is that they fast a lot! Why is this important? Training. Learning to say NO to ourselves for periods of time. Learning self-control and sacrifice. And who would have thought? According to Weston A. Price fasting for 18 hours a couple of times a week is very good for one’s health. I really believe we need to relearn many of the old ways, now long forgotten, and pushed to the side by modern convenience.
    I really enjoy reading this man’s experiences, as hard as it is for them. It’s likely we shall all get a turn at this experience.

  • And where do you thin k they’re going?


    1-Now, Panama is a small country. How many immigrants do you think we can take?
    2- Then Venezuelans take the few jobs there are.
    3- This is the best of all: THe Panamanians are pretty easy going, and live and let life, but hhese foreigners come to MY country and act side and arrogant towards, us, Panamanians! Insulting us, and being pushy. THIS is the height of it all!

    This in spite of US, giving them refuge! The Venezuelans should be GRATEFUL and humble for being allowed in.

    Better for them to stay home and fix their broken country! Don’t run away from your problems!
    STAY HOME! We can’t take you all in!

    • Your country has reaped huge benefits of A LOT of all the money stolen from MY country. You forgot to mention this.

      In my experience, those who feel someone else is arrogant is because they have a deep lack of self-steem.

      I have never insulted anyone…unless offended first, and have not been under any similar situation.

      I notice in your words a DEEP lack of knowledge about geopolitics, and the reality about what is happening.

      If you truly believe this is OUR fault, and that our government is “dumb” and “unskilled”, you are so mistaken that I won´t be able to explain it here.

      This is part of an entire agenda to take over South America, including YOUR strategic strip of land. So perhaps you would need to examinate your feelings about foreigners taking over your country, because your next rant could be pretty much be over the Chinese Army.

  • Seeing people suffer is never easy. But accountability is paramount here.

    It is beyond disingenuous to mislabel this or any population exodus as an example of bugging out. Bugging out is something else entirely. Something you plan in advance.Those people are not prepared or planning anything prudent or falling back to a predesignated living arrangement or anything of the sort. They’re people on their way to make the problems they created, and then subsequently allowed to spiral out of control, into someone else’s problems, and in the process, ensuring Venezuela gets no better any time soon, if ever.

    What is happening in Venezuela is nothing new or out of the ordinary. It’s a microcosm of what happens all across the browner areas of Latin America. On repeat. It’s their culture. Or rather, it’s the stage of cultural evolution that they have been stuck on for some time now. Much like African culture and it’s pervasive warlord mentality (YouTube: Cannibal Warlords of Liberia). See? It could be worse, Venezuela. They’re still burning people at the stake for witchcraft on that continent too. Ah, but I digress..

    If these migration-prone Latin American cultures love any of their nations at all, they have an interesting way of showing it. I mean, serial self-destruction and abandonment does not fit my definition of love.

    And you really can’t say that it’s not their fault (the adults anyway), because they pack up those same damn politics that paved their road straight to hell and bring it with them wherever they end up! To ‘culturally enrich’ other nations with, as the left would euphemistically say. That’s why Democrats love their little Latin American soldiers of demographic replacement so much. They’re nothing if not consistent blunt instruments for the left in US politics.

    Lots of them are certainly full of what they like to call ‘pride’, I’ll give you that much. But that can’t possibly be a good thing as, for whatever reason, said pride is never humbled by the falls it causes. Thus, they learn nothing. Ever. They’re still so damn sure of their Banana Republic politics. Even now. And for no good reason at all.

    The lesson here is an old one. You can’t help people who refuse to help themselves. Not to mention people who are more interested in being used to attack, upend and replace the laws and the rights of the nations that foolishly take them in to better resemble the ones that already ruined the nations they supposedly love “as much as we do”. All migratory evidence to the contrary.

    Taking these people in is about the same as welcoming plague rats. You will gain nothing, they will learn nothing, and much will be lost for the host people. Financially, socially, culturally etc. And history will just repeat again anyway.

    The only 2 things that can stop the cycle are Venezuelans going home to kill and die until their situation is rectified, so their progeny can know something better. Or, Venezuela getting conquered and occupied by a superior people who will clean up their mess and enforce the rule of law that they wont. Either way, Venezuelan’s need to be ready to cut off some branches to save the trunk.

    As the old Latin adage goes: Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.

    Go home Venezuela. Go home, and grow yourselves a tree of liberty from the blood of patriots and tyrants alike.

    • That your comment has a very unsubtle level of racism and an intellectually-lazy lack of knowledge about the world would be obvious to most here. But, I’ll add some more detail for your benefit, because you’re not unintelligent.

      1) “What is happening in Venezuela is nothing new or out of the ordinary. It’s a microcosm of what happens all across the browner areas of Latin America.” Here’s that racism right over the surface! You’ll protest that you’re just “saying it like it is,” of course. So, let’s examine your claims. What are the “browner areas of Latin America? I gather you mean the less-European populations? Perhaps like Peru, which has had a solid decade of economic growth outpacing the United States’ own? We could contrast that with Argentina, which is the most Europeanized country in all of Latin America, and yet suffers recently from the same unrest that is apparently the fate of the “browner areas?”

      2) So, where is the “brownest” area of all, then? Africa! The country of Africa which is all the same and filled with cannibal warlords! Did you know that 6 of the 10 fastest-growing economies on the planet are in Africa? Did you know that the continent has been blossoming for 25 years now with democratization, urbanization, economic growth, and a remarkable lack of war? Let’s speak of Liberia, the country you mentioned as indicative of the continent’s entire debased nature, and the tragic genetic and cultural fate of the “browner” peoples: Did you know that the president of Liberia was recently the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize? Did you know the troubled history of Liberia, which is directly tied to the United States, and our “peculiar institution” of chattel slavery? Did you know that the Liberian Civil War has been over for decades now? Did you know how it was merely another proxy war of the Cold War contest between the USA and USSR? No, of course not, because your knowledge of a continent of 52 countries, 1.2 billion people, and hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution therein is divorced entirely from a wider study of history, geopolitics, or economics. It is derived from… YouTube.

      3) And then out comes the most ignorant-of-history comment of them all. Colonialism is the answer! Apparently our Commentator has never heard of the Spanish Empire in Latin America. Or that Venezuela is both a creation of the Spanish Crown. Name me *one place* where a country “getting conquered and occupied by a superior people who will clean up their mess and enforce the rule of law that they wont.” I’ll wait… Or, perhaps you meant that as an irony. When countries like Cuba and The Philippines *were* occupied by a people who considered themselves superior and law-enforcing: yes, we Americans! It turned out so well! Nearly every one of those “browner areas” that you think could use a little racial hygiene were occupied by some “superior people,” be them the Brits, French, Dutch, Belgians, Portuguese, Americans… even Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes. Are they sorted after a few centuries of European colonialism? Should we try again?

      Worse than the ignorance and racism of this post is the laughable “armchair rebel” persona you have here. When is the last time *you* grew yourself a tree of liberty from the blood of patriots and/or tyrants? Because, friend, that quote referred to events almost two-and-a-half-centuries ago, of which you had no part! What have *you* personally done today to push back against tyranny? Aside from insulting somebody who, you know, actually faced the situations that you just watch YouTube about? Have you done anything about the Patriot Act, civil asset forfeiture, unwarranted NSA data collection, the War on Drugs, FBI extortion, etc.? Sure, you probably are very well-versed on the Second Amendment. But, have you defended the rest of the Bill of Rights, lately?

      Probably not, because you’re a paper-tiger fraud like most people lighting their faces with YouTube into the wee hours of the night, while hundreds of millions of other people face down the actual existential questions of survival and liberty.

  • Dear Jose, this must be so difficult to write about. It is more reality than most people ever experience. I like what you said about a blanket and rain poncho. And lots of socks. That is the way I have prepared. Wool blanket, plastic tarp, rain poncho with hood, many wool socks and 2 pairs of boots. Thank you many many times for your articles.

  • Jose, thank you for your insightful article. Tying to be prepared for disasters like this is very hard, as no one can be certain of how things will go down until they happen! Even then, one may not see the big picture.

    This brings to mind something that I’ve seen very little of, and that is those that have to remain because of illness, age , physical abilities, and other issues that only they may understand. Some of us just won’t be able to leave, or even survive in the woods, desert, or mountains. Weather is another issue for those folks too. Sure they’d like to escape too, but unfortunately they will have to do their best from home.

    My wife and I are rapidly moving into or older years. She has heart issues and I’ve had 2 back surgeries. So with fusion and metal in my back. I cannot do what I used to do. It’s are far cry from my 20 plus years in the military. Being old doesn’t mean we’re less concerned. I’m sure there are many who feel they’ll be taken care of. I won’t hold my breath.

    So I am planning my preps around hunkering down. I’ve started to make our home sustainable, by adding 1000 gallons of rain water catchment. I’ve collected and bought seeds for our garden. I’ve built my own solar array to provide enough power to keep refrigerators and freezers running,

    These are just a few thing that I have done. I’m sure there are others like us. If any of you know of a web site or blog that’s covers sitting it out I would appreciate the info. I would love to hear more. Thank you


    • Dear Tim,
      Please fee free to ask Daisy my email account. I would be much pleased to share some information I have collected.

  • I live in Peru and we have a lot of refugees from Venezuela. Even here in the jungle next to the border with Brazil and in the mountains of Puno I come in contact with them. I like to buy and eat arepas that the they sell in carts on the streets.

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