After wondering what had happened and how I ended in a 3×3 bedroom in a city 4000kms away from home and my parents, broken, sleeping over a mattress on the floor and jobless, the answer is, I (maybe) chose poorly a few times in my life.
I´m not blaming anyone else, to make things clear. It was I who made the choices, and the only responsible.
And I have paid enough for my mistakes.
Things don’t always go as planned.
The original plan was if someday we had to leave our house in the city, to evacuate and head for our cottage.
Pets, kids, everyone. But things were not so easy. First, there was a real danger of borders being closed, and we would be trapped in a like-jail country. That risk, according to what I have been analyzing is less nowadays. I was quite more paranoid those days, and reasonably. Our wages were reduced to oblivion with inflation so high that in less than 5 or 6 months we were not buying but a quarter of the supplies and the rest had to be covered with the product of my second job.
There were employees of the oil&gas and electric power industry imprisoned under false charges of “treason to homeland” because they just ran away of their jobs, unable to feed their families and themselves with those miserable, slavish wages. Nowadays, I doubt they pay attention someday to a low-level employee after the entire country is close to explode in a civil uprising as never seen in the last two centuries.
It´s almost like that, but imprisonment process has been by destroying the economy and with a corrupted gang making tons of money selling papers and passports to flee the country.
Fear can disrupt even the most well-thought-out plans.
That said, I must clarify there was an additional variable. The immediate family of my wife was already outside the country. Had I been with no family, I could have go to my cottage, and keep working online, and now my guerrilla garden would be world class. I can see now, my partner, no matter how much I wanted to believe she was on board, reality was different. We could have at least tried, but personal desires were in the middle of the family needs. Frustrated needs originated poor, emotion-driven choices that prevailed over the general welfare of the family. It´s painful to see that bugging out and speeding our retirement plan was never an option in her mind and that our family integrity was not a priority. I am sure that much of that has been decisive in my dark mood of these last months. But it is not the only hard-to-control, emotionally affecting event I have faced. There is another…component involved, so to speak. And it´s fear.
Fear was an important part of this, I have to acknowledge. It led in my case, to disregarding lines of thinking that would have allowed the most adequate finance-wise decision. Even if these decisions implied a setback in our careers. Mine is either way in a total halt now after I thought it was going to start again. It seems I´m qualified for a different industrial environment to the existent here and I’m starting to wonder if my experience time is not working against me. Fear is something to be afraid of. I remember the story (a recent one, indeed) where a family felt an explosion nearby and ran to the shelter…spent several weeks inside, living off the stockpiled food…until one of the children died by food poisoning. The explosion was a train with chemicals passing by. All of the farm animals were dead, because of the abandon. A real tragedy, if you ask me.
I could have come back with some extra cash, cut expenses, repair our car and try to live a simpler life in our OWN place. No rent. No water bills but a high quality, underground river top quality supply. A small power bill, almost insignificant (grid power failures in town do affect us, but my plan was to have solar backup anyway and our needs are not that much, just a TV, lights, a small fridge and sound system at night. Albeit being tropic, it´s cool enough during the day to take a power nap after lunch without a fan. Fresh fruit, poultry, and eggs. Beans. Plantains. Tapioca Root. Corn. Tomatoes. Onions. Rabbits. Cucumbers, and whatnot. Our pets would have been much better. Without all the harm done to the (now extinct) integrity of the family. Allowing our elder members to enjoy quality time with their one grandson. All of these could have been achieved if our possibilities had included to stay put and bug in according to the original plan.
We had the means to do so, but on my side, fear of remaining trapped was the motivation to flee. I don´t think it was a good choice now. Financially speaking there were plenty of investment opportunities in projects that would have allowed to come through the first few months, and they would be submitting net profit by now. I did the math. Remember, I´m an engineer. Our living expenses would have been minimal and our life quality would have been great. My health would be optimal, and not affected, or maybe it would but with less strong effects. Just by having proved myself that it was doable, and taught our kid how to set up a productive entrepreneurship adventure even under a critical environment, and getting ahead…it was worth the effort.
Will you and your partner be willing to make sacrifices when the SHTF?
All of that was a certain possibility, but the stress of having to feed a family without any income and relying only on some meager savings and a patch of land…that was too much back then, after having decent means. We could have done it, but it would have required a degree of sacrifice that the other half of the family was not willing to do, as made that point very much clear. The now ex wanted to go with her mother and sister, in Ecuador. Back then, migration was starting to see massively and some problems were in the horizon already.
Once I asked for the possibility to live in the cottage, as the original plan was plotted, with just our kid (older kid would go with his biological father to another city, under his own request), she said no way. She wouldn´t live in a place far away from the city, much less without cable TV and internet. Go figure. Prepper girl? Yeah, right. Once things got hairy, all I saw was a run to mom´s lap instead of keeping with hubby, embracing with younger kiddo and start digging the trench to resist until the last cartridge. My mom and she were not exactly friends, and their relationship was already broken and had a lot to see in my (our, me and my son´s) situation.
But back then, fleeing away looked like a good idea. Reality was quite different: job opportunities were scarce in my area, although my skill array is not that bad. And even after some fix job…with the high level of competition (not exactly loyal) we foreigner don´t have any work assurance. One week you work, the other one you just don´t because they found another migrant to do the same job, for half the wage. Stressful, isn´t it?
I am a man used to a relatively Spartan life. My only few pleasures when I have money are quite simple: a good bottle of wine, some tasty cheese, olive oil, garlic and bread, and taking my kiddo so he can have some ice cream or chocolate donuts, and a movie or a park. That, and talking to my mom, and dad while practicing knife throwing, or doing some other stuff we enjoy.
This is a city with over 10 million of people. Crime rate is not that high but you still have to be careful. Polluted and merciless, as many other cities. Sure, it has good places to offer. Reserved for those with better luck or with a patrimony already large enough. This is not an easy place to live even for many nationals. I´ve met quite a few and they work very hard to make ends meet. Finding a place to distract and relax is not easy neither. There is no country nearby: you have to ride a few hours in a bus just to leave the city.
And, to top it off, I had this last few months the strong conviction than, in any minute, turmoil just like in Chile, Ecuador and now Bolivia would start to spread. That´s a good portion of South American countries. It´s quite different to face something like an armed robbery, being in your own place, in your terrain, with tools at your side, than being relatively unarmed in a place where you´re no more than just another foreigner.
Suddenly, the original idea starts to seem much more appealing than being here.
Thanks for reading.
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