Episode-1464- Fernando Aguirre on Strategic Relocation and Bugging Out

Fernando Aquirre (aka FerFAL)

Fernando Aquirre (aka FerFAL)

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is a modern survival author that has lived through the 2001 socio-economic collapse of Argentina. He’s recognized in the survival and preparedness community for his first-hand experience and practical approach to survivalism.

He published his first book “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” in 2009 and is the editor of “The Modern Survivalist” website. Fernando bugged out of Argentina in 2011 and now resides in Ireland with his wife and two children. Fernando has recently published his second book, ” Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying Put is not an Option “.

Today he joins us to discuss what going though an actual financial collapse was like, why it isn’t what you’d expect and how it is still going on 13 years later.   He will also talk to us about bugging out in two very different ways.  The short term reactionary way to the immediate threat and the long term strategic way to ongoing geo, economic, political, etc. issues.

Resources for today’s show…

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29 Responses to Episode-1464- Fernando Aguirre on Strategic Relocation and Bugging Out

  1. Jeff - The Berkey Guy

    Great Show Jack, Ferfal is a great person with great information.


  2. Hey Jack, great interveiw. I’ve always marked the start of my TSP experience with the first interview you did with Fernando. It was cool listening to this one. I don’t know the episode number for the first interveiw, but I think it’s been about 3 years.? So hearing Fernando today had me thinking back to how much your show has inspired me through these last few years and I want to say thank you.
    My girlfriend and I are leaving California and moving to Texas in the spring. Her mom has 200 acres in London, just north of Junction. This move is exciting and sometimes a little scary for us. We’ve never done any farming or ranching before but were going for it!
    Fernando’s story is humbling for me right now. No matter how unsure things can seem for us personally, his story is a gut check. It makes this move for us seem like a cake walk.
    So thank you Jack and Fernando for this one.

  3. Interesting show, as an expat living in China a country that is actually really safe and free in different ways to the west.

    Jack why do you call yourself Ukrainian, when you don’t have a Ukrainian passport and I assume don’t even speak the language?
    I know Americans like to call themselves, ‘Irish’, ‘Polish’ or ‘Korean’ ect…even when it was their grandparents that made the trip to the states.
    This doesn’t make sense to me. Just say you’re of Ukrainian decent.

    Fernando, failed to mention the best countries to live in along with Canada, are Australia & New Zealand. Affordable health care and education. America just seems like a place for business, not the average person with an average job.

    Looking forward to some more shows on business and permaculture. (This is what I listen to TSP for)

    • Modern Survival

      Wow talk about a comment that is all over the place and frankly insulting on some levels.

      Why do I call myself a Ukrainian, because I grew up with grandparents who were directly from the Ukraine and of 4 grandparents 3 were full blood Ukrainians, I was taught about my heritage which I value hugely by the way all through childhood. I went to a Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ukrainian Catholic School, etc. Did we study/learn the Ukrainian language, not really a few words here and there that was BECAUSE WE ALL LIVED IN AMERICA and considered ourselves Americans of Ukrainian decent. Our parents and grandparents wanted us to learn English and be good at it so we could get good jobs. They spoke Ukrainian only at High Mass and when they were angry and cussing at one another so we didn’t know what they were saying. We also lived in a TRUE MELTING pot of cultures. Georgian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Polish, Hungarian, Slovakian and some how Irish and a few Italians in that entire mix.

      Every friend I had knew what their roots were. Most of their parents were full blood on at least one side, many parents of my friends were 100% X in genealogy. Almost every grandparent was either an old wold immigrant or was born here as a first generation. Those that were were born in America were usually born only a few years at most after their parents got here. In some High Schools there were jocks, preps, nerds, etc. In my High School we actually had groups based on our heritage. They were not tight cliches but you knew who all the Ukie kids were, etc. There were almost never any fights or anything on these lines unless you were stupid enough to call one of the kids from Ukraine, Lithuania, etc a Russian, that was just being stupid. Keep in mind the cold war was raging with the USSR at this time.

      I grew up learning to cook our foods, grow food the way they did in the Ukraine, preserve them in old world style, handle meat and game the way they did, learned about their artwork like blown wax painted eggs. On a Sunday or any “Holy Day of Obligation” my grandmother would not dare leave the house without covering her head (do all of those that hate anyone who is Muslim think that is unique to the Muslim faith by the way). Easter Dinner for me was almost a hybrid of Passover and Easter with many small customs no Roman Catholic or frankly Jewish person would recognize. I have left the church but I was baptized in a Ukrainian Church, did my first confession and communion in one and was confirmed in one, etc. I stood up as Best Man for my high school friend in that same church.

      In other words I am a Ukrainian in heritage and I damn well KNOW MY HERITAGE, I am also an American by birth, I have built businesses here, I served my nation in the Army Airborne both here and abroad. I grew my family here, etc.

      I consider you questioning my right to call myself either Ukrainian or American EQUALLY INSULTING. In other words I call myself what I am and don’t appreciate it when people that don’t know jack shit question it. If you want to compare this to hyphenated American syndrome, tell me how many who use hyphens could tell you half of what I just did about their heritage.

      You also don’t have a clue about business climates, when I said I could put 50K back in my pocket by moving my business to Costa Rica that was a direct result of taxes I would not pay. I don’t think Fernando got that either so I let it go. I guess he thought I meant cost of living?

      People that think America is really set up for people who run businesses from small to quite large HAVE NEVER RUN A BUSINESS WHERE YOU SIGN THE FRONT SIDE OF A PAYCHECK.

      Now if you want to be a mega corp, America is the place. Because you can locate each part of your business in any part of the world best to do so, not pay shit in taxes and buy any laws you want to squash your competition.

      You know like this, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/apple-offshore-taxes_n_3307591.html

      If you look at the taxes most big companies pay in the US it appears to be about 20-25% of profits.

      When you dig deeper you find they pay about 5-10% of total profits via back door deals, off shore holdings, rebates from the government, etc.

      Small companies (meaning any company earning 250K up to a 50 million year) pay out the ass here and would be much better of in at least 10 other nations.

      Facts are a bitch, may be that is what you should listen to TSP for?

    • ?Thanks, for the long reply Jack. I am not trying to insult you or attack your heritage. Thanks, for the in-depth honest answer.
      My point there’s a difference between calling yourself Ukrainian, and of Ukrainian decent/Ukrainian in Heritage.
      Yes I am knit picking. Maybe this is just a cultural gap between America and the rest of the English speaking world in the terms and what they mean in your culture.
      “In other words I am a Ukrainian in heritage and I damn well KNOW MY HERITAGE, I am also an American by birth”

      “I consider you questioning my right to call myself either Ukrainian or American EQUALLY INSULTING.” My intention was not to insult you Jack, just too better understand you and Americans thinking when it came to identity.
      My company here had a Korean intern, who came from America, a country he has lived in for almost 9 years, and is about to get his US citizenship. He realised by coming to China, that he was in fact not really Korean anymore, and mostly American. The way he thought, the way he acted, his beliefs. It’s great to know your heritage and where you’ve come from. Sometimes, it’s great to spend deep time in another culture, to really understand your own culture and who you are.

      Just because a country has a lower tax rate doesn’t mean it’s better for business. It’s like you’ve said before, depends how a country treats money. Do they treat it well or not? What are the opportunities? Obviously your business is different, and is not location dependant. So in your case moving to Costa Rica could make a lot of sense.

      Since, you mentioned your Church upbringing, and you later left it. May I ask why you rejected it?
      If this too personal of a question, and don’t want to answer it with some random on the internet. Then don’t answer it. TSP is not about religion, but preparedness.

      Just another comment to do with the show, having visited Zimbabwe in 2009 after the worst of the crisis there. Things were getting better at that time, because they adopted the US dollar. The people survived because many still grow their own food. The people are also so tough, especially the woman. The ones who were able to get out of the country, had another countries citizenship, had a desirable qualification or were political asylum seekers.

      • Modern Survival

        Well just to be damn clear.

        I am a

        Army Airborne Solider

        I will call myself any of these things at anytime of my choosing and anyone that doesn’t like it can sod off. If you have a problem with a person being more than one thing, it is your problem.

      • Modern Survival

        On your question about the church I left not just the Ukrainian Church I left all churches period. I am not a Christian and I don’t believe in any organized faith.

        I consider myself a Deist. I have no desire to discuss that further it never does any good to do so. Religion is a personal choice. I still revere the customs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church as a form of heritage, I just don’t share the faith that those who follow it have.

  4. Jack, will you do an episode on everything “bugging out” from your perspective? Basically cover all aspects of how one would, or possibly why one should not, bug out. Go over stuff like, do you personally have a bug out plan? What is it? Is the traditional prepper bug out of running to my friends place in Timbutktu even advisable? Etc…

    All my questions would be for a show. Please don’t answer them here. I’d rather everyone get the knowledge from your thoughts.


  5. Wow, surprised to hear about Costa Rica and crime. I thought that was the ultimate place to have a home if you could afford it.

    • Modern Survival

      I see Fernando as being a bit jaded on some of this.

      Take a for instance. Say you wanted to get a handle on crime in Texas, how bad is it? I say Texas where?

      Fair Park? – After dark you are taking your life into your hands.
      Denton? – No worse than just about any place in the US.
      Justin? – People that steal in those parts are likely to just disappear so there are not that many of them out there.

      So when people say lots of crime in Costa Rica, I say Costa Rica where? Same with Panama.

      Panama City in El Chorrillo area, just slit your own throat and it will be easier on you.

      Cerro Azul wow talk about a place no one fs with anyone, period.

      It always depends. I can tell you there are many places in Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica I felt much safer than in some areas of Allentown, PA.

  6. I am Ukrainian too partly, Jack, cool.
    Anyway, nice show.
    It’s important to not miss a big point though: people in places like parts of Central America haven’t become accustomed to the huge services and amenities we have in the US and haven’t become dependent upon them as such. So if/when SHTF there’s less to fall apart. That’s important to not miss.
    I’ve spent time in rural Nicaragua and yes, petty crime is a much bigger issue but they don’t have or need the myriad things we’ve become used and dependent upon here. They are way more resilient as a result and the place will find itself far less hurting than my own region when things fall apart if even just for days or weeks.

  7. Re: the comments about being aware of trouble around you and leaving:
    Always good advice:
    “The prudent man sees danger and takes refuge. The foolish man keeps going and suffers for it.” Prov. 27:12

    See the danger, and take refuge. Not take refuge against imagined danger, not see danger and ignore it… a balance.

  8. Regarding crime in Argentina; You must look at where in the country we are talking about. I have been living in a neighborhood in Patagonia for 11 years, and am able to leave my door unlocked while I take a trip to town. Fernando seems to paint whole countries as being crime ridden; but Argentina isn’t as bad as he says in regards to crime; Economically, yes.

    • Fernando Aguirre

      Argentina’s crime problem is just as bad as I say it is and it can be easily verified with 5 minutes of google searching. That’s why I left. That’s why hundreds of thousands left the country since 2001. You have to be blind not to see that. Saying that Argentina is safe because you left your door unlocked somewhere in Patagonia is like saying Ireland is 300ºF in January because that the temperature inside my kitchen’s oven.

      • Modern Survival

        Don’t doubt you on Argentina man, do on Costa Rica, at least painting it with a broad brush as the entire place vs. certain areas. Like I said come to Dallas and I will show you places as dangerous as any you have seen. 10 miles away I will show you places as safe as any you have seen. Were you are now is pretty safe but it is “The UK” have you been to south London?

        • Canada is ‘GRAS’. But anyone who has been to Jane and Finch in Toronto will say it is just as dangerous as any ‘bad’ area of the cities of which Jack mentioned.

        • Fernando Aguirre

          Hey Jack, this is the kind of stuff I cover in the book, using among other info the Homicide Rate by country chart circa 2011. The murder rate per 100.000 in UK and Ireland is pretty much the same at about 1.2, USA is somewhat worse at about 4.8. As you say, depends a lot on where in particular but still, the average tells you that in general one place is safer than the other and walking around each one you see just that. You can walk all over Texas and as you say you have some pretty dangerous parts but mostly very nice, very safe ones. Ireland for example, both north (UK) and Republic of Ireland, you can walk all across the island and you will be hard pressed finding a house with burglar bars. Crime levels are laughable and mostly realated to family, feud or drugs. Even in the “bad” parts, its a joke compared to latin America.
          England is not my “cup of tea” so to speak but my sister lives in south London. It depends, some parts are very nice.
          Homicide rate in Costa Rica? 10.0, thats pretty bad any way you want to look at it. Over twice the homice rate of USA and almost 10x the crime here in Ireland. You can drive around and those safe places you mention, they do exist, but they are few and far between with most of the country being a crappy mess. I got several emails from people over there telling me that I’m either correct about Costa Rica or that the crime problem is even worse than that. I get it that its nice, great climate, you have nice areas and there are plenty of American expats, you have the nice tx benefits and all, but in my opinion those levels of crime are just unnaceptable. Maybe its becuase I lived in a similar way for so long, and I know how in a split second it can ruin your life and all the pros such a place has mean nothing when you or a loved one is dead or left scarred for life.
          Anyway, just some thoughts on this.
          Take care my friend!

  9. I am proud to say
    I am a
    Son of the most Honorable men
    And scoundrels and bootleggers

  10. I wonder by Fernando didn’t pump up Canada more?. Yes we are socialist, but we do have a 26% Corporate income tax rate, which I believe is quite competitive. Our crime rates are pretty low as well. Of course I’m Canadian, so ignore my bias ;O)

    • Modern Survival

      When I managed Eastern Canada as part of my sales territory for Fluke/Microtest I and the other regionals all called Canada America Jr. LOL

    • Fernando Aguirre

      Hey Brent, Canada is the country I recommend the most outside USA. Canada actually scores better in several key categories. Regarding the socialist thing, which country isnt these days? You have to look at the pro and cons, not the labels, which mean less and less each passing year.

  11. Yes, we are a small market, say a California

  12. I am happy here on the little sandbar known as Prince Edward Island. The climate may not be ideal, but I’ve chosen it as my home. The violence and crime of which Fernando speak of is unsettling to hear but reality. This may be a stretch but is there a correlation between heat and crime?. The northern latitude countries don’t seem to have as much of it as the topics or more southern countries. Or as the name of the David Lee Roth album “Crazy from the heat”, apply in these cases?. This is really a stretch I know, but I am more thinking out loud at this point…

  13. I think it’s worth mentioning that what makes the ‘better’ place to be depends a lot on one’s priorities and opportunities available. For example my family’s priorities are entrepreneurship, proximity to at least some family, and opportunities for travel. In those respects there are better opportunities for us in Mongolia and Asia in general than the US, and we’re interested in maximizing those opportunities while we can even though it means giving up some familiar comforts and lifestyle options. We COULD do this in the US but we feel the odds are not as favorable and the rewards are not as high given the increasing bureaucracy, and we know there are serious trade-offs and have accepted that in return for the opportunities. On the other hand someone who has prioritized a steady decent paycheck, comfortable lifestyle, and safe environment for their family could do a lot worse than choosing the US (or at least select states). This is why I think so many immigrants continue to want to come to the US, because the opportunities for working one’s way up from nothing are still better than a lot of places (even if said opportunities are fewer than they were). Those people would not have the same kind of earning potential where we are going, so doing the same thing as my family would not be a good move for them. This is the reason why I think many Mongolians who came to the US, Canada, and Europe to get their start years ago are now moving back now that they have skills, experience, and some capital.
    (BTW, for us one of the things that played a key role in our decision was whether to remain employees or go into business for ourselves… the first option favored the US, whereas the second favored outside the US)

    I would stress that in relocation (whether domestically or internationally), it’s vitally important to focus more on the several things or priorities that attract you TO that destination, and not so much the reasons why you want to leave the place you are at. I think focusing too much on the negative’s of where you’re at may ruin your chances of finding the right place for you or enjoying it once you’re there.

    – Nick (only about 8 more months to go!)

  14. I would not underestimate the American’s ability to take back their country. I see so many pockets of rising, like little forest fires, too many to stamp out. I believe that that the U.S will emerge stronger out of this in the end. After great pain however. The country was great at one time for a reason. One has to remember they were pioneers in democracy, and pioneers have arrows. It is ugly sometimes but I do believe they will prevail and I am happy that they share a border, since I think Canada would be a very different place without them.

  15. I would not say Americans have an independent attitude at all we are all more than willing to accept ternary for perceived safety. I say perceived because government never actually does anything that works. We will never take back our freedom because be want to take no responsibility for anything. Further the majority of Americans are debt slaves and employees who are no longer mentally able to consider possibilities beyond what they already know and will attack any perceived threat to their status quo. They have no problem if a neighbor is killed for failure to submit to jail for failure to pay a ticket for failure to wear a safety belt to protect themselves. I mean how is a human life worth my insurance rate going up, right?

    If you want money debt and luxary then yes USA is best. We will attack and steal from any country for our benefit. However, there is another way to live well. Living the ideal permaculture way where 4 hours a week you gather food and spend the rest of your time presuming the perfecting of skills, knowledge, spiritual things, or what ever you choose. Living a great life without requiring money. So in this respect, I have friends who moved to Argentina and Uruguay. They experience more personal freedom than I could have ever imagined as an American where I’m told we are the best freest country on earth. They live away from cities and there is no crime, no department of making you sad, just peace and good neighbors. I know the cities are bad, but honestly the only reason to live in a city is to presume a life of luxary, stuff, and money. There really is another way to live apart from money. But that requires personal responsibility. Look at the Amish who sell eggs for $2, buy nothing they don’t have to and save everything. Then you have people down the road enraged and jelous that the amish work together and buy a 1000 acre tract of land which they can not afford while they pay mortgages and interest on everything they have while working 40+ hours a week. Its all personal choice and responsibility. If you want a welfare safety net then yes USA is pretty much as good as it gets. If you want police to jail a neighbor who goes 1 mph to fast or for having grass 5 inches tall; then yes USA is Number 1 (wave the foam finger). America is no less communist than any other country. We just have different priorities. Actually our crime and assault rates exceed or at least match even Brazil cities. In the USA if you defend your self you will mist likely have thousands of dollars extorted from you by lawyers and courts and likely go to jail for a while; its very profitable for the private jails and counties and a great excuse for more tax to keep you safe; not to mention the career advancement for the DA. U S A, we’re #1.

  16. Fernando noted that no matter what, there is always going to be a government around. I think this is so as long as a significant fraction of the people believe in the government religion. But it was really explained by Murray Rothbard: “For if the bulk of the public were really convinced of the illegitimacy of the State, if it were convinced that the State is nothing more nor less than a bandit gang writ large, then the State would soon collapse to take on no more status or breadth of existence than another Mafia gang. Hence the necessity of the State’s employment of ideologists; and hence the necessity of the State’s age-old alliance with the Court Intellectuals who weave the apologia for State rule.”

    So, the reason there will always be government is the same reason there will always be criminal gangs – some people prefer to get their sustenance through violence rather than through cooperation. The only real question is how much belief people at large put into them, and how wrapped up in the “Stockholm Syndrome” (that is, identifying with their slave masters) people get. The less of that there is around, the better off people will be, and then the criminal activities of the state can be kept to a low roar.

  17. aren’t there rural areas in Argentina such as Patagonia? I heard a podcast owhere someone describe Patagonia as a desirable place to live. anyway, I am not sure if crime descriptions here are city areas or what is the difference between rural abd city areas?

    we were in Costa Rica for 2 weeks in 2011 and stayed at an eco lodge.I surfed every day. I know there is crime in certain areas, but on that trip it was no problem