by Leon Pantenburg
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Relocate! 25 Great Bug Out Communities by Dave Stebbins
The whole Bug-Out scenario generally centers around large urban areas. It goes something like this: You must leave your urban home to go somewhere else. It could be there was a flood, fire, pandemic, earthquake or some other large-scale emergency that forces you to evacuate.
Assuming you have individual emergency backpacks and gear, a vehicle with gas in it, and roads that can be traveled, where would you go?
A common - and dangerous - misconception is that of "heading for the hills." In this situation, the intent is to head to the nearest wilderness area, and blend into the landscape.
In reality, a trailhead may be the last place you want to end up. I have been to many backcountry wilderness trailheads prior to opening day of elk season. Some of these, 25 miles or more from the nearest paved road or town, resembled gridlocked parking lots, as outfitters parked horse trailers and SUVs and pickups jockeyed for parking places. I could only imagine the scene if a bunch of desperate, hungry, unprepared city people got that far.
Author Stebbins practices what he preaches. He has lived for the past 12 years off the grid in a small town. He teaches renewable energy classes in a community college, and his suggestion is that you relocate BEFORE an emergency to some small town or rural area. Stebbins' book is about finding a community before you have to deal with unprepared hordes of refugees.
Specifically, he recommends 25 communities throughout the United States that could meet your relocation needs. Naturally, this is a small cross-sampling, but Stebbins mentions some small town characteristics worth looking for.
To someone considering relocation, Stebbins suggests moving as soon as possible. The best idea, he claims, is to find a place you genuinely would enjoy living, with affordable housing, low crime, and access to healthcare, churches and recreational areas.
Move now, Stubbins recommends, so you become part of a community and learn to get along with the local people whom you will have to depend upon. Then, if the unthinkable happens, you already have your support group in place.
A nice feature of the book is that the representative communities are located all over the country, ranging from high desert to heavily-forested lowlands. Far from large population areas, these suggested communities allow you to start your initial shopping.
I'd suggest taking a look at climate first. Someone who would not want to relocate to a tropical climate might like the snowy northwest. Whatever your climate preferences, there is sure to be a community listed in the book you would like.
Some of the things Stubbins ranks communities on include: medium housing costs, school quality, weather. and unemployment rate. He also lists distances to the nearest hospitals, community colleges and universities.
For big city dwellers, he also offers tips on how to get along in a small town, and explains some of the differences in the urban versus rural, small town lifestyles.
Stebbins' book is a good place to start if you're considering a move to a more rural area. The book can help start the conversation about where you might want to end up living.