Right now, people are fighting over toilet paper in the United States, and others are trying to take advantage of their fellow citizens.
This is just a glimpse of what humans are capable of when panic and desperation sets in.
However, the major concern is that, as some rightfully assume, this might be just the tip of the iceberg. If a crisis, regardless of its nature, prolongs more than people were prepped for, chaos will engulf entire cities, and possible hostile elements will be present everywhere.
If you plan to travel through such an area due to various reasons, only your wits and skills will help you reach your destination unharmed. If the human factor poses a real danger in your area, you need to have a plan and some common sense if you are forced to leave your home or abandon your workplace.
When the first signs appear, and it’s obvious that an escalating situation is developing, you need to leave as quickly and as quietly as possible. If you stay around and wait to see how the situation escalates, you may very well become a number in a gruesome statistic.
If you happen to get stuck in the wrong place, you may end up being attacked by looters and other members of society that wish you harm or simply want what’s yours. To avoid falling victim to such a scenario, you need to void being captured, and you have to move undetected.
Rules to follow when traveling on hostile grounds
1. Make sure you blend in
When people start to panic, they end up making mistakes, and the same goes when trying to blend in with their environment. Most folks will give away their position without realizing it. For example, making noise and light should be avoided if you travel at night. You can blend in rather easily if you follow your survival instinct and have a little bit of common sense.
Your brain is designed to keep you alive by filtering or ignoring information that creates stimuli such as sounds, movements, colors, and threats. It does so to prevent you from acting in a certain way that would trigger a predator’s instinct. It has been doing so since the dawn of man, and it has adapted to the current environment and living conditions.
For example, when you sleep at night, your brain deliberately ignores the sound made by a clock or a ceiling fan. However, it is able to trigger a fast response if you hear a loud noise that is “unnatural” (i.e., glass breaking). This is equally available for any other sound that implies a dangerous situation is occurring.
Choosing adequate clothing for your environment is another important step that requires proper planning. Just like animals are able to blend with their environment by having colors that match their living grounds, you should do the same and try to wear only the color of your environment. Traveling on hostile grounds requires for you to have some knowledge of said grounds. If you set camp in a forest, wearing camouflage would be an obvious choice. However, being stuck in the city forces you to rethink your strategy, and you have to choose your clothing based on the environment’s colors and the time of day.
2. Pick the right time of the day to make a move
The time of day plays an important role in your prepping plans if you plan to bug out or make some ‘scavenging’ trips. If you travel by night, you need to wear dark clothing (blue, black, and grey), the type of clothes that will not reflect light. Clothing made out of leather should be avoided because leather reflects light, but it also makes quite a distinctive noise when rubbed against itself. All the accessories you are accustomed to wearing should be discarded. Things such as glasses, belt buckles, watches, and what not will twinkle like a beacon in the night.
Traveling during the daytime requires for you to figure if there are any hostile elements around you. If that’s the case, you need to make sure you blend in, without looking like a threat or a victim. Wear similar clothes and leave your tactical clothing behind. Also, travel like they do and try to act how they act. If you carry a bug out or get home bag, make sure it isn’t something extravagant that stands outs and carry a regular backpack.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you have to avoid being out in the open, especially if there are no other people around you. Use the back alleys and every urban element you can think of to provide cover for yourself and stay out of sight.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is to avoid carrying bulky items in your backpack since these can make noise if dangled at a fast pace. If you have to carry them, make sure you create a protective layer between them by using your packed clothes.
3. Assess the situation
To properly understand how you should travel on hostile grounds, you need to stop what you are doing and calmly evaluate your situation. Let’s say you are in the wrong part of the town, and you want to reach your loved ones.
First of all, don’t let your emotions control you and don’t initiate contact with people around you. Almost all rioters and protesters are waiting for a reason to get violent and neutralize what they perceive as a threat. Don’t start recording the unfolding event, and don’t get involved. In certain cases, mob mentality is very alluring, and it provides a false sense of “safety in numbers.”
And second, you should avoid being dragged in, and you should distance yourself from any crowd that is forming. Regardless if you think that what they are doing is wrong (or maybe right), you should keep it to yourself and prevent an emotional outburst from controlling your actions.
Don’t draw attention to yourself and get out of a crowd as soon as possible. Don’t give in to conflicts because if someone throws a punch at you, everyone else will join in, and chances are you are not prepared or have the necessary training to deal with multiple assailants at the same time.
Some will suggest using your gun, but the rioters may turn to shooters just as easily. Try to deescalate the situation and walk away as there’s nothing you can do when dealing with multiple attackers. Make sure you are able to detach yourself both physically and emotionally from a crowd of hostiles.
4. Don’t start running
Some people have a fight or flight response when dealing with a threat, while others will just freeze on the spot as their emotions take over. Running is the most common response to a threat since folks assume that it’s their only option for evading and escaping as quickly as possible. The problem with this approach is that running will trigger a predator’s instinct, and you will draw attention to yourself. Even more, running blindly in a panicked state will get you lost, and you will eventually get into more trouble.
When traveling on hostile grounds, one should walk at a steady pace rather than running. They should increase their step count gradually as you follow a pre-established route or a map of your choice. Even more, they should check in advance if the alternative routes are obstructed or not.
Situational awareness plays an important role when traveling on hostile grounds, and you should pay close attention to your environment to identify possible escape routes, long before an SHTF event is triggered.
Nowadays, most people travel with their phones stuck to their faces, and they fail to realize the blatant and less obvious routes in their daily commute. Next time you take the bus or your travel on foot, leave the phone in your pocket and observe the environment around you. You will be amazed to discover how many things you missed or didn’t notice during all this time.
5. The need for frequent and brief stops
To keep a steady pace when traveling on hostile grounds, you need to stop frequently and catch your breath. Not only will it help you keep a certain level of silence, but you will also be able to gather more information and change your plan accordingly. Since you can’t make an assumption in such a scenario, the best thing you could do is to stop and listen to what’s going on around you. Always wait to stand to be able and stay alert and move suddenly if the situation requires you to do so.
Even folks that are fit and may not require frequent stops should stay vigilant about their surroundings and re-evaluate their escape plan. Stopping often will give you the chance to be observant, and you will be able to approach certain landmarks without exposing yourself. Even more, you should pay attention to any type of movement in dark places and shadows, and pay attention to all unnatural sounds you hear.
6. Anticipate obstacles ahead of you
For your escape plan to work, you need to know your environment and region. The more you know about your living area, the better you will be able to anticipate roadblocks and other obstacles that would prevent you from reaching your destination. It is important to understand the layout of the streets in your city as this seemingly unimportant detail will help you reveal upcoming barriers, while at the same time indicate changes that need to be made to your escape plan.
For example, if you know there’s a shopping area ahead, and there are looters roaming around the city, logic states that one should stay away from that area. If there is an iconic mark nearby or a government facility and people are protesting, you should as well stay away from those areas. Knowing about all the sensitive areas in your town ahead of time will work in your favor, and you will be able to anticipate obstacles and scenarios that would put you in harm’s way.
7. Use the environment for cover
Any environment, regardless if we are talking about a town or the wilderness, can offer some sort of cover and protection for its inhabitants. There are various ways in which you could use the environment to your advantage. Staying close to the building and wearing neutral colors can help you blend it. Walking on the side of a street that has no streetlights or avoid crossing in front of storefronts will keep your presence concealed. One should stay away from parking lots, wide streets, and every other open area to avoid becoming a possible target.
Traveling on hostile grounds and traversing open areas lick a pasture or a wide road will get you exposed, and it should be avoided at all costs. Not only will you let yourself be spotted from afar, but you will also reveal your direction of travel. An open area can be monitored from different angles, and someone could be watching.
8. Trust no one
In a hostile environment, trust is hard to obtain, and you should trust no one if you want to reach your destination safely. Everyone, you don’t know personally may be or become part of the problem. If you are on your own and if there are too many unknowns for the ordeal you’re going through is better if you avoid other people.
Some follow the old saying that “there’s safety in numbers,” and although it can work in certain instances, there is no time now to make alliances. You can’t form a survival group on the spot or overnight. You need to keep your distance until the situation is contained and afterward you can make new friends.
A final word
Traveling on hostile grounds requires situational awareness and a keen sense of observation. You need to keep a balance between obliviousness and paranoia to say unnoticed and reach your destination unharmed. If you are able to sense danger before stumbling on it, you will increase your chances of survival, and you will be able to reach your loved ones.