Safer on the move: one-way tickets

By Ev Bogue - December 21st 2013

Whether you want to escape the depression of your local economy, protest a war abroad, or take a long vacation in Argentina to ‘get away from it all.’ It’s safer on the move.

There’s nothing worse than an apartment sitting on the other side of the world waiting for you to return.

This is why I always book one-way tickets. Whether these are train, plane, or bus tickets – they take me from here to there, and not back again.

This is the second in a series of posts called Safer on the Move. The first post was on keeping your location private. This post is about packing up, and getting out. If you want to get a notification the next time I write a post, drop me an email and I’ll add you to my list.

Moving doesn’t have to cost $4000, it can be as simple as tossing your stuff into a bag and leaving as the sun rises for the airport or train station.

This is why any decent world traveling programming writer knows the only freedom you can have is the freedom to put all of your belongings in one bag.

How to pack down to one bag

You can’t be on the move while lugging around all of your shit in a UHaul. They’ll never let you on an airplane with a moving truck full of crap.

The easiest way to stay on the move is to fit all of your belongings into one bag.

To do this, you first need to decide what goes in the bag.

I’ve been living out of one bag since the last few months of 2009, so the packing-down experience is hard to remember. I’ll do my best to recall the process in three simple steps

  1. Make a list of the shit you want to keep
  2. Put it into one bag
  3. Put everything else in the trash

Here’s are all of the things I carry with me, from memory

  1. Laptop with Arch Linux
  2. Headphones
  3. Notebook
  4. Stack of notecards
  5. External hard drive
  6. Thumb drive to install Arch Linux
  7. Pens (3)
  8. Jacket
  9. Scarf
  10. Beanie hat
  11. Pants
  12. Pants
  13. Longsleeve button-up dark grey shirt
  14. Longsleeve button-up grey shirt
  15. Light green tank
  16. Turquoise tank
  17. Black merino shirt
  18. Grey shirt
  19. Grey shirt
  20. Purple hoodie
  21. Stovetop espresso maker
  22. Electronic toothbrush
  23. Razor and blades
  24. Neti pot
  25. Yoga mat
  26. Screen cleaning cloth
  27. Debit card
  28. State Gov ID
  29. A single physical Bitcoin
  30. Condoms
  31. Merino socks (5 pairs)
  32. Marino underwear (5 pairs)
  33. Shoes
  34. Passport
  35. Backpack

And that is all.

This list doesn’t include disposables such as soap and toothpaste. You can buy these everywhere, so it isn’t necessary to put them into your bag.

If you have more things than this, it will be a pain in the ass for you to book one-way tickets. At a certain point the pain-point of stuff will stop you from moving around, and you will just park yourself in one city for most, or perhaps the rest of, your life. You will never see the world, except for occasional 72 hour weekend flights to Europe.

You won’t be safer on the move.

Letting home go

You won’t be able to leave if you have an apartment lease or (even worse!) a mortgage on a house. Everyone knows mortgages are traps to keep you in one place forever.

I wrapped up my last lease (for only 6-months) in Seattle at the end of 2011, and I don’t intend to have a lease again.

You don’t want to be in some far-off country, whilst pouring most of your income into an oversized house you no longer live in. Save yourself the trouble by not ever buying a house, or ditching your mortgage if you do indeed have one.

How to book one-way tickets

The State Department website will tell you many countries will want on-ward tickets as evidence that you aren’t coming there to stay forever. I’ve never had trouble with this, but you might. The trick is to NOT look like a homeless raggamuffin when you roll up into the airport.

The truth is the interrogation is more likely to happen if you’re attempting to get into the United States with a passport from another country. Avoid this by not visiting the United States again until the empire finishes its fall. There are so many better countries to visit anyway. Be creative.

And what’s the worst that can happen? Offer to buy another one-way ticket out if pressured to do so. Most land-locked countries can also be left on bus or train. In these countries you can claim you are leaving in some other way than via plane.

The only time I was worried about this was when I was rolling into Tokyo on a one-way ticket. And what happened? Nothing.

Additional travel strategies

Whenever I go through airport security in the USA, I bring an oversized toothpaste tube with me to give the agents something to fuck with me about. This is the kind of low hanging fruit low wage government workers in authoritarian regimes need to feel important. They either confiscate my toothpaste, or pretend they didn’t see it. This isn’t necessary in countries that don’t strip search you before getting on flights and/or drone citizens abroad.

I never go through the scanner that takes naked pictures of you. I always opt for the full-body massage. I get enough radiation on the plane.

I carry a wad of cash, in USD. This is a backup, just in case my debit card gets switched off. This seems to happen more and more as the banks get closer to their eventual demise. Cash always works, even when the power goes out. Cash is also anonymous, and accepted everywhere. I use cash for as many purchases as possible, as this is one way to protect my privacy.

Getting the balls to leave

No one will ever give you permission to leave. Your friends won’t. Your family won’t. They want to you hang around and be involved in their shitty situation as it gets shittier. The only person who will give you permission to leave is you.

Book your one way ticket, throw your stuff in a bag, and walk out on your mortgage.

When its time to go, its time to go.

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