Complexity of modern systems in third world
environments lead to unreliability and fragility. Your ATM
card means nothing. The man wants his money and he's not
buying your story.
Banks are a trap; not a resource for answers.
Bank privacy is a farce in third world countries.
Most humans turn into animals when faced with
scarcity of resources.
Life & Death and the Rule of 3's; 3 minutes without air,
3-8 hours without shelter, 3 hours to 3 days without potable water, 3 weeks
without food. When the Rule of 3 is in play, the presence of
desperate people can be as
deadly as a lack of air. Those 3 minutes mean the difference
between life and death.
The average American carries at least one full
meal in their digestive tract even on an empty stomach. Focus
on shelter and water first. The food can wait.
Clean water will avoid most illnesses that will
kill you in a third world country. Diarrhea is the most
dangerous and insidious
One skin cut you cannot clean = Fever, infection or death
Cleanliness and first aid are as important as
food and shelter.
In the case of killer jock itch or athletes
foot, and there's no antifungal medication available, use baking
soda diluted in water. If that's not available, Lysol works
just fine. Use sparingly.
People run in packs and they target the weakest
one of any group. If you ever watched television shows of
lions hunting a gazelle, this is an example of how criminals hunt
their victims. Criminals usually run in groups of two to four
people. They see you as the gazelle.
Packs of people follow the path of least
After a crisis, the first roaming group of gangs
are disorganized and meandering. They show up within two weeks
of a breakdown. Within six weeks, the gangs are organized,
focused and ruthless.
The countryside is safer than urban or suburban
Find a group. Don't go it alone.
Don't be part of the problem.
Skills > Stuff
The same stuff x 3 (matches, lighters, water
filters, food) in several different places > The same amount of
stuff in one location.
Skills + Stuff = Success/Survival
Stuff - Skills = Failure/Death
Self deception = Failure/Death
Paper based information > Digital information
Locals who are willing to help you > Paper based
information + Digital Information
Stuff > Ideas
Mobile > Stationary
Lightweight that requires less effort and less
potable water > Heavy and requires more potable water; when water is
Light items that can be traded (candles,
flashlights) > Heavy equipment such as a generator
Most meals in third world countries involve only
one type of food. Bananas for lunch or Sorghum grain once a
Most times, people don't have a choice.
It's common for food to disappear without
warning. When this occurs, look for abandoned farms of
avocados, wild bananas, etc.
Old ways and old things > New ways and new things.
This is why Mexico manufactured the VW Beetle until 2003. The
car is air cooled. For those who lived in the "Old Country,"
this is responsible for them thinking only in one way. For
them, there's only one answer and one of thinking. They don't
consider experimenting because there's no room for error.
Resources are tight.
The locals often believe there isn't a solution to every problem.
They believe that the key is to avoid making problems. There
are good reasons for adopting this belief system.
Reason is scarce among the masses. Don't
expect others to be reasonable when facing scarcity. For those
accustomed to scarcity, there's no panic. For those accustomed
to abundance, panic often sets in when facing this harsh new reality. First
world citizens tend to
panic in Third World countries when the First World facade is torn
away (hotel, tour guide, supply deliveries).
Civilized behavior is a disguise in times
of plenty. Tourists degrade to the same animalistic tendencies
when faced with unpleasant realities.
Dry food + bottle of potable water > Wet food +
clean water. Potable water and shelf life rules the day.
Short term planning > Long term planning.
Long term planning is greater than one week.
Dominant personalities and groups operate on the
same presumptions similar to those who live in prison.
This is because many third world territories are a prison for those
who live within those borders.
Debt = slavery. Don't borrow what you
can't repay. Don't owe anyone.
You will be baited
into a debt that you cannot repay. Be careful to what you
Making eye contact with authority is a perceived
as a personal challenge.
If you are identified as an American and you
overstay your welcome, someone from the dominant group may want to
teach you a lesson. They often desire to project the idea that
you can't do what you want in their backyard. Your stay may be
longer than you planned.
When the above rules appear normal to you,
then that's when they've assimilated you into their way of
thinking and living. You are now part of the problem.
Shut up, watch, listen and move purposefully.
Even when walking to the corner and back, do it with a purpose.
The bigger the smile, the larger the knife.
A car registration is only as valuable as those
who respect it.
When in doubt, be polite, be careful, and think
Don't feel awkward if people don't smile back or
wave back. It's likely they have nothing to smile about.
It may not be in their culture to smile. Optimism isn't shared
by the masses.
If you're visiting an Eastern European country or
Russia, don't smile. They think people who smile are crazy, fake or
an idiot. Children are the exception.
When you return, don't expect friends and family
to relate to your experiences.
Railroad tracks are the most dangerous places.
They are filled with drug addicts, murderers and thieves.
When in doubt, ride in the Toyota.
The Toyotas from the USA make their way to third
world countries. They are used as taxis 24/7, and often reach
500,000 miles without a problem. What most Americans sell off
at 100,000 miles is a car considered almost-new South of the border.
Know where your embassy is located down to the
Upon returning to the United States, the best
meal is a bacon double cheeseburger, cheese fries and a chocolate malt.
Before you return to the USA, be sure to have the
contact information for a reliable doctor from the area you just
left. If you have worms in the soles of your feet, or were
bitten by an insect you don't recognize, the US doctors won't know
what to do.
Large gatherings are almost always a problem.
If you're nervous about security, hire a
uniformed police officer for the day.
A taxi is anyone who has a car.
If you have a choice, don't choose the taxi
without air conditioning. If he doesn't have it on, it's
because it doesn't work.
Expect a car, human, a mule or other dangerous
object to be in the middle of the road when going around a blind
turn, over a hill; and at the most inconvenient and dangerous
moment. Why? Well, why not?
There are many more suggestions from others.
The above are just a few to consider.