Category Archives: - 3rd WORLD SURVIVAL


URBAN SURVIVAL: 5 Things People Say They Can or Would do in a Survival Situation – and Why They Won’t Based on Recent 3rd World Urban Survival Events

“If you jump really high the waves will just go under you bro”

After decades of studying, observing, experiencing and writing about everything Urban Survival, I have heard some serious fantasy about what people claim they would do during an Urban Survival situation. Not surprisingly most of this so-called ‘advice’ comes from people who have never been in a Urban Survival, ‘Fight or Die’ situation or have even stepped outside of the continental US with the exception of Bus Tours in their lives.

Most of the crazy shit I have heard comes from fake tough-guys, dudes who regurgitate stuff they have read on forums and keyboard commandos that make Bear Grills’s advice look reasonable. Having spent the past 10+ living, traveling and working in the 3rd world, I have seen people (including myself) survive the worst possible situations and do what they had to do to either survive or die.

From my experience, the current 3rd world is what the 1st world would be like after a prolonged ‘event’. That may be a natural disaster, civil war, overwhelming violent crime, financial meltdown or pandemics. In my opinion, the best place to study what people will or will not do when the SHTF in the 1st world, is to study what people in the 3rd world have and are currently doing to survive day by day.

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CHOW: Bridgford Ready to Eat Sandwiches – Sandwiches for High Speed Low Drag Guys

Pop-Tarts for Operators

One of the worst parts about running missions on the roads here in Iraq [or anywhere for that matter] is trying to get a meal in when running 120K down the road with an AK in one had and a radio in the other. When you are driving, scanning for bad guys or working the radios, MTS, GPS and other gadgets on a 14 hour convoy you can hardly make a ham and cheese sandwich in your lap.

MRE’s are a bit of a pain to sort through while mobile in a car and between all the potholes and constant swerving most of it ends on your kit, hands and floor. You also have to eat them cold because using an MRE heater in a sealed armored truck will make you puke.

For the folks here who have eaten 5 cold MRE’s back to back, you know you are lucky to even gag half of one down. Even instant-eat food like canned meats and beef jerky [I swear I have eaten 100 pounds of Beef Jerky on Convoys and PSD missions] are hardly satisfying and not even remotely nutritious.

Plus having to hold your chow in one hand, a fork in another, napkins and a drink between your legs means your AK is lying on the floor and your eyes are on your lap. Not really a good thing when running down the road in one of the most dangerous countries in the world in a big ass bullet/VBIED/IED Sponge SUV with Iraqi Security Company stickers on the side.

Before a mission I usually make a few sandwiches and throw them in the truck. I have always thought that sandwiches were the perfect food – meat, grain, vegetables, sugar, salt – a square meal in the palm of your hand with no utensils required and only requires on hand. The problem is you can only pack a few sandwiches because after a day they turn rancid from lack of refrigeration or become nasty soggy.

So I did a little bit of Googling and found these Bridgford Ready to Eat Sandwiches that were made for the US Military’s “First Strike Ration” MRE.

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3rd WORLD SURVIVAL: How Not To Run Afoul of the Law in the 3rd World

This Brazilian prison is probably not the accommodations your were expecting to stay in on your tour of Latin America

Each year over 2,500 Americans are arrested overseas for everything from spitting on the sidewalk to murder. One third of these poor fuckers get locked up on dope-related charges. Many of those arrested assumed that as U.S. citizens that they couldn’t be arrested or with the mindset that the U.S. Embassy would come pick them up with just a phone call.

From Asia to Africa, Europe to South America, U.S. citizens are finding out the hard way that smoking a bong with that “nice” local gal or committing (knowingly or unknowingly) criminal offenses equals’ “Prison Man Rape” in many foreign countries.

When you are traveling in the 3rd and Developing World it is on-you to know what the laws are in a foreign country before you go, because saying “I didn’t know it was illegal to give the finger to the Douchebag who almost ran me off the road” to the tribal court judge in Hellholeastan will not get you out of jail.

In most 3rd world countries you as a foreigner have Zero legal rights at all…Period. In many of these 3rd World countries your home, car and person can be searched by the police (or even by local citizens) for any reason without a warrant or probable cause.

And many activities that are completely legal or normal in your home country are considered serious crimes in the host country.

Things like holding hands or kissing in public, women driving a car, honking your horn at someone who cut you off, owning a GPS device or camera phone, owning certain books, speaking unfavorably about the local government, attending church at a friend’s home and having a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on the backseat of your car are crimes in certain parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: The Bag Dump – 30 Extra Minutes of Packing Will Save You From 30 Months in a Middle Eastern Prison

What item in this suitcase will end with you getting man-raped in a 3rd world prison?

NOTE: This info is not just for Civilian Contractors – anyone who travels internationally should read this

So gents – What is the difference between a spent piece of 9mm brass or an EOTECH and an M-60?

According to many customs agencies in the 3rd world [and even some 1st world countries] there is absolutely zero difference between a single 9mm brass and a Bazooka.

Yep, if you get caught with something as simple as a Fore Grip for an M-4 in your bag when traveling through parts of the 3rd world you will go to prison for smuggling a firearm into the country.

And more than likely due to a combination of your nationality [infidel], occupation [murdering mercenary], the misguided belief that all Westerners are rich [you can pay a fat bribe] and local laws that were written by some guy with a 3rd grade education – you will spend months or years and every penny you and your family has fighting the local Sharia courts.

And that’s if you are lucky.

If you get cut a “break” by the local authorities then you will only spend 2 months [and no doubt all of your money] in some 3rd world shit-hole jail.

If you are not so “lucky” then you will be in jail surrounded by people who hate you because of your nationality with no end in sight like one Security Contractor I know who is currently in a Middle Eastern prison for unknowingly having something in his bag that was considered a firearm.

And if you think your company will help you – well Buster, think again. They may feign like they are helping you for the first 30 days because they are legally responsible for you [because most U.S. based Contractors cannot fire you until you are MIA for a month]. But after those thirty days is up they will stop answering your calls and throw you to the wolves.

And I am not talking about going through some 3rd world customs with a shit-load of tactical gear and firearms accessories like what happened to Nicholas Moody. Most of us now know now that you cannot travel with all that shit anymore.

What I am talking about is something that you did not purposely pack, some little thing that either fell into your bag or is so small that you didn’t even know it was there.
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MEDICAL: Ditch Dentistry

I do my own dentistry

First the disclaimer.  What follows is for informational purposes only.  Nothing should be construed as dental advice.  Without a proper diagnosis by a qualified dentist, appropriate treatment cannot be recommended.  If you find yourself in the midst of a dental emergency/urgency, seek care from a qualified dentist as soon as possible.  If you read this and then think you are an expert, you are the author of your own demise and it’s not my fault.

No one wants to think about dental emergencies when “out and about” but emergencies happen nonetheless.  There are many possible scenarios that qualify as dental emergencies, and unfortunately, there are some things that just simply can’t be properly treated in the field.  There are other occurences, however, that do lend themselves to “ditch dentistry” to hold you together until you get back to a dentist.

Prevention is easier – “Going For The Gold”:

I have accepted the fact that no one likes to go to the dentist, I don’t even like to go to the dentist.  When working/living/traveling in hot zones, the open ocean, jungles, or other far away places, however, it is far better to have definitive dentistry completed prior going to your gig.  The last thing you want to deal with is a dental problem especially a dental problem that could have been prevented.

Definitive dentistry does not necessarily mean that you don’t have any new cavities and you’ve had your teeth cleaned.  Definitive dentistry means utilizing crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges, etc. to treat the teeth as comprehensively as possible to get the longest lifespan possible out of the teeth and the restorations.  This treatment is more expensive and more extensive than simple fillings, but if it is done properly, it will be worth the investment.

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EXPAT SURVIVAL: How to “Arm-Up” When Traveling in the 3rd World

When traveling in the 3rd world one of your only weapon options may be an edged weapon – hopefully it will work out better for you than it did for this guy

Disclaimer: The following article is for academic and entertainment uses only – do not follow the information below.

Over the past 10 years I have spent about 90% of my time outside of the U.S. ether for work, traveling to a gig or just exploring. Most of the countries I visit or pass through are relatively safe outside of random crime or getting hit by a taxi.

But many times I am traveling in countries that have a small minority who dislikes westerners – dislikes as in: “hates my guts and would love to kidnap and kill me over the internet” dislike. In most of these countries I am passing through on my way to a gig so I am only carrying what is allowed in a carry-on bag so flying with any type of “weapon” is not even an option.

Even when I am staying somewhere long enough where I can grab my checked luggage I don’t like to pack knives, impact weapons or anything resembling military or police equipment because it can draw unwanted attention when going through customs (I once spent 2 hours in Kuwait arguing with customs over a Ka-Bar in my checked luggage).

Not to mention I don’t want an expensive knife or flashlight “borrowed” from my bag (ask anyone who has flown through Amman about missing knives, lights and GPS’s).

So my only other option is to locally source “defensive tools” from whatever semi-legitimate store, souk or even the grocery store.

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URBAN/EXPAT SURVIVAL: Improvised Weapons for Home and Abroad

Stand still dude, you got a bee on your shoulder

So, you have found yourself out and about far from home and the legality of you carrying your trusty side arm of choice or your favorite pocket folder is not an option. Quite possibly, obtaining a weapon off of the local black market is in fact just a great a threat to your long term health as the predators that you carry your weapon of choice for.

If you are not a federal agent, Secret squirrel, or other person who can obtain diplomatic immunity and travel armed, there are certain options at your disposal if arming yourself legally is an extreme difficulty. As many of you know, your presence in parts of the world is not necessarily appreciated as you pass through or conduct business.

There are certain elements who in fact may welcome you as a potential victim for their criminal enterprise, or you may be a target of opportunity for the latest terrorist propaganda video. With all of the legal hurdles in your way, that does not mean that you go silently into the night unprepared.

We have discussed the mindset of traveling grey so not to draw attention to yourself. We also have discussed in a previous article that a combat mindset is essential to self preservation. This article is to point out certain everyday items that can be used as a weapon, but do not raise any concerns from the folks that are around you.

This article is designed to get you to think outside the box. Best of All, these items are legal, globally!

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EXPAT SURVIVAL: OPSEC For NGO’s and Humanitarian Aid groups

Be smart with the information your NGO publicly displays

OPSEC = Operations security

Every time I see some well meaning yet idiotic humanitarian aid guy flashing the peace sign in a picture with a caption like “This is me and my local fixer Jang Wang getting ready to cross into North Korea on our mission to bring bibles and polio shots to poor people” on Facebook all I can do is shake my head.

What these people don’t realize is any half descent photo intelligence guy can not only pinpoint there exact location based on the vegetation and topography in the background – he has put himself and anyone working or traveling with him on a shit-list. Or even worse, they may have endangered the very people they are supposed to be helping.

I understand that most people who work with or run smaller NGO’s don’t have any counterintelligence training so I have written up this quick primer on OPSEC for NGO’s.

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While living or traveling in the 3rd world If you look out your window and see this you better grab your Expat E&E Bag and get the hell out of dodge

This is a supplemental article for: URBAN SURVIVAL: Do You Really Need a Bug Out Bag? Part – 2; Yes Some People do Need a BOB, But Not Everyone (if you have not read it please do before you read this article).

NOTE: I have changed the title of this article to “The Expat E&E Bag” because I feel that that better represents what it is used for. E&E = Escape and Evasion

For those of us who travel, live or work in the 3rd world having an Expat E&E Bag is a necessity. In the 3rd world things like nationwide civil unrest, famine inducing food shortages and civil war are regular occurrences.

I personally spend a good amount of my off-time living in a country that has had a dozen natural disasters, a major regime change, nationwide famine, several small civil wars and weekly occurrences of civil unrest – all this just in the past 10 years.

And when I am working it is always in some tin-pot 3rd world country on the verge of civil or all out regional war. The few 3rd world countries where I don’t need an AK-47 just to take a dump are still ass-backwards shit-holes.

They may not have IED’s going off every 10 minutes but if I accidentally bump into a lady at the local gaudy shopping mall I could end up in jail getting man-raped by my cellmate Ali Abdul. Even in paradises like Thailand where I used to go fishing on R&R they seem to be on the verge of a coup every other week.

If you need a visual example of how most of the 3rd world is, just watch the movie “Soylent Green” – that’s pretty much the way it is in all large 3rd world cities.

Considering the unique circumstances of having to bug out in the 3rd world the standard “Swedish fire-tool and ammo” list isn’t appropriate. So below I have listed out the items and miscellaneous stuff that any Expat should have in their Expat E&E Bag.

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ADVENTURE JOBS: Working in the Middle East

If you Are Persistent This Could be the View From Your Apartment Balcony

Working in the Middle East is an ideal job option for the adventurous type folk who want to make some quick cash or just want to add an interesting chapter to their life. Or maybe you are just tired of shuffling TPS reports from the in box to the out box and looking for your red stapler.

But no matter your reason every Professional Adventurer has to live overseas at one point in their life. Plus you can’t really call yourself a tough guy if you have never even left New Jersey.

So picture this; you sweat it out in the Middle East for a year, bank some tax free cash, spend your numerous vacations traveling around the world (or just buying lots of gear) and pay off your credit cards at the same time.

Sounds great right?

Well it doesn’t always work out that way for everyone, if you are stupid with your money and blow it all on girls and booze wile vacationing in Bangkok or buy tons crap on then you may end up extending your career in the Middle East indefinitely. After working in the Middle East for close to 10 years now I have seen all sorts come and go, some do good and others cant hack it for a week.

But even if the worst happens life will still be pretty sweet, living in the Middle East isn’t all that bad, in fact some ME countries are pretty damn fun. Unlike working in the States you will make tax-free money, have a free place to stay, ample vacation time (sometimes up to 2 to 4 months off a year) and a pocket full of cash.

So how do you get a job in the Middle East?

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