Where should your prepper's retreat be located? This is not an issue that could be explained easily in one article. Or in a book, think. However, I will do my best.
What was my motivation to write about this? Because I was very concerned about what was going on (logically) and the situation of my parents. However, they seem to be coping well, with the scarce money I can send them. Their needs are not that much, and they have kept themselves healthy, with a diet that includes lots of tropical fruits like pineapples, papayas, watermelon, bananas and the vegetables available year around.
My mom loves cheese, and this is known in our area as being tasty…and greasy! The toll in your veins and heart after a life consuming it is usually pretty high, and the strokes rate is quite high there. Same for red meat. They have been lowering a lot their ingesting of both, and it seems to have been quite good for their overall health. After learning they were collecting a few spoons for the weekly consumption from the coffee plants in a neighbor's empty plot, I was really much more satisfied. As there is no sugar, sweetening with honey has become a need. Even our traditional sugar cane juice, solidified and hard as a rock, similar to a large caramel, called "panela" was expensive and scarce before I left the country.
I realized that it is all about learning to live with less, to use wisely as much of the environment supply that Nature makes available for us, and a wise choice of location to take advantage of this.
What's going on in the cities
As I am writing this, something sinister is cooking up there. Armed convicts are patrolling the streets. The doors of hell are open. However, in the capital city, Caracas, and in the poor barrios (and not so poor) of every major city there are gangs of armed, masked guys roaming the streets.
You won't see this perhaps in YouTube or some dubious political trend such as Twitter (however there is a lot of on-site footage there, only in certain accounts) but it is happening, and it is getting worse. (Writer's note: I started to write this a few weeks before the blackout.)
The desperation of the gang is increasing, and they are becoming more and more aggressive. This was to be expected. It is in their nature. To hold on to the power (whatever the concept they have of such word) by every means available…until they can't do it any longer.
We waited too late.
Provided this worst case scenario (I'd rather prefer a pandemics, truly, instead of drugged, armed thugs in my front door) would happen, we took some containment actions. However, the scenario arrived too late, and the preps we had were not enough.
Bugging out with all of my gear would have been the less smart option…provided I could leave my job and come back later (very unlikely). The reason is simple. Every single item in any load we could have taken with us would have been "confiscated". With or without property documents. This is a failed state, remember?
Because there is no rule of law, and nowhere to address your grievances either, you know?
Too risky, and too far away home. Perhaps a most logical choice would have been the mountains nearby our place…but building a bunker there, to go just the weekends was an open invitation for looting, and leaving our main home every single weekend was not an option neither, because monitoring thieves passing by could mark our home and break into.
It was not possible to make something concealed enough without the laborers and contractors opening their mouths and revealing the strange building so far away. Venezuelans are not exactly the most discreet people in the world. The only alternative would have been building something oneself, and for those of us who are challenged for that sort of stuff, it could result in a total disaster or risk of building failure.
For your potential retreat, location is key.
Given the recent events, with a nationwide power grid failure, and a catastrophic water supply system meltdown, added to a total communications blackout, I can say, with a proper amount of trust, location is key.
Those in the bigger cities, totally unprepared, paid the toll. Desperation, lack of medical attention for problems related to malnutrition and stress, personal safety diminished, all of this were and still are, the common denominator plaguing the people's lives in the cities.
Being far away, using isolation as safety measures, could be safe enough just under the proper precautions, and banding with some other similar thinking families or groups, as neighbors.
I just confirmed with some close relatives that the location where my once so-called bug out place was not so severely punished by lack of pumping water. The water distribution system of the town nearby is gravity fed, people. The rural communities around have traditionally used rainwater collection tanks, having learned by years of irresponsible governments (way before Uncle Hugo, I have to acknowledge) that a water pipeline was not going to be installed anytime soon.