What Abaygo does mention that is of interest is moving on water rather than moving by other public means.
I agree, moving on water has a multitude of advantages, but let's face it; in the twenty-first century the best means of movement is via air. Abaygo's argument with air travel is that the 'high security' measures involved in today's air travel prevent clandestine travel. What a genius.
Why didn't he 'draw on his more than 20 years of experience slinking undetected through the world's great cities' to learn that most countries have a multitude of airports by which one can travel without traveling on a public carrier? Unless he's talking about America, it's usually easier to pay for air travel from country to country.
There are over 100 landing strips in Panama, most of them built by Uncle Sam, most of them seldom used, most of which can supply some sort of air transport to the interior of Panama, to Costa Rica, or perhaps to the Colombian island of San Andrés, a free-trade zone and a hub for all kinds of trafficking. (One can enter and leave San Andrés without having one's passport stamped as it is a tourist destination to Panamanians, Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans and Colombians.) Colombia has 504 airports and landing strips : 73 belong to the Nation, 88 to departments or towns, and 313 are privately owned. There are 10 international airports, traffic being heaviest in Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, Medellin (Rionegro) and Cartagena. For a few hundred dollars extra into the hand of a private pilot you can fly anywhere in latin America. You can probably even fly into Cuba on a private plane as long as you leave from a country that hasn't placed an embargo on Cuba, which includes Panama among many. If you can't fly to Cuba via private plane, you can fly to one of the Dominican Republic's many private airports from whence it is a few short water miles to the Cuban port of Santiago de Cuba. Cuba has 77 airports with paved runways and 94 with dirt runways... I am not sure about flying into Cuba via private plane, but I could find out how to do it in a few days if I needed to know.
The cost? A private pilot in Panama could get you [anonymously] from Panama to a private landing strip near Cartagena for a few hundred dollars. If your trying to get to Panama, a private pilot in Mexico could get you [anonymously] to a private landing strip in Panama for a few thousand dollars. Too much? Don't try to disappear if that's too much. Go to Alaska or Canada and hide out in the wilderness. Maybe on a boat in the inland sea if you can afford a boat. If you're broke, your already in trouble, going to Latin America without money will only get you in deeper. Better to eat bugs in Alaska, than eat dirt in a Latin American prison.
It is worth noting that there are a surplus of foreign yachts for sale in Cuba's Hemingway Marina. Or there were the last time I looked, with the changes happening in the world this may no longer be a fact.
This would be a choice place to live, or to use as a home base for anyone wishing to lead a stealth lifestyle. (As stated, it's only a few short water miles to any number of Dominican ports, but this also applies to Haitian ports.) Haiti is another potential hideout, with a low cost of living.
The Darien. The Darién Province In The Republic Of Panama is a mostly lawless wild region of Panama. I have seen people who have camped out in the Darien, or who live on boats hidden in narrow inlets. One could live in the Darien and never be found, if one knows jungle living, speaks espanol, and has half a brain. If you don't have half a brain, the Darien is great place to die. Populated by the Kuna, Choco, Emberá, Waunaan, Teribe, and Bokota Indians it is rich enough in wild resources to survive. The Panamanian army shoots anyone who looks like a FARC. They also patrol the many rivers. With that said, there are so many rivers and inlets that it would be entirely possible to live there and never be found. . . . maybe.
Costa Rica has over 150 airports [landing strips], most of them private. Venezuela has over 250 airports, Ecuador over 180. You can get from anywhere in Latin America to anywhere in Latin America by plane. While a professional like Abaygo is traveling by dugout canoe, complete with mosquito repellent, his Uzi semiautomatic, thermal imaging visual apparatus, dressed in stylish Hollywood camouflage; you and I can fly to the same destination with a couple of Cuban cigars, a bottle of Spanish Brandy, our suntan lotion and a good book.
I don't wish to single out Abaygo, as most of the books on disappearing are worthless, and I've read them all.
What I find infuriating is when Abaygo makes statements like, "...Most countries require you to give up your American citizenship if you want to become a citizen of their country." That's news to me. I don't know of any country that makes that requirement. Dual citizenship is almost universal. Many of the books I've read also discuss false ID. It's very easy to get real ID, why would anyone want false ID? I don't want to deal with the subject of how one gets ID. If I write about it, the secret sources for ID will no longer be secret sources. It can be gotten, and the market for ID is a continually changing market.
As we've seen, getting from one country to another is rather simple and there is no need to complicate it. Abaygo's idea of using a boat is a great idea and in cases where air travel is not an option, using a boat is always worth considering. The border checkpoints for auto-traffic are usually much more annoyingly tedious than those of the harbor master. In much of latin America it is fairly simple to cross any border without passing a checkpoint in any regard, but only if you speak Spanish or Portuguese. Wandering around latin American backwaters without a command of the local language is a bad idea. Going from country to country by boat is therefore a better option. So we'll deal with boat travel in a future article.
Can You Make A Living In Cartagena?
My assumption is that the internet allows anyone with half a brain to make a living from anywhere they can log on. We'll, it's not really that simple, but it's as simple or simpler than trying to open a business on Main Street. A good webmaster can make a living building websites for others in almost any location, and if the idea is well planned, being a webmaster can be made into a mobile profession. What we need to make it right, is a place to keep our own websites, i.e. our own server. With our own server, each of our website clients becomes a client for our hosting service. With a critical mass of websites hosted on your server you have residual income coming in 24 hours a day seven days a week. example: If you have created 150 websites, and 100 of them are hosted with you on your private server, and if you receive $10 profit per hosted website per month you have a residual income of $1,000 per month.
A friend of mine once designed a mobile 'sign painting' shop in the back of his camper on a truck. He wandered around the western US stopping in small towns and getting jobs painting signs. He stayed near the coast so he could spend all of his free time surfing. He always made a living, spent his time living that sort of lifestyle he preferred and never worried about tomorrow. If the surf was down he painted signs, if the surf was up he surfed. He also did pin-striping on cars, which was very popular at the time. He ultimately went to Hawaii and started a business making surf boards and painting his own wood-carvings which he sold to tourists. I knew him since high school, and I never knew him to have a legitimate job in his life. I cannot recall ever seeing him broke.
Being a mobile webmaster is a modern version of what my old buddy Joel used to do. You can provide many add-on services to your main service. With a laptop, a roving internet connection and some services already in place you have a business you can work from almost any location worldwide. It is imperative to learn any foreign language that is required of your location. It should go without saying that it is crucial to really be good at building websites. EscapeArtist.com is going to add some tools to help others make a living worldwide in the coming year. Building websites will be among them.
While designing websites is mentioned only as example, I know from experience that there is a shortage of qualified talented webmasters in much of latin America, if not the world. I will only mention one book in the resources about building websites. It's a $3 book. If you are going to build websites, read it, if you have a website, read it. I could have written the book myself I agree with it so totally... It's called The Big Red Fez. I have associates in Panama who are constantly crying for a good webmaster. I don't know how long it would take someone to become a good webmaster, there are important things that most so-called webmasters don't know, and I include myself. I am a rank amateur as a webmaster. I've often considered taking the time to learn how to really create high quality design websites, but I've never had the time to take the courses required. I have to assume that anyone could learn to be a good webmaster in about a year. Finding a qualified place to learn is the question. Obviously a couple of days spent searching the web will supply you with some direction as to where and how to learn the art.
Living In Cartagena - Other Refuges -
Let's go back to the subject of Cartagena and discuss living there, or in other refuges around the world.