Whether you need to hide or just want to be alone, disappearing may sound like a good idea. Running away is rarely necessary, and most problems can be solved with assistance. Instead of completely disappearing, consider taking a short break from things by making a few simple changes. Plan what you’re going to do, then erase your tracks and change your way of life. Even if you intend to return, making these changes can provide you with a fresh start.
Part 1 Making a Safe and Responsible Decision
1. Find ways to solve your problems without completely disappearing. There are numerous good reasons to disappear, but there are also numerous reasons that can be resolved without drastic measures. Speak with people you trust, such as friends and family. You could also consult with a trained therapist about your options. Seek out community resources as well, such as the police or local community support groups.
A therapist, for example, may be able to help you if you’re feeling down. Partially “disappearing,” such as by changing your routine and dressing differently, may also be beneficial.
If you are in a difficult domestic situation, call a helpline such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are carrying a child, dial 1-800-4ACHILD for immediate assistance.
2. If you’re underage, stay put to avoid aggravating the situation. If you’re a minor, people will come looking for you. It is likely that you will struggle to make money and obtain other necessities. Going it alone can be difficult, lonely, and even dangerous at times. When you reach your country’s legal adulthood age, which is usually 16 or 18, more opportunities become available to you.
Keep in mind that being out on your own as a minor is usually worse. If you are discovered, you will be returned to your home. Find other ways to improve your home life unless things are extremely bad or even dangerous.
Even if you don’t believe your friends and family will miss you, it’s better to find safer ways to change the situation rather than simply disappearing. There are numerous resources available to assist you in dealing with difficult situations until you are ready to leave.
3. If you are an adult, choose to leave in a responsible manner. When you’re an adult, you have a lot more freedom to leave your house and open a business somewhere else. When you leave unexpectedly, you end up hurting the people you care about the most. You could either notify them of your departure or “disappear” by moving somewhere else without going missing.
There are a few legal issues to consider. For example, if someone sends a search party after you, you may be required to reimburse the costs of the search.
Adults have the right to leave their homes if they so desire. Exceptions are made when you are attempting to avoid a legal obligation, such as a court appearance.
Call the police if you are being harassed, blackmailed, or stalked. In these situations, there are legal ways to change your identity and remain safe.
4. Travel alone to reduce the possibility of being discovered. When you travel with another person, your chances of being discovered increase dramatically. Consider multiple search parties and a larger paper trail. Depending on who you travel with, you may find yourself in even more trouble than if you travelled alone. To remain anonymous, use a variety of false names and identities, regardless of who you’re travelling with.
Disappearing with a child, for example, could result in charges of kidnapping or endangering the child. Even if you have good intentions, you should stay put.
5. If you need to take a break, leave for a short time. Instead of abandoning everything, go on a short trip. Try something new while maintaining your sense of self. Going somewhere without upsetting your own identity can be extremely beneficial at times. Even a minor change in scenery or routine may cause you to reconsider your decision to vanish.
Family members suffer greatly as a result of disappearances. Instead of leaving them in the dark, let them know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
Go camping, visit a new city, or do something else. Don’t leave anything behind unless you’re confident you’ll be safe on the road. Even if you have to leave, the police or charitable organisations can usually assist you.
Part 2 Covering Your Tracks
1. Get rid of anything you won’t be able to bring with you. You don’t need a lot of possessions to bind you down when you’re looking for a fresh start. You probably won’t be able to carry them where you’re going anyway. Make a list of the few items you can’t live without. You won’t likely come up with many of them, which will allow you to sell what you don’t need.
Personal identifiers, such as family photos, should be left at home. If you must bring mementos, make sure they are well hidden and locked up so no one can use them to identify you.
If you own a car, you should think about selling it. A car is a good way to put distance between yourself and your past, but it is easily identified. If you can’t use it where you’re going, sell it, donate it, or leave it behind.
2. Please log out of all of your social media accounts. To earn bonus points, delete everything from your accounts and then deactivate them. You leave a trail when you post status updates or tweet about what you ate for lunch. Deleting your accounts can help remove the temptation to return to the internet.
This requires planning and can be difficult in today’s world. Leave your phone and computer at home, as they are frequently easy to track by keen investigators.
If you’re worried about your online information, revealing photos, or Internet harassment, consider going online-only. Every day, use the Internet and social media a little less. This may make you feel better without requiring you to abandon the rest of your life.
3. Clear your computer and phone’s search history. Everything from your most recent Internet search to your most recent downloads is stored on your computer. There’s a good chance you have a lot of important information there that could reveal your plans. Delete any relevant files from your device for the sake of privacy. You can also delete your data by clicking the “clear history” button in your browser’s taskbar.
Look through your files for anything you want to hide, such as the “Downloads” folder. Even if your device is password-protected, it is still vulnerable to eavesdropping.
When using a public computer, such as one in a library, exercise caution. Nothing is private, and you can’t log into any personal accounts without risking being discovered.
4. Make up a new name and backstory for yourself. While you’re away, use your new persona so no one recognises you. Try to think of something that is different from your true identity but does not stand out too much. Take some time to go over your storey a few times to ensure that all of the details are correct. People may notice and become suspicious if your storey has flaws.
Choosing a different name is usually the simplest way to accomplish this. Unless you get it changed in court, this isn’t a legal change. Remember that technology makes it impossible to completely conceal your past.
For example, you could introduce yourself as Tom and explain that you are in California for school or vacation. People may start asking you questions if you say you’re there as an architect. Keep your storey consistent by remaining ambiguous.
5. Throw away any credit cards or other items with your name on them. Get rid of the plastic because it’s the quickest way to find someone. Close your credit cards so you aren’t tempted to use them, and then put your bank cards away. You can no longer rely on them. Even a gift card to your favourite store could be the key to determining where you have been.
Get rid of anything you no longer require. Getting rid of the excess can sometimes be enough to make you feel refreshed. If you truly intend to hide from everyone, leave anything with your name on it behind.
Part 3 Traveling Somewhere New
1. Withdraw money from any bank accounts you have gradually. If you want to travel with peace of mind, you’ll need money. A large withdrawal is suspicious, so don’t empty your bank account right away. Take out a small amount at a time until you have as much as you believe you will require. If possible, empty and close your account so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Carrying a large sum of money can be intimidating, so take care of yourself. Bring only what you intend to use and store the rest in a secure location.
It is possible to begin with a small amount of money. You could, for example, buy a bus ticket and start a new life somewhere else.
2. Pack your clothes and any other items you’ll need for the trip. What you’ll need depends on where you’re going. Bring a change of clothes, snacks, and other necessities, at the very least. Remember that you can’t always carry a lot when you’re disappearing, so limit your options accordingly.
Find ways to take care of yourself while you’re gone. Bringing money with you is beneficial. Have a plan in place for what you intend to do once you arrive at your destination.
A large backpack, warm clothes, a rain jacket, sturdy shoes, a tent, a sleeping bag, maps, a compass, a pocket knife, and a first aid kit are some items to consider if you’re going rogue.
3. Choose a location to visit while you’re away. Consider how much time you want to spend alone and what you intend to do. Locate suitable locations that are within your budget. While you can travel almost anywhere, it takes time, money, and planning. Get a passport before you go if you’re going abroad.
If you’re thinking about going international, look into visa requirements and other regulations. Some countries welcome visitors as well as people who want to relocate there. Others, such as China, are far more restrictive in terms of allowing people to enter.
If you stay in your home country, consider your chances of being discovered. A weekend camping trip in the woods is ideal for a weekend getaway, but if you want a fresh start, you could relocate to another city. Avoid vacation spots you used to frequent.
4. Purchase any travel tickets you require. The tickets you require will be determined by your destination. Consider taking a bus or train if you’re staying within your own country. You could also use a bike to travel anonymously. Other modes of transportation reduce the amount of time you spend travelling while increasing your chances of being observed.
Unless you’re travelling a long distance, you usually don’t need to show your ID to get a bus or train ticket.
Airplanes and ships are out of the question unless you’re willing to notify the authorities that you’re leaving the country. Airports and docks are heavily guarded by the government, and you must present a valid ID.
5. Make a cover storey about where you’re going. Find a way to explain your actions unless you intend to leave in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, you may have to fudge the truth slightly. You could tell people you’re going on a trip or to your favourite store across town. No one will know where you have gone as long as you make the storey plausible.
For a few days, a good cover storey allows you to travel in peace. You could claim that you needed to travel for work or that you wanted to go on vacation without being bothered. Use a storey like that to disappear for a few days without anyone noticing.
Make up false leads to keep others from following you. For instance, book a flight to Chile with no intention of ever boarding. Connect with companies you’ve never heard of before.
6. Find a job so that you can support yourself when you move. You’ll need money unless you plan on returning home right away. Without a job, you may find yourself homeless and in a situation worse than the one you left behind. Retail stores, restaurants, and landscaping companies are just a few examples of places that always have work available, no matter where you are. Keep in mind that most places require you to fill out an application with your personal information, which is inconvenient if you’re attempting to conceal your identity. Some places will hire you under the table, but they are frequently shady and may take advantage of you.
Most places, at least in the United States, will ask for your name and Social Security number in order to conduct a background check. There is no legal way out of this. You could request a different name, but you won’t be able to lie your way into a job.
Finding work as an adult is much easier because most places cannot legally hire children. If you can avoid it, don’t wing it. If you do not yet have a plan, contact your local government’s employment and benefits services to see if assistance is available.
If you don’t have a computer, you can use a library computer to apply for jobs for free. You could also go to places in person and request an application.
7. Change your demeanour to create a new persona. If you don’t create a new persona, you’ll likely fall back into the same patterns that drove you to flee in the first place. To spice up your routine, try something new. Take advantage of the opportunity to try something new, such as changing your hairstyle or clothing. Sometimes a small change feels like a new beginning.
For example, if you usually wear a T-shirt and jeans, try something different. Try dressing like a geek, a hippy, a metalhead, or someone else’s style. When creating your new identity, keep your budget in mind.
Get a hairstyle that is the polar opposite of what you are used to. If you have long hair, consider cutting it and even dying it. Consult a stylist for suggestions.
Hats, hoodies, and sunglasses are excellent tools for remaining unnoticed in a crowd. Even if you don’t frequently wear these items, consider purchasing some to give your new outfit a distinct look.
8. Create new habits that set you apart from your previous identity. If you’re going to go to such lengths to be someone else, you might as well try something new. Sign up for new groups and activities, or join a religious group you’ve never been a part of before. You could also change your physique by weight lifting, growing a beard, getting a tattoo, or joining a new music scene. The world has a lot to offer, so take advantage of any opportunities to start over.
For example, if you’re used to staying at home and playing video games, get outside. Play sports and go camping to keep people from following you.
Consume a variety of foods to maintain your new identity. If you’re addicted to something at your favourite fast food restaurant, break the habit. Visit various restaurants or the nearest grocery store.
People’s movements are frequently used to identify them. Slow down if you normally walk at a fast pace, for example. This change may even be refreshing to you.
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