Smells and Blending In

Now in most instances unless you are the same heritage as where you are traveling and you are actively living there you are not likely to be able to pull off people thinking you’re a native. However it is possible to get to a level where you look like you belong, and the details are key.
One detail of blending in, whether in the bush or in the urban environment that most people over look is smell.
Where in the woods any strong smell is a give away in the urban environment it can be more subtle. While a strong smell can give you a way the wrong smell can also give you away. This comes into account mostly when traveling abroad.
In the field to much deodorant, or not enough, tobacco, perfume/cologne, and food aroma to name a few can all give you away because they tend to be much stronger than the natural environment and are not naturally present.
In the urban environments especially when traveling over seas it becomes the wrong deodorant, the wrong perfume, etc. and it’s not necessarily wrong but it’s that it’s not available locally and there for is novel and stands out to people.
In some cases just like in the woods, deodorant in itself can be a give away in general as deodorants are a very American thing and in a lot of countries it’s not a common product.
The easiest way to over come this is to buy these products when you get there. Once you get their to buy any deodorants if available, tobacco products, mints etc.
Eating the local cuisine will take care of the food aroma as well as helps you meet the locals and experience the culture your visiting. In addition body oder changes based off what you eat. Anyone who eats onions/garlic regularly knows this fact. So if you are in a country where deodorant is less prevalent, your funk will match the locals in theory

How to Use Public Restrooms

We assume you know how to use the restroom in the usual sense so were gonna cover how to use it in the tradecraft sense.

Public Restrooms offer you many opportunities in an operational environment to further your personal preparedness, security and situational awareness.

Check out S2 Underground and their videos on LBRY for more quick tradecraft tips.

After you are seated make a trip to the rest room. This gives you a reasonable explanation for walking around the restaurant and getting the lay of the land.

Along your way this allows you to scope the other people in the restaurant as well as the layout, alternate exits, blindspots etc. All while having a reasonable explanation for your actions if you are being watched.

In most cases the rest rooms are usually in the back near employee only locations. In restaurants this means back of the house like kitchens and so forth. By taking a peak in there on your way to the rest room you can get a glimpse of what the back of house staff uniforms look like which furthers your situational awareness.

You will know if someone coming out of there may or may not belong and whether you need to pay attention to them or not.

Another benefit to consider especially if you are being surveilled is that the rest rooms are usually one of the few places in a city that is not under cctv surveillance. Most people don’t think twice about someone changing clothes in the bathroom.

Wear Ambiguous Colors

Wear Ambiguous colors

The general pallet of colors that exist today is gigantic. Just go to your local hardware store and take a look at the paint isle to see how many different blues there are.

With that the average person will usually label colors with as little effort as possible usually lumping them together in either red blue green yellow etc. giving no mind to the shades in between unless they work in a profession that deals with colors to that degree. At most the average person may toss a dark, or light in front of it too narrow it down slightly.

To aide in blending in, or maybe a better way to describe this would be make you harder to identify, is rather easy in theory. Now in practices it is going to depend on where you are going to be operating/traveling and what the color pallet of the area is. No mater how ambiguous your gray shirt may be if everyone around you is wearing brown. It’s not going to work.

Start out by doing your research and see what the general look of the area is. Figure out the type of clothing first then play with the colors. Are they generally wearing jeans? Khakis? Gym shorts? Sports jerseys? T-shirts? what colors? Brands, Logos, and patterns will all play a part here as well.

Figure out the type/style of clothing and then play with the colors. If you’re in a business area you will likely see more suits, khakis and polos, and likely in blacks, grays, whites, and maybe some blues.

In this example you would likely want to wear a suit or at least business casual clothing and choose colors that can be mistaken for multiple others. In this instance lets say you need to wear a suit you would most likely find your self looking for something that is either black (if thats the dominate color) or a color some where in between gray and blue if there is more of a mix.

By doing this your either blending in with the crowd by wearing black or if their is more of a mix of colors your wearing a color that can be mistaken for another color by either the person identifying you to someone or the person who you are being identified to.

Say you are being followed by hostile surveillance and your tail is handing you off to another tail. If he describes you as wearing gray, but the new tail looks at you and thinks you are wearing blue he may pass you by or think someone near by wearing gray is his actual target.

That was a highly simplistic explanation of it but you get the idea (I hope). The more ambiguous the color, providing it blends in with the general pallet of the area, the higher likelihood that anyone describing you may confuse anyone they are talking to due to personal color bias of the describer and the listener.

Quick Change Disguises

Some basic disguise techniques is a good skill to know and very well could save your life.

Now I am not talking the synthetic face, mission impossible type disguises as that is out of financial possibility for most people as well as unnecessary in most cases.

The level of disguise that some one would need to escape from a pursuer. This level of disguise is the art of the quick change. This is the ability to change your appearance in a relatively discrete manner in a short amount of time.

As with most other escape and evasion techniques the first step is to break out of your pursuers line of sight, and then make your move.

In this case you add to, subtract from, or change your outfit in a way to change your appearance while out of sight and then blend in to the crowd and avoid drawing attention to your self as you make your way out of the area and away from your pursuers. Changing your direction once out of site can also aide in your escape.

You can plan a head and plan your clothing in a way that you can perform a quick change or in an emergency you can improvise in the field.

It is relatively easy to build quick change ability into your EDC. You can wear a reversible jacket or throw one in your bag to take with, bring or wear a hat, there are many options.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our TRUSTED RESOURCES page. If you decide to use any of the links and purchase anything we may get a small commission that helps support the site.

Notebooks as a Tool

The pocket notebook has become quite popular these last few years and even more so the travelers notebook. (basically a larger version some times used as a wallet)

Some find the Cult of the moleskin or midori distasteful But the pocket notebook has a long, important history used by men such as Thomas Jefferson and Da Vinci, so don’t let the pocket notebook’s current status keep you from using one yourself. Even some note cards clipped together or some paper folded over will get you started.

No man be he a scout, explorer or soldier should go into the woods without a notebook and hard lead pencil.

~Daniel Carter Beard

The most basic and essential function of the pocket notebook is to provide a place to capture the ideas and important information that come up throughout the day. You may get a business idea, hear a quote you wish to record, maybe you need to jot down the license plates of a suspicious vehicle that seems to be following you and your principle or you want to take notes from a book you’re reading. Most people would use their notes app and while there are some benefits to that the main weakness is without electricity they will eventually go dark, plus the simple act of writing on paper will improve your memory retention greatly compared to typing on a keyboard.

Even though you feel sure in the moment that you’ll be able to remember these thoughts when you get back, every one of us has experienced the agony of realizing that no amount of mental gymnastics can bring it back after that info is lost.

They can also be used for brainstorming sessions, a place to write down and review personal goals, To do lists, cheat sheets, frequency plans, or maybe just

a place to doodle when you’re stuck on a long layover.

Travel notebooks being larger also offer a place to carry maps, cash, cards, calendar, tickets, passports if you must not have it on your person. business cards and other odds and ends.

They are a great place to write down the destination research you conducted before departure such as important local phone numbers and addresses you looked up before traveling such as to local police departments, hospitals, the local embassy or consulate as well as to keep track of your adventures as you go.

PS Not only is a note book an off line tool and cannot be hacked remotely, the slight hipster factor may work in your favor as far as appearances go and not standing out.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our TRUSTED RESOURCES page. If you decide to use any of the links and purchase anything we may get a small commission that helps support the site.

Sign up for our email list and you will receive exclusive content that adds to the articles we post here.

How to use a passport for privacy

The passport if an often overlooked basic privacy tool because of the lengthy form and process it takes to get one. This is a mistake. To start off the government already has the info required for you to get one on file somewhere so there is no new info being thrown out. As well, If you are instituting a comprehensive privacy plan then at least some if not most of this info is likely to change in the near future anyway. There is a little bit of a wait and I am not sure what that wait is like due to all the shit in the last year but the wait is normally not that bad and is worth the Benefits the passport provides.

There is a hand full of benefits of obtaining a passport. The most obvious of which is international travel. At least for now this is all you need to travel to most places(at least from your own gov. Visas and other requirements maybe needed for certain countries) However that is likely to change in the near future but we shall see how that plays out.

Now forgetting privacy for a moment just as an emergency/spontinitity preparation its good to have your passport in hand. It could be your buddy drops by and want to take spontaneous trip to Mexico, (though I would try to talk them out of that one) or maybe you have relatives out of country, one of them passes away ad you need to get to the funeral. If you don’t have your passport you may be out of luck if you don’t have adequate heads up.

Now when you fill out the application you should also have the option to get a passport card which fits in your wallet. I personally have not had one but others have made the case for them. As a day to day ID this is likely to be more convenient. It will however not work for international travel in most if not all cases However a passport and passport card are Government issued ID, and must be accepted under any circumstances that requires you prove you’r identity with a gov. Issue ID. The main exception for most people to this will be driving but there may be some others where a specific license is required.

Now the most notable benefit for privacy is that your home address is not present on your passport, in fact no address is, or even a city, unlike most drivers license. Some states do allow Po Boxes on your drivers license and some put your mailing address but they are the exceptions to the rule. However why use an ID that shows any address when you can use one that shows none?

As you will learn more in future articles your home address is the single most important piece of personal information you need to protect. This is the precise location you and your family lay your head down at night and are most vulnerable. Sadly this is probably the hardest piece of information to protect. Using a passport is one step towards this goal and keeps anyone that you have to show your ID to or anyone who may come to posses your ID from being able to learn where you live to later target you.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our TRUSTED RESOURCES page. If you decide to use any of the links and purchase anything we may get a small commission that helps support the site.

Sign up for our email list and you will receive exclusive content that adds to the articles we post here.

To Tell a Lie

A lie is a false statement made by one, to another who is entitled to hear and know the truth and which false statement tends toward injury to the other.


Whether to Lie or not, with only a few exceptions, is a moral issue. This means everyone has to make their own decision on when it is acceptable to lie. Of course with the few exceptions, when telling a lie is in fact illegal.

This mainly applies to your personal information security which in this day and age can also be your physical security. Does the random person on the subway that started talking to you need to know where you were born, how old you are, where you live, where you work, how many kids you have and that you were just promoted to a new project at work?

Is this person just a friendly commuter looking for conversation? or are they a corporate spy looking for info on this new project that they can exploit or maybe they saw your suit and nice watch and want to know where to you live to steal your stuff.

The point is you can’t always tell a persons intentions from a single meeting and I get it most people naturally want to open up and after generations of cultural pressure feel un comfortable lying or even not telling the full story. This can be used to your advantage if you are the one gathering the information but be careful if you are on the revealing end.

I am not saying lie to every one who strikes up conversation with you but maybe be more vague in your answers until you get to the know the person. Trust but verify.

If you are having moral hesitations ask yourself these questions and it light put you at more ease. is there a benefit or a risk to revealing this information and does telling them make you safer or less so?

JJ Luna gives an example of his personal guide lines that he follows in his book How to be invisible.

1. If no harm will be done, and no oath is sworn he gives false information.

2. If an oath is sworn or to be sworn he does not lie.

3. He MAY withhold or not volunteer info to government representatives unless specifically asked depending on the situation but he will not lie.

4.Under no condition whatsoever will he file a false tax return.

These are easily applied in person and can be used for your digital life as well. I have however modified these rules as these days its not so much about giving false info as it is about giving varied info, having sets of information for different purposes and making sure these sets don’t cross over with one another( thats the hardest part) I will cover this in more detail in a future post.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our TRUSTED RESOURCES page. If you decide to use any of the links and purchase anything we may get a small commission that helps support the site.

Sign up for our email list and you will receive exclusive content that adds to the articles we post here.

Why you Should Always Have a Map!

Everyone should know how to navigate with a map, whether in the city or in the bush. Maps don’t rely on electricity or a connection to wifi or cell towers and short of loosing them or being destroyed, they cannot fail you (only your skill with them can).

That being said if you don’t want to stand out as a tourist don’t go walking down the street staring at the unfolded map. This it not only a dead give away that you are not from the area it also takes away from your situational awareness which makes targeting you all the easier. It is better to use them before you depart a location for your next one and if you have to use them along the way find a quite out of the way place that offers some security where you can stop and take a quick look at it.

Maps are also a great practical souvenir. When you are traveling especially in a place you have never been before. Use it to learn the area, mark it up with the important places to know, hospitals, embassies, police stations.

You can also take notes on where you go, an so one to turn the map into a way to keep track of your adventure as well as a useful tool while you’re there.

It may not be advised to mark down where you plan to go as this is an OPSEC violation especially if you are an individual that is more likely to be targeted. If your map is stolen or lost someone targeting you will have a basic idea of where they are likely to find you and set up an ambush or kidnapping.

Both as a tool and souvenir a folded up map will take up very little space. When you are traveling with a single bag your packing space will be limited and this will be important.

Depending on the situation it might be a good idea to plan out escape routes from the area you are in. Whether you’re traveling to a politically unstable region or maybe its just hurricane season. (Good idea to put you map in a ziplock whether its hurricane season or not)

You can mark these on your map as well as different meet up locations should your group get separated. It is a good idea to designate meet up spots in different areas of the city so that no matter where you get separated there should be a location some what close by.

For both Meet up locations and escape route remember P.A.C.E. Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency. IT works for comms and it works for this too.

You have to decide how much of these routes and spots you mark up on your map and I would recommend leaving at the minimum the contingency and emergency spot off and commit them to memory. Another method is to use UV pens to mark them on your map although not 100% secure it will stop the average joe Criminal from immediately knowing your locations. I still recommend keeping at least one route and spot off the map.

Pro tip. If you are a targeted individual or super paranoid you can also mark up visible routes that are not accurate and uv ones that are for your knowledge to attempt to throw off anyone who gets their hands on the map.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our TRUSTED RESOURCES page. If you decide to use any of the links and purchase anything we may get  a small commission that helps support the site.

Sign up for our email list and you will receive exclusive content that adds to the articles we post here.

Don’t be this guy! travel with one bag

I always recommend people travel with a single bag. Traveling with more than one mag starts to weigh you down and decreases your mobility. That’s traveling with a backpack or sling bag of some kind is so beneficial.

Back packs are easier to carry and move with than roller bags in an emergency or if transportation is slim and you have to walk. Also in some countries the transportation options are not like the USA or Europe and do not have the cargo space for large roller bags so keep this in mind when your packing.

If you pack correctly one bag is all you need. I am talking ranger rolls and packing cubes. This will drastically improve the efficiency of use in the bags you are packing. A major component of that is also to only take what you need to. Most people drastically over pack when they travel somewhere and usually don’t end up using half of what they bring. Especially when you are staying with friends or family. Anything you don’t bring, forget to bring, didn’t think that you would need, they likely will have one or something that will make do. Even if you are not staying with someone you know most hotels and BnBs will have hair dryers, and other small appliances for you to use you sometimes just have to ask the front desk.

When it comes to clothes, go by the rule of threes. That is three tops, three bottoms, three underwear three pairs of socks. Wearing one set and packing the other two. Try to choose colors and Items that you can interchange with each other if need be. Depending on the situation for the trip that may change a little bit. If you need to bring a jacket or coat try and wear it not pack it to save space. and if you are going to a cooler or colder destination plan your clothing around layering instead of huge coats and this will also save you space.

Now once you get to where your staying you can just pull your packing cube(s) of clothes out and throw them in a drawer and the rest of the stuff in your bag comes with you in case you need it or to protect your self from theft.

If you are not staying in one place for long you should still be light enough to just carry everything with you.

Every where I’ve been has a hotel laundry room or a local laundry mat you can use to wash your clothes if you trip is longer than 3-4 days, or you can wash your clothes in a sink (some clothes are even made for that purpose now)

All that being said some times needing a second bag is unavoidable for a certain situation. Maybe its a business trip or a special occasion and you need to take special equipment, or supplies that wont fit in your single bag.

When that happens I down size my back pack/sling bag to a smaller one (one that can still hold any of my emergency and other essential supplies or anything that you cannot live with out if you ditch your second bag). This makes the sling bag my “personal item” that can go under the seat.

Then your second bag should be sized to meet the airlines carry on standards if at possible. Providing what you have to bring is carry on legal and will fit. This way you can still bypass the ticket counter on departure and the baggage claim on arrival. This “carry on” that holds everything else including the additional “stuff” that forced you into this situation in the first place.

I recommend avoiding checking bags when all possible because whether its life threatening or not loosing you bags can put a damper on your trip whether you think it really matter or not.

Packing lite keeps you light and mobile should an emergency arise. This way you don’t have to ditch some of your gear or possessions or get stuck in a situation because you don’t want to leave your stuff behind… Trust me it happens humans are weird when it comes to fight or flight and their possessions.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our TRUSTED RESOURCES page. If you decide to use any of the links and purchase anything we may get  a small commission that helps support the site.

Sign up for our email list and you will receive exclusive content that adds to the articles we post here.