The Enslaved Bohemian

Most of the people I encounter are at an in between place in life. Typically, they stand on a foundation of disappointment. Many have worked hard and created a life they once believed in, while other have been unable to achieve the life they desire. What they all have in common is a feeling of being shackled to their existence.

In the past, when these “new-life” people contacted me, I was suspect of their motives. To a degree, I ignored this group thinking a truth was being withheld. Wrongly, I blew them off and I suggested they take an extended vacation. Not very kind on my part. I only looked at disappearing from the extreme.

However… A predator is a predator, some hurt people and some harass. It is possible for a life to be a predator. Think about it, a predator can enslave a person, just as a job, unhappiness, or the feeling of having no hope. These are experiences many of us have felt one time or another. Life should be a dream, not a nightmare, life should be beautiful and not an escape!

Sometimes a personal inventory is needed, an honest self-reflection. Is it me or is it the work? Is it me or my mate? How am I responsible for the life I am living? What do I need to do to change life? Can life be changed? If such a change means disappearing, is there happiness across the rainbow? Just because you walk away from your old life there are no guarantees that your new life will be all that. Trust me I know!

My plan when I moved to Europe was to write the next, A Moveable Feast. Instead, I spent the past two years hanging in cafes, talking and writing about disappearing. Not such a bad thing but not exactly the plan when I hopped on a plane from JFK.  In a weird sort of way, I feel like an enslaved bohemian.

What I have come to realize is back in New York, I placed blame on everything but myself and I believed bolting to Europe would solve all. What I have come to discover is I have been enslaved by the security of the disappear world.

Maybe honesty must rule before disappearing is considered or acted upon.

Frank M.Ahearn

Author of: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone Anywhere

Co-Existing With Intrusion

My philosophy of privacy has drastically changed and the exiting of the how to disappear business has finally become a reality. The idea of spending the next ten years creating deception for the purpose of disappearing people or solving digital problems no longer works for me. Even further, talking about disappearing has become a struggle because I no longer believe in the work. This is not to negate the validity of the disappearing tools I created but to say that I believe there is a different approach to privacy.

We must prepare for what is to come because technology is growing smarter. The extracting of our information, movements and connections is what technology is perfecting. Call it the rise of the machines or standard operating procedure. With that said, perhaps extreme disappearing, deception and digital disaccord will not be the correct tools to use for combat. Or even, maybe combating is not the solution either.

The idea of co-existing with intrusion and footprints have become primary in my thoughts. Not in the surrender but in the rise of accepting. Like that of a Digital Nomad who gives up a little bit of privacy to exist in their own idea of freedom. If anything, disappearing is about freedom and freedom should be a dream, not an escape. I recognize that this idea is not a possibility for all but then again, disappearing is not for all.

I will continue to offer consultation for the next few months.

Frank M. Ahearn

Author of: The Art of Disappearing: 199 Essential Privacy and Disappearing Tips

The Vacancy of Disappearing

What if you had to disappear now? Just pick up and leave this instant, just bolt. Where is your passport and where is your cash? Not your debit cards or credit cards but the Euros and Benjamin’s? How would you leave, bus, plane, train, car, hitchhike or walk? Would you have time destroy and dump your computer or mobile? Do you have enough run time? Is there a safe house to crash at or will you risk a motel or a night on a park bench?

Are you truly capable of walking out the door and not looking back? Turning on the cold and leaving what was in the dust. Will you be able to vanish from those you know, those you loved or those you still love? Will a note be left on the table, a final call placed, or do you leave silently like a dark night? This is the threshold.

You are out the door and in the wind. What will you feel as you are in motion? Will it be fear of capture, guilt from your actions, exhilaration because freedom awaits, or perhaps regret? The emotions will wildly be spinning and your heart pumping fiercely. Will you be cool, calm and able to handle the emotions? Will it matter that some will think you are dead?

What now? How do you live? Is it safe? Will it be all you desired? Will you apply the discipline needed? When night comes and you are alone, will you be able to cope?  Will you survive the loneliness, the vacancy of disappearing?

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Art of Disappearing: 199 Essential Privacy and Disappearing Tips

The Peanut Butter Cafe in Monaco

Last week I was out in a bar and met some new people and the usual introductions were traded. When it came to me, I hesitated and said I was a writer and stopped speaking. This created a huge lull in the conversation and my partner looked at me and joking asked if I wanted to contribute more. Honestly, I did not want to and so I avoided the whole Frank spiel. I think this was my ah-ha moment, where I realized that I am spent and it is time to move on from this business. In the past, I have stated that disappearing would be a limited run in my life. The difficult part is what next for Frank M. Ahearn? Do I cut it off completely, do I still write about disappearing, do I finish the current book I have been writing? Time will tell.

I know you are not here to read my rant but learn about privacy and disappearing. Well, this applies if you plan to disappear. The first step in disappearing is recognizing you need to disappear. This does not only apply to facing a predator but it could apply to your life or your profession. This is the how to disappear threshold moment, the knowing there must be an exodus of sorts. This is an internal and philosophical question of self which needs to be answered before you plan anything. Part of the questioning includes, can you put your world behind you and fall off that grid. For me, what do I do if I am not Professor Disappear or even scarier can I be something else? Leaving part of life behind does not guarantee one rises like a Phoenix.

Figuring out what next has always been a challenge for me. I have always sought choice and freedom, combined with some serious dreaming. If I had my druthers, I would be in a writers room in LA working on a TV show with Julie Plec or running an exotic Peanut Butter & Jelly café in Monaco. Or maybe, I will write a TV show about a retired privacy expert who runs a peanut butter café in Monaco or LA. If one is going to end a part of their life, they might as well dream in the beginning and then face the realities. Unfortunately, disappearing comes down to one fact, can you earn a living. Everything else is inconsequential because if you cannot pay the rent in LA or Monaco, you will not be able to build a life in such places.

The purpose is this writing is not so much about the first time you think about disappearing but the potential of a second disappearance occurring. What happens if two years into the disappearance you are unhappy with your life and you begin to question. Not so much the idea of returning to your old life but where next?

I disappeared from my life in the US and moved to Europe to write and work my privacy business. I have been fortunate and live the expat dream of sitting in terraza’s, cruising around Venice, Paris, Rome and other cool places. Basically I have been living like a bohemian. Here it is, two years later and something wild happened, I fell in love and this has changed everything.

The point is, if you are planning to disappear or are disappeared keep in mind that it all can change at any moment. This change can be because of money, love or disaster. So, in your planning or daily disappeared life think about the flexibility of change and the pursuit of not just your dreams but the ability to have choice because true freedom is having choice.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone Anywhere

Monte Carlo Bob

What do you do if you are disappeared or an expatriate if a foreign country and your world is going to bottom out in thirty days? You have a few friends but none can be of help, there is no family to lean on, the savings ran dry and your income no longer provides. These are realistic misfortunes of the disappeared and those who sought freedom as an expatriate. One such story comes from Monte Carlo Bob.

The reason I introduce this scenario is because of things occurring in my own life. Meaning, I have reached the point where I am removing myself from the disappear business and the question of what next is on my plate. Sure, I can write but I am no Stephen King and the skip tracing is cool but not how I want to spend the next ten years of my life. The point here is if you are planning a disappearance or even becoming an expat, you must always be prepared for change, be it misfortune or by your own hand.

Recently, I have been in conversation, with a number of expats in Europe and they have been cool enough to open up with their stories. Last year I met Monte Carlo Bob from Auckland who moved to a European beach and started a juice business. Monte Carlo Bob had the life, for him it was all about catching rays and ocean sprays. Unfortunately, he never thought the good times would end. Boy do I know that story.

Business fell off and eventually nosedived into nothingness. He figured it was just this or that never considering that it was over. Sometimes a hard reality for entrepreneurs to bite. Monte Carlo Bob decided to stick it out and keep pushing sand up the hill. His avoidance of his reality brought him to a place he had never been before, fifty euros in his pocket and forty-three in his bank account. All he could say to himself was, WTF and how did he get there.

During this time Monte Carlo Bob met a woman and fell in love. However, his life was a mess and trying to date a woman while hiding his failing life was a difficult feat. One evening the couple was out on a stroll in the trendier part of town and his woman commented on the beauty of the restaurants. Bob was devastated because he could not even afford to buy appetizer. This was crushing and he knew it was time to stop being Sisyphus and give up the business he worked so hard at and truly loved.

Monte Carlo Bob explained that he broke his life down into acts of survival. The first act of survival was to do something that created food money. To make food money he needed a phone and the internet. This afforded him the opportunity to do something he hated, cold-calling. Bob figured that since his shop was closing he could sell the last of his inventory to other shops. He woke each morning and did what he had to do. However, he recognized that selling the inventory would only bring so much money. Bob need to figure out how to make Real Money to get his life back together. He did this by tweaking his product to make it more affordable from a wholesale perspective. He admits that it broke his soul to watch his dream crumble but on the flipside, this move made his relationship with his woman right and whole.

I met Monte Carlo Bob in Monaco last year during a speech for a group of business people. He approached me and wanted to share this story and let me know that disappearing is not only for people with predators. That sometimes life is about disappearing from ourselves in order to create a better self. Being a true entrepreneur Monte Carlo Bob needed another dream and is now trying to reinvent peanut butter, the way Ben & Jerry did for ice cream.

Frank M. Ahearn – www.Disappear.Info

Author of: The Art of Disappearing, According to Sun Tzu’s, Art of War: Book One: Laying Plans

Confirming a Skip Trace

Lately, I have been focusing on the skip tracing business because on a day to day basis it is far more exciting than the privacy business. The privacy work is cool and can be real exciting but there is something to picking up the phone and hunting someone down.

I think I have always had a love/hate relationship with skip tracing. Back in the early days it was like the wild west, no laws really stopped a skip tracer from pulling phone records or bank records. It was much of an underground world. I think the love/hate stemmed from being involved and successful at something that would eventually have to end. Not that all skip tracing had to end but the illegal aspect of pretexting phone companies and financial companies did.

The key to skip tracing today is knowing how to piece together information. Such information being database information, online information and offline information. Database and online information should be used with caution because it is not always up-to-date or accurate. Offline information, like closed service accounts are always useful and sometimes provide specks of information not available elsewhere. I believe a good skip tracer knows how decipher the useful information and string it together to figure out the direction of a skip.

However, how one goes about skip tracing is somewhat immaterial to how they confirm the results. Just because a database shows a subject living at Plaka, Elounda or even having current utilities on Riverdale Avenue in the Bronx, does not mean the subject is actually at that location. One of the terms never allowed in my office is, that’s what they said. Just because that is what they said, does not mean it is up-to-date, correct or even true.

I believe that a skip should be confirmed with information and verbal. Therefore, if I locate an address of a skip I then go for the verbal confirmation. What I do is, I pretext the skip with a water damaged box delivery and I misspell their last name and street name. If they correct me, it usually means I got them.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone Anywhere

Disappearing from Disappearing

For years I have been obsessed with the idea of being number one in the disappearing world. I wanted to be the go to guy, the one who knew it all about disappearing. Maybe I do and maybe I do not. Either way I am feeling more like a creation, like a how to disappear reputation management.

Recently I have become involved in a relationship and have found myself being accountable for things I have stated online. Not that I fault my partner but the strangeness of my world generates a lot of curiosity. I found myself explaining that the person she reads about is a creation and not the person sitting across the table from her. I think she found this quite odd.

This conversation opened up some serious personal thought. What are we doing online when it comes to reputation management? Are we creating false images of ourselves, of what we want others to believe? It’s not truth but marketing and nothing more. It is strange writing about this considering I have done so much online disinformation.

Lately, I have been asking myself, what have I become. Will I be forever known as the disappear guy? I sure hope not but it is looking that way. I will end up like one of those child stars who can’t be recognized for anything else but.

I was in a class recently when a person asked if I have ever disappeared. I laughed it off like I wish. However, I think I am at the point where I want to disappear from the disappearing world. I have had my fill and it is time to become something else.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Art of Disappearing: 199 Essential Privacy and Disappearing Tips