We Are Human & We Are Digtal

Recently I gave a talk at New Scientist Live in London. Before the talk, I was going over my speech and thinking about some of the critical points about privacy and disappearing. Top of my list was the idea that we are two entities, physical and digital. When individuals think about tweaking their privacy or hitting the road in a vanishing act, they focus on the digital and overlook the human aspect.

We, humans, tend to forget that we are creatures of habit and such habits can make us vulnerable. Take the extra time and focus on your human traits. Find the idiosyncracies about you that can reveal your plans. Such can be travel habits, select types of coffee, rare medicine, and one travel destination.

We are human and we are digital.

Frank M. Ahearn



The Monaco Yacht Club

There are those of us who are runners! We find it difficult to settle down, to consider one patch of land home. I know this because I am a runner and always been. Standing still can feel like a threat to freedom. Although or perhaps it is simply a Kerouac bug.

Lately, I have been bored with the world of hide & seek. When this happens, only movement can remedy. The thought of that cross-Italy road trip again, or holing up in Chiado for a few days races in my head. I think, how quick, when and let’s bolt! This a freedom and this is a handcuff in one. Traveling is like a drug and I know I must calm myself. I must center myself and not be rash, not let my wants overtake.

Traveling is me escaping the here and now and indulging beyond time. Those who disappeared can never go past the here and now. They cannot respond to The Monaco Yacht Club dream, or the Paris getaway at the Hotel Regina. A disappeared person must remain Zen, must be present and most of all not indulge in the unreal. This is not to say one should not dream but to say one should avoid the impulsive.

Disappearing is not all prepaid credit cards, burner phones, offshore bank accounts and digital deception. Being disappeared is a way of life, a centering of self in the moment and the space currently occupied. All else does not exist. Being a runner and dreaming of The Monaco Yacht Club or The Hotel Regina in Paris takes you away from your discipline. This is a danger in the privacy world. Do not be seduced by what is not in front of you.


The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing

Dreams & Freedoms Change

I have always stated that, not everyone can disappear! There are realities that can prevent a departure, mainly money and much of the time nerve. Dreaming is easy but doing it takes work, planning and boldness. Not everyone who wishes to disappear will disappear. There is a select value in those who pull the rip cord, be it adventurer or seeker of personal freedom. And in many you will discover a salting of desperation. Real freedom is not easy, the road can be solitary, confusing and much of the journey dark. But don’t we all push for the light at the end of the tunnel?

A harsh reality is that dreams and freedoms change, this is no doubt the ways of the world. Those who own prosperity and comfort can lose it all in a political change. Most of my client base is European, however a shift is taking place and Americans who fear are now thinking about disappearing. They are questioning if the freedoms and ideals they knew so well will become obsolete. Even Rome fell!

A few I have spoken with will ride out the storm. Others have a darker picture of the American dream and feel that it does not include themselves. They now seek a place where there is less judgment and more acceptance. There is no promised land but there are ways of existing under the radar and not being part of society. They are becoming Virtual Entities, Digital Nomads and are using technology to serve themselves instead some Mad Caesar!

I stand corrected, anyone can disappear!

A Short Thought

Some search for new lives at distant palm trees shores. While others yearn to go unnoticed in foreign cities. The dreams are basically the same, to live free and own a life better than the one possessed. This is not foolishness tinkering or ideas filled with grandeur. This is the beginning to the art of life, a start of personal freedom.

Do be aware that that sitting in Plaza Santa Ana or Campo de’ Fiori does not make one free. A postal code or arrondissement is only a façade of freedom. Freedom is about how you live, how you work and who you are in relation to your world. This is accomplished by your actions not the results of the Rue or Calle you call home.

No matter the stage in life, be it filled with hard cash or near broke and desperate. Your journey should begin with you and shedding the rubble from your world. Meaning, change the things about you before you change your city. If not, you will still be the same person in a different city. Perhaps, that is what you want.

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

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

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

Fear Not The Deception

I always say there is no delete button on the internet and the only way to combat online information is through the use of deception. This is true because the only other option is to bounce information down the search engines. Unfortunately, when you bounce something, it comes right back up!

When people contact me, they seem to think I have a magical delete button or the ability to hack Google. I do not. After a client bares their soul and I think about the situation. I create a plan of action, which is always loaded with cool acts of deception to fix what is broken. After the reveal, a look or sound of shock occurs from the client.

For some odd reason the idea of utilizing deception falls uneasy with potential clients. However, after realizing there is no other option, they adhere to the ways of Frank. Deception is a common occurrence in all of our days. We hear it on the news, we see it in advertisements, lawyers live by it, politicians run on it and even we spout a little white lie here and there.

I say fear not the deception and embrace its power to heal!

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing