The Limited State of Disappearing

As time goes on I am beginning the think that there is no such thing as disappearing. You can go on the run, in hiding, stay under the radar or off the grid but can you truly disappear? If you are somewhere and someone is hunting you, you are not disappeared but in the hunt! For most who have disappeared, it is a limited state of being. If you cannot lay your head on your pillow with absolute surety that you are safe, you are on the run.

I speak with many people who run disappear plans by me and most of them are failure from the get go. Most create a plan based upon a reaction to a current or coming situation. All strategy is about the big picture and should ever be exclusive to the immediate. If you think immediate you will get the immediate pay-off. However, the immediate may not be what is needed to be successful in the future.

Perhaps disappearing should be a state of mind and one should consider themselves perpetually on the run. It is like the idea of freedom, true freedom can only ring in one’s mind because society creates limitations. When there are limitations freedom is hindered. When there is a predator, disappearing will always be a limited state.

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

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 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

How to Disappear Now!

If you had to disappear right here, right now what would you do? Would you hit the airport, bus station or drive off in your car? What wouldn’t you do? Go home, go to the bank or call family? Imagine that the need to disappear is urgent, your life and your freedom depends on this moment now.

Perhaps you planned well and stashed a walk-away bag (money, ID). What if that has been compromised? What if all disappear plans have been exposed? How do you react, how do you take action? Reacting is dangerous and your reactions can be anticipated by a predator. Create your actions not as a reaction based upon the scenario you were forced into but change the dynamics of your whole disappear strategy.  Perhaps you walk or hitch a ride out of town, you do something unexpected.

Your stalker will know certain anticipations about your reaction. You need to identify these ideas and not walk into them. The stalker may know of your friend across town, or the small private office you rented to plan the great escape. Think of the predator as being a mind reader who knows all. Nothing is safe, nowhere is safe – you must simply go with the clothes on your back and fall off the radar.

Going off the radar means you use nothing that can connect your identity. You do not rent a motel room or check into a hostel. You do not make any calls to anyone in your past. You couch surf or you sleep in a public space. You do not take public transportation but stick to the feet or hitching rides. You do not use anything that has an on or off button. You do not use anything that makes a connection, even a prepaid credit card. You must anticipate that all is compromised and nothing behind you is safe. The only course of action is to move forward and find a safe place to lay low. A safe place where you can re-plan your disappearance.

There here and now disappear puts you in the hunt. Your goal is to get out from the cross-hairs as quick as possible.

Frank M. Ahearn

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

Using Technology for Freedom

Yesterday I mentioned Digital Nomads, who are people who find freedom in travel. They do this by embracing technology which affords them a lifestyle on the road. In addition, there others who are not nomadic but choose freedom based upon where they live. These individuals embrace technology too. This is not to say they surrender their privacy. No, they use the technology that is needed in order to obtain the freedom they desire. Again, using the technology needed to obtain freedom.

The reality of using technology is we must give up information about ourselves if we want to utilize. This goes for free and pay for services. To a degree, it is a form of bartering, not always equally agreed.  The important part to keep in mind is to not place too much trust in the services you utilize. Meaning, just because a company states XY&Z in a privacy policy does not mean they will always stand behind the promise. What is the statement, the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

I believe that responsible privacy begins with the self. It must be you who decides what technology to use and what information to give away. That begins by reading which information is collected and how it is utilized. Then you must decide if the sacrifice of privacy is worth service. If so, I say indulge responsibly.

Frank M. Ahearn

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

Humans The Fodder of Brand Advertisng

There are two of us! There is the digital that floats around the internet like lost puzzle pieces trying to connect to infinity and then there are the particles of information that still dwell motionless in the bricks and mortar. The war of privacy is fought on both terrains but soon the battlefields will converge and a new war of independence will call out. Perhaps it is happening already with groups like Anonymous, WikiLeaks, and other brave souls who have sacrificed their freedom for a greater cause, even if that cause is not yet fully defined or socially clear.

Who we are as a physical society and what we are about to become will be worlds away. The self we once knew will be replaced by connecting our identities to forms of brand advertising on the internet. To a degree, there is a social control occurring, a readying of people in to pens to mold them into a society where they become slaves to connect. This for the purposes of furthering the profits of corporations and furthering the digital profiles for governments. Puppets for what I call The Dark They.

Most know The Dark They are there and most ignore, their vampire like sucking of our information. Maybe this is digital form of McCarthyism, who knows but the masses seem to be okay with drinking the Kool-Aid. There are countries that slow down the speed of the internet to slow down the delivery of Western information. Yes, a form of censorship, however, maybe we should take heed, censor ourselves and slow down the delivery of our information.

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