HINDSIGHT: The Dream Retreat of a Venezuelan Collapse Survivor

by | May 11, 2018 | Headline News | 41 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by J. D. Martinez D. at The Organic Prepper

    Editor’s Note: We’ve all heard the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” In this article, Jose looks back at the collapse of Venezuela and creates his dream retreat that would have allowed his family to thrive safely during the difficult times. In his retrospect, we can learn things to apply to our own retreat plans. ~ Daisy

    My Dream Retreat

    I am going now to use my creative writing skills, and dream a little bit, using the idea of having enough resources to be able to build a retreat with the features needed for a collapse like the one we went through.

    Some basic aspects, like the kid’s school, will have to be overlooked. The reason is pretty simple. Average preppers in the US could homeschool their kids. Our laws are different. Not too many authorities left for applying them, to be honest…but as the teachers of primary, secondary and college have left to prevent dying of hunger, it is pretty difficult to get a proper education for the kids.

    This said, let us focus on the main aspects of a nice, safe, comfortable retreat.


    I grew up in a small town. There were mountains surrounding us and after a short 10 min. ride by car, there were flat, endless pastures with lots of farms and cattle. Rivers, woodland, and fertile plots everywhere. Therefore, I got used to the idea that those small, short mountains were home.

    Under the current situation, where a former peaceful, and safe town is now surrounded by poor barrios with hundreds of thugs roaming around on small bikes, killing each other to control the territory, I don’t consider it to be a safe option.

    The dream retreat

    A well-hidden retreat, without showing up too much, would be a good option. Some small farms nearby that produce milk, cheese, meat, poultry, and eggs. If it was surrounded by a good fence, covered with climbing vines with lots of thorns, over 1.80 meters and a couple of guard dogs, a large orchard could be maintained. With our fair weather, we could have fresh vegetables and fruit the entire year. A second artificial fencing is a need, and some inner ditch as a means to avoid unwanted access to the living quarters. These should be partially attached to a mountain, with some fortified rooms dug into the mountainside, and hidden doors to access to them, as a last resource.

    A good inner garden inside the walled area for lots of square meters to cultivate medicinal and cooking herbs and spices, and tall walls made of cement and stone. The house itself would not need to be too big. Small is wise: easier to clean and keep neat. The storage area would be well hidden, underneath the main house, and ideally, it should be larger than the house. My plans are building an underground workshop, with the needed equipment for manufacturing some low tech defense tools (crossbow bolts?), repairing things, some basic maintenance,  you get the picture. Being underground and in the top or middle of a mountain, the noise shouldn´t catch the attention of someone roaming around.

    Perhaps some readers could believe that going underground is an exaggeration. I must tell you that it is not. A single room cabin on top perhaps will be invaded once or even twice. No big deal if you want to keep your real facilities concealed. But wisely used as a diversion it could save the day.

    That is why I like the idea of getting in a mountainside. It does not have to be a dark, cold, damp cave if we use the technology available with some ingenuity. It offers lots of possibilities to conceal entrances and trap doors, with foliage and planting some fast-growing weeds around. Some dead logs protruding from the ground, are perfect to conceal the air intakes or exhausts inside them. The taller, the better. The chimney effect is something that those who live in colder climates know better than I do.

    However, expert advisory is suggested if you are building underground. Well-placed, thick steel beams have to be used if we choose this solution. I even believe that choosing the location with some care and building with cement and stone, there could be no need to dig the mountainside. Cement and stone walls could be concealed with climbing plants in a matter of a couple of months. Aluminum doors, hinged on top, to protect large, panoramic, ballistic glass windows covered with these plants and closed at night would provide a nice level of concealment. Opened during the day, and you will have a good amount of light and air. Of course, a green roof is included.

    If taking cement blocks uphill is a cost-prohibitive option, then we have the sandbag building technique. With some more spare time, I could have built a dome, covering it with dirt and conceal it planting grass on top. I would have camouflaged the entrance as an underground water tank opening, with a ladder and an underground passage. These tanks are pretty common here, and no one pays attention to a steel trapdoor. Of course there are some details that I will keep for myself, as part of my concealment design.


    The access to this compound would be just one road, and a concealed escape way should be defined prior to the building of the compound itself. In the rainy season there is a lot of rain, therefore the drainages should be carefully planned.

    Our actual country cabin has some features, but the lack of access to cement at decent prices stopped us from continuing to build. The cabin is far from the main asphalt roads. You have to take two side roads and know exactly where you are going to arrive to the place.


    We have grid power, but with the energy crisis, regrettably, this is not a good option, and solar power with a large battery pack will be a need for powering fridges and other high consumption equipment. Air conditioning is not needed up there: a fresh, gentle breeze is a blessing the entire year. Getting fuel is not as easy as it was once, and the price of the generators, spare parts, engine oil, and repair parts is prohibitive.

    A proper sized septic tank, a rain collection and filtering system enough for the six months of summer and an inner pond for a fishery would be desirable.

    There are for sale some nice optic fiber lamps that can collect and redirect sunlight underground, and I found these truly innovative and practical. I believe these are great acquisitions to avoid using power during the day: the sunlight collector could be placed in the top of a large tree, and run the fiber to the underground storage or living quarters.

    How to conceal the solar panels, is a problem I am trying yet to solve. With the bright sun, they shine a lot and can be seen kilometers away. One solution I have been thinking a lot these last few days is finding a diesel truck and building a cab over with some sleeping, perhaps a small kitchenette or even a wood stove, and toilet modular system. We could commute to the nearby town with my folks, work there and go to school, buy some stuff we could need, and come back to the compound before dawn to sleep comfortably behind those tall walls. The microclimate there with all the woods and mountains is much better than in the town. With this solution, anyone incoming with bad intentions would not find anything really valuable to steal. And releasing the dogs just at arriving will be a nice surprise for those waiting with bad intentions.

    When we return home

    I would like to say that I am going to come back. That is a fact. Things are going to improve because the problem is overflowing to nearby countries and they are starting to feel the weight. I am getting ready, physically and mentally.

    This said, the equipment I already have will have to work for a while once I get set up again on our patch of land.

    Our house in the city subdivision where we used to live for almost 15 years is not an option. The oil industry that once was the economical muscle of the region is no longer there.

    I just received the bad news that in three months from now, the technical halt of the entire industry will be a reality. Russia and China refused to acquire the refining facilities because of the incredibly high amount of investment required.

    One of my goals in the midterm is to organize a group of expats and start a hedge fund to take advantage of the sale, once the company is dismembered and sold to the private firms. This is going to happen. No matter what. Remember I worked in the field for 15 years and could see how the lack of maintenance converted some production facilities in junkyards. This should have to be done carefully to avoid the same criminal gang to acquire such facilities via third parties. Many former employees know them and will do everything necessary to avoid it.

    Please excuse that small digression/rant. Back to businesses now.

    The good news is that small diesel trucks are available and once we find good paid jobs, with some months of wise savings I could trade my dead horse of an SUV that, once the economy bounces up, would make a great investment as a side goodie-transporting businesses.

    I love my country, and the idea of coming back to rebuild and make it thrive again under a free market, competitive system is exciting. We have everything we need to do it, but we have to get rid of those criminals first. Otherwise, they will make impossible the recovery.

    Maybe some of you are not aware of this, but the general opinion in the country and its neighbors is that we were used by Russia and China, via Cuba, to spread a communist “revolution” sort of movement, financed with our oil, resources and drug trafficking. This will end badly, affecting the entire continent, US included. Obama did nothing positive to stop this, IMHO.

    Plan your own retreat now.

    Dreaming is cheap, fellows. I hope this encourages our kind readers to start slow but steady and prepare a little bit more each week.

    I just chatted with a former co-worker, and he told me that while everyone else in our engineering department was cooking their barbecues every weekend, and drinking cold beer like if there is no tomorrow, I was preparing myself with education, working online, and getting ready whatever I could do with my own hands to minimize the impact of a possible collapse.

    Please don’t understand this in the wrong way. I cooked barbecues and drank beer as well, only not every weekend! Once a month, maybe even twice sometimes, but I was able to use my spare time constructively so I could provide for my family in the harder of times.

    God Bless you people!

    About the Author

    Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. paypal.me/JoseM151


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      1. Sorry but dreams are just dreams. Trying to dig hidden basements in rock is a dream. Somebody is going to invade your house multiple times and give it back? People aren’t going to notice your gardens etc? Better off owning a scrap junkyard in the City. Make a living building stuff, and people don’t usually steal stuff that takes work. Here in the US, just fill your basement with stuff and get several neighbors with guns to do the same.

      2. Who can really afford to do any of this?
        Definitely nice to dream, but some are just too expensive,
        Gotta make do with the hand your dealt,

        • I started into prepping 2010 bigtime, as I awoke to all the problems in the world. I analyzed my weaknesses and living in the city at the time, I was F*cked.

          I had a conversation with SouthernPrepper1 and Getting out of the City and buying property in Rural America was the biggest Key to avoiding 90% of the threats of what’s coming. So from 2010 on, I began to collect everything I need for full Off Grid Living. Sold my Overpriced City house and Bought the land in 2015 and began my Dream journey, 100% Off Grid Compound. Its been 3 years now, and I am still building the infrastructure all 100% paid off that I own. 100% off Grid. In the country, miles of swamp on 3 sides of my property, Canal that I own part of, that can actually take me all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico from the banks of my BOL retreat, a good 45 mins inland and up high 45 Feet in elevation here in FL. Tall 85 Foot trees and dense Jungle with climbing vines and palmetto palms that hide a lot from the air and satellite views, and from the gravel and dirt road this is a private road and in a Private Subdivision.

          I have a 6 Ft barbed wire fence 350 long on the 4th land side of this peninsula, and the bottom 4 feet of the fence is animal fencing with a tall 6 ft wide locking gate which is also barbed wired. Its impressive. This is a Peninsula one way in and one way out. I also have an inner 6 Ft tall barbed wire fence I am finishing as an extra barrier to make it hard to get to the buildings. Security is about layers, and create an illusion of high security, and including No Trespass signs, so you can legally shoot any intruders, and claim you had plenty of warnings not to trespass. CYA Folks.

          You have to have a Mandatory fence and gate to your property, to stop any persons from just walking on or coming on your land or property or to your house. Trespass signs are required, get them now while you still can. In a collapse no trespass signs will be in high demand or not found any longer. Get some motion detectors to alert you when someone approaches your property by road or path. I even put a motion detector on my canal, so anything that passes my property line coming down the canal, alerts me, and those few minutes allows me to grab a shot gun and go investigate. The key is for YOU, Not to get ambushed, but for you to ambush the intruder.

          Go to www “LandWatch” dot com, and find your Rural BOL Property and Get your Off Grid Homestead set up and working. Wasting precious time procrastinating or dreaming is a fools errand and a death sentence.

          If all your have between you inside your house, and the Outside public street, is just front door with a deadbolt you are Screwed bigtime. You also want your house to be farther back behind a secure fence, than throwing distance of a Moltov cocktail.

          Get busy, and make dreams reality. Failing to plan, is a plan to fail.

          • Two observations, fella.

            You seem very keen to broadcast how prepped you are. Perhaps you want to check your grey man profile, and reflect on whether you have a need to show off in general, and want that feeling of superiority that this gives you…… could be a psychological weakness which will do you in.

            Secondly, on a practical matter of your location, as you say only one way into your peninsular. Therefore only one way out for you, so you are effectively trapped and ripe for a siege. I would regard this as a weakness rather than a strength, and remember that in times past most ( up to 80% ) of hostile actions were sieges, rather than battles, so you might want to rethink your strategy of backing yourself into a trap and develop a second and third way out of your location.

            • thanks to BOTH of you!….it’s a lot to think about. that’s why i read shtfplan, one person presents a plan, and another comes along and shoots holes in it…..that’s how we keep improving our plans!

      3. It used to be a dream for me until I first got the arrangement to share a BOL with a relative in April 2013. until that time my chances of survival long-term were slim to none being in a damn city. But now with the BOL I’ve got a real chance at long-term survival. I’ve made many a trip there hauling survival supplies which are stored in a steel building on the property. Got another trip scheduled in July but might be going back sooner the way things are looking.

        • DB what’s the status of the Nathan B Forrest Statue, have the Libturds got it tore down yet? Trekker Out

        • FINALLY!
          DB has just outed himself as a city dwelling “keyboard survivalist” and as a single male with no dependents. No adult planning for the care of a family. just pomp and bravado from the keyboard, post after post on here for years.
          $20 bucks says he is also 40 lbs overweight.

          chances of escaping any major US city in a grid down crisis are not good.

          no one is getting out on 4 wheels. complete traffic grid lock.

          Total failure.

          unless someone has an EMP proof off road capable light motorbike or touring rig bicycle or is still in shape to hump a ruck 20 miles per day one is a hostage of the urban grid and therefore a guaranteed casualty of the event.

          lack of clean water or poor human interaction choices (highly likely given DB’s history of bravado about violence) will be the death of many such persons.
          Let history be one’s guide, From Katrina, to Selco’s reports to WWII siege of Leningrad the past events teach all of us one key lesson

          You must live full time at your retreat location.

          Our first 5 years here have taught us much and i concur with many of the authors dream list,and as I read this i was checking off all the items we have done similar and the ones we are still developing.
          But there is so much more to learn by living at the retreat, what it takes, what skills you need to live really rural are so foreign to City dwellers as they are really “armchair commandos” and what you need to have at home all the time, how to stock up when going to town, and how to build local relationships. Much overlooked. Strangers to a rural community are not well accepted. it took us years, and we had help because of how friendly our kids were, helped us make local friends too.

          How is anyone getting from the City to a rural BOL in the 30 minutes it takes for a Nuke to reach your city?
          How is anyone getting out of a major city to a remote retreat when an EMP has stopped over 90% of vehicles right in the lane where there were driving, and every intersection choked with cars .

          How long are you going to survive with your “life Straw” when you cant even flush the toilet and the only water is raw sewage contaminated. (hint, Life Straw does NOT stop viruses)

          You may have a few days notice for a Hurricane, ok great fine.
          Economic Collapse. Look at Venezuela, When do you decide to move to the retreat and when you do, how are you going to support yourself?

          Hint, if you cannot figure out how to make income remotely, while living rural NOW while the economy is not too bad, you will NEVER be able to support you self or your family when SHTF.

          • you got all THAT info from this site? wow, you ARE a master at gleaning information……..’cept a bunch of it probly aint SO. you SOUND like a blowhard…..ARE you?

            • He actually makes some good points.

          • I am in agreement . Comments such as his have turned me off to this site by in large. For those that do, constructive comments on sides like this are beneficial. The comments of those living in a fantasy world only give those of us who take personal responsibility for ourselves and loved ones a bad reputation due to their blustery comments.

      4. Jose has definitely had his “come to Jesus” moment, regarding preparations for difficult times. I like the way this man thinks. Fortunately for him, he was able to preserve his family. I think in my time I have been able to get a few people to be more preparedness oriented, and less happy go lucky. A little more soberness concerning how things actually are, rather than what the façade of govt., MSM, etc, say they are. I would suggest anyone talking to people with a bent towards preparedness ask them this question. “What if I’m right about how precarious and dangerous our situation is right now?”

      5. If you do not plan and prepare – you will not survive
        We all know something very catastrophic is around the conor.
        It is coming – EMP – economic collapse – war or all three.
        The NWO is getting ready for a human culling – we are no longer needed.
        We are just users of their critical resources.

        if I am wrong and you have prepared and nothing happens – so what
        If I am right and you have not prepared – you die

      6. Hello Jose,

        I’m also an ex-pat and prepper. I share a lot of your views and ideas, lots can be done once the narcos that rule the country are booted out, or better yet, eliminated. How can we hook up?

      7. I think the keys to the ‘dream’ are water, land, topography varied (hills, forest…) and the wherewithall in terms of funds, time, knowledge and skills and gumption to just do it. Hmmm, sounds like a goodly number of us right here in our own loveable ways, huh?

      8. Jose says that the teachers left to prevent starving.
        So, why didn’t he?

        If you are surrounded by roving gangs, and can’t live on a farm without being invaded, who needs it? I’ld stop worrying about getting my kids to school, and get out of dodge.

        Why on earth can’t he teach his kids at home. He admits there were no enforcers to stop him. People are conditioned to do what authorities want them to do. It’s insanity.

        Go to a hospital to have a baby and the baby is tortured. But people keep doing it. Join the military and wind up crippled for no good reason, but people keep volunteering.

        Pavlov’s dogs. First break the mental restrictions.


        • “The baby is tortured”. What hospital tortures newborns?

          Women have died having babies at home. I’m not against home births, but if complications arise, and they do, the mother or baby could die. It happens. I never hard of Drs or hospital staff members torturing newborn babies.

      9. you need like minded people to band together for any option. Try and protect what you have on your own and see what happens. It helps to have a variety of skills and other to help protect your supplies. Have backups for everything and backups for backups. Use tools that don’t require electricity.

      10. Total B. S . Good luck fighting off attack after attack in your cave. Stay agile and mobile .

        • If you impale the heads of the first attackers on poles outside your spot there won’t be attack after attack.

          • All that the head-in-a-pole would do is say – I got stuff worth protecting. So that means 24/7 surveillance and attacks. Most accurate thing is the gangs on bicycles – they will sweep untill they find you.

            • hmmm…..i think that would do the trick for ME….i aint goin’ where heads are on a stick.

            • A dozen rat traps, some pipe, string, 12 gauge shells, and nobody is going to sneak up on me. If heads on sticks doesn’t do it a 3 ft fence out of skulls should do it.

        • Stay mobile? As in “Staying in place and you’re dead. Life is in movement?”

          Staying mobile doesn’t work. How are you possibly supposed to carry around all the prepping gear and supplies you are supposed to have in order to survive?

          The way things are set-up you are dead either way.

      11. Renting a backhoe,and burying a shipping container, somehow disguising the entrance with a juke pile? As just a underground safe for preps? Or just burying plastic 5 gallon gas cans full of rice and beans? 35 pounds per gas can? Maybe one month per can? 12 cans 100$ plus beans? One year starvation diet? Metal detectors can’t find it. Keeps cool underground. Silicone seal the threads. Plant them all over the place. Sure thing?

        • Think if you were going to do something like that you could use 5 gallon buckets, mylar liner, can put a few different things in them, maybe some freeze dried meats, rice, beans, juice mix, vitamins or whatever really, the 5 gallon buckets are water tight, mylar liner keeps the other stuff especially with a dessicant pack and oxy absorber. Can stash ammo in one too, even a handgun or a taken down AR, if you separate the barrel from the upper a 14” will fit in the bucket.

        • Burying a shipping container is an iffy proposition. I’ve seen YouTube vids on what these look like after a year or so–quite uninhabitable and dangerous. For what would have to be put into one to make it durable and long-lasting, it’s better to put that money into a well-designed original creation.

          This is just my keyboard warrior side making observations. There might well be good ways to do this without costing a fortune; I just haven’t seen them.

      12. use my creative writing skills

        This dipshit has been using his creative writing skills all along to e-beg for money. I called fraud on him in a previous article.

        • Agreed BIG TIME

        • Exactly what I was thinking. Begging for money, with a paypal link in the end. Not falling for it, no way José, if that’s even your real name. Go fund your own live.

      13. These prepping plans to survive a full-systemic collapse are just that: dreams. You have to be rich to properly prep. A true, full-on prep job is going to run you millions of dollars. And most Americans don’t have $400-bucks saved for an emergency.

        And you know what’s worse? Dreamers that don’t have a plan for achieving their dreams.

        I can’t think of a worse eulogy than somebody standing over me and saying: “Yes [fill in the blank] he was a real dreamer. He all these great dreams. But he had no plans for achieving those dreams.”

        • Blame-e:

          I agree.

          Beyond planning is taking action. Being rich makes survival on any level that much more obtainable. Part of being prepped is having a plan for financial freedom and acting on it.

          A good start is to read “Rich Man Poor Man” by Kawasaki.



          • I meant to write:

            “Rich Dad Poor Dad”


      14. Fixed location loaded with preps and food production is a sitting duck target, unless you have a small army to protect it 24/7. A well stocked group retreat with 30+ good health, well trained, diverse skill set, like minded people might have a chance. Even then the odds are still against you. Despite it being a fictional TV show, The Walking Dead provides some insight into a WROL. Forget the zombie part of the show, it’s the interactions between the “healthy” survivors that is interesting.

        • but even the “small armies” don’t survive………………it takes a LOT of resources to maintain that army.

      15. SHTF scenarios vary in intensity and survivability. To survive the worst of them takes a bug-out bunker of something equivalent and lots of money spent on preps. The more prepared, the better chance of surviving and rebuilding your life. SHTF can hit on a personal level, a community level, or over a larger geographic area. Making no preparation leaves you in a very tight spot.

        “I’ll worry about it if it happens!” or “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” or “If it happens, I’ll come to your house.” People who say these things see people differently than I do and have far more confidence in how much help they’ll get in a crisis. They are in for a rude awakening!

      16. The only way a free market is coming to Venezuela is after the violent revolution that rids the country of leftists and other commie radicals .

      17. Meanwhile, Eddie Devine, Kentucky Landscaper and business owner, and others like him, are whining:

        “But what makes him most angry is that Trump’s properties in Florida and New York have used over 145 H-2B workers since 2015. “I want to know why it’s OK for him to get his workers, but supporters like me don’t get theirs,” Ed Devine said.

        ANSWER: Because Trump only cares about Trump. He doesn’t give a s ** t about you. He’s also a hypocrite. So there’s that too.

        • why would americans WORK when they can sit on their asses, and collect MORE from the gubmint……take away the freebies, and see who wants to WORK for 17$ an hour.

      18. Dream Retreat —

        It has monster truck tires, jet engines, and shoots lightning. Eager, young women and also a food buffet. Medical regeneration, like on sci-fi…

        (In real life, people should know how to make their own, serviceable supplies, from scratch (or whatever conveniences are available) and go without.)

        …Elijah’s miraculous cup of oil and flour, time travel.

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