Whether you need to lay low or simply want to be left alone, disappearing might sound like a good idea. Running away usually isn’t necessary and most problems are solvable with help. Instead of vanishing completely, consider taking a short break from things by making some simple changes. Plan out what you’re going to do, erase your tracks, and then change your way of living. Even if you intend on coming back, making these changes can give yourself a fresh start.
Part 1 Part 1 of 3:Making a Safe and Responsible Decision
Find ways to solve your problems without disappearing completely. There are many good reasons to disappear, but there are also plenty of reasons that can be solved without drastic measures. Talk to people you trust, such as your friends and family. You could also look for a trained therapist to discuss your options. Also, seek out community resources, such as the police or local community support groups.
- For example, if you’re feeling bad, a therapist might be able to assist you. Partially “disappearing,” such as by changing your routine and dressing differently, could also help.
- If you’re in a tough home situation, call a support line like the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you have a child with you, call 1-800-4ACHILD for immediate assistance.
Stay put if you’re underage to avoid making problems worse. People are bound to come looking for you if you’re a minor. Chances are you will have a hard time making money and getting anything else you need to get by. Going on your own is tough, lonely, and even dangerous at times. Once you hit the legal age of adulthood in your country, which is usually 16 or 18, more opportunities open up to you.
- Keep in mind that being out on your own is usually worse as a minor. When you’re found, you will be taken home anyway. Unless things are very bad or even dangerous, find other ways to improve your life at home.
- Even if you don’t think your friends and family will miss you much, you are better off finding safer ways to change the situation than simply disappearing. There are many resources out there that can help you deal with bad situations until you’re ready to leave.
Choose to leave in a responsible way if you’re an adult. When you’re an adult, you have much more of a choice about leaving home and setting up shop somewhere else. Most of the problems come from hurting the people you care about when you leave suddenly. You could let them know you’re going or “disappear” by moving somewhere else without going missing.
- There are some legal problems to consider. For instance, if someone sends a search party after you, you might have to pay back the costs of the search.
- Adults have the right to leave home if they wish. Exceptions are when you’re trying to avoid a legal obligation like a court appearance.
- If you’re being harassed, blackmailed, or stalked, call the police. There are legal ways to change your identity and stay safe in these situations.
Travel alone to reduce the risk of discovery. Your odds of being discovered increase a lot when you travel with another person. Think of multiple search parties and an even bigger paper trail. Depending on who you’re traveling with, you might get into even bigger trouble than you would by traveling alone. No matter who you’re traveling with, make use of plenty of false names and identities to stay anonymous.
- Disappearing with a child, for instance, could get you charged with kidnapping or child endangerment. Even if you have good intentions, you’re better off staying put.
Leave for a short period of time if you need a break. Instead of leaving everything behind, take a little trip. Try something new while hanging onto your own identity. Sometimes going somewhere without upending your own identity helps a lot. Even a small change in scenery or routine could make you think twice about disappearing.
- Disappearances cause a lot of pain for family members. Instead of leaving them in the dark, tell them where you’re going and when they can expect you to be back.
- Try going camping, visiting a new city, or doing something else. Don’t leave everything behind unless you know you’re going to be safe traveling. Even if you have to go, you can usually get assistance from the police or charitable organizations.
Part 2 Part 2 of 3:Covering Your Tracks
Get rid of possessions you can’t carry with you. When you’re looking for a fresh start, you don’t need a lot of possessions tying you down. Chances are you won’t be able to carry them where you’re going, anyway. Try to make a list of the few things you can’t live without. You probably won’t come up with many of them, which will free you to sell off what you don’t need.
- Leave personal identifiers like family photos at home. If you have to bring along mementos, keep them well-hidden and locked up so no one can use them to identify you.
- Consider getting rid of your vehicle if you own one. A car is a good way to put distance between you and your past life, but it is identifiable. Sell it, donate it, or leave it behind if you decide you can’t use it where you’re going.
Log off from all of your social media accounts. For bonus points, delete everything on your accounts, then have your accounts deactivated. When you’re posting status updates or tweeting out what you ate for lunch, you’re leaving a trail. Deleting your accounts can help take away the temptation of getting back online.
- Doing this takes preparation and can be very difficult in today’s world. Leave your phone and computer at home, since they are often easy to track by eagle-eyed investigators.
- If you’re stressed about your online information, revealing photos, or Internet harassment, try doing an online-only disappearance. Use the Internet and social media a little less every day. This might make you feel better without having to leave behind the rest of your life.
Clear the search information on your computer and phone. Computers store everything from your last Internet search to your most recent downloads. Chances are you have a lot of important information there that could give away your plans. For the sake of privacy, delete relevant files on your device. Also, use the “clear history” button on your browser’s taskbar to erase your data.
- Search through your files, such as the “Downloads” folder, for anything you wish to hide. Even if your device is password-protected, it still isn’t safe from prying eyes.
- Be cautious when using a public computer, such as a library. Nothing is private, and you can’t log into any personal accounts without running the risk of being caught.
Give yourself a new name and background story. Use your new persona while you’re away so no one recognizes you. Try to come up with something that is different from your actual identity but doesn’t stand out much. Take some time to go over your story a few times to lock down the details. If your story has holes in it, people may notice and get suspicious.
- Usually, the easiest way to do this is by choosing a different name. This isn’t a legal change unless you get it changed in court. Keep in mind that technology makes it impossible to completely hide your past.
- For example, you could say your name is Tom and you’re out in California for school or vacation. If you say you’re there as an architect, people might start asking you questions. Be vague and keep your story consistent.
Throw away credit cards and anything else with your name on it. Get rid of the plastic, since it’s the easiest way to track someone down. Close your credit cards so you aren’t tempted to use them, then put away your bank cards. You can’t rely on them anymore. Even that card to your favorite store could be the lead someone needs to find out where you have been.
- Get rid of what you no longer need. Sometimes getting rid of the excess is enough to make you feel refreshed. If you truly intend on hiding out from everyone, leave behind anything with your name on it.
Part 3 Part 3 of 3:Traveling Somewhere New
Withdraw cash gradually from any bank accounts you have. You will need money if you plan on traveling with peace of mind. A large withdrawal is suspicious, so don’t rush to empty your bank account. Take out a little at a time until you have as much as you think you will need. If you have the option, empty and close your account so you no longer have to worry about it.
- Carrying around a lot of money is a little intimidating, so take care of yourself. Bring what you plan on using and store the rest in a secure spot.
- It is possible to get started with a little bit of money. For example, you could buy a bus ticket and start a new life somewhere else.
Pack your clothing and other resources you need for the trip. What you need will depend on where you’re going. At the very least, bring a change of clothes, snacks, and other necessities. Keep in mind that you often can’t carry a lot when you’re disappearing, so limit your options accordingly.
- Find ways to care for yourself while you’re away. Bringing money along helps. Also, have a plan for what you intend on doing once you arrive at your destination.
- If you’re going rogue, some items to consider include a large backpack, warm clothes, a rain jacket, sturdy shoes, a tent, a sleeping bag, maps, a compass, a pocket knife, and a first aid kit.
Select a location to travel to while you’re away. Think of how much time you wish to spend on your own and what you plan on doing. Find suitable locations that match your budget. While you could go almost anywhere, traveling takes time, money, and planning. If you’re traveling abroad, get a passport before you go.
- If you’re considering going international, research visa requirements and other regulations. Some countries welcome visitors and even people who wish to move there. Others, like China, are much more restrictive about letting people in.
- If you’re staying in your own country, weigh your chances of being discovered. A camping trip in the forest is great for a weekend trip, but if you’re looking for a fresh start, you could move to another city. Stay away from vacation spots you used to frequent.
Purchase any tickets you need for traveling. The tickets you need will depend on your destination. If you’re staying within your country, consider taking a bus or train. You could also ride a bike for a way to travel anonymously. Other types of transportation reduce the amount of time you spend traveling but increase your chances of being spotted.
- You often do not need to present an ID to get a bus or train fare unless you’re traveling long distances.
- Airplanes and ships are out of the question unless you’re willing to let people know you’re leaving the country. Airports and docks have plenty of government security and you will need to present a valid ID.
Come up with a cover story about where you’re going. Unless you intend on leaving in the middle of the night, find a way to explain your actions. Unfortunately, you might need to fudge the truth a little bit. You might tell people you’re taking a trip or are going to your favorite store across town. As long as you make the story believable, no one will really know where you have gone.
- A good cover story allows you to travel in peace for a few days. You could say that you had to travel for work or wished to go on vacation without being disturbed. Use a story like that to go off the radar for a few days without anyone knowing.
- Create false leads to keep others off your trail. For example, book a flight to Chile without any intention of boarding. Link yourself to companies you have never even heard of.
Find a job to sustain yourself when you move. Unless you plan on returning home right away, you’re going to need money. Without a gig, you could end up homeless and stuck in a situation worse than the one you left behind. Retail stores, restaurants, and landscaping businesses are a few types of places that usually have work no matter where you are. Keep in mind that most places require you to complete an application using your personal information, which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to hide your identity. Some places will hire you under the table, but they are often shady and could end up taking advantage of you.
- In the U.S. at least, most places ask for your name and Social Security number in order to perform a background check. There is no legal way to get around this. You could ask to be called by a different name, but you probably won’t be able to lie your way into a job.
- Finding work is much easier when you’re an adult since most places can’t legally hire children. Don’t wing it if you can help it. If you don’t have a plan yet, check with your local government’s employment and benefits services to see if help is available.
- If you don’t have a computer with you, you can use a library computer for free to apply for work. You could also visit places in person to ask for an application.
Change your style to develop a new persona. If you don’t develop a new persona, chances are you will end up falling into the same patterns that made you want to flee in the first place. Try something new to spice up your routine. Take advantage of the opportunity to try something new, like changing your hairstyle or wearing different clothing. Sometimes a small change feels like a fresh start.
- For example, if you’re normally a T-shirt and jeans kind of person, switch it up. Try dressing like a geeky person, a hippy, a metalhead, or someone else’s specific style. Keep your budget in mind when inventing your new identity.
- Get an opposite hairstyle from what you are accustomed to. If you wear your hair long, cut it and even consider dying it. Ask a stylist for recommendations.
- Hats, hoodies, and sunglasses are great tools for feeling anonymous in a crowd. Even if you don’t often wear these items, consider investing in some to give your new outfit its own unique feel.
Come up with new habits that distinguish you from your old identity. If you’re going all out to be someone else, you might as well try some new things. Sign up for different groups and activities, or join a religious group you have never been a part of. You could also weight lift to change your physique, grow a beard, get a tattoo, or join an unfamiliar music scene. The world has a lot to offer, so take advantage of any opportunities to give yourself a fresh start.
- For instance, if you’re used to staying at home playing video games, get outdoors. Play sports and go camping to throw people off your trail.
- Eat different foods to keep up your new identity. If you’re addicted to something at your favorite fast food spot, ditch your old habit. Go to different restaurants or hit up the nearest grocery store.
- People can often be recognized by their movements. If you usually walk at a fast pace, slow down, for instance. You might even find this change refreshing.
- Disappearing without warning has a lot of legal consequences. You might also cause emotional harm to your friends and family. Thanks! Helpful 5 Not Helpful 0
- Homelessness is a very real possibility if you leave without a plan. Try to find a place to stay and a paying job before you leave. Thanks! Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
- Traveling alone can be dangerous, so take care of your safety. Avoid carrying lots of money, for instance, or staying in area where you don’t feel safe. Thanks! Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0