A few weeks ago I had the oddest dream. In this dream, I was at home when my husband walked in the door from work and said, “The balloon’s gone up.” Immediately, my kids and I set about getting ready to leave town. I remember feeling impressed because everyone seemed to know exactly what to do.
Now, talk of balloons going up isn’t part of my everyday vocabulary. I use it about as often as I scamper from bush to bush, hiding from black helicopters. In fact, the first time I heard the phrase, I had to look it up online.
“When the balloon goes up” is a phrase used to imply impending trouble. This relates to the use of observation balloons in the first World War. The sight of such a balloon going up nearly always resulted in a barrage of shells following soon after. The expression was reinforced during WW2 when the hoisting of barrage balloons was part of the preparations for an air raid.
Often in survival type forums and blogs someone will use this phrase along with talk of, “getting out of Dodge.”
Obviously, I’m in favor of educating people to survive during all sorts of crises, but sooner or later one has to wonder, “How will I know when, or if, it’s time to gather my family together and get out of town?”
“When the balloon goes up!”
And that gets us right back to where we started. When does one know when that balloon has gone up? How do we know when events have taken an irrevocable turn for the worst and the only way to survive is to get as far away from our current location as possible?
I think that’s the $40,000 question, really. Not, “What do I keep in my bug out bag?”
Rather than try to come up with The Definitive Answer myself, I turned to numerous friends and acquaintances in the survival and preparedness niche and asked them for help.
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