HYST - Completing the Circle


This page has a worksheet in the Workbook.  Click this link for the worksheet: WB002.PDF

HYSTAt this point, you've got your critical documents, your BOB (Bug Out Bag), and a complete documentation of your entire life using a digital camera.  By now you are talking to all your friends about how you HYST - and in fact we're very close to completing the first step of HYST. 

We have been slowly drawing a circle around different elements in what we will call Data Wealth.  Data Wealth includes the documentation we have previously covered, and includes elements of your Identity, Education, and Skill Set.  There are other elements that we should also include.  Here are some other things that you will want to collect together as Data Wealth and store them on your laptop, backed up to your external hard drive, and possibly kept in your TrueCrypt volume on your USB flash drive.

  1. Letters, postcards, and other correspondence.
  2. Data and files from your place of business, if allowed by company policy.
  3. Digitized copies of video or sound recordings that cannot be replaced.
  4. Digital address book.  (Windows Address Book is actually portable.  Search for .wab files.)  You can print this out and have a hard copy in your BOB.  If a digital address book doesn't work for you, then keep a good paper one.
  5. Investment and retirement account information.
  6. Information about other financial accounts.
  7. Information regarding membership in clubs and organizations.
There may be other elements you want to include when completing the protective circle around your data wealth.  If there is something I have obviously missed, please let me know and I'll include it in the list.

Congratulations.  You have now completed Step 1 of HYST - Personal Documentation is complete when you close the Circle of Data Wealth.  If you have your BOB too, then you're half way on Personal Supplies.  We haven't covered communications yet, but your Plan is starting to come into a kind of dreamy focus.  The next step is to fully comprehend the broad topic of communications, and actually start putting our Plan on paper.  So far we have been collecting and documenting.  The next step is to start creating.  First, let's close the circle on our laptop bag. 

I am going to detail out everything that I have in my Laptop Bag.  I really need to come up with a cool sounding name for that.  Laptop Escape Capsule?  Hmmm...  SURVIVAL IS NOT A KIT!  True, but kits can be so handy sometimes...


Last night I pulled everything out of my bag.  An unfortunate side effect of having a bag like this is that it tends to collect various junk over time.  I cleaned it all out and spread everything I had left on the coffee table.  In the upper right is the portable file box I use for ancillary files.  These are things like utility bills and other bills to be paid and then filed, tax receipts for the year, tax returns for the last three years, and other non-critical documents that I like to keep organized and portable.  I also keep my extra checkbooks and other 'important' things in this box.  In your escape plans, having such a box where everything is all together makes it easy to just toss it in the car and know that you have everything.  You can keep these things in a small fire safe as an extra security.  If you are strong enough, you can simply carry the fire safe out to the car or transfer the contents into the portable box if you need to leave.  (That won't work for the 60 Second plan, but it would for any other.)

On the left is obviously the laptop bag, which is a Targus bag that is six or seven years old now, and the laptop itself.  To the right of the laptop is an external mouse, and in front of the laptop is the power cord and adapter for the laptop.  I do not have a car adapter, but I should.  Going back to top, at the right of the bag is a coiled blue wire.  This is a CAT-5 cable, which is used to connect the laptop to networks.  The laptop also has a built in wireless connection, which allows me to connect without wires when such service is available.  In the middle of the blue coil is a blue 'cartridge' that contains a spooling phone cord.  Any phone cord will do to connect the laptop to a phone line if no other internet access is available.  An ISP (Internet Service Provider) is needed to make a phone line connection.  Continuing to the right, there is a neatly wound and tied bundle of USB cables that are used to connect various devices (like my camera) to the laptop.  The short wire just below that is for my MP3 player.  Continuing right is the power adapter for the external hard drive, and then the hard drive itself.  Below that is the coiled USB wire that connects the external drive to the laptop.  To the left is a Princeton Tec Aurora headlamp.  A headlamp is a very useful light because once on your head, both hands are free to do things that hands do.

I'm running out of visual space, so let's pick up the image again.


That's better.  Below the file box is a yellow note book.  This is a Write-In-The-Rain note book with weather resistant pages.  Yes, you really can write in the rain, which is handy for taking notes in a rain storm, I suppose.  On top of that is a pencil and two ink pens.  Moving right, there are two bottles for medication.  One is an empty prescription bottle (antibiotics) shown for dramatic effect.  The other is a bottle of aspirin, which I keep handy because I sometimes develop sudden headaches.  I did not get these headaches before I had children, and I frequently wonder about that...  Below the drugs is a checkbook.  To the right of the checkbook, at the top, is a Fenix flashlight in its belt holder.  These small, very bright lights are handy and useful - and bright; as in burn-out-your-retinas-and-scream-like-a-girl bright.  Below the light are three different USB Flash Drives.  Below those is a Leatherman Charge tool.  (Hi, Tim!)  If you buy one, buy the Wave.  Below the Leatherman is a cheapola screwdriver set that I use for working on computers.  Below that, with the Mickey Mouse sticker is a Witz See-It Safe.  I picked it up for less than 10 dollars in Disney World, and it is quite brilliant.  Very handy for keeping spare identification, a little cash, and maybe a spare key in.  It has a lanyard and hangs around your neck. I bought one for every member of the family while at Disney, and they worked very well.  It was easy to visually check that everyone had their ID and tickets. 

Below the very center of the table is a small digital camera.  It's a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3.  Below the camera is a spare battery, two extra SD cards, and the battery charger.  To the right of all that is the camera case (shoulder strap not seen).  Attached to the camera case, I have a little red clip-light.  To the right of the camera is a set of ear phones, and then my Sandisk Sansa MP3 player.  Keep going right, and there is my spare set of keys.  The only other thing on the table is to the left of the camera charger, and that is an Ironmind "Captains of Crush" grip strength device.  I like to fidget, and the gripper gives me something to play with.  Not to mention that after several years I have a Grip of Doom.  This allows me to eat walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts without the need for a nutcracker.   No, I don't do parties.


All of this stuff fits into one of the side compartments of the laptop bag, if packed neatly.  Small objects go into the outer pockets, and large object all go together in the main compartment.  The laptop itself goes into the middle compartment.  On the other side is a file pocket that I haven't shown you yet, so here we go:
LAPTOP2 Everything is packed away, but now I've opened the file pocket and pulled out the report binders with our critical documents.  Gads, but that's a crappy picture, eh?  Well, you can see that I have four books.  One for my wife, one for myself, and one for both daughters.  As the daughters get older, they'll need their own books.  I use a fourth as a record book for other things.  My wife's book is opened to the first page, and you can see her birth certificate, safely stored in a space-age plastic sheet.  Each book is laid out the same, and if I need any critical document, I can quickly find it by flipping through the book.

You may not be comfortable with carrying around such crucial documents everywhere you go, and if you wish to otherwise secure them, then I don't have a problem with that.  No matter where you leave them, however, there is always a chance that they can be lost or destroyed.  Even a fire safe is no guarantee against loss.  I keep mine with me because no matter where I am, I know that they are safe.  My wife's objection to this is, "What if you are in a fiery auto crash and horribly killed!?", to which my response is, "Well, then I won't need any of this stuff..."  The point is valid, however.  Nothing is ever truly secure against loss or destruction.  You will need to make your own decision on how you want to answer the catch-22 between safety and security.

LAPTOP1 The report covers stack neatly if you invert every other one, and they fit neatly into the laptop bag.  Once zipped up, it makes a compact package.  My, but that's another bad picture.  Alas.  Despite the bad images, the bag looks and functions well, and all told weighs less than 20 pounds. 

LAPTOP5There is also a shoulder strap that makes for handy carry during an escape, but I didn't photograph it as it is just like any other shoulder strap that you have ever seen. 

Other elements may be added to the bag as needed, but this is my basic setup.  During the work week, I slip a bottle of water into the bag, maybe a snack and some lunch.  I'll add other things depending on need.

The last thing that I want to say about this bag is this:  DEFEND IT!  If you assemble such a bag, you will realize that you have invested a tremendous amount of time, effort, energy, and wealth in its creation, and it contains a very major portion of your Identity.  What do I mean when I say, 'Defend it!'?  I mean that you should safeguard it as your prized possession.  Do not leave it on the front seat of the car with the windows rolled down while you go grocery shopping.  Wherever I go, this bag goes.  At home, at work, wherever.  OK, well no, I don't take it into the shower with me...


OK, so that seems a little psycho.  What I'm trying to communicate is that you should always attend to the safety and security of this bag and its contents.  Do not be careless.  Replacing it and its contents will cost you thousands of dollars and many hours of work.

This is not the only way to accomplish HYST with Data Wealth, but it is a way that I have found to be very successful.  You may have other needs and other choices.  If you have something that works well for you, I would like to hear about it.  Please email me using the address at the bottom of this page. 

Now that we have our Data Wealth Survival Kit, let's move to the next step and start documenting The Plan.



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