Saturday, January 14, 2023

Leave a Message

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Theseus used a ball of yarn to find his way through the Minotaur's Labyrinth. Hansel and Gretel used white pebbles to find their way out of the forest in which they'd been abandoned; they had less success with breadcrumbs. 

Even today, trails through forests are marked with blazes (hence the phrase "blazing a trail") in a variety of ways. 

Top row, L-R: "Keep going straight"; "Right turn"; "Left turn".
Bottom row, L-R: "Beginning of trail"; "End of trail"; "Spur leading to different trail".

Sometimes it's necessary to convey important information to others in a manner which is more durable than words on paper. The Hobo Code of last century was a series of pictograms which indicated safety, danger, resources, and the best directions in which to travel.

More recently, the FEMA X-Codes were made famous by 2005's Hurricane Katrina. You can learn more about them in this PDF

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the famous "Don't Dead, Open Inside" message from The Walking Dead, not only because preppers seem to love zombie shows but also because it aptly illustrates the importance of messaging left to right rather than up to down. 

Regardless of whether it is before, during, or after a disaster, the fact remains that it can be essential to leave a message to yourself or those coming after you, and in a manner which is visible and durable. This is why I gave David a soapstone holder for Christmas: it serves the same purpose as chalk, but is far less messy and fragile. 

Other useful tools to have with you, either in your bug out/get home bag or in your car:
With these four small and lightweight items you have the ability to leave an effective message practically anywhere. 


  1. Heh. Other honorable mentions would be Lumber Crayons, Industrial Paint Crayons, etc. These will let you use Hobo or X-Codes with ease on most surfaces except maybe bark...which might present a problem for anything except spray paint.

  2. Great information here, thank you Erin and Unknown.


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