How to run away from home is a critical decision that needs planning. It can be a big step. You may need some time to think about whether you want to “run” or not.
There are reasons why people would wish to run away from home. Remember to think of the bad things that can happen. Probably the most important thing for people to understand is that running away is a lot harder, and a lot less glamorous, than imagined otherwise.
There are sleepless and cold nights. There is hunger and danger. There is a general sense of being lost and need to go places. There may be legitimate reasons for running away, too.
How to Run Away From Home : Weighing the Pros and Cons
Stop and think about your possible actions.
There’s a difference between running away for a good reason when you’re in physical danger and running away for a bad reason when you just got in a small fight with parents. Don’t make a hasty decision in the heat of anger; you might regret it later.
People you might be affecting someone by running away, try to think about them seriously. You owe it to them. Think about parents. Your parents love you deeply. They want a better future for you. Disagreements happen with parents but love for you never changes for them. Think about the your family, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers. Family will feel hurt and responsible.
Think about your friends who are the lifeblood of your social circle. Running away means leaving them behind.
Think of the mentors who look after us and want to see us succeed and safe. Understand that in many cases, running away from home is illegal.
Although most states won’t punish minors (someone under the age of 18) for running away from home, several states consider it illegal. In Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming, consider it an offense.
You may worry that foster care will be worse than being with your parents, even if they hurt you, but it is better to risk it. You may even be able to stay with another family member or friend if you work this out in advance.
Talk to someone about your plans to run away.
Consider calling 1-800-786-2929 (1-800-RUN-AWAY) or going to http://www.1800runaway.org to talk about the situation and all the options you have.
Address the motivation for wanting to run away, if possible.
There are many reasons why a child would want to run away. Addressing the reason why could help you solve the problem before it gets so bad that you feel forced to run away. Here are some statistics:
47% of runaway youth have problem with one or both of their parents. More than 50% of runaway youth in shelters were told to leave by their parents and knew but didn’t care. 80% of runaway and homeless girls went through physical and sexual abuse.
Write a list of all the pros and cons of running away.
Put the thoughts down on paper to get a soothing effect. It makes things more clear in front you. Possible pros and cons of running away.
- Possible freedom from neglect, abuse may be verbal, physical, or sexual, or harassment.
- Wants to travel, see and meet new places and new people.
- Increased freedom, maturity and personal growth.
- Development of self-reliance and a sense of being able to do things.
- Spending nights outdoors, on the streets, under bridges or top of roofs.
- Increased depression, isolation, and powerlessness.
- Increased violence, drugs, disease, and prostitution on the streets.
- Increased death or serious injury.
- Feeling no one to talk to, no one cares, or you don’t make a difference.
Give your emotions cool off before making any big decisions.
Let emotions make decisions for us. It is a good thing, but sometimes bad as we trick ourselves into being rational. To let emotions cool off and really give time to think about life-changing decision. Wait for a week before doing anything. Reach out to people you can trust and talk it over with them.
How to Run Away From Home : Starting Off
Think of what you will do if any part of your plan goes wrong, and make up excuses for everything. Need to consider, what will you do:
if you get sick?
if you are caught?
to get something to eat?
to maintain good hygiene?
to stay off the streets and out of harm’s way?
to earn enough money to survive?
Try to find a safe place to stay.
If you have a trustworthy person who’s helping you run away then you can stay with them till you’re pretty much set.
Pack up a bag with some essentials.
Travel light; bring only the bare essentials. Now is not the time to set a record for pounds carried. Bring food, money, extra changes of clothing, a jacket or coat in case it gets cold, clothes with pockets, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and anything else you will need.
Things like maps, an umbrella, a utility knife, a combination lock, a face mask, and a blanket, might be useful. Don’t bring phone or any electronic device so give your location when turned on, and get tracked down. Use cash, don’t use credit card. The bank can track down your card, and see what stores and shops to which you’ve been.
Wait until you have the right opportunity.
Make sure you have time to get away before anyone notices you’re gone. Try making move as soon as you get to school in the morning, or as soon as everyone in home leaves.
Find a method of transportation.
The city bus is your best bet, or a long-distance traveling bus if you’re leaving the town/city.
How to Run Away From Home : Planning Long-Term Strategies
Make up a story.
You’ll have to accept that at some point, someone is going to want to know where you came from, or what you are doing. Think of something reasonable and realistic reason. Keep it simple. Avoid inconsistencies by thinking out the details ahead of time. Change your name. Have fun with it but keep it general, nonasty names.
Live near large grocery stores or candy stores.
These places will usually have food samples open to the public which you can snack on. Ensure to take a cart with you and look like you have a purpose but don’t hang around. You can use the public bathrooms to wash yourself.
If you don’t have a place to stay, you’ll have to find shelter elsewhere. Try finding a reasonably safe spot under a bridge, in an alcove, in an abandoned building somewhere, or perhaps in a public building that stays open 24/7.
In the winter months, you may want to try to find a building with an elevator if you are in a downtown area. Stay away from the woods or the desert. Try to find places with people around. They’re usually safer.
Begin to need money and learn how to panhandle.
Panhandling is asking other people for money. There’s not much pride in it, and many people will flat-out ignore you, but with the right strategies, you could be quite successful, and maybe even get enough to save some money.
Choose the right location. Ask drivers for money on a busy intersection. Make sure you’re on the side where the driver’s seat is.
Don’t use the foreign accent ploy.
Faking a foreign accent tempting, but it is a bad idea. A foreign accent draws attention to yourself.
This part is by far the hardest. Use bathrooms in big grocery stores. Give yourself a nice little hand-bath here and use free soap provided. Use generic sex-lube for shaving and straightening out hair. Shower at public-swimming pools, of colleges and universities.
Decide when running out of food.
Come up with a plan, or return home, or if you’re really true about running away, try to start a new life.
Control any desperation productively.
Try to control that emotion instead of letting it push you to do rash things. Get some good food into your stomach while spending every penny you have. Take a deep breath, even if it feels like wasting time.
How to Run Away From Home : Protecting Yourself from Harm
Keep in mind while hitchhiking, that there are drivers and can do bad things to you. They could abandon you or even hurt you. However, some may be good too, it depends on driver and making a decision.
If a sketchy or scary looking person offers to give you a ride, ask them where they’re going first. You must politely refuse and cut off communication. Wait for them to drive off.
Bring products to defend yourself, like pepper spray, cleaning chemicals, or perfume as perfume contains chemicals that can cause blindness. Being aware of dangers to confront them. Walk away from people who pose a threat to you. Try to get to a public, well-lit area. Stand upright and keep composure, don’t argue with them.
May get pulled into prostitution.
Prostitution is a common outcome of running away. You must not become victims of trafficking or used sex to get things like food and shelter.
There are high chances of prostitution and poor sanitation conditions. Runaways are significantly to get HIV/AIDS. Be careful.
Avoid drugs and alcohol.
Homeless youth fall into drug and/or alcohol use leading to diseases like HIV/AIDS or even death from overdose. Effects of drug and/or alcohol use are deadly. Be careful and never use drugs, no matter how low you feel.
Try to avoid getting arrested.
Homeless people are much more likely to be arrested, usually for being a nuisance, loitering, or trespassing. You want to avoid having to spend a lot of time in jail, so be careful where you go and how you look and act.
Be careful around the other homeless people.
A lot of homeless people are very desperate, intoxicated, or mentally unstable. Their mental health care is notoriously inadequate. Mentally ill people end up on the streets. Try to avoid homeless people to keep yourself safe while deciding how to run away from home