A friend of my parents went AWOL from Camp Toccoa, in Georgia, in 1943 to visit his dying mother outside International Falls, MN. After her funeral, figuring he was already guilty of desertion in time of war, he took a rifle and some basic supplies, and started walking northwest. A year later he surrendered himself to the RCMP at Yellowknife.
He had fascinating stories of living off the wilderness in that year.
That whole airport confiscating your thermometer could all be avoided if the airlines have you do a pat down BEFORE you check in your luggage. That way you can stick it in your bags.
There's a few people out there that rented out Flea Market booths selling everything the airport confiscates from Zippo Lighters to pocket knives.