As the title says, here I am, a hobo, vagabond, tramp, whatever you want to call me.

I am a 32 year old male that has been on the road for 10+ years. It started off as a means of escaping the rural south, and after a while I simply found myself addicted to the road and the rails.

I make a few bucks working on farms, washing dishes, craigslist gigs, etc, and then I travel onward to the next place.

I will be featured in an independent documentary that is being directed by a fellow redditor (other_tanner) that starts filming in July.

Ask me anything you wish. I will be staying up late and will answer as many questions as I possibly can.

Check out our hobo subreddit @ r/vagabond

Picture of me:

Picture of me with some other hobo's:

Picture of all the stuff I take with me on the road:

Picture of my friend "Catfish" demonstrating the art of dumpster diving:

Picture of a bum/panhandler sleeping in a hobo camp next to the tracks in Barstow, CA

Comments: 933 • Responses: 111  • Date: 

HalfheartedHart256 karma

Have you ever stolen a pie that was cooling on a window sill?

Have you every carried your stuff in a bindle (bag/handkerchief on a stick)?

(My experience with hobos is exclusively from cartoons and other media)

Legface72 karma

OP, please...even if you just answer the first one.

huckstah153 karma

No, sorry...just media stereotypes from an era long ago.

I have stolen hotpockets from 711's before, if that counts.

Carrying your stuff on a stick is really impractical. I have a U.S. Marine Gen. 2 Assault pack that i use to carry my stuff.

DickWetWorldwide71 karma

No bindle? You're just a phony.

huckstah61 karma

Heheh I have a fishing pole, will that count?

9inger133 karma

What's the difference between a hobo and a bum?

I don't mean to offend, I'm just clueless.

huckstah263 karma

I am so glad someone asked this. If I had the money to give you reddit gold, I would.

There are several types of "houseless" people, but I'll stick to hobos and bums:

Hobos - We travel for the sake of work, usually escaping a poor/rural area of the nation to do so. We generally work on farms or in low-tier labor, usually temporary or seasonal jobs. Farming, fisheries, restaurants, construction, playing music, selling art, etc etc. We don't beg or panhandle for money, nor do we live or sleep on sidewalks. We dont sleep in homeless shelters or eat at churchs. We make our own camps, we clean up after ourselves, and we hitch-hike or hop trains to the next job or location. And thus, we have a sense of pride, dignity, and workmanship that transcends the likes of bums and tramps.

Bums - Bums don't work at all. They beg or panhandle money on the streets, often using the money for drugs or alcohol. They stay stagnant in one location as opposed to trying to escape and look for options down the road. They rely on churches and homeless shelters to eat and sleep. They are often veterans of war, mentally ill, drug addicted, or just plain lazy punkass kids.

md_lt100 karma

What's the longest you've gone without eating something?

huckstah496 karma

Two days because I accidentally used someones meth pipe to smoke weed and i ended up burning enough of the meth residue that I got really fucked up and ran around in the Mojave desert for an entire night thinking that a large group of cops and townfolk were chasing me. That was in Barstow, California. Fuck Barstow.

Otherwise, I've never gone a day without a good meal. America is full of food, and we hobos have tons of tricks of getting it for free, without stealing at all.

Ghostronic201 karma

You're saying you were just outside of Barstow when the drugs began to take hold?

huckstah87 karma

Yep..just outside of Barstow near all the truckstop gas station by the interstate exits outside of town. Man I ran almost 5 miles deep into the desert thinking all kinds of people from town were chasing me! I heard them calling my name, I even saw their silhouettes way off in the distance. Shit man I ran and kept running and then stopping every 5-10 minutes to watch and listen. I ran a good ways out into the desert.

Finally I ended up stopping long enough to figure out I was in a damn dried up creek bed that had rattlesnakes hiding all around me in bushes on the cliffs of the dry creek bed. I could hear them rattling like crazy as I tried to walk...every 10 feet or so a different rattler in a different bush. I nearly shit my damn pants. I finally navigated out of the dry creek bed and made it to small plateau that had no bushes and found a way back to the highway. But man, I tell you, I must have heard over 100 rattlesnakes that night, most of them not even 5 feet away from me. That was just as scary as hallucinating a town full of people chasing me.

other_tanner57 karma

You're full of surprises. You've got too many great stories to fit into one documentary.

huckstah58 karma

Thanks Tanner, look forward to hitting the road with you and helping you out with your documentary. You got the balls to show the world what hobos and vagabonds really live through and experience, and I commend you for that.


So you retreated to the desert while being persecuted? You're the second incarnation of Jesus.

huckstah42 karma

Thats quite a stretch.

Jindrax94 karma

Super serious. Do you still have sex? If so where when how? And are you afraid of stds?

huckstah238 karma

I have a gf from Argentina, and she visits me in the usa for 2-3 months every year. I stop travelling and we rent a small bedroom durting that time, in which we have lots of sex during that 3 months.

Before I had a girlfriend, it was quite easy getting laid on the road. There are LOTS of little hippie female travelers that share their love on the road. I've had some women in bars want to fuck me simply because they like the whole "road dawg/chris mccandless/jack kerouac" persona or what-the-fuck-ever they are imagining.

Sex in tents, hostel rooms, some chicks apartment, etc etc. You can always find a place to fuck if youre wanting to fuck.

HoboFucker946 karma

Can confirm.

FrankerZd172 karma

You've been waiting a year for this moment, haven't you?

huckstah187 karma

Yeah right? That is definitely the most fitting name for a response I've ever seen, and it's not even a throwaway account. Just wow.

derpyderpderpp20 karma

What about the stds?

huckstah50 karma

Never really encountered any. Guess I'm just lucky?

hukgrackmountain16 karma

Do you get tested at free clinics?

Do you use protection?

huckstah60 karma

Yep, I use condoms! I got checked for STD's about one year ago. I get checked about once a year. I usually know my women before I lay them down, and I've been in a commited relationship with one woman for a long time :)

YouNeedToStopPosting70 karma

I appreciate the AMA.

1.) Have you created any lifelong friends throughout your travels?

2.) Would you rather have the chance to poke [and break] a 1,000,000 gallon water balloon suspended over the Grand Canyon, or drop 780 feet through 5,000 single-spaced layers of soft tissue paper, landing on a platform of fuzzy down pillows?

huckstah83 karma

1) Yeah, you make tons of friends with other travellers, and I stay in touch with them through social media such as facebook. I've ran into old friends that I met on the road and rails many times. We also have meet-ups in certain cities like New Orleans and San Francisco during different times of the year. There is an entire subculture of us that most of society has no idea about, and we are more organized than you think.

2) I'd go with the latter. I'm not sure if you just made that up or what, but that is an a-fucking-mazing idea and one of the most creative thrill rides I've ever heard of.

NocturnoOcculto67 karma

Tip out there to anyone thinking of doing this: Its really easy to lose a leg hopping trains. Never try to catch out on a moving train.

huckstah151 karma

Yeah I'll confirm that. That's called "catchin' on the fly", and only someone with alot of experience should do it. I fractured my knee doing this in Oregon. When I fell, my body rolled 3-4 times less than 12 inches from the wheels of a fast moving was a fucking close call. There are hobo's that die every single year from this, not to mention the dozens of other ways to die on a train. I have had 2 friends die thus far.

Hobo Tip: The wheel on a train has 4 large bolts in the center. If the wheels are spinning so fast that you cant count every single bolt, its too fast to jump!

NocturnoOcculto39 karma

Im sure youve read You Cant Win. The lumber car story is fucking insane.

huckstah35 karma

No I havent! Mind givin' me a brief summary without any spoilers??

NocturnoOcculto42 karma

Autobiography of a hobo in the early 1900s. Recounts experiences in jails, burglary and safe cracking among being a hobo.

huckstah51 karma

Yeah the pre 1930's hobo is a very different type of hobo from travellers like me today. It was an entirely different economic and political time. Not alot of hobos like me still work on the farms. Most of the so-called "hobos" are suburban kids doing it for fun or adventure, and they've never worked in their life. Never heard of any safecrackers or anything

HalfAsPure23 karma


huckstah32 karma

Hahaha we call those kids tourists, trustafarians, oogles, etc. They come and go, usually fucking it up for the rest of us.

BARF-NUTS67 karma

Whats your background like?

huckstah136 karma

Wow what a name.

Mother was a teacher, father was a trucker. We were lower class, barely scraping the bottom of what people consider "middle class". Grew up on a cow pasture, town of about 1,100 people. Really really conservative and religious place, and I'm a liberal atheist, so that didnt go too well. I'm part redneck, part hippie, I guess.

lunaprey21 karma

Do you consider yourself an ambitious person? What is your wildest dream? What do you hope to accomplish?

huckstah37 karma

I have a wesbite idea that will change the way people give money to charities and non-profits. This is my ultimate dream, and I have a very good website idea, marketing plans, and business layout. I just need an investor really..

I am extremely ambitious. When I want to do something, I attack hardcore and dont stop until I have it. If it got my eyes on a goal, Ill get it, one way or another.

Dilligaff8263 karma

As a locomotive engineer I must say that every time I see one of you guys I'm insanely jealous.

huckstah57 karma

Wow man I am so glad you replied!! I have so much damn respect for engineers! I always tip my hat and salute you guys as you rumble past me in my camp! I always respect your trains. I dont tag them with grafitti, or mess with things on the train that I shouldnt touch. I just sit down and buckle up for the ride so I can stay safe.

What company do you work for? Do you have any railroad memorabilia I could have? Like a company jacket, patches, insignia, or anything? I ride UP, NS, BNSF, and CSX.

mrshatnertoyou55 karma

What is your primary means of transportation as hitchhiking is rarely practiced today, do you sneak on trains?

huckstah85 karma

You have to sneak onto trains, because its highly illegal. If the security guard (known as "The Bull") catches you, he will kick you out of the yard or even arrest you.

My travels are 50% trainhopping, 50% hitchhiking. Not every train gets where you wanted to go, so you hitchhike. Likewise, hitchhiking is illegal in some states, so its easier to catch a train.

stuckupinhere36 karma

How often have you been arrested for your lifestyle?

huckstah111 karma

None. Not a single time. Cops know better than to take a hobo to jail for panhandling or hitch hiking or hopping a train. They know all we are doing is trying to GET out of their town, and they have even give me tips on where train yards and interstate exits are. They might search your bag or give you a citation, but that's about it.

dumbfuckingname39 karma

Huh. I bet even giving you a citation is pretty pointless given how off the grid you probably are. You could pretty much just laugh off any typical citation, not like you're going to run into them ever again.

huckstah39 karma

Yeah thats pretty much how it goes. I always figured if a judge saw a citation for a trainhopper and the trainhopper didnt appear in court, they probably just throw it out. So far nothing has ever come up on my record, so, yeah, so far so good.

reefshadow46 karma

No questions, just wanted to say thanks for the AMA. If you ever want a bath in central Washington, hit me up. (I'm a middle aged woman with a BF, a kid and two cats, so pretty safe).

Stay free, love and admire what you're doing.

huckstah31 karma

You know any farms that are hiring in the nest few weeks?

noargumenthere45 karma


huckstah114 karma

1. Is there still a hobo community and do they still use codes to mark houses where the wife and or husband are helpful. I was actually thinking about the codes left in front of houses that indicated if the owners are nice enough to give out leftovers, a garage to sleep in.

Most of that has gone the way of the wind and mostly disappeared. We still use codes under bridges to indicate where to find the hobo camps, train directions, etc etc, but thats been disappearing alot over the past two decades as well. There are still stores that intentionally leave food in bags out by the dumpster, but I think today thats more or less meant for sidewalk bums as opposed to travelling hobos.

2. Would modern times change that? You're obviously on the Internet now.

The internet has vastly changed the art of the hobo. I started travelling before websites like Craigslist and Couchsurfing were as big as they are today. One of the very first things I do when I get to a town is to go to a public library and use their internet. Craigslist for jobs, couchsurfing to crash for a couple of nights, and I use google maps quite heavily when finding a trainyard to hop a train in, or a good interstate exit to hitchhike from. The internet has changed the hobo lifestyle just as dramatically as it has changed the lives of everyone else in American society.

3. Do you get to the point where you think you want to join the rat race sooner rather than later. I assume it's a choice and one day you might want a more stable situation with commitments and bills. Or do you think you could grow old living this way?

Certainly. Some days or some weeks are worse than others, and you curse the lifestyle you live and question its future. But I think everyone in life does this sometimes when they are mad at work, mad at a girlfriend, whatever problems arise. Youre just like "Man fuck this life!", right?

I have tried settling down a few times in the past 10 years, for very brief periods, and I just cant do it. I dont think the price of housing really justifies the benefits, and I could never imagine a life where I'm stuck doing one job for the rest of my life. javascript:void(0)

4. What's the biggest challenge?

Public perception, without a doubt. It seems that society tries to bundle hobos, tramps, bums, drifters, and the homeless into one category. I don't drink or beg for liquor on the sidewalk, yet thats what people think simply because they see my backpack or my farming clothes. They don't understand that their are several different subcultures of people that are "homeless". It hurts when a pretty girl or a group of cool dudes cross the street in front of me because they think im just like the homeless people they see on TV or begging on the sidewalks. I'm just a regular dude that works hard and loves to travel, I just choose to backpack and live in a tent as opposed to renting a studio or apartment.

5. What do you miss most?

Bathtubs and electricity. I have a solar shower bag I travel with, but I'm addicted to hot baths, and they are very very hard to come by on the road. When I find the opportunity to take one, I just lay and soak in it for about an hour while drinking a cold about paradise man!

Its also hard finding electricity so I can charge my phone. I should get a solar charger but they are really expensive.

EDIT: Reddit user Beabout was awesome enough to read this, and he is sending me a solar-powered cell phone charger for my phone! He is also hooking me up with a U.S. Highway Map, and some earbuds!

Beabout187 karma

Seriously, PM me and I'll hook you up with a solar charger. I don't use it anymore.

huckstah78 karma

Really? Shit, okay!

Nerdlinger48714 karma

Don't you need a library card to use their computers? Where I'm From you have to have a card to log in.

huckstah24 karma

If you dont have a card, they will let you use the "express internet" in which you are limited to 15 minute time slots!

CyberdyneNZ12 karma

Fyi, if you arent aware, you can install software that cycles your mac address or whatever to reconnect and keep using it

huckstah20 karma

Oh I have BTGuard when I download stuff with my laptop. In the comment, I was referring to the desktop computers they have at the library.

Floydian101-11 karma

Number 4 is your own fault judging by your pictures. If you changed your outward appearance (ie cloths, hair, cleanliness, etc) you could avoid a TON of hassle. And don't tell me it can't be done. Decent looking cloths can be had for dirt cheap at bargin stores and showers aren't that hard to come by. Shit you can last weeks with just wet wipes if you stay on top of that shit. I've been living out of my car for 6 months and not once been mistaken for a homeless person.

Clean up a bit, get more normal looking cloths and put a paper Starbucks cup in your hand and people will assume your just another average douche bag.

huckstah17 karma

Why do you use the tone of some douchebag father-n-law? Fuck off with your idea of using some fake-ass starbucks cup just to make a better impression.

theschenker1 karma

Hes right even if he sounds like a d bag

huckstah6 karma

I respect his advice and opinion, but I can't stand the condescending attitude and the authoritative tone. I have a lot of harsh opinions as well, but I try to respectfully put it in a way that doesn't undermine the maturity and respect that you owe someone you know little about.

malkovichmalkovich144 karma

what was the most fun experience that you've had on the road?

huckstah152 karma

I think the most fun I ever had was when I got hired by the Tijuana Cartel. I made a pretty good chunk of money from that, and I ended up renting an apartment in Rosarito Beach (just south of Tijuana central) one block away from the beach for only 90 bucks a month. I'd drink cheap mexican beer on the beach almost every evening, watching the sunset.

Another fun experience was when I got a job at a hostel and started freelancing my own lava tours. I'd take people from all over the world to the volcano in Hawaii and we would get literally inches from a huge river of lava flowing down a mountain and into the ocean. Unfortunately, the hawaiian mafia tried extorting money from my tours, and when I refused, they beat me really bad and tried to kill. I barely escaped, but they stole my bag with all my stuff, and even my flip flops. So that "fun" turned into "not-so-fun" I guess.

Another fun time was when I hopped into an actual locomotive in Hermiston, Oregon! They had engines on the rear of the trains and the locomotive doors were unlocked. I rode that train all the to Portland like a king! There were bottles of water, and a bathroom in there, and plenty of room for me to layout my sleeping bag.

The most fun is always when I make a mistake on a freight train, and the train takes me 100 miles in the wrong direction and I end up in some small town you never heard of. Alot of locals come up to me with a million questions about why am i travelling, where did I just come from, where am I going, asking me what my favorite experiences have been, etc etc. One time a young kid asked me how many men I've killed, which was pretty funny.

Capt_Kiwi70 karma

I'm sorry, did you say "Hawaiian mafia?"

huckstah141 karma

Yeah, I hate using the word "mafia" because I believe it overrates them, but they are an actual mafia. It's mostly local hawaiian rednecks that hate white people and use violence as a means of extorting bribes. They call white people "haoles" and attack us because of the way American and British capitalists wrongfully conquered their island. I have gotten beat up many times for being white, but the reason they tried to kill me was because they thought I was making money on lava tours. I was giving the tours mostly for free, but they wanted me to pay 1,000$ a week for the bribe. I told them to fuck off, but they beat the shit out of me and tried to kill me in a ditch on the side of the highway. They turned their heads for a split second and I dashed out of the ditch and into a thick jungle of ferns and ohia trees. I ran on jagged rocks and cut my feet and eventually dived into a big group of tall ferns. I stayed hidden in there for nearly 15 minutes, and I heard my attackers going through the woods trying to find me. I started hyperventilating and couldnt control the sound of my breathing, and I thought they were going to find me. Luckily they gave up, and left. They were going to kill me and throw me in a lava-tube. I shit you not, every word is true, on my daddys grave. I had witnesses come forth while media was trying to interview me!

Mooseherder27 karma

I have actually heard Hawaiian mafia stories before so this doesn't surprise me too much...

huckstah21 karma

Its reaql shit bro. Its no fucking myth.

scrillbill45 karma

what did you do for the tijuana cartel great ama by the way

huckstah73 karma

I drove a vehicle back and forth across the border. $1,200 each trip.


Why did you stop?

huckstah66 karma

They tried to rip me off once on my pay, and I got pretty pissed and threatened to leave. They didnt take very kindly to that, so I had to leave early one morning before they could find out I left. I barely made it to the border without them finding me!


I imagine that was for the best, thats pretty dangerous work. What usually prompts you to leave wherever you are staying?

huckstah18 karma

Uusually farm work only lasts a few days or few weeks, so thats one reason. Sometimes I get burnt out on one town faster than others for whatever reasons, so thats another excuse to leave town. Its usually one of those two reasons...

brucehallmighty38 karma

this is all so awesome to read!

huckstah47 karma

Thanks for taking interest in a hobo. Most people don't care about our kind.

EckhartsLadder42 karma

Do you truly like your life?

huckstah118 karma

I do. I tried living the "normal" life a few times and it just doesnt satisfy me. I am truly in love with the life I live and have no regrets about doing it.

AznWiggle35 karma

Why do you think people are afraid of hitchhiking? Have you stayed fairly safe?

huckstah81 karma

Media has really gotten the stereotypes backwards when it comes to hitchhiking.

It's not the hitchhiker you should be worried about, its the people that pick up hitchhikers that are usually the predators. I've been picked up by a few psychos, and one guy tried to sexually assault me. The scariest thing about an actual "hitchhiker" is that they probably smell bad from being on the road.

Overall, hitchhiking is quite safe in the USA from my experience. I've hitched thousands of rides, and only ran into trouble a couple of times. 99.9% of the time you meet really cool people that share their stories with you.

ruzarko35 karma

In all your years traveling whats the life lesson that's you've learnt? Something that only traveling in this lifestyle you can come to realise and achieve

huckstah98 karma

Karma! Don't go burnin' bridges!

When I was young, I did some stupid things on the road, mostly illegal. I didnt give a fuck about the people of a town because I was simply passing through and was unattached to it. I learned alot of lessons the hard way with that shitty attitude.

I guess the lesson a hobo learns is hopefully the same we all learn: Meet as many people and go as many places as you can, and always leave those people and places better than they were before!

stander-j34 karma

How do you deal with the homeless criminal network? I understand there is a gang of homeless people that dominate the West coast, and that they are a very dangerous group of individuals to cross paths with as a homeless person.

huckstah53 karma

Yeah it's always been an issue that never disappears. Years ago we had to watch out for the FTRA, a gang of criminal hoppers that roamed the northwest. Today, it's scattered groups of anarchist juggalos and "gutter-punks" that will rob you for a hit of meth.

I have an arsenal of weapons. Whenever I pass under a bridge or go through a hobo camp I have a sock full of rocks in my hand and a small keychain sized bottle of Sabre pepper spray in my pocket. My knife is always in my pocket also. I generally see trouble when it's coming and avoid it altogether, but that tools a few years of experience.

santaclausonvacation32 karma

Hey man, from one vagabond to another way to be. I've been mostly vagabonding around the deserts in Utah and Arizona the last few years and was disapointed to see that the street people in SF wouldn't talk to me because I had a nice jacket that I came into. It felt pretty superficial....

How have you dealt with other street people judging you differently.... If that makes sense....

huckstah57 karma

Hey man! Hows it going out in Utah and Arizona? I'm coming through there in a few weeks with a crew, you should join us!

Your question makes alot of sense. I get shit from crustyfucks and gutterpunks because i dont try conform to the shitty dresscode that hobos are "supposed to wear".

I dont wear dirty ass carhartts, bandanas around my neck, and I don't have tons of piercings and tattoos. You see alot of these punks panhandling on haight and ashbury, getting into fights, getting wasted on cheap vodka, etc etc, and I just avoid those retards altogether. They are the ones blowing up all the hobo camps with their trash and bullshit, making hard for travellers like me and you. Fuck them...

SergeoRosas30 karma

What tips or info do you have for someone that wants to live a similar life ?

huckstah85 karma

Just do it. Save up some money, buy a tent and a backpack, and hit the road. You have nothing to lose. If you don't like the lifestyle, go back home and get a job! Nobody says you have to do this for 10 years like me...go do it for one month....half a will change your life and give you so many new perspectives on society, money, etc.

Nurdeek35 karma

NO shit. Hopped trains for honeymoon. Will never ever forget. I insisted on taking my cast iron pan, and hubby made me carry it. I didn't care. Was worth the weight.

huckstah38 karma

Hahah cast iron is pretty heavy to pack, but they hold up good to a campfire and nothing tastes better than something cooked on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

Nurdeek17 karma

Busted my head in Bellingham attempting to get on a stationary train. My rear was in arrears. Too much weight in my pack for a forward thrust to car. We took a break and fried up the potatoes and onion I had also packed. Was a bit easier to get up into a boxcar after that. Live and learn...

Yes, I have had a pretty hilarious life. Not AMA worthy, but fun for me.

Luck on your journey!!

huckstah21 karma

haha spoken like a hobo anyway. I'd enjoy camping some night with you and hearing those stories. I've had plenty of bad falls and mistakes myself...just part of the life. Thanks for the luck, Ill need it. Maybe Ill see you on the road.

Constip8d13 karma

Just wanted to post on this for my brother, who did exactly this. Once he graduated high school, he turned down scholarships, packed up what he could carry, and roamed the country. He panhandled some, worked some, but mostly just hung out and apparently did drugs. He overdosed on heroin a few years ago up in Washington State, but I always admired his decision to just say, "Fuck it, I'm out." Mom, on the other hand, is still devastated by it all. Please, every so often, just drop a line and let your parents know you're ok. If you don't already.

huckstah13 karma

Wow man. I feel more for this comment than almost any other comment on this page.

I'm sorry youre brother went the path of heroin. Its a path I narrowly avoided, and seen many friends go down. Alot of good friends kids...honest kids...talented kids...real good kids man, gone down to heroin and meth and shootin it up.

I'm glad you took the time of a sibling to not hate him, but understand him and respect his choices. It's people like you that see people like me and give us a cheer or nod because you somewhat understand and respect us. Thanks man, and I pray for kids like your brother.

sketchyc28 karma

I'm always late to everything. heh. No question, just wanted to offer ( like so many others) a place to crash/eat/bathe on the off chance you end up in Texas. Something for your back pocket. Best of luck!

huckstah30 karma

Im coming through texas in a few weeks with a crew of people filming me! I'd love to take you you up on that offer and maybe you can help our documentary! PM me and tell me what part of texas you are in!

the_juicy_sultana26 karma

What's your favorite place you've been to?

huckstah44 karma

Thats a tough battle between Bellingham, Washington vs. The Big Island (Hawaii).

Both are really cool in their own ways, and I've gone back to those places multiple times. I really like the people of both those towns...intellectual, progressive, open-minded, amazing smoke, amazing microbrews...gotta love them both.

the_juicy_sultana20 karma

How did you end up in Hawaii?

huckstah76 karma

I was working on an apple orchard in Bellingham Washington, and my boss gave me a christmas bonus on my last paycheck at the end of the farm season. He really liked my work and he had a sister that lived in Hawaii and she was trying to build a farm of her own. So, as a bonus, my boss bought me a ticket to Hawaii, and I helped the lady build an organic farm. I ended up living on farm after farm after farm, and sometimes lived on the beaches too. I got jobs picking coffee, avocados, papayas, guava's, starfruit, dragonfruit, lychee, mangoes, oranges, tangerines, you name it! I've picked almost every type of fruit and vegetable you can possibly name!

Bron-_Yr-_Aur26 karma

So why did you leave Hawaii?

huckstah67 karma

A couple of friends were murdered by the Hawaiian mafia for buying property next to the lavaflow. The cops are corrupt and protecting the actual murderers. I did an interview about the murders for Investigative Discovery, and I felt I was no longer safe on the island. The same group that murdered my friends had tried to murder me at a different time, and it was a matter of time before they would have found me to shut me up. I had to flee right after the interview.

PattyQuake23 karma

Wow that's amazing I flipped through this AMA just to browse. I never expected to see Bellingham mentioned in here. I wonder if I've ever seen you around... perhaps within the past 3 years?

huckstah76 karma

Last time I was in Bellingham was 2009. Ill tell you a funny story about that:

I was walking down railroad avenue, and Ryan Stiles (actor, comedian) came out of that bar called the blue buffalo or wild buffalo or whatever its called. I didnt quite know who it was at the time, until friends told me who it was later.

He was trying to hook up with some slut that was oogling him on the sidewalk. He saw me walking down the road and asked me for a cigarette, and I told him that i only had unrolled tobacco and papers and that I roll my own cigarettes. So then the son of a bitch asked me to roll one up. I rolled my eyes, sat my pack down, and I rolled him a cigarette. Then he asked me for a lighter. So i gave him a lighter. I almost asked him if he wants me to fucking smoke it for him too, but im too nice of a guy. So then he gives the cigarette to the slut, and she's like "wtf how do i smoke this?"...then he lights it for her and takes a puff and gives it to her. She took one puff and then coughed and threw it down. They both walked away and i didnt even get a damn thank you or a handshake or nothing. I also thought it was pretty shitty that ryan stiles would bum from someone that is obviously homeless/traveller, and also shitty of him to do it in front of a girl and to offer her the cigarette. That guy is just a total douchebag in many ways...

Bron-_Yr-_Aur10 karma

Is there a news story about this?

huckstah27 karma

Yep, quite a few. All the major news media outlets were covering the case at one point in time or another.

Let me tell you this though: The boy was framed for killing his girlfriend. I could talk forever telling you how they did it and got away with it, but thats another story for another time. They fed Bo's pregant gf to sharks, and then hung him up in a tree with a fake suicide letter to frame him. You may think im talking crazy but I assure you I am not. It is the worst thing I have ever been part of, and it gives me nightmares. I was almost killed myself.

Just google Brittany Royal and Boaz Johnson. I worked with Bo's sister in Alaska last summer right when he was murdered, and he was murdered where I was living in Hawaii. It's a complicated story. I sometimes travel from Hawaii to Alaska for seasonal work with the salmon canneries in alaska and the fruit farms in hawaii. But I, along with alot of other people in Hawaii, will tell you all day long that the boy was murdered and framed. I pray for his family that has to live with this fucked up tragedy and the fucked up corrupt cops that are in on it.

curiousbrian24 karma

do you keep in touch with your family? Do they support your choice of lifestyle? A pretty rad lifestyle, I must say.

huckstah57 karma

They use to worry for my safety, but now they know I got a good grip on what I'm doing and trust me now. I called my mom on Mothers Day and got an update on most of my family. Everyone once in a while (3 times in the last 10 years) I drop into my old hometown long enough to say hello, do a little bit of fishing on my favorite river, raid my mothers fridge, get drunk with my older bro, smoke a blunt with my younger bro, then hit the road again.

Warkhai-Xi22 karma

That's awesome that your family supports your lifestyle! How did you break it to them that you were going to be 'living the hobo life'?

huckstah25 karma

Hah, I kinda didn't. I left town without telling anyone. At the time, I had alot of built-up angst towards my hometown and my family. This was in a very small town in Alabama, and people (including my parents) didnt accept my liberal opinions and lifestyle. I hitched to San Francisco and didn't call my parents/family until a couple months later. They took the news as a shock, but also realized it was inevitable that there was no oppurtunities for me in that little town.

gerryhanes21 karma

Are you headed for a land that's far away beside the crystal fountain?

huckstah22 karma

Definitely one of my favorite songs, along with Sixteen Tons. I'm also a huge fan of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams

MrMcPwnz20 karma

What is your favorite pizza topping?

huckstah58 karma

Extra Cheese

spanishgum20 karma

What's the most money you've had at one time and how did you make it?

huckstah40 karma

If I get a job dishwashing, I usually make 300 a week. Farming, about 40 dollars a day. One time I got 200 bucks in one hour just holding a sign asking for a ride. I was on the wrong interstate exit, and nobody would pick me up, but peoiple kept throwing money to me. That was in Palmdale California

NippleMilk9716 karma

Do you frequent Palmdale now ?

huckstah20 karma

I'm in the Santa Barbara area right now, but no plans to go back to Palmdale area. I was in Palmdale 3 years ago, and I camped there for about 4 weeks. I made about 30 dollars a day recycling plastic bottles, or flying a sign by the Antelope Valley Mall and the nearby Wal-Mart. Palmdale was a tough town...couldnt find any work on craigslist or any farms out in that damned desert, so I ended up recycling bottles just to get enough money to go somewhere else.

NippleMilk9713 karma

You ever think about going anywhere asidE from the u s. ? And yeah I was just thinking 200 an hr may not be so bad in a pinch

huckstah24 karma

In lived in Buenos Aires Argentina for 3 months, and I really loved it. It's like you would imagine if someone put Madrid in Italy...alot of Spanish and Italian culture, which makes for amazing food and amazing wine! I am going back there someday and I want to live there for a long time.

I've also lived in Alaska and Hawaii, although they are still technically part of the USA.

KanataAchira20 karma

When you need to take a shit, do you prefer to find a public/business restroom, or are you accustomed to doing so outdoors?

huckstah29 karma

Yeah, I do both, no preference either food places, public buildings, etc. The problem in cities is that there is NOWHERE to take a piss or a shit. Go walking downtown SF or Seattle and try to find a place to take a piss or a shit. It can be almost impossible at times. I remember once SF put a public restroom downtown on Canal by Civic Center, but it was taken over by crackheads that would guard it so they could all smoke crack and shoot heroin.

JustToDoStuff19 karma


huckstah35 karma

Shit tons. I've done alot of drugs and been through a few situations that I certainly regret doing, but you just have to keep going and try to make the best of it. Sometimes I wish I would have finished college, but I have plans of doing that in the soon future and its always been something on the backburner. Other than that, nah, no big regrets that really linger in my mind or bother me much.

groach2118 karma

What drew you to the traveling?

huckstah34 karma

I was raised in rural southwest Alabama near the Mississippi state line. The only "career" options were driving nails or driving trucks. I drove nails long enough to figure out I hated it, and my father had been a trucker all his life, so I knew I'd hate that also. Only thing I knew to do was to get out of the place I was in and explore options in other places.

visionof_bears22 karma

South Alabama's the fuckin worst. I grew up there also

huckstah28 karma

Yep, almost the worst. Thank god for Mississippi, huh?

mynameisntblank17 karma


huckstah27 karma

Yep, I have 3 different knives! I'll take some pics for you!

This my hobo knife, which has my fork and spoon, cork opener, and can opener. Heres a pic of it when I take it apart. It only cost me 5 bucks!

This is my Leatherman tool knife. It has all kinds of blades and gadgets that are useful for a thousand different things. I never travel without one! I got this Stanley model in a pawn shop in Alaska for only 12 bucks!

This is my pocket-knife. I keep this in my pocket because it has a really sharp blade thats good for cutting ropes in my camp, useful on the arm, and to protect myself from thieves and criminals on the rails!

ifeelprettykinda15 karma

What about females looking into the lifestyle of hobo/tramp? Any sort of special recommendations?

huckstah28 karma

No not really. Travelling isnt really a gender-based role, and there are plenty of awesome female travelers that I meet all the time.

It can be more dangerous for single females though, so I recommend finding a travelling buddy or investing in a can of pepper spray :)

asmj14 karma

What kind of data plan you have considering you travel all the time and/or sometimes don't have enough money?

huckstah28 karma

I bounce around fromn different prepaid plans depending on how good service is in the local area. Boost Mobile, Red Pocket, Straight Talk, etc, are some of the companies I use. I pay about 45 bucks for unlimited everything. Some months my phone is off because I blew my money on other supplies, but it still makes for a great mp3 player!

asmj20 karma

Kudos to you man.
You live the life you want.

That is so rare these days!

huckstah18 karma

Thanks man. Hope youre happy with whatever lifestyle you live too, even if its not on the road. Different strokes for different folks!

lacriller14 karma

How do you feed your brain on the road? Do you like to read (if so what?) How do you stay informed on current events? How do you feel about the stereotype of hobos being unintelligent?

huckstah34 karma

I have a smart-phone and a little laptop, and the Alien Blue app, so I cruise /r/worldnews and the frontpage alot and get caught up in news and societal trends.

I love reading, and always carry 2-3 books with me when I'm on the road. I love Hemingway, Steinbeck, Orwell, Vonnegutt, among a few others. I like to download free audiobooks from librivox to my phone also. I use cafes, fast food places, libraries, and other places for free wifi.

I believe the stereotype of hobos being unintelligent is because society often confuses us with bums, pan-handlers, sidewalk-bums, etc etc. Most hobo's are just like anyone else, except we tend to be loners that don't fit into the normal office and factory jobs of society.

Nic_240sx12 karma

What's the worst thing that has happend to you on the road?

huckstah37 karma

1) Being nearly killed by the Hawaiian mafia.

2)Being chased by the Tijuana Cartel.

3) Being robbed and held hostage by a Colombian cartel in Argentina.

4) Nearly stabbing a man in San Francisco that tried to kidnap me and sexually assault me

5) Falling off a train and nearly dying beneath the wheels of a moving train.

6) Nearly having sex with a Mexican transvestite.

md_lt11 karma

Did you ever get really ill traveling around?

huckstah32 karma

Not at all actually. I hardly ever have a cold or flu while on the road. I think it has alot to do with being outdoors, and not being stuck in buildings or a house or with large groups of people. Cant even remember the last time I was sick to be honest with you, but it was many years ago.

mariesoleil13 karma

How did you get medical care for the broken knee?

huckstah46 karma

I didnt. Just limped for a few weeks and had to let it slowly heal itself. Xrays and casts are ungodly expensive in this country, and thats about all a doctor could have done anyway. I've broken both sets of ribs, a few fingers, and a few toes, during my travels, but I know there aint much a doctor can do except for give you some painkillers and wrap you up in a pretty lil bandage. Hell I can do that myself with ace-wrap, duct tape, a bottle of wine, and a joint of weed, for alot cheaper.

StuffedCookie9 karma

When I see someone holding a sign on the side of the road that says "Veteran, anything helps" how often is it that the person is not a veteran?

huckstah26 karma

I don't really know. I do know that there are SHIT TONS of homeless veterans all across the usa, and I always sit down and talk to them and hear their stories. Its sad that we send them to unnecessary wars and provide them little oppurtunity back home.

If I was to guess out of my ass, I'd say 70% of them are actual war veterans.

ApollosCrow9 karma

It's funny, half of my friends have lived some version of this at one time or another, as have I, yet it seems like every other day there's an AMA by someone 'on the road', like it was some rare species of exotic adventurer. As OP will surely testify, livin' free in America is easier and more common than folks know. This country has an abundance of space, glut, and opportunity.

Personally I think everyone should experience some kind of road living for a time. It gives perspective. Of course, forethought is also a good thing. Realize that your life is always changing. I traveled for several years, swearing off a career and the mundanity of conventional life. Then when it came time to get a good job, or buy a piece of property, or start a family, I had a real tough time "catching up."

I s'pose my question is, do you ever worry about that? Changing directions as you get older, and finding that you have to start from scratch? Also, what is the point/focus of the doc? Is it to advocate the traveler lifestyle, warn against it, neither/both?

huckstah14 karma

Well, I've always had college on the backburner. For migrant farm workers like me that are generally dirt poor, our government has several grants and loans that I qualify for, and someday I hope to use those to finish my college studies.

Alot of the work I do is cash-in-hand and under the table, no taxes, so I do worry how I will retire someday. But then again, I still consider myself young, and I'll have no problem transitioning into a more civilized lifestyle. I plan to finish my degree in Education and use it to travel overseas and teach english, going from country to country every year and seeing as much of the world as possible. There are ways to be a "civilized nomad", but right now, I just want to live freely as possible while I still have the youth and toughness to do it.

ApollosCrow4 karma

Thanks for the reply. I ask because you are slightly past the age when I sold out :P and started paying rent, caring about work (writing and bookselling), etc. For me there was a crossroads-moment where it was either tramp til death or try to grow some roots, which for me was something new and scary. I went with the new-and-scary, because that was the same reason I started traveling in the first place. Travel culture actually became too routine - beauty and adventure, sure, but there was this void where it felt, ironically, like I wasn't getting anywhere.

It's good that you have some other ideas on the backburner. I actually really recommend going to college as an older adult - I think it's a more fulfilling experience then. Pell grants are your friend. College kids have it all backwards - they should travel after high school and know the world, before trying to define their long-term place in it. And there is a huge demand right now for teachers overseas, especially Asia, so that's a solid plan. Anyways, happy travels, be safe.

P.S. - If you get to Australia, farm work there pays way better than U.S./Canada. I was just reading an e-mail from a friend who is over there now for that explicit purpose.

huckstah4 karma

What kind of farming is he doing in Australia? I've heard there's good payin farms in New Zealand also

ihave_issues8 karma

I tip my hat to you sir. I've always wanted to travel without feeling tied down but I'm too scared to do it.

huckstah10 karma

Starting is the hardest part, but its all mental. Its like going on a rollercoaster or bungee fear the worst so you are scared to get on, but once youre already on and youre flying through it, you realize its fucking awesome and it wasnt nearly as hard as you thought. Like I said, its a mental hurdle.

huddycleve7 karma

If you had a child (or some young person who looked up to you), would you ever recommend the type of life you have lived to them (if so, why)?

What type of entertainment, if any, do you indulge in (movies, music, TV, books, etc)?

Been reading all of your responses, glad you were willing to do this AMA, extremely interesting!

Another Q: Do you have any hobbies/creative projects that you work on while traveling (such as writing or photography)?

huckstah11 karma

If you had a child (or some young person who looked up to you), would you ever recommend the type of life you have lived to them (if so, why)?

Yes I would recommend it. In Europe and other places, its common to send your kids on road trips so that they can experience working and travelling before going to college or settling on a career. It's a healthy way to develop, mature, and take on alternative experiences in life. I dont recommend travelling in the path that I did since it was a bit dangerous, but there are safer ways to do the same things I did.

What type of entertainment, if any, do you indulge in (movies, music, TV, books, etc)?

I have a smartphone and laptop, so I enjoy the same media you do, most likely. I browse reddit atleast a couple times a week, download movies and music, google the news, etc. Todays hobo has evolved with the rest of society, and are "connected". I go to my campsite and enjoy audiobooks, youtube, reddit, just like everyone else.

"Another Q: Do you have any hobbies/creative projects that you work on while traveling (such as writing or photography)?"

I have been working on a website idea of my own to make it easier for people to give money to charities. I have bought a couple of domain names to protect my idea, and also have a good business plan. I am looking for a venture capitalist to help fund me, but I dont know where to look. All inkow is that my idea is a really really good one, and its an idea that will make the world is a better place. I hope to pursue it.

ajhimmler5 karma

Have you ever been through Las Vegas? What were your hobo experiences or stories from there?

huckstah18 karma

Yep I used to work for room and board at a hostel on Las Vegas Blvd near the stratosphere. Dangerous part of town (thugs, gangs, hoodlums) and I had many crazy experiences from there. I've seen seen people get shot and stabbed just a couple blocks away. Ive seen drunk tourists faint from the drinking combined with the summer heat. I once fucked a stripper and lived with her in Vegas. I also worked shortly for a Jewish Mafia in vegas.

karmanaut4 karma

Could you please post a photo of yourself now, so that we can compare it with the other photos you have posted?

huckstah7 karma

Sure. The photo of the guy jumping in the dumpster isnt me though! Thats my friend Catfish! We were pretending to take pictures to demonstrate to the world the art of dumpster diving.

This is ME on the far right. I'm with my friends Hayden and Fourteen on haight street in San Francisco. This pic was taqken about 2 months ago.

Heres another pic of me ( smoking weed on the front steps of the Full House house in SF! The owner (Bob Saget? haha) turned on the inside light and we bailed before they came out to bust us!

karmanaut0 karma

Alright. Could we still get a photo of you now, with a sign that says your username, or "reddit" or something that shows that these really are your pictures?

huckstah4 karma

yeah no problem, give me a couple mins!

here ya go sir!

huckstah2 karma

arcadia_1683 karma

Would you say that the adventure outweighs the sometimes harsh realities of living as you do? As far as I'm concerned, it looks like a helluva way to live your life (in a good way, embracing it not just accepting societal norms).

huckstah7 karma

The adventure FAR outweighs the downsides of the lifestyle, hands down, no contest.

All the things considered "downsides" arent really downsides anymore. You would think living in a tent sucks, but it actually doesnt. Its awesome. I have my books, my flashlight, my smartphone, food, water, and a nice fire. There are tons of people that do this only once or twice a year and they call it "vacation" but for me its almost every night.

And you know, working on farms aint so bad either. Sure its hard work sometimes, but no worse than constructionm working in a factory, etc etc. I work about 6 hours a day and make 40 bucks, but that goes along way with me. I have no kids, wife, housing payments, car payments, etc etc. At the end of the day all I need is money for a pack of smokes, a few beers or some wine, a couple of canned goods, and I still have money leftover.

I guess a major downside for some hobos is not taking a shower, but I bought a solar shower bag for only 15 bucks and it gets REALLY hot. Just yesterday, I left it in the sun for 4 hours and it got to 125F degrees (52C) and it almost burned my damn hand when I tested the water!! Its really amazing.

Hopping freight and hitchhiking I dont consider downsides. I meet lots of cool people and see all sorts of cool views that you dont see from an interstate.

maputo0073 karma

What city was the worst in terms of their attitude towards you and other hobos? Are there any places you want to go that you haven't been to yet?

huckstah4 karma

LA and Hollywood is pretty bad, because its so burnt out. Too many assholes have fucked it up for good travellers like us. Most of California is pretty burnt out and unkind to hobos. Most of east coast is pretty hard on homeless people, especially small town cops that will harass you.

butthole_haiku2 karma

what is some of the most important pieces of advice you would give someone looking into choosing this lifestyle? also where else might i go for similar advice?

huckstah3 karma

There is a great forum of people like me at a website

Its owned by a guy that is a fellow hobo/traveler and you can find our subculture there! Its where we connect with each other in the new digital age! Come join us and read the faqs!

My advice to anyone wishing to do this is to DO IT. Its not as hard or as bad as you think. I live pretty comfortably and I have never had any regrets. I always have a paycheck, I always have food, and a comfy place to sleep. Just try it it for one or two weeks and see if youy like it, but I warn you, you might become addicted!

Stermworm2 karma

What's the best advice for just getting started. What are the essentials? How do you find trains to hop? How do you make sure its the right type of train etc.? How much weight do you pack? Any other advice or pointers?

huckstah3 karma


Tent, knife, flashlight, tarp, rope, ramen noodles, sleeping bag, hiking bag, toilet tissue, bic lighters, carboard. Thats a damn good start.

Youll find trains stopping and going in your local trainyards. They key is to look at the trainyard and see which way the tracks leave the yard. Do the tracks leave the yard and go North or South? East or West? I use both a compass and google maps for this. Just go on google maps and zoom in on the yard on satellite view and you can follow the tracks and see which town they go to. Of course the train may turn on a fork, or stop before your town, or even shoot past your town without stopping. Thats when you look at the freight that the train is pulling. If its an IM (intermodal) train that is carrying semi-truck trailers, its probably going to go really far and really fast. If its a train thats carrying junk cars and coal cars, its probably going to stop alot at alot of towns and factories. So you judge what the train looks like and how far you think itsw going, then you roll the dice. Sometimes youre wrong, but with a little experience you get really good at it and figure out the trains.

I carry anywhere from 40-60lbs in my pack ,depending on the time of year.

Any advice? Well I guess you if you wanna do it, just do it. Ill even meet up with you and help you get started. Its a beautiful life, and more people should try it out for a brief period of their life.

Koolaidolio2 karma

Have you found the Big Rock Candy Mountain yet?

huckstah2 karma

Love that song, along with "Sixteen Tons"...

Writerhil2 karma

Thoughts on kerouac?

huckstah9 karma

I think he romanticized the lifestyle (and himself) a bit too much, and I believe the guy had one hell of an ego. I enjoy his writing to an extent, but not a huge fan. I love Steinbeck and Hemingway, my two favorite writers. I would like to read that book about Chris McCandless, which people are constantly recommending I read.

michaelmorrisionsr2 karma

Ever come into contact with hobos with young kids or very young hobo kids?

huckstah2 karma

Nah not really. Ive seen it on rare occassions, but not alot. America doesnt tolerate that lifestyler, and kids will be sent to foster care immeditately. I see lots of hobos with dogs though, and the dogs usually live really good lives!

[deleted]1 karma


huckstah9 karma

I use cardboard to put under my sleeping bag on trains because the metal train cars get really cold when the trains moving at night...the coldness of the metal floor seeps through your sleeping bag and its miserable. Two layers of cardboard keeps you protected from that.

I personally have a mummy sleeping bag that is rated 0 degree. Its plenty soft to sleep on the ground without a sleeping mat or cardboard.

For other folks, the ground can get really hard on your hips and ribs while your sleeping, and a layer of cardboard makes a big difference. Its easy to find, and easily disposable well, so I guess thats why its so popular. I always carry a piece of cardboard to sit on or to make a sign with...pretty useful stuff, light-weight, and foldable.

Psilos881 karma

Have you ever hitched out of the country?

huckstah1 karma

Nope. I hopped a train to Canada once though!

Got_Semen-35 karma

Fucking get a job, you homeless prick.

huckstah16 karma

I get a job that lasts for 4-8 weeks multiple times a year. Farming is seasonal only, and depending upon the location, weather, and time of year, I have to move around and follow the harvests, but its steady work for atleast 8 months of the year.