IamA vagabond/hobo that has hitch-hiked, train-hopped, and back-packed for 10+ years on the road. I am being joined in this AMA by seven other trainhoppers, hitchhikers, backpackers, rubbertramps, vandwellers, and otherwise houseless travelers. Fe...
Hey Reddit! Our subreddit at r/Vagabond has been recently flooded with questions about our various lifestyles on the road as houseless (homeless) travelers.
Questions such as:
How do we eat?
How do we sleep?
How do we find work/money?
How do we get laid/have sex?
Why did we start this lifestyle?
What are the good sides of this lifestyle?
What are the bad sides of this lifestyle?
What are our favorite stories from the road?
What are our worst stories stories from the road?
What gear do we carry in our backpack/van/whatever?
Do we travel mostly alone, or with others?
What is our advice for first-time travelers?
Is it safe for single-female travelers?
Is it safe for pets?
Well, Reddit, this is your chance to ask ALL OF US anything you wish. We are here to answer ALL of those questions, and any other questions you might have in mind!
Houseless travelers of all types: Hobos, Hitchhikers, Trainhoppers, Backpackers, Rubbertramps, and Vandwellers, all united together to answer ANY question(s) you have concerning our lifestyles on the road and rails.
Also, if you haven't checked it out yet, we have been featured on today's episode of Reddit's new "Upvoted!" podcast, hosted by Reddit's co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The episode focuses on our lives as vagabonds, including our stories of living life on the road and rails.
Check out the podcast here!
We vagabaonds have also been collaborating on a new documentary/series this summer that will film the lives of hobos and vagabonds while living on the road and rails. Please ask /u/other_tanner for more information about this, and ways that you can possibly help us hobo's and vagabonds in this new project.
Facebook Page for Documentary: https://www.facebook.com/TransientsDocumentary
Sneak Preview of Documentary: https://vimeo.com/123267597
Vagbonds and Hobos joining me in this AMA include:
/u/Huckstah - 33 year old Trainhopper/Hitchhiker/Backpacker/Seasonal Worker. 11 total years on the road and rails. PROOF /u/Lupo_Bi-Wan_Kenobi - 39 year old Train Conductor/Engineer, Rubbertramp, Hitchhiker, and Trainhopper. 10 years total experience living on the road and rails. PROOF
/u/AcesAndEights21 - 31 year old Rubbertramp, Backpacker, and Seasonal Worker. Works in the summer, and travels the rest of the year. Eight total years of rubbertramping and backpacking experience. PROOF
/u/doc_nuke - 27 year old Rubbertramp that assists in giving first-aid medical attention to other Vagabonds and Hobos. 4 and half years experience living on the road. PROOF
/u/megawang - 29 year old Rubbertramp with one year experience living on the road. PROOF
/u/ak1ndlyone - 19 year old hitchhiker, trainhopper, and backpacker. 8 months experience living on the road. PROOF
/u/QuainPercussion - 22 Year Old Rubbertramp and Hitchhiker with 6 months experience living on the road. Travels with a pet dog. PROOF
/u/other_tanner - 22 year old hobo documentarian that seasonally hitchhikes, hops trains, and films/interviews about vagabond travelers while living as a homeless director. PROOF
HERE WE ARE. FEEL FREE TO ASK US ANYTHING!
Thanks to the owners and workers of "The Coffee Shop on Monroe Street" in Livingston, Alabama, for helping this hobo out with the podcast and computer access)
I think it's been about the same for the past 10 years. I imagine this lifestyle was easier if you go back further, like 25-35 years ago...
The scene really blew up in the 80's...lots of gutterpunks and city kids hitting the rails as opposed to the hobo from the rural south or midwest. Punks and black sheep that were sick of the city and the bullshit, I guess. They're really cool people though, most of them atleast.
Okay, not to sound rude. But how are you doing this AMA?
Most of us carry smartphones, ebooks, even small laptops. I usually go to cafe's, public libraries, books stores, or even places like McDonalds to use their free wifi.
I bought my smartphone on craigslist for pretty cheap. I use a cheap phone plan that comes with talk, text, and data.
I also work seasonal jobs, so I usually have a few bucks for stuff like paying my phone bill, or buying a cup of coffee from a cafe so that I can use their wifi.
Personally I'm borrowing a friends older Dell laptop because I didn't want to do this on a smartphone. I befriended the owners of a local cafe, and they let me also do the podcast interview using their cafe.
What do you guys feel/think about people who had a good up bringing and good family just wanting to live as a vagabond?
No hard feelings here dude. Most of us don't care about each others history, as we judge travelers as who they are now.
Why aren't there any women as part of this AMA group?
There is /u/rinrose16
I'm here trying to answer on the road :)
I've got to add you to the list! Shit!
I'm not sure if any of you are the 'cardboard sign holding type', however, how do you feel about the presupposition that most of you are alcohol/meth/etc addicts and that's what any donated money will be used for? If that's not what you do, how do you feel about those types of individuals and what percentage of them do you believe use donated money for addictive substances?
I live near Tampa, Florida and we have a huge population of cardboard sign holding individuals. I always feel bad for them and never know if they would just use the money for something I would not intend to give it for. I generally just give, knowing the risk of what it may be used for, and hope for the best.
I've held cardboard during desperate times. Fortunately, those times were few and far between, and the money was used on bus tickets, food, clothes etc.
There are a ton of bums that ruin the reputation of all travelers. It seems like everyone assumes you are a bum simply because you are homeless or wearing your life in a backpack. That's just not true.
I think alot of that is also caused by media stereotypes in tv shows, movies, etc.
Also, not everyone in this lifestyle "chose" this lifestyle. Alot of kids came from broken families, abusive parents, prison, drug addiction, etc etc. There are alot of people on the road because theyre life took a really disastrous turn, and now they are suffering the consequences of that.
I think the worst problem on the road are the people that are mentally ill. It's like our nation simply doesnt care, and they just let mentally ill people sleep behind dumpsters and shit all over the sidewalk. There's essentially no healthcare for them...
How often do you guys get in touch with your families?
I've visited my family 3 times in the past 11 years.
Otherwise, I usually message them on facebook or email or whatever a few times a year to let them know I'm safe and happy.
1)What was your background before you started this lifestyle? 2)Did you come from a wealthy or poor family? 3)Did someone convince you to do this or did you just decide to do it on your own?
My family was mostly poor. We lived in the rural south, in a really, really small town.
I started out because I had been kicked out on to the streets, recently thrown in jail, and so I really had no choice but to simply hit the road on my own. I was never a violent person or anything though...I was in jail for marijuana possession actually.
Will Gone make an appearance in the documentary??
Oh wow how do you about Gone? /u/other_tanner could answer your question
Where in your opinion is the prettiest place in the states?
Once I rode a train from Ogden, Utah to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and it was by far the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen in my life. It was even prettier than most of Hawaii or Alaska. Mind-blowing. I always assumed Wyoming would be pretty boring as far as scenery as concerned, and that was the wrongest assumption I've ever made. I'm going back to Wyoming again this year...for no particular reason...other than the fact that it was so beautiful.
Do any of you guys have a trinket, a treasure, or a keepsake you always have with you on your travels? If so, what is it?
I always carry a St. Christopher pendant. I'm agnostic (no religion), but I do like the idea of a patron Saint that specifically looks after travelers. I guess I'm kinda superstitious about it, but it makes me feel safer anyway.
How do you guys stay in the loop in world news and current events?
Haha I try my best NOT to! Not that I'm trying to be irresponsible, but most of the mainstream news in America is so politically biased and jaded depending on the source. I don't want to hear the "conservative" version of world news, or the "liberal" version of world news. Nor do I want to hear the latest news on Kim Kardashian's family.
I use /r/worldnews for most of my news, to be honest with you..
/r/worldnews is terribly biased as well btw
Yes, it is...but I find it's far superior to fox/cnn/msnbc/etc...
I dont know if it's been asked, im sure it has, and I looked but may have missed it. But, WHY do you guys do this? No hate intended, just a general question.
I do it because I love the lifestyle. Going new places, meeting new people, waking up to a new adventure everyday.
What is the most dangerous situation any of you have ever been in?
Well...I was nearly killed by a Colombian cartel in Argentina.
I was nearly killed by the Hawaiian Mafia in Hawaii...
How do you earn money for supplies? (Food, first aid, clothing). As a follow up, and pardon my ignorance, how do you justify this lifestyle if it relies on the generosity of others? For those who give to you, what do you give back?
For starters, I think that everyone on earth benefits from the generosity of others. Life is one big circle.
If you mean "begging", not all of us beg. In fact, a majority of us don't beg. Most of work seasonal jobs, or save up money before we start traveling.
As for the few times that I had to beg, I don't think its any different from the typical person that needs to borrow money from friends/family to pay medical bills, student debt, etc. Everyone, at one time or another, has had to lean on others for help.
I give back to society by volunteering at animal shelters and soup kitchens. As a homeless person myself, I love giving back to homeless animals and homeless people.
How often do you get to listen to music you like? Is that a luxury?
I listen to music that I like every single day. I have music saved to my phone.
Where are you guys currently at, how's the weather fairing? Did you guys choose this lifestyle or kind of fall into it? What is the best thing about it and the worst? And lastly, do you guys still have relationships with your families?
I knew a guy who traveled by train in the 60's all over the US, he had some very interesting stories. Always thought it was neat, just not for me.
We are all scattered all over the place, not together in one room.
The weather where I'm at is pretty warm...I think Winter is finally over. Most of us bunker down somewhere in the Winter and then hit the road again around this time of year.
The relationship with my family is pretty good. I've traveled 11 years and have visited them 3 times. Of course, I keep up with them on Facebook and stuff while I'm away.
I guess the best part for me is the freedom of living my life how I choose. The worst part is probably having to deal with weather. Rain, snow, heat, etc..
Hey /u/huckstah. I'm actually listening to the episode of of Upvoted with you. I'm completely amazed by your story and feel complete sympathy for what happened with your parents as well as some of your vagabond friends. My question is how did you travel from mainland US to Hawaii?
The first time I went to Hawaii, I was working at a farm in Washington and my boss gave me a bonus on my final paycheck and told me that he wanted to fly me to his sisters farm in Hawaii because she needed helping building an organic veggie garden. The ticket was 250 bucks or so, as I recall.
I've been to Hawaii 3 times, and Alaska also
How much more, if any, difficult is this kind of lifestyle to pull off now as opposed to 10 years ago?
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