Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Part-Time Hobopoet Strategy

by AJ/Skald

[OK.... this is an opportunity to try out the photo feature on blogger...... if all goes well, a picture from Thammasat University will appear in the post......]

Part time hobopoetry. In a past post, Hakim Bey wrote about the strategy of part-time Hobopoetry (see July 2003 archive). He noted that not all people are inclined to live as full-time wandering nomads. And so he proposed the idea of the part-time Hobopoet... drawing from ancient Celtic themes.... of warriors who split their year between work (serving the king) and anarchic freedom (living in the woods as free hunters).

Another example he proposed was that of the summer camp-- a three to four month time of freedom and revelry completely autonomous from the world of school/work.

This, I think, is a very workable idea for most folks.... a good strategy. For the last two years I have pursued a full-time hobopoet life. I lived in my van, I bartered for food and coffee, I wandered SE Asia, I loafed in Thailand.

But now the money is getting low. What to do? I've decided to pursue a part-time hobopoet strategy for now.... to find work that is as easy and enjoyable as possible, live simply, and save save save until I have enough to fund another long bout of unemployment. I've reduced this to a simple formula... a ratio of work to play.

My goal is to work as little as possible while increasing the amount of freedom and ecstacy I have in my life.... and to increase the amount of freedom that each day of work will "buy". Right now, Im at 1 to 3. That is, for every month (or year) that I work I can generally save enough to pay for another three months (or years) of living expenses. This ratio assumes that I want a reasonably comfortable and enjoyable life.... Im not a masochist after all.

So I'll be working again soon (dammit)... but I hope to minimize the damage by finding a fairly easy and enjoyable job-- move to Japan to explore and maybe save more money... and then head out on another extended journey (without having to worry about money). South America calls.

It's not an ideal Hobopoet situation, but is remarkably better than my previous years of pointless toil. Working becomes alot less dreadful and intimidating once that ratio creeps above 1:2... when you have twice as many free months as work months.

For reluctant would-be hobopoets this may be a great way to start... keep working for now... but pour your energies into simplifying your life.... every day, every month, every year. Get a cheaper apartment, reduce expenses, buy less consumer shit, cut up those credit cards.... save, save, save as much as you can. As the savings build- so too will your options. Keep simplifying... until you reach that day when you realize you have enough.... enough for that big trip... enough for that piece of land... enough for that airplane ticket. From there, no effort is required. Once you've tasted extended freedom, you'll never willingly go back to slavery.

At times I've encouraged folks to "take the leap", but for some this may seem too much. To them I say, "just take a few small steps.... consider a try at being a part-time hobopoet". If you do, you may discover that freedom is its own reward... and it is addictive!!

This, in fact, has been my approach... a gradual simplification of my life.... a gradual increase in freedom. I didn't suddenly burn all my shit and move into the van overnight. It was a process of years. I have great admiration for those folks who suddenly transform their lives in dramatic ways. I admire their bravado and boldness. But we aren't all built that way.... my way has been one of steady persistence. There have been setbacks, but through dogged determination (and little else) my life has indeed grown freer, more interesting, and more enjoyable. And so to those who lack boldness and bravado, consider my example. Do not lose hope. Keep at it... just keep taking those tiny steps towards simplicity, independence, and freedom.

When all else fails, persistence will see you through!


AJ said...

Rock and Roll.... we've got pictures now. For other Hobopoets who wish to post pictures, note that the image needs to be saved online somewhere else first... you can't store images on blogger.

Once you've got a URL for the picture, use the HTML window for your post.

Add in the following HTML tag in order to splice in a picture:

img src="The URL of the picture"
Be sure to include brackets before< and after > the tag.

Be sure to include the quotation marks.... and add in the actual URL where the picture is stored. If you get an error message or have questions... send me an email.

Also, if you know of a good (free!) place to store photos on the net (longterm), let me know!!


AJ said...

Note on picture hosting:

Check out

They host pictures for free and the site works well with many different browsers, including Apple's Safari.