Monday, January 31, 2005

Thoughts on Becoming a Walking Hobopoet

by Sunwalker

No matter how liberating and exciting the hobo lifestyle is for you, I imagine it might be necessary to take work breaks now and then, not only to chill out for a while, but to make a nice wad of $$$. I might do the same myself, although I want to avoid it. I hate the whole concept of money, can't wait to scavenge my way through the cracks and fissures of this bizarre global zoo of humanity without having to play by its rules. Knowing some of the insane things the feds do with tax money, not to mention the fact I lean towards anarchy, I'm hating the idea of ever having to give those porbarreling bureaucrats a red cent again. So a goal of mine is to limit participation in the bloody system as much as possible. Who wants to have so much of their human interaction across a damned counter anyways? How degrading. But again, a bit of work and money might be necessary evils until it all collapses (I don't foresee this giant house of cards lasting too much longer, maybe it could drag on another 50 years, but I think the sooner it does, the less destruction it will have wreaked and the fewer species it will have taken with it )

[Skald: One of my favorite quotes related to travel is, "Never take a trip
you can afford". Its good advice.]

Love that quote! Reminds me of a quote in the movie 'Fight Club' when Tyler says "the things you own end up owning you". How true. That's why I'm starting to sell off and give away most of the stuffola I've accumulated, and when the time comes I'd fill a light pack with the essentials and hit the trail! Damn I relish that day, all that semi-life of being the living dead behind me, and a real vivacious life of experience ahead with a billion paths to pick from, no schedules, no oppressive clocks, no taking orders, no following anyone or anything (except the geese winging northwards and southwards). I know it's gonna feel pretty damned strange at first, probably like being cast out to sea, but I'll just remind myself that the entire continent (the whole planet) is my 'new' home. It would be tough to leave the relatives behind, but though they're nice, they're firmly planted in the conformist world of wage slavery, mortgages, ersatz entertainment and all that scat.

Yep I've read "Into the Wild" just about all in one sitting, as I was on the edge of my seat wondering what this wildman was going to do next. You're right, that Chris McCandless guy deserved more credit despite his background growing up in a soft rich bigcity/whitebread/uppercrust family. He realized how much of a tragic sham the system is, followed his dream and had the guts to take life by the horns and just go. But what an anticlimax that was at the end - killed by an oversight and a couple of handfuls of f*cking wild potato seeds! The fella could have used more common sense and a helluva lot more respect for the land though...

You know what, a decade ago I used to get such immature fantasies about taking off alone into the forest and living off fish, game and berries year round. I'd spend hours poring in all these damn books & maps looking for a remote spot in the hills with just the right climate - but something was missing and I just couldn't put my paw on it. It wasn't long before I realized, among other things, that a) I'm a social animal and b) I'm a nomadic animal dammit! Being stuck in the same lean-to in the woods without anyone else around would drive anyone stark raving loony, providing they manage to stay alive, of course.

Even living in 4 walls and a roof in the same place drives me nuts after a few months. I'm sick and tired of comfort and routine. Why the hell do so many people always want to get so cozy and luxuriantly comfortable all the time for anyhow? Down pillows and comforters and 3 foot thick mattresses and goretex sport suits and bottomless sofas and precision climate control and luxury dining....hell some of these sheeple even put plush padding in their coffins for crying out loud! They all might as well just crawl right into them, haul in a TV with an extension cord, and be done with it!

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow - what a Ride!' " -Peter Sage

So this idea of mine of nomadically scavenging the edges and frontiers of the 'matrix' is much more up my alley. Of course I'd love to pack some grub and duck out into the hills for few days now and then when the trucks and trains start to get tiresome, but the "average" day would be following the tracks town to town - where most of the grub and fellow homo sapiens happen to be.

[Skald: Regarding whether to go on foot or wheels.... You can always upgrade to a bike or car or van until you reach that magical "enough" point that seems to fit.]

To tell you the truth I despise vehicles. If every vehicle on the face of the earth sputtered and died for all time, why I'd jump for joy and dance on the windshields, thankful all the noise, stench, frenzy destructiveness and ugliness of this car culture is over. (Even if they changed them all to hydrogen or whatever, the stench and noise part might vanish but the rest would remain) I can't say I like planes much either, they aren't exactly harmless when the 'environment' is concerned, and they're just another part of the whole unsustainable system that should go. But since it is the current reality, I won't sit here and vow to never use 'em. Thailand does sound awfully enticing, the way you describe it... but South America is much more convenient for now though, seeing as I could walk virtually the whole way. Some feel the almost religious need to penetrate all the way down to Tierra del Fuego, but that trek makes crossing N. America look like a little walk around the block. The logistics of going through all the f*cking borders and problems with food and malaria, the mayhem in Columbia and all that shit gives me the willies too, to be honest! But sure as shit from a horse's ass it would beat punching in my hours on the clock to line the pockets of some capitalist!

The Rio Grande or maybe Lake Chapala is about as far south as my radar wants to peer for now. Hell, a person could spend a million years exploring all the nooks and crannies just in the western usa alone! The thing I'm really going to be mindful about is staying aware of what climatic zones I'm heading into, especially the desert. It may be starkly stunning, but I can imagine the desert doesn't suffer foolishness. I know it surely doesn't suffer it from quite a few unprepared migrating Mexicans - they do the suffering, if they stay alive, that is! So there's no bloody excuse to drag my arse around places like southern Arizona and Texas (or Florida for that matter) in the summer when I should be far to the north. If I do end up stuck somehow in say Phoenix in July or Quebec in December, I sure would set aside my hatred of tombs-on- wheels and do some hitching or busriding! Not if I can help it, of course.

Good luck in Hiroshima!!! I always think of Japan as full of these vast crowded megacities and rice paddies but I do recall reading that in between them there's a sea of forest-covered mountains with dozens of tree species, maybe if you check out the woods you could let us know what its like up there if you decide to head up the slopes between classes. (Unless you already did and I missed it)

P.S. Have you heard of Nanao Sakaki? I just found out about him and I mentioned him in my edited copy of that first email below. He's this Japanese tramping poet who actually did just what I dream of - doing his own 'sacred drift' walking all across N. America even up into Alaska. The klincher is he managed to do it without money! Now that's what I'm aiming for. Maybe you could get ahold of him cause excerpts from his writings would fit very 'tramptastically' on your site.


"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds."
Edward Abbey, naturalist and author 1927-1989

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