Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the Road

it seems to me, that to be a traveler is the most commonly accepted way to be homeless. even when trippin around my hometown, to maintain the appearance of a traveler is much safer than to look like a broke bum.

i tend to believe that it's safer to travel for many reasons. first of all, it's less likely that you will be 'caught' if you're always on the move. it's also better for the environment when living outdoors to keep switching up your camp spots. it keeps your impact to a minimal, allows for the vegetation to re-grow if you happened to mat it down, and lessens the chances of wild animals finding your camp and seeking your food.

on the move

if you happen to live out of a vehicle, then your mode of transportation is always with you. check this guy's blog for info on living in your car. if you're like me and prefer to live from a rucksack, there's still ways to get around for cheap or free.


it may not always seem the safest, but it's almost always free to hitch a ride. it's not always legal either, so before you stick out your thumb, check with the laws in your state or province. even local bylaws may be different depending on the region.

always check for the best places to hitch a ride. truck stops and gas stations may be a good place. never walk onto a busy highway, if you need to hitch always stand somewhere at the beginning of an on ramp where there's plenty of room for your potential ride to safely pull over. some smaller less travelled highways may be walkable, like the number 3 highway in BC. muchof it in rural areas has a wide gravel shoulder to safely walk or hitch.

-the bus-

when surfing the internet, check for travel discounts at your local bus lines. some bus companies have dollar deals to certain destinations if you pre-book your travel time. i prefer not to fly myself, so if i'm going to pay to get across the country, the bus is my preferred mode.

if you do take the bus for longer trips, most of your time is spent travelling with short breaks and possibly stop-overs. many transit terminals and break-stops leave you little choice for food purchases, most options being very costly. it's best to have a decent food bag packed before hitting the road for multi-day trips. it will save you loot and keep you from going hungry.


cycling is good exercise, and plenty faster than being on foot.

i have met and known people to ride a bicycle everywhere they go, even clear across the country. i see having a bike as yet another piece to maintain and worry about, but i wouldn't mind making a cycle journey one day. i'd like to get a solid frame bike, attach some saddlebags and take off for the east.

if you plan to use a bike, make sure you have enough loot and know-how to maintain it. if you're relying on the bike to carry your stuff around and suddenly it no longer works, you could be left making some tough decisions on what to leave and take with you if repairing the bike isn't an option. also, you must be prepared to safely lock up or stow away your bike if you have to leave it somewhere, like outside of a job placement, or nearby a camp spot.

-on foot-

let's not forget the hiking. i've been blessed in my home region to have many footpaths to choose from. the appearance of a seasoned backpacker lends more patience and acceptance from property owners of you get spotted setting a camp along side the trail.

having proper footwear is crucial, especially if you carry a decent load of gear on your back. i love to run barefoot as much as the next hippie, but having proper support when stepping with the extra weight is important to prevent injuries that could leave you stuck. wear comfortable, wicking socks and quality shoes. it's very much worth it to invest in quality footwear and backpacks for maximum comfort. it will make the difference between enjoying your time on the move, and struggling to move forward.

tenting, stealth vs. campgrounds

it's also much easier to get away with tenting when you're on the move. i do my best not to be visible from the road, but it's not always possible to find a better place when you're running short of sunlight. one time a driver spotted the tent out in the woods by the highway, and got out and ran up just to check if we were okay. still, do your best to be invisible when you stop. my fear of dangerous human contact is often much greater than that with the wild. don't forget to be bear safe!

after a week or two of being on the move, camping in the woods and showering in truck stop sinks, checking into a campground for a night or two is a welcome vacation. provincial sites are cheap, but some have little or no resources to take advantage of. paying 10-20 bucks to tent at a private campground will give you access to showers, laundry facilites and a safe, legal place to build a fire. some places even have wireless internet, and plugs in their common areas. you may have to pay a little extra for a powered site to plug in all your gadgets, but it's usually not much more, and worth it.


  1. If you're ever in California or Oregon, they have hiker/biker sites along the coast in state parks. $2 in CA and $4 in OR(this includes unlimited hot showers) We loved having this option. Sunset Beach State park in watsonville, ca will put you right next to a strawberry field. We ate well that night. =) We do hope to get up to Canada one day though.

  2. too cool! thanks for the info:)
    provincial parks here are a cheap option too, not quite as cheap as those sites but usually under 10 bucks.

  3. Looks like a very good blog. Lots of good information here for hitchhikers.

  4. I really like this blog. I saw your link on the Homeless Forums and started reading. Good, practical advice. Letting go of things, things that have memories for you is hard. But as you wrote, some things are needs, some are not.
    I liked the advice on storage, sharing the costs with others. Plus the stuff on travelling here. To me a bike, bycical is more than a thing to look after, I mean a back pack is too. A bike is a great way to travel. You can carry more gear and travel further, faster. Out in the country, you can setup camp way out in the woods and get into town easy. But for cross country travel, a bike will slow you down if you are hitching a ride.

    Thanks again for the blog!

    1. thanks for coming by to check it out! one thing i have come across in my travels is the many different styles of vagabonding, all of which i have an appreciation for. wandering with a rucksack was my mode of choice for it's simplicity, though i wouldn't mind trying a bike or even small vehicle for my next time out.

      now that i have established a homebase and started to accumulate things again, my mindset is slowly changing from mobile to stationary. it's hard to get comfortable sometimes knowing i won't be going anywhere for a while. my future goal is to have a sustainable homebase where i can come and go as i please, to satisfy my need to be on the move while maintaining something of my own.

      thanks again for reading :)