Misplaced Planets and Acid Rain

Something was wrong with the world. It was night time up above and late afternoon on the ground. Snow was covering leafed trees in mid-august and the sky was littered with stars; too many to count, too many to be real.

Hannah and I were standing before our rustic mountain cabin marveling over the strange natural phenomena we were witnessing. We felt incredibly small under this vast sky, somehow able to see its entirety and every detail at the same time. Gazing upwards, a novel formation caught my eye. This, my intuition reported to me, is a collection of planets, clustering close to one another due to my own planet´s wild behavior. I felt awe mixed with fear and this nearly undefinable sense of reality “dissolving”. Everything I had ever known suddenly appeared uncertain. The universe revealed its hidden realities and I dreaded the idea of humans´ inability to comprehend its meaning. Neither our minds nor our bodies were made for this. Like a one-dimensional creature sensing and longing for the three-dimensional world without any hope of success.

As it got darker, Hannah and I slowly made our way back inside, hoping to hear from someone who could tell us what on earth was going on (pun intended). I remained near the windows observing the mad sky above our heads, while Hannah grew more and more unsettled. The planet formation was in constant movement, as if that part of the sky was bottled up in a cheap bottle of rum carried by a drunk man. Occasionally, planets sped from one bottle wall to another, not unlike shooting stars, while leaving a trail behind them.

Hannah appeared to suffer from a sudden onset of cabin fever and restlessly marched from one window to another. It was raining a sparkly substance of a previously unknown silverish/goldish color. These sparks hit the ground fast, yet not sound was heard nor vibrations felt to indicate their impact. Wary, I discouraged Hannah from going outside. “This can´t be save”, I communicated nonverbally. In a brave attempt to understand, or maybe challenge reality, she opened a window and peered outside. The air felt humid and heavy, filled with particles never before seen on earth. It wasn´t long before Hannah was hit by sparks, which were, not surprisingly, of toxic nature. She suffered some minor chemical burns before managing to pull her head inside and slam the window shut. She looked defeated and sad.

The world fell into an extended state of emergency. Very few people were left in our town, but where could they have possibly gone? The acid rain had long since stopped. However, the sky refused to change and the world remained stuck in its stubborn night-afternoon imbalance. With our eyes pinned to the floor, we made our way to the grocery store. We arrived at noon, just before the store closed. The seriousness of the situation hit us at once; there was no food left in the first several isles. The thought “We are running out of food” ran through my mind and my mood changed to a melancholic state of disbelief. The end was certainly a lot quieter and more peaceful than I had envisioned.

We quickly grabbed a few bags of various food items off the shelves before being thrown out by the hurried staff. Everything looked cold and unreal. Quietly, we headed back home. We never arrived and maybe, somewhere, we are still walking through the fog that marks the space between reality and dream. But then again, what´s real anyway?

A K9 Unit for a Hobo

Except for a few cars strewn across the Kmart parking lot, I was alone and content on this beautiful summer afternoon. I had found myself a nice spot by the side of the building next to some bushes and trees at the edge of the property. With my curtains closed and PJ´s on, I was laying in the back of my tiny mobile home reading a particularly fascinating book on astronomy and physics, while occasionally texting my best friend. That´s life my friends! I can´t even begin to explain my level of contentedness that day. No worries in the back of my mind, a comfortable place to lounge, no annoyances. I was living in the here and now, enjoying every sensation this world offered me. It was perfect. And then shit happened. Of course.

I had been reading for maybe 45 minutes, when I heard a vehicle approach and park close to mine. I didn´t exactly start hoboing yesterday, so the sound of vehicles is but a familiar background noise. However, something started itching in the back of my mind. Why would anyone pick a spot next to me in an empty parking lot? I figured a little movement wouldn´t hurt and while I am at it, I could peak out the window to see who decided to join me.

When I moved the corner of my curtain up, I saw a small, grey, beat up car one spot over from mine. The man in the driver seat hadn´t left and seemed to be waiting on something or someone. “Damn drug dealers” I thought to myself. Seemingly oblivious to my existence, he engaged in the typical activities of bored humans in solitude ranging from checking himself in the mirror to picking his nose. Whatever. I went back to my book. I´d hear if he leaves the car or drives off; no need to keep staring at him. With that, I made myself comfortable again and continued reading my book. Unlike just 10 minutes ago, however, I now found myself distracted wondering what on earth the guy next to me was up to. I couldn´t wait for him to leave.

I barely made it through a page, when I heard a second car approach and park in close proximity. “Here we go” I thought. Surely some goods and money were about to change owners. Drug dealers aren´t exactly great company to have around, but they tend to leave quickly and, for obvious reasons, are unlikely to call the cops on a hobo. Live and let live, right? I listened to car doors opening and slamming shut, some whispering, and a quiet “Hey man, hows it goin?”. I made out voices from three different people, but it seemed like I heard another muffled, deep sounding voice from somewhere else. Still holding my book, I waited for the people outside to leave, but had no such luck.

“Christ! What´s going on out there?”. Annoyed I decided to take another look. I kicked the sheet off me, used a random piece of paper as a bookmark, and shuffled towards the window. The guys outside were laughing and exchanging stories about their weekends. What is this? A BBQ? Just before I had a chance to lift the curtain, the muffled voice reappeared. It seemed so unusually familiar; as if I had heard it a million times. “I brought everything you asked me for in that text”, I heard the first man say. I carefully lifted the corner of the curtain a second time to check out the situation. Three large men in their early 30´s to mid 40´s were standing behind the second car, an older SUV. I quickly pulled down the curtain, when one of them looked in my direction.

There are three options in a situation like this. I can wait and hope everyone leaves without noticing me. Squeezing from the back into my front seat and getting the hell out is another option. This, however, compromises my spot. I could also slip out of my vehicle unseen, pretend I came from somewhere else, and then leave. This is more dangerous, as I have to put myself within reach of whoever is out there. Also, the fact that my vehicle lights up like a Christmas tree, whenever I open a door, makes this a tricky option. I decided to just wait it out and make a jump for the front seat if the situation required it.

My entire perspective changed when I heard the muffled voice once more. It suddenly clicked. My heart dropped and my entire body tensed up. The voice was coming from a walkie-talkie and those guys out there weren´t drug dealers or friends meeting for an afternoon BBQ in a parking lot, they were undercover cops! Now, for a large percentage of the population, this would be great news. Not so for us hobos, who are being arrested merely for living outside a society-approved dwelling. This wasn´t good. This wasn´t good at all.

I could only check my surroundings for seconds at a time, since all eyes were pointed in my direction. “Are we sure someone is there?” I heard one of the cops ask. “Positive”, another replied, and I had the horrible feeling they were talking about me. I made sure to text my friend that I may be uhm… unavailable for the rest of the evening and kept close watch on the situation outside my place. Several minutes past and nothing seemed to add up. Why weren´t they just coming over? What on earth were they waiting for? They must be here for me or else they would have checked the vehicle they parked next to. And this is a nice, remote part of town; nothing close by worth playing Rambo for.

As I was trying to make sense of this unexpected gathering, I heard a third vehicle approaching. “What the…?”. Soon I´d have the entire police station in my back yard! I looked out the window and saw a vehicle with the label “Police K9 Unit” park next to the second car. “This can´t be real” I thought to myself. “A f%&king K9 Unit for a hobo? With my blissful zen more than destroyed, I considered to just go outside and turn myself in. Sure, I am breaking the law by sleeping here, but whatever they think they need a handful of officers and a K9 unit for, I didn´t do.

I anxiously texted my friend who advised me to stay calm and do whatever the officers say. In a comical onset of useless thought, I wondered if they´d be so kind to knock. After all, they couldn´t just kick in my door. “Let´s get this shit started. And remember, we have to be quick”, said the voice of a female officer. With that I heard a lot of movement outside; heavy footsteps moved over sandy pavement, zippers were zipped, car doors were opened and slammed shut once more, and, to my surprise, engines came to life. “Huh?”. I heard one car after the other leave the parking lot and within seconds I was alone once again. No cop knocked on my door, no windows were smashed in, and I was still seated in front of my window like a child waiting for Santa.

Tense with adrenaline-fueled anxiety, it took me a moment to comprehend what had just happened. Dumbfounded I peaked out the window and watched the group of cars disappear towards the city. I started laughing. Loudly. I am not sure if I laughed at my own fear of getting arrested, the idea of a hobo almost jumping out of the car to turn herself in to a group of occupied cops, or the fact that said cops, who were running an undercover busting operation, not once thought about checking the car they parked next to. Regardless of the reason, I laughed. And laughed.

Where is Home?

Quite a few of you folks who follow my blog are in some way, shape, or form wanderers. Or maybe you consider yourself a traveler, vagabond, transient, globetrotter, hobo, roamer, drifter, nomad, homeless, or houseless? As previously mentioned, houseless does not equal homeless and as such many of us feel two opposite forces inside of us. Wanderlust has us longing for the wonders of this beautiful, exciting world. Tired of the sameold, we strive to find new adventures, meet new people, and experience life in a different light. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the desire to return to a familiar and save place commonly referred to as a home. Leaving behind uncertainty, we can rest, feel comfortable, and lead a steady and stable life.

While wanderlust seems like an easily identifiable and definable force, home doesn´t appear as clear cut. I strongly believe that home exists independently from houses or dwellings of any kind. For example, I grew up in an apartment that was “home” for many years, yet never once felt homesick. That place was no home; it was merely a dwelling. I am sure many of you have similar experiences.

Now, I propose that home is something along the lines of “positive familiarity”. And yes, that can include a building or things. However, you can feel home around certain people such as friends and family. Your home may be in a certain city or in the woods. Home can be made of many different components; maybe South Africa is your home, but without grandma´s home made malva pudding feels less like such.

I left my original home far behind and created what I refer to as my home base. I don´t live there but frequently return to see friends, family, and familiar places. That´s home. Oh, and my tiny mobile home, of course; we do everything together! In addition, I feel a sense of belonging and being at home in nature. It´s a different kind of home and it´s the best kind: Being a part of nature. It means that I am OK, that I am neither good nor bad, and that I fit in just the way I am.

Where do you feel home? Is your home today the same as your home 10, 20, or 40 years ago? What makes home home?

Take care fellow hobos and enjoy the sun!

Readjusting and in Need for Ideas

I can deal with the cold, I love me some nature, and I don´t mind taking showers at the gym. I can change my backyard scenery as I wish, don´t pay rent, and hey, nothing more cozy than a toasty warm sleeping bag on a cold winter day. Getting fat is not an option, the lifestyle keeps me fit, and I´ve picked up some important life lessons along the way.

I´ve been hoboing around the midwest for roughly 2 years now and I already know that someday I will look back and say “I am glad I was crazy enough to do this”. I refuse to die with a bunch of could-haves and should-haves inhabiting my head. I refuse to let society dictate how I ought to go about finding peace and happiness on this planet. I refuse to make my life anything less than awesome (for lack of a better word that hasn´t been ripped to shreds by our youth culture).

There is one aspect of my lifestyle that I am getting really tired of: Having to hide. Like a criminal I have to hide from law enforcement. I am hiding from my housed neighbors, nosy dogs on leashes, playing children, maintenance workers, grannies on excursions, morning commuters, the curious, the bored, the alert; in short; everyone. I´ve been pretty successful thus far, but my goodness I am tired of it. Entire parking lots and neighborhood streets are empty at night, but society sure doesn´t want no hobos sleeping there. Buy a house – damnit!

So, how can I readjust my lifestyle to comfortably fit into my niche again? I need to find a place at which I can legally park my tiny mobile home. I am about 1/3 through my Master´s program and have steady employment and thus have pretty deep roots within society. Running away to some remote camp site is not an option. The idea of asking a sketchy trailer park owner for a little plot of land is not very appealing. Buying land is not going to happen while I am a student. I need more ideas! Do you have any semi-crazy ideas swirling around your mind on how I can solve this issue? Leave a comment or send me an email – standalonehobo@mail.com .

Take care fellow nomads!

Ryan´s faucet

The faucet had been broken long before I met Ryan. I don´t remember the story, but somehow someday something happened that snapped the kitchen faucet in such a way, that made water shoot diagonally through the room whenever it was turned on. Ryan was the master of the faucet. Only he was able to turn on the water in such a way as to fill up the kitchen sink. Whenever I tried, I pressure washed the kitchen and all its appliances.

Ryan and I both were group home kids, who were left to figure things out on our own at an early age. When I met Ryan, he had already left behind the group home and lived in his own apartment. I was a few years younger and was living outside, with friends, and soon transitioned into a group home myself. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time at his place and we routinely got ourselves into trouble. But we were free and young and even though we lived well under the poverty line, we had plenty of fun.

Ryan´s studio was in the process of being sold and the current owner promised Ryan that he´d figure out a deal to keep rent low. He showed up with a couple buckets of paint and asked Ryan to paint and “clean the place real good”. The buckets got kicked to the side and we pretty much forgot about it. Several months later, I receive a phone call from a frantic Ryan. It was Friday and the potential buyer was going to show up Sunday morning. Well, shit.

I made my way to Ryan´s and we began what would be a two day cleaning/painting binge. Poor Ryan really believed that he was a rather clean fellow. While I have definitely seen worse places, his studio was anything but clean. Inches of dust covered the windowsills, his bath tub had all kinds of nasty crap stuck in the groves he created when washing the rocks of his fish tank in it (yeah, I know), and his couch aka bed, which served between 2 – 4 people a night, contained so many random crumbs and unidentifiable stains that I opted to sleep inside a duvet cover at night. Regardless of the condition of the place, we made great progress.

The evening before the potential buyer was scheduled to show up, we decided that the floors needed cleaning badly. It seemed like the perfect time, since we had moved everything out to paint. To the best of my knowledge, we were sober that night. I contribute the following to youthful fun and a couple spoonful of crazy.

What better way to get a crusty old floor shiny again than lots and lots of water? And what better way to add lots and lots of water than Ryan´s homemade endless water shooter aka broken faucet? Exactly! We began the deep cleaning by intermittently shooting water 10 feet across the air into Ryan´s living room, while one of us mopped. Soon the entire floor was wet and we removed dirt we previously thought to be part of the floor´s pattern. Since I was lacking faucet operation skills, I ended up pressure washing parts of the ceiling, the windows, and those nasty windowsills as well. Everything looked so nice and clean…. except for sweaty and tired Ryan, who was standing in the middle of the living room mopping. I couldn´t help myself. I aimed and hit my target at once! I followed him all the way through the living room soaking him from head to toe. The war was on! Ryan began chasing me through the apartment, hugging me with his wet clothes. I slipped on the wet floor and he used the opportunity to aim the faucet at me. Soon both of us were completely soaked, made peace, and began dancing under the still running water. Despite our age marking us as teenagers, we really were nothing more than oversized children. We laughed and hugged and were filled with joy.

By the end of our cleaning spree, we were tired, happy, and standing in a good half inch of water. We used every single towel we owned to soak up the water. Once everything was somewhat dry, we moved all the furniture back in place and called it a night. What a great job we´d done! After a few hours of sleep, we got up in the morning and I went my merry way.

Now, I wasn´t there when the owner and potential buyer showed up, but I was told that they were less than ecstatic. Long story short, the guy was unable to sell the place, due to the condition it was in. Aside from the ruined bath tub and the broken faucet, he found many more things wrong with the place. I have no idea why Ryan didn´t get kicked out right then and there, but it would take another 4 years before the owner finally booted him.

Get your imaginary friend on the phone

Yes, I am slightly bananas. No, this is not what this post is about. This post introduces you to the art of deception. Imaginary friends are incredibly useful and with a little experience you can talk your way out of trouble without ever talking to anyone. Now, if that doesn´t sound like super powers, then I don´t know.

Still confused? Keep on reading. I tend to use my imaginary friends mostly to explain why I am where I am. You see, as a hobo you sometimes find yourself in situations that others view as suspicious, judgeworthy, or an invitation to rough you up. For example, you park your tiny mobile home and realize that some random human is sitting in the car next to you. It is expected of you to exit your vehicle and go to your house, but wait! Your imaginary friend is calling, which gives you a perfect reason to remain seated (and hope the random human leaves, so you can get in the back).

Now, before I give you more examples, you need to understand how important acting skills are. There is nothing more suspicious than a guy who pretends to be on the phone with someone. Period. Try listening to other people´s phone calls and notice how you understand a great deal of the conversation without ever hearing what the person on the other line is saying. A common newb error is saying too much in an attempt to provide the listener with a story. For example, “Yes, I am here at your apartment complex waiting for you by my car like we agreed on” is way too much info. A simple and relaxed “Ya, I am here. Where are you?” seems more natural. Also, account for the lack of actual phone noises. If you are too close to other people, they may realize that there is an eerie silence coming from your phone. Heck, you may even want to play your ring tone before you pick up the phone to make it more believable.

Back to the examples. Here is the transcript of a conversation between me and my imaginary friend I initiated to throw off a suspicious cleaning lady. I had gone to the gym showers at my school and, not expecting anyone there, looked just a bit disheveled. Now, why would any housed person wearing street clothes use a gym shower, when the gym is closed, the lights are off, and the building just opened for the day? You see why the cleaning lady was suspicious? Here we go.

Hey Kate, I was just gonna text you.

(short silence)


(short silence)

Yeah, I just got done running. What are you up to?

(little longer silence)


(More silence and nodding)

Ah, I see. Did you bring your books?

(Short silence)


(Silence is golden)

Ya, I am. But I need a shower first.


No, I don´t think they are open yet.

(Tiny silence)

Ok, I will.

Uhum. Ok. Is Steve there too?

(Tiny silence)

Ok, good. I´ll meet you guys there.

(Tiny silence)

Great. Ok. Bye.

By the time I got off the phone, the cleaning lady had lost all interest in me. I was able to take a nice shower knowing that I didn´t have anyone nosing around in my business. This method has saved my ass plenty of times.

Do you have similar tricks up your sleeve? Share your wisdom!

Be nice to yourself – Eat well

Healthy food can be incredibly boring, especially as a vegetarian. I get it. I also know that as a hobo I rely heavily on my body to keep me warm at night, fix itself when I walk blisters onto my feet, and keep me alert when I maneuver through a sketchy neighborhood.

While I am in no way an expert on nutrition, I´ve spent quite some time figuring out how and what to eat to keep myself healthy. Here is what I´ve come up with. Notice that most pictures show snacks and small meals; however, the same general rules apply for regular meals.

Prepare your meals for the day. Think about what you are going to eat, where you´ll be able to heat up some food, and what nutrients you need. It´s better than impulsively grabbing something from the store or buying fast food.


Tomatoes are filled with plenty vitamin C, while cereal typically contains up to 1/3 of your daily nutrients (most breakfast cereal is fortified). Apple sauce is a high energy food that also includes fiber and some vitamin C.


Need vitamin C? Eat peppers. They are also filled with vitamin A and vitamin B6. Pretzels contain lots of carbs and sodium. The yellow powder is dried hummus (just add water), which is a high energy food that contains protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B6.











Use meal containers. Environmentally friendly, easy to transport, keeps your food from getting smushed, and makes you more likely to diversify your meals. You don´t need to get a 100 degrees of fancy with yours; cheap ones will do.

Make it colorful. Half a loaf of bread or an entire cucumber sounds just about as boring as it tastes. Mix it up! If you are just not a fan of fruits and vegetables, then add a small variety of them. Just one kiwi can provide you with an entire day worth of vitamin C.


Crackers are rich in carbs and sodium. This salad contains boatloads of vitamin A and is low in calories. The olives add some iron and healthy fats.


The peanut butter sandwich contains lots of energy mainly consisting of protein and carbs. Kiwis are filled to the rim with vitamin c and also contain potassium. Blueberries are also a good source of vitamin c and additionally are full of fiber. Gummy bears are food for the soul. That´s my story and I am sticking with it.










Crispy bread contains minimal carbs, while being rich in fiber. This particular cereal has protein powder added to it. Besides protein, protein powder often contains high quantities of essential nutrients.


Balance. Nobody said you can´t have candy, pizza, and mac and cheese. It´s all about balance. Personally, I will eat healthy as a rule and treat myself with less healthy food. Remember, if you live outside you may need somewhat more calories than housed people. Find your balance.

Read the nutritional labels. You should have seen my face when I realized how much sodium (salt) is in a package of ramen noodles. You don´t need a calculator for this; just keep and eye on some key nutrients.



(aka hobo tales, aka bad poetry)

  • It´s cold as fuck
  • I have no luck
  • all my shit is frozen
  • Can´t wash my hair
  • as in despair
  • I see my shampoo ´s frozen
  • My breath is bad
  • I´m getting mad
  • My mouthwash is so frozen
  • Can´t feel my feet
  • because indeed
  • my socks are really frozen
  • Stand by my car
  • because so far
  • the damn doors are too frozen
  • Despite cold feet
  • I´d like to eat
  • but all my food is frozen
  • Can´t blow my nose
  • man, this is gross
  • my nostrils too are frozen
  • Cant you believe
  • despite all grief
  • this life is what I´ve chosen

Colorado Reality Check


Yesterday, I sat under a tree wearing flip flops, thin pants, and a long sleeve shirt, while reading one of my less exciting textbooks. Worried about getting sun burned, I occasionally moved to escape harmful UV rays. It got up in the 80´s; I heard birds chirping, people laughing, and children playing. It was an unusually warm, but very comfortable fall day.

Today, I am at the library wearing a thick poncho, two pairs of pants, and regular shoes, while watching the snow fall outside. There is no chance I could get sun burned, as the sun is hidden behind a heavy cloud cover. The temperature is in the 30´s and I can hear hysterical international students outside, who´ve just encountered their first snow.

Gotta love Colorado. Except for these extreme weather fluctuation, I enjoy the pace of the season change. It provides just enough of a transition phase to mentally prepare oneself for the upcoming winter. Also, Colorado has 300 days of partial and full sun days; if that doesn´t make for a good mood, then I don´t know.

What changes for a hobo during the cold season?

  • I typically sleep better in my 0° bag when it´s nice and cold out. No more random overheating and waking up at night, as has been happening since I switched bags late September.
  • Rather than taking extensive spit baths in the morning, I tend to head for the gym more during the winter. You think you enjoy showering? Try showering after spending several days outside!
  • Also, for me this is the season of cold hands. I´ve identified 4  stages of cold hands: a-little-cold, damn-cold, numb-and-painful-cold, and useless-sausages-cold. The last two stages typically happen in the morning, when I am getting ready for the day.
  • My diet changes for two reasons: First, I need more protein to stay warm. Second, I can store different foods, such as lettuce and berries, that usually go bad within days.

No matter the weather, I know it´ll be beautiful!

Camping and Tents

This amusing post was written by a gentleman who couldn´t be more opposite to us hobos. Very entertaining ; – ) .


Camping. The world’s most confusing hobby.

It makes about as much sense as fertilizing a lawn that you have to mow twice a week. Humans have spent hundreds of thousands of years solving the challenges of nature. We live in houses that maintain a stable temperature, supply clean water on demand, carry human waste out through a magic network of pipes, rain water is deflected by advanced roofing systems, beds adjust to our individual preference of firmness, and if we want to experience nature or community then we pull out some technology and surf the vast world of the internet. Dogs live better in these modern times than cavemen ever thought about. Yet here, in the pinnacle of this accomplishment, is a growing culture of people who yearn to eat reheated trail food and shit in the woods. I don’t have that burning desire.

Deep down in my soul, I…

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