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)

Ya.

(short silence)

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

(little longer silence)

Uhum.

(More silence and nodding)

Ah, I see. Did you bring your books?

(Short silence)

Uhum.

(Silence is golden)

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

(Silence)

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!

Advertisements

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.

img_20170111_093656

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.

img_20161130_104356

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.

img_20161130_162107

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.

img_20170127_123524

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_20161214_095442

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.

 

Blind at Night

With the sun setting earlier this time of year, I find myself in relative darkness as I take care of evening business inside my tiny mobile home. Not wanting to alert my housed neighbors, I refrain from lighting a candle and instead rely on my other senses to guide me.

I know all my clothes by touch and purposefully arranged them. Daytime clothes on the upper shelf, nighttime clothes on the lower one. Both shelves are organized the same, starting with shirts and ending with pants. Easy. Only difficulty are same-kind-different-color-socks. Can´t discern those via touch. Needless to say, I wear mismatched socks a lot. Even funnier, I own two pairs of Converse and yes, I´ve mismatched those before. People thought I was trying to be fashionable.

I know all my hygiene products by touch and those who share the same-shape travel containers I know by smell. No problem here. Brushing my teeth is a whole other ball game. I either brush using a mountain of toothpaste or barely any at all. That is, if I manage to actually get toothpaste on the brush. Eye-hand coordination is much trickier if you can´t use your eyes. Keeping your unusually large mouthwash bottle next to your unusually small laundry detergent bottle can lead to “clean cotton” breath, which sounds a lot better than it tastes. Trust me.

All important and much used items, such as my car keys, phone, chap stick, and pepper spray, each have their own spot. That doesn´t mean that each item actually makes it there. There is nothing more fun than searching for you phone in complete darkness!

I spent a large portion of my day reading books, working on my computer, and writing papers. If I could, I may be tempted to spend my hour before bed doing even more reading! Instead, I frequently download audio books and meditation music. It is very relaxing to look up at my glow-in-the-dark universe while listening to Edgar Allan Poe.

I´ve gotten so used to the darkness, really, now it´s part of my routine. It´s a time of relaxation, reflection, and contemplating the universe´s mysterious ways. Darkness can appear threatening, cold, and overwhelming. Over the years, I´ve found that darkness doesn´t provide cover for dangerous creatures. Rather it reveals the creatures that roam your own mind.

milky-way-916523_1280

Living without a Fridge

img_20161030_1736031During the summer months, food can go bad in no time. Whether you store your groceries in your vehicle, your backpack, behind a bush, or inside a storage container, the heat will spoil many items rather quickly. Don´t think that changes during winter; although many food items will stay fresh longer, quite a few, including vegetables, don´t do so well in freezing cold temperatures.

No fridge – no Problem

Certain foods keep just fine without refrigeration, while others simply need to be consumed a little quicker. Make sure to check your food thoroughly before consuming it; this includes the inside of fruits and vegetables. Unopened food items last longer than opened ones.

As a rule of thumb, anything canned can safely be stored outside. However, that doesn´t mean that your food won´t change. In summer and winter alike, anything solid will slowly but surely transform into a liquid with each major temperature change. I´ve experiences this with potato soup before; by the time I was ready to eat it, there were barely any chunks of potato left. I`ve had canned emergency soups in the back of my car for months without any problems. Have you tried the canned version of your favorite fruits and veggies? My favorites are canned pineapple, baby corn, and mixed vegetables.

6b2cbb33-ca69-4db1-a2a9-059d9f69722f_1-1b0e9f914bc540d2b7c3c41f6fc8bf83102d41ed-6773-42d8-aeed-e430eb03c1d3_1-4206df2a717eca81e3eaf958a1e62944

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be stored without refrigeration for about a week depending on the temperature and kind of food. In my experience, kiwis, bananas, avocados, carrots, grapes, and cucumbers last the longest, while bell peppers and tomatoes go bad rather quickly. Berries of any kind, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, go bad within a couple of days. Vegetables that completely freeze tend to turn to mush upon defrosting.

Beverages, such as ice tea and orange juice, last just fine during the winter, although you may encounter solidly frozen liquids instead of your favorite drink. During the summer, you don´t want to keep opened juice bottles for longer than a week.

Anything dried, such as cereal, crackers, and oats, will last as long as it takes you to eat it. No worries here. This leads to an amazing conclusion: If you can find a dried version of you favorite food, you can store it much longer. For example, I am really excited about dried milk. It lasts forever (figuratively speaking) and, depending on the brand, tastes just like regular milk. Just add water! Similiarily, I´ve discovered dried hummus, soups, instant meals, oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes, and more; all of which you don´t have to worry about spoiling.

6c178cb2-4405-47c7-bb50-f83b30437e7e_1-6c94608e93ce6d061a0195234baee50f51vtowtcx5l

Bread seems to last as long outside as it does inside. Jelly may spoil within a couple weeks, while honey may crystallize, but doesn´t go bad. Peanut butter seems to last forever, probably due to its high fat content.

DO NOT consume fresh animal-based products that have been left without refrigeration. This includes, but is not limited to, fresh meat, milk, eggs, sea food, yogurt, and cheese. Don´t risk it. Best case scenario, you´ll be worshiping the porcelain god for a couple days. Worst case scenario, you find yourself at the hospital with some unpronounceable illness.

Keeping food fresh longer

Personally, I´ve always kept my groceries in a “food box”. This can be any box really, however, a thick-walled plastic container with lid works best. Makes sure to insulate your box as much as possible; covering your box with a blanket helps a lot. If you keep your food inside your vehicle during the summer, try to park in the shade and use window shades to keep the inside cool.

Brand Spanking New Tiny Mobile Home

After the very painful process of purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, the fun began! For years I´ve been wanting to design and custom built my own tiny mobile home and the time had finally come. Although I really wanted the interior of a Sprinter van, I needed the exterior of an SUV in order to stay low-key and navigate through the city. This led me to pick the Ford Transit Connect as my future house.

Step 1: Taking out the seats

Despite the fact that the seats fold down perfectly flat, I wanted them gone in order to fit a custom bed inside. I did gain a few inches height wise and I have enough space to mount one seat back in if need be.

img_5446

img_20160711_160643

Step 2: Evening out the floor

Since I bought the Wagon instead of the Van, I had to deal with air ducts behind the front seats. The ducts are made of thin plastic and would me smushed the instant I stepped on one. A large piece of plywood with little legs screwed onto it took care of the issue.

Step 3: Building a bed

I´d be lying if I said I could have built this without my uncle´s expertise as a handyman. We bought some plywood (top of the bed) and a few framing studs (legs and support underneath), applied nails, used saws, hammers, and various other tools, and ended up with a pretty neat bed.

img_20160711_163432

img_20160711_164818

Afterwards, I spent hours sanding, treating, and painting the wood. It was at this point that my best friend began making fun of my “goth car”. I could do nothing but assure him that color was going to be added soon.

img_20160712_192736

We strapped the bed down in multiple locations and added rubber insulation to the sides in order to keep the car from getting beaten up.

img_20160714_105753

img_20160714_114734

Step 4: Adding storage

My aunt was getting rid of a couple old shoe shelves and before she could say another word, I was nailing them together to create one large unit. After a little sanding and throwing around some paint, I attached them to the bed. Believe it or not, they hold all of my clothes.

img_20160714_113003

I bought some fabric to hang in front of the shelf via sewn-in magnets, which makes for a cleaner look and keeps my clothes from sliding out. I also bought some fabric storage boxes that fit perfectly underneath the bed.

img_20160819_083744

Step 5: Sewing a mattress

Finding a mattress that´ll fit my oddly sized bed is pretty much impossible and thus I had to be pretty darn creative. My uncle had an old mattress he unsuccessfully had been trying to sell, and decided to donate it to the cause. I took the cover off the little foam pad, threw the pad in the bath tub, and about washed the stuffing out of it (it still smells like pine three months later). I then cut the foam to the right size and pretty much sewed a giant pillow case for it out of an old sheet. Voila!

img_20160714_131524-2

img_20160714_151705-2

The mattress is strapped to the bed with two cargo ropes. Otherwise, I´d find myself on the floor by midnight. Now that I am using a sleeping bag, I´ve strapped that to the bed as well. It actually makes for a cozy feeling to be strapped in so securely. And let me tell you, cozy feelings are hard to come by out there.

img_20160714_154234

Step 6: Sewing curtains

Let´s just say the curtains were and still are a little bit of a nightmare for me. I bought two different kinds of fabric: black cotton that hangs towards the window and pretty cotton to hang towards the inside of the car. First of all, don´t ever use cotton for curtains. Imagine trying to cover your windows with wrinkly newspaper, except that it won´t ever flatten. EVER! Also, the curtains ended up way too short for the purpose of completely covering every last crack. But they are pretty; I guess that´s a plus.

img_20160819_083537

img_20160819_083435

Step 7: Adding a safety net

The purpose of the safety net is to a) keep me from getting killed by flying household items in case of a serious accident (Today’s News: Hobo killed by can of tomato soup!), b) provide a professional looking barrier between the front and the back and c) serve as a professional looking attachment area for my screen I put up at night. It holds 350lb and can be detached on one side so I can get to my bed room at night without leaving the vehicle. It wasn´t exactly inexpensive, but it is absolutely worth the price. I had it custom made by some very very very patient experts at US Netting.

img_20160819_083400

Step 8: Decorating, move-in, and little additions

I added some glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling, because they are awesome. Period. In addition, they give me something to look at at night when l am listening to my audio books.

I also added a cargo net next to my bed to hold items such as my phone, keys, pepper spray and other items. It also provides a barrier between me and my curtains, which is rather useful considering that I´ve been know to rip down my curtains in my sleep.

img_20160819_083526

The back behind my bed offers enough space for my all-kinds-of-little-crap drawers and my emergency generator. My new tiny mobile home offers so much more space than my old one did, I don´t even need a storage room anymore.

img_20160819_085652

That´s it fellow hobos. Let me know what you think!

Take care!

img_20160819_083603

Nature´s Pantry: Acorns

img_20160911_151311

My first reaction to “Acorns are poisonous” was “Well, that´s bullshit”. I spent my childhood stealing them from the neighborhood squirrels and enjoyed them as a healthy snack for years. After consulting with the interwebs, I found out that in large quantities acorns can cause an upset stomach. Not quite the same as poisonous, yet good to know!

Acorns are rich in protein, vitamin B6, and fat and thus make the perfect wilderness snack. Although you can pick them green, you should wait for them to turn brown before eating them. Make sure that the acorn is free of any imperfections as this may indicate the presence of insects. Also, don´t literally steal a squirrel´s acorns. Instead of plugging empty an entire tree, take a few acorns here and there.

acorn-581882_1280

Depending on the type of oak tree you gather from, Acorns are more or less bitter in taste and thus you may wish to further process this nut as illustrated on this website. Personally, I enjoy them raw, but there a ways of making acorn flour, spread, and even coffee! Additionally, by boiling acorns in a particular way, one can even take bitterness out of them.

Enjoy!

Minimalism 101

DSC05030

I could (and will) give you plenty of advice on how to manage your resources wisely and save money left and right. However, as I was planning this post, I realized that a large part of the minimalist lifestyle is about why you do it rather than how. Confused yet? Allow me to explain.

As previously mentioned, my family is quite the opposite of excited about my lifestyle. My grandmother in particular frequently regurgitates a list of “inconveniences” and “hardships” the houseless have to deal with. “I wouldn´t want to go to the gym to shower” or “Isn´t that so much trouble to keep food without a fridge?” are only a couple comments on her list. Sure, it isn´t always easy to live life houseless, but what kind of life is easy? She sees troubles, I see savings. She sees hardship, I see adventure. She sees a lack of “home”, I see freedom. What´s all this got to do with my initial statement? If you truly are a person who needs an air conditioner, new fashionable clothes, the latest smart phone, and cable television, then minimalism is going to very very difficult for you. If you, however, can do without these things, enjoy finding new ways to reuse and recycle, and feel proud when your self control kept you from buying unnecessary junk, then minimalism is an easily obtainable goal.

In other words, minimalism is a mindset.

Clothes

I can´t remember the last time I purchased new clothes from a store. I almost exclusively shop at second hand stores and am amazed at the many dollars other people regularly spend on clothing.  I can walk out of Goodwill with a pair of pants, three shirts, a belt, and a pair of shoes and still pay less than what others pay for a shirt at Kohl´s. Now, it is true that Goodwill doesn’t always have an abundance of fashionable clothes. For nicer clothes I typically go to stores such as Plato´s Closet.

  • Shop second hand as much as possible
  • Buy new clothes on sale
  • Resist the urge to throw out old clothes simply because they are old
  • Use old clothes as rags or make a blanket out of them
  • Choose short and cool wash and dry cycles as much as possible; your clothes will last longer
  • Let your friends and family know that you will take unwanted clothes

Groceries

There are many ways to save money when it comes to groceries. I tend to save between $2 and $9 for each major shopping run just by using coupons from websites such as this one. Additionally, I save around $10 by purchasing cheaper brands and by only buying necessary items such as fruits, vegetables, and bread. Whether you´d admit it or not, items such as coffee, candy, soda, chips, dryer sheets, and energy drinks aren´t absolute necessities and should be viewed as little luxuries that can be purchased every once in a while (if at all).IMG_20160802_165243[1]

 

  • Buy items you have coupons for but only if you´d save money as compared to your usual buying habits
  • Avoid buying well known brands; compare labels to ensure that the no name product´s quality is reasonably high despite the lower price
  • If at all, buy unnecessary items on sale
  • Avoid going grocery shopping when hungry
  • Eat your leftovers (just do it)
  • Don´t buy bottled water
  • Don´t buy preportioned produce
  • You don´t need fancy meals every day; a good soup once a week is healthy and inexpensive
  • Avoid buying soda, iced tea, energy drinks, flavored water, and similar drinks; all your body really needs in terms of fluids is water

IMG_20160706_195311[1]

Utilities

Although many people take their access to running water, electricity, and gas for granted, it is that thoughtlessness that could cost you a lot of money. Every household has at least some potential for great saving and resource conservation. Personally, I´ve been using community facilities for quite some time now and don´t pay for personal running water, electricity, or heat.

  • Collect the cold shower water while waiting for it to warm up
  • Treat your electricity, heat, and water like a valuable resource; remember your last camping trip and how precious every last bit of these resources appeared to you
  • Avoid (over-)using large appliances such as dryers, dishwashers, and washing machines; wear your clothes until they are actually dirty, and hang them outside to dry
  • Use candles for some evening light and reuse unused wax
  • Get rid of/unplug unused devices such as DVD players, game consoles, that second fridge in your garage, and desktop computers.
  • Regularly go to the gym? Shower there!

Check out this site on how to lower your utility bill.

Stuff

Most of us own a whole bunch of stuff and by stuff I mean things that may be somewhat useful and nice, but aren´t a real necessity. Egg slicers, camping chairs, baby wipe warmers, phone stands, fancy dinner ware, jet skies, vases, automated air fresheners, and decorative everything are only a few of the many things we own, but don´t really need. However, more often than not, things are unnecessary simply because you already own one of it or it is overly fancy. Do you really NEED two or more can openers, pencil sharpeners, glasses, cars, purses, pillows, or hair brushes? Do you really NEED fancy shampoo, $200 bed sheets, or that expensive drill set?

Now, you might say, “Well, most of those things are pretty inexpensive”, which is true. As mentioned previously though, minimalism is a mindset. Not only does getting rid of stuff (and not accumulating more of it) free up your living space and your mind, it also teaches you to value your belongings. Imagine what life would be like without that one hair brush you own, and suddenly the $5 hairbrush lasts for years because you take care of it.

  • Ask yourself “Do I really need this” before buying anything
  • Avoid going shopping as a past time activity; there is more out there than the “joy” of consumerism
  • Enjoy and appreciate what you own
  • Unless an object is unusable, dangerously defective, or extremely difficult to use, it doesn´t need to be replaced
  • If a knick knack doesn´t fit in the category “beloved” or fills your heart with an excessive amount of joy, it´s not worth having.

Reuse and Recycle

To me, this is the fun part about minimalism! Be creative and think outside the box! Pretty much anything you own can be reused in some way, shape, or form. An empty milk container can carry water for your camping trips, old shirts can be used to make a blanket, grocery bags can be used as trash bags, old socks can be made into stuffed animals and dog toys, old electronics make for great art projects, empty grape bags function as strainers, used tea bags still have enough herbs in them to be used for beauty products, and, and, and.

Recycling pretty much stems from the same willingness to get the most out of our resources. Paper, plastics, glass, and many other materials can make a come back instead of slowly rotting away in a landfill.

  • Before throwing trash away, ask yourself if it can be repurposed
  • Try dumpster diving! You wouldn´t believe what people throw out.
  • Shop at markets and stores that allow you to bring your own containers
  • Donate unwanted items to charities

Check out this website for 101 tips on reusing and recycling

Glass, Recycling, Cans, Bottles, Reuse, Container

That´s it fellow free spirits! Do you have more ideas in regards to reusing and minimalism? Comment!

How to be a Happy (Urban) Camper

I’ve complied a list of “hobo etiquette” that will help you stay safe, undisturbed, and it good terms with the neighbors. Enjoy!

  1. Mind your own business

This rule is one of the most important, yet can be incredibly difficult to adhere to. It starts with the common courtesy of giving others space and privacy.

  • Don’t be peaking in a fellow hobo’s living quarters, residents’ apartments or houses, or vehicles parked around you.
  • Keep your distance from peoples’ homes and vehicles as much as you can.
  • Don’t be that creepy person who is watching everyone from inside their vehicle for fun

Seems simple enough, right? Well, sometimes things are a little more complicated. The better you are at camouflaging yourself, the more activities you’ll be able to observe that usually lie hidden.

  • Drug dealers: Absolutely none of your business. Find a different spot.
  • Loud-mouthed folks: Annoying but not worth getting in trouble or revealing yourself for. Just leave.
  • Fights/Shootings: That’s a tough one. What you should and should not do really depends on the situation. However, you should put your own safety first. Know that you should only be the one calling the cops if shit hits the fan, as you will have to reveal your homelessness to the authorities (which is never a good idea). In other words, I wouldn’t suggest calling the cops over a loud argument in a parking lot. Get the hell out of there and be done with it. If, however, someone was shot or got beaten up badly, call the cops and help. If the perpetrator is still at the scene, consider your own strength and weapons before facing him/her. Sometimes, simply blowing your horn and turning on your lights can scare an attacker away.
  • Domestic violence: Most definitely your business. Call the cops.
  • Animal abuse: I’ve reported animal abuse to the humane society before. You should too. Should you confront a drug dealer who hit his pit bull? If you value your own life and future safety, let the authorities handle that.
  • Theft/Damage: In most cases you can actually submit anonymous tips after the crime occurred.

2. Sleeping spots are for sleeping only

Unless you are on a designated campground or in a RV park, within city limits your presence will be tolerated at best. Many cities have made urban camping illegal and law enforcement keeps an eye out for you. Despite this, I see folks running around socializing, drinking beer, making people uncomfortable, washing their cars, putting up grills, and much more (you wouldn’t believe!). Not only do these people reveal themselves to law enforcement and the public, they compromise the sleeping spot for everyone.

  • Park. Sleep. Wake up early. Leave. End of the story.
  • If you need to get your car ready for the night, try doing so without stepping outside. It will attract a lot less attention to you.
  • Engage in low key activities only, such as reading, drawing, coloring, knitting, or whatever else floats your boat. Park under a street lamp for light. Producing your own light will attract attention to your vehicle.

3. Scouting and Rotating

I can’t emphasize this enough. Scouting is important in order to find a safe and hidden spot. In terms of etiquette, however, rotating spots is the more important step. If a store such as Home Depot, Kmart, or Walmart tolerates you on their property or you’ve found a great spot at a park n’ ride or church parking lot, don’t push the “welcome”.

  • As a rule of thumb, don’t use a spot more than once a week. Don’t park on a schedule, as law enforcement may be expecting you.
  • Letting spots “rest” is a good idea when the owners/law enforcement are catching on to you. Simply abandon said spot for several weeks or even months. In neighborhoods, however, you vehicle may be noticed more if it is not part of the usual landscape. Use your own judgement.

You can find more information regarding scouting and rotating here.

4. Present just another vehicle

Towels covering the windshield, trash pilled up on the dashboard, dirty laundry stuck to the windows, and a vehicle that is in desperate need for some serious TLC. Come on, make an effort! In order to go undisturbed you want to blend in.

  • Tinted windows combined with dark fabric on the inside of the vehicle make it almost impossible to discern your vehicle from others at a first glance.
  • Keep it clean and neat.
  • Trash or laundry strapped to the top/back of your vehicle is not OK, unless you own a closed carrier.

5. Keep your spots clean

I can’t see any good reasons to litter one’s sleeping spot with trash. I can, however, come up with a bunch of reasons why one ought not be a litter pig!

  • It’s utterly disrespectful towards the workers who have to pick up after you
  • It’s utterly disrespectful towards the company who tolerates you sleeping on their property
  • It’s utterly disrespectful towards mother nature
  • Littering makes the houseless community as a whole look bad
  • Trash reveals hobo parking spots to law enforcement, the public, and property owners
  • Excessive littering compromises the spot and area for all urban campers

Agree? Disagree? Do you have something to add? Comment!

Hobo Signs

These can come in handy if you find yourself in a new place and need to figure out your surroundings quickly! Personally, I typically rely on my scouting skills to find good places to sleep, rest, and hide out from the cops, but I do pay attention to “Camp here” and “Cops active” signs.

Hands and Feet

IMG_20150926_142439

Dirty happy feet

The above picture shows my feet in their preferred state: naked. Same goes for my hands; can´t sense my environment through fabric. No matter how you prefer your hands and feet, clothed or bare, if you rough it out there on a daily basis, you need to be taking special care of ´em!

As previously mentioned, a hobo´s most important possession is her body. Sure, walking and handling objects are everyday tasks and so we may not appreciate what our hands and feet do for us. But once you´ve experienced painful foot infections and severely cracked skin on your hands, you realize how much nicer it is to sense and navigate through your environment pain free. Add walking a few miles everyday, being exposed to the elements, carrying one´s belongings around, climbing rough terrain, and other common outdoor lifestyle activities, and you have hands and feet in desperate need for some serious care!

Lotion, lotion, lotion

Ok guys, I get it. Rough skin is a sign of hard work and manliness. You don´t want to be caught slapping butterfly-fart-scented lotion onto that skin and, god forbids, end up with soft hands! However, for those of us who are exposed to nature´s force, cracked skin is most definitely not an advantage, especially not when paired with insufficient hygiene. See, the skin protects us from harmful bacteria out in the environment. By letting your skin crack, you are pretty much asking for an infection. So, for crying out loud, if you have the means, invest a couple bucks in some Vaseline and keep your skin healthy. It is important to note, that excess moisture on your feet paired with air tight conditions can lead to infections as well (see below). A thin layer of lotion is sufficient for that area.

IMG_20160211_112400

Hobo hands which receive lots of lotion every day (now imagine lotionless hands!)

IMG_20160206_202631

My skin after a shower without lotion

When foot meets moisture (for too long)

I am not sure there is a hobo out there who doesn´t know the struggle. Especially during the winter, we stuff our feet into socks and boots and when we release them 15 hours later, … well, you know the story. Unfortunately, chemical warfare inside shoes is not all one needs to worry about. Athlete´s foot is a common fungus that at first looks a lot like flaking skin between your toes (especially your pinky toe). Now, neither the fungus nor the gym you shower at, are the problem really. You could dance in a bucket filled with that fungus for hours and not get it…. unless you happen to stick your feet into a warm, moist environment afterwards. There are creams and meds to fight the fungus. Here are some tips to avoid getting athlete´s foot in the first place.

keurfh

The perks of getting dressed in the dark… but they are clean!

  1. Clean your feet at least once a day. Water and soap are optimal, but baby wipes will work just fine. No, the area in between your toes is not self-cleaning (your belly button isn´t either, by the way). Get in there and clean it good!
  2. Keep your socks and shoes as dry as possible. Sprinkle some baby powder into your socks before putting them on; this helps absorb moisture.
  3. Change your socks at least once a day. Wear different socks to bed or wear no socks at all (during the summer).
  4. Take off your socks as much as possible.
  5. Check for signs of broken skin between your toes. If the area is red and itchy as well, you may want to invest in some athlete´s foot creme.
  6. Keep them nails trimmed! It is very uncomfortable to have to dig out an ingrown nail.
IMG_20160211_112614

At the library, at your sleeping spot, in your car, …, . Wherever you can take your shoes and socks off, do it!

Basic hygiene, lotion, and air. Do you have anything to add? More tips and tricks? Comment!

In terms of general health and hygiene advise, please see my posts hygiene for the houseless and what´s for dinner.