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!

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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.

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Minimalism 101

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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

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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

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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.

Roughin’ it – what’s it really like

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Many of us try to stay warm, comfortable, and healthy by employing strategies similiar to the ones house dwellers use. While some methods may work very well, there are some aspects of living outside that require a somewhat different approach. In addition, the houseless lifestyle comes with some more or less inevitable changes.

Exercise included

I am a firm believer that a healthy body is essential for a healthy mind and vise versa. Thus, I used to go swimming 2 – 3 times a week to counterbalance my rather sedentary student lifestyle.  Although I still dedicate much time to my studies, I am a lot more active than I used to be. Slowly but surely, I watched the extra fat on my belly disappear, until I realized that I had to cut down on unnecessary exercise or increase my calorie intake in order to maintain a healthy weight. What changed?

  • Lazy days on the couch become rare if you don’t own a couch. That’s pretty self explanatory.
  • You can’t just fall into bed at the end of the day. In an house or apartment, most essential tasks are automated: your dishwasher washes your dishes, the air conditioner makes sure the temperature is just right, the washing machine takes care of your laundry, and who cares if your place is a mess. As a hobo, you need to take care of these things yourself. Finding a place to sleep, carrying around essential items, setting up a bed, and keeping yourself and your stuff clean, requires a lot of energy. Believe it or not, even stacking blankets and getting comfy during the winter can be exhausting.
  • Your body heater runs 24/7 during the winter. Researchers estimate that we spend about 5 times more energy when shivering than we would normally. However, it doesn’t have to be freezing cold out. Constant exposure to temperatures in the 60’s (15º C) is sufficient to burn a substantial number of calories in order to stay warm.
  • A warm, calorie-rich, yet healthy meal may not be available every day. And that’s when your body will go to its personal pantry, namely your belly and hips (and wherever else you may carry those extra pounds), and prepare its own meal.

Your body is your most important possession – treat it well! Don’t start feasting on unhealthy foods just because you don’t have a kitchen. Cut down on fast food and eat quality calories whenever possible. Make sure you get your servings of fruit and veggies and drink plenty of water. Most importantly, realize that your lifestyle may be demanding enough without any extra exercise.

Getting Tough

Being exposed to the elements results in a variety of changes, some of which are rather positive.

  • During the summer, the sun makes an effort to turn your skin into leather. During the winter, the cold dries out your skin, which results in cracks and itchy spots. Lotion, lotion, and more lotion. Use it! Also, protect your skin from direct sun light and the cold by wearing appropriate clothing.

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  • Many of us become less sensitive to outside temperatures but may find the constant air conditioned world of housed people rather annoying. Walking into 70° F (21° C) heat after spending hours in below freezing temperatures feels like walking into a sauna!
  • If you spend a lot of time walking or riding a bike as part of your lifestyle, you will notice how these tasks become easier with time. Your physical health and strength will increase and you will feel healthier and fitter (if you have the means to properly take care of your body).

Comfort

Comfort is relative. In terms of sleep, I define comfort as “not hurting the next day” and having warm feet throughout the night. In terms of nice, comfy feelings, I’d say a hot shower is pretty awesome.

Living outside makes you appreciate the small things in life: a tasty meal, the sun on your skin during the winter, a cold breeze during the summer, a comfy bed made of leaves in the woods, the beautiful Colorado sun rise, a nice smelling candle, and so much more. We don’t need more in life; we need to appreciate what we have.

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Do you have anything to add? What are you grateful for?

6 Duh! Moments in a Hobo´s Life

No matter how well-informed one may be, some knowledge and wisdom can only be gained through experience. Here is a little list of duh! moments I´ve had while living the houseless life.

  1. Tamed nature doesn´t make for a good sleeping spot

I typically make an effort to sleep in natural areas. I enjoy waking up to the view of mountain ranges and lush nature. Unfortunately, I am not always able to sleep quite that elaborately. One night I settled for a nice spot next to a well-groomed park. About three hours after going to sleep, I was rudely awoken by what sounded like a mad animal jumping up and down on my vehicle. My heart was pounding in my chest and I grabbed my pepper spray and taser ready to fight of the monster on my vehicle. When I moved my curtains, I saw that the “monster” was nothing but the sprinkler system watering the park (and my SUV).

2. It´s not written on your forehead

Wherever people go, they see what they expect to see. At a store, they expect shoppers. At school, they expect students. In a neighborhood, they expect residents. What does this mean? It means that unless you´ve had a really rough night or don´t have the means to keep up your appearance and hygiene, most people will never guess that you are houseless. When you sit in your vehicle at a store, people don´t automatically assume that you are waiting for the right moment to sneak in the back of your car. They see a person waiting for a friend or spouse.

3. Air is more useful than you think

When it is particular cold outside, the tendency is to stay mummied up pretty much all day (and all night). A shower or spit bath is sufficient to stay clean, right? Nope. Bacteria thrive in warm stuffy conditions and thus it is necessary to let some air get to your skin. This is especially true for your feet! Now, your top priority remains staying warm, but whenever you get the chance to take off some of your clothes, and most importantly your socks, do so!

4. It gets dark at night

Although I did know I had to remain unseen for the most part, it somehow didn´t occur to me that this meant sitting in darkness when it gets dark outside. Personally, I have no issues with that whatsoever; in fact, I´ve gotten really good at identifying objects via touch!

5. Not everybody hates you

There are a lot of stereotypes out there regarding the homeless and many people have rather negative feelings towards us. While it is true that some people would like for us to be banned from the city, there are individuals out there who actually care. A cop I met a bit ago who was shushing me away in the middle of the night, was actually just concerned about the recent violent crimes in the area. Keep an open mind.

6. The unwritten rules

Signs stating “No Overnight Parking” don´t always mean just that. Also, you can still get towed at stores who allow overnight parking if you happen to be at the wrong part of the lot. The moral of the story? Scout, observe, and learn. Being a hobo means living in a niche that has no handbook to go by.

Surviving the Winter

Every season offers challenges to those of us who live outside. While the summer has us fussing about the never-ending heat, the winter will ruffle our feathers a different way. This guide is intended to provide some useful insights on how to make it through the winter in temperatures below freezing.

 Clothing

Although your biggest concern are nighttime temperatures, many parts of the world have ridiculously low temperatures during the day as well. Now, some of this is common sense: Dress in layers, wear long underwear, and keep your head, hands, and feet covered. However, other important methods of staying warm are often neglected.

  • Keep your feet dry, warm, and clean at all times. This means changing your socks at least twice a day (before and after bedtime). If you tend to have sweaty feet, take an extra pair and change your socks around the middle of the day as well. Even a little bit of sweat can moist your socks and feet just enough to cool your body down considerably. Absorbent socks are helpful. Also, try to give your feet some air every day. When you live outside during the winter, your feet will most likely be covered 27/7. This is a perfect condition for bacteria to grow and blisters to form. Air, hygiene, and the use of body powder on your feet will help prevent these conditions.
  • Invest in a good pair of boots. Depending on where you live, your feet may have to deal with excessive rain, snow, and sub-zero temperatures. As previously mentioned, it is crucial to keep your feet warm and dry. A pair of waterproof and well insulated boots can make the difference between healthy feet and loosing a toe. Personally, I prefer waterproof boots from Keen. Here in Colorado we have to deal with snow and temperatures down to 10° F  ( – 12°C) in the city and much lower temperatures in the mountains (I’ve experienced temperatures of – 9° F ( – 22° C) within the city limits – be prepared for the worst). In additionit can be useful to wear gators if you have to deal with extremely wet and snowy conditions. These are strapped around the bottom of your boots and usually extend to your lower leg. Gators keep snow and water out and, depending on what size gators you have, also keep parts of your pants dry. In extreme temperatures, we hobos simply cannot afford to have wet feet, socks, or pants.

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  • It may be time to regress to onesies. While light one-piece underwear can be useful during the day, I find them most helpful during the night. Footy Pajamas and onesies cover most of your body and keep you toasty warm. Shirts and pants may move during your sleep and expose your body to the elements; onesies will stay exactly where you put them. Footed Pajamas have the advantage that they keep your feet warm as well.

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  • Your head gets cold too. But more importantly, you loose a lot of heat if you don’t cover your head. A cheap little beanie will do the trick day and night.

Sleeping in a Vehicle

If you are fortunate enough to own a vehicle, you have the advantage of wind and rain protection. In addition, you are able to store blankets, sleeping bags, and plenty of clothing needed for cold temperatures.

  • Don’t kill yourself trying to stay warm. Believe it or not, sleeping with your car running greatly increases the likelihood of you not waking up again. Personally, I reserve this option for the most desperate of situations and to this day never had to turn on my car to stay warm (knock on wood). If you absolutely have to run your heater, do so while you are awake and only for short periods of time. In addition, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow, ice, standing water, or anything else that hinders the exhaust fumes from escaping.
  • Do I really have to mention propane heaters? If you are tired of your life, go ahead and try running one inside your vehicle.
  • That one candle… may actually keep you alive! Now, I have used candles before in order to stay warm, but I’d much rather rely on layers. Don’t expect miracles; a candle will not keep you comfortably warm.
  • Being invisible can be rather difficult. Who wants to worry about the authorities when trying to stay safe and warm? Unfortunately, an increasing number of cities view homelessness as some sort of crime and make our lives more difficult than it already is. During the winter, a person inside a vehicle equals fogged up windows. It´s a dead giveaway. Thanks to the gentleman who made this Youtube video, we now know that a sock full of kitty litter takes care of the issue.Considering that he intended the video for people who experience fogged up windows after entering the vehicle (and not while sleeping in it), I increased the number of socks from one to three. So far, it works great. We´ll see how good they are this winter!  (Oh btw., don´t be an idiot, like I was, and try filling the socks in your vehicle. You will have kitty litter everywhere for the next month!) In addition, cracking a couple windows will decrease fogging as well.

Sleeping Bags

Similarly to onesies, a sleeping bag keeps you tucked in safely and ensures that your body heat can´t escape. While it makes sense to buy a sleeping bag with an extreme temperature rating, these can be very expensive. Alternatively, you can purchase a regular sleeping bag and add some extra padding on top or on the inside. I recently made a couple sleeping bag inserts that add a layer of insulation and save money by allowing me to wash the inserts instead of the actual bag. I made one out of cotton and one out of fleece.

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Another important piece of advise: Get off the ground. Try to get some padding (cardboard boxes, yoga mats, mattress, anything really) or elevate yourself (bench, vehicle, etc.). I´ve slept on the ground several times before and unless you manage to heat up the ground with your body, you´ll never get warm. In the winter, forget about it!

Too Darn Cold

Even the hardiest of us can get overwhelmed by extreme temperatures. It’s not all about the physical challenge, but persistent cold weather can wear you down emotionally as well.

  • Try adding a little wellness and relaxation to your week. For example, if you have a fitness center membership (which I strongly recommend) make use of the sauna and/or hot tub. Treat yourself. Go to the movies. Or watch a documentary in the library. Go to a concert, an opera, somewhere you can get your mind off of your worries.
  • When shit hits the fan… don’t be afraid to admit that it is too cold. Call a friend or family member, hang out inside a Walmart, 24 hour fitness center, find a homeless shelter, a church, a police station, a hospital, somewhere warm, if you can’t stay warm enough to survive. Hypothermia often goes unnoticed until it is too late. This website offers a short overview regarding this condition. Also, if you are helping someone who is about to freeze to death, make sure the person does not undress herself. The phenomenon isn’t very well understood, but some individuals on the verge of freezing will experience a sudden subjective feeling of intense heat and thus try to rid themselves of their clothes.

That´s it; I hope you will find this helpful. Do you have additional advice? Leave a comment!

Stay Warm!