THE RIVERS OF THE UNITED States have a certain lore and mystique within American culture. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these roaring waterways were home to thousands. Entire communities existed on or near the water in self-made houseboats. The history of these communities has been explored briefly in river memoirs such as Harlan Hubbard’s Shantyboat Journal, but hasn’t been thoroughly examined in a present-day context. That is, until a modern shantyboat came bobbing down the Mississippi in the summer of 2014.
So I just realized that October marked five years since I signed up for StP and wanted to get some thoughts down about it. I discovered the traveler scene when I was 17 completely accidentally. I was chilling in a park and there were a couple interesting looking people there so I asked if they wanted to smoke a bowl with me. We started chatting and they told me about a way of life I was completely unaware of. It immediately enticed me and I started doing research about it. I bought some Crimethinc books and fantasized about hopping trains after high school.
We all know those days, the miserable ones. And we all know those people that just have to give you shit for your lifestyle. Here's my story, what happened while I was hitchhiking across the US and Canada.
Okay, so I haven't done this while living on the road yet, but I do it frequently when traveling and you can earn some cash from it, and if you're interested in the artistic sense you can get the satisfaction of earning a really nice portfolio. I wrote this sort of as a guide to modeling while traveling for pay via my own experience with it. Please keep in mind at this time I looked and passed as a girl without any sort of gender questioning, and most traveling models are women.
Some of you who know me know I am big on 'Quality Jungles'. The truth is, today they are virtually non-existent.This is due to several things. I'll get to that in a moment. Why jungles? Because Hoboes and tramps need a place to stop, rest up, clean up, feed up, wash and repair clothes and gear, and hopefully a place to socialize, trade, and share what one knows about the lines and general conditions. Sounds great right? Jungles have been in existence since right after the civil war. They used to be called 'hangouts' up until the latter part of the 19'th century. They were also relatively safe. There was an order of things, and the number of riders required order and safety.
A trip to Kyrgyzstan, over on the border of China. The Tian Shan Mountains are beautiful but a bit of a mission. The capital city has a mad market with all sorts of instruments, car parts, food, spices for sale. The people are friendly, and the vodka is cheap.
While some people start their life on the road going solo, many people prefer to have an experienced traveler to show them the ropes. Squat the Planet is one resource new travelers can use to find road dogs but you have to be careful about it. You’ll meet good folks and bad folks on the road and you have to figure out which is which and what to do about it.
The WNYC podcast – is, in a nutshell, amazing. Last week, they released a new episode titled Los Frikis, exploring the story of Cuban punk rockers in late 1980s Cuba who deliberately injected themselves with HIV. Part political protest, part response to a helpless situation, and part mass hysteria, Radiolab went into detail about a phenomenon that ironically paralleled Socialism’s painful death.
Being a traveler is hard enough at times, and throwing being trans into the mix definitely doesn't make it easier. But, in my opinion, it's better to travel and be who you are and want to be than sit around stuck, whether it's a bad situation or just a stagnant situation, so here's an assortment of useful stuff for helping people keep their skin intact and out of trouble when traveling while trans.
Dickie, now known as Knuckles, was the first traveler who Michael Joseph photographed for his "Lost and Found" series. Joseph noticed Knuckles, he said, because "he had an interesting anchor tattoo on his face and a very distinct look about him for a hitchhiker." The two first met in Las Vegas in 2011, and by chance they crossed paths three years later in Chicago.
Check out this beautiful documentary entitled COBRA GYPSIES directed by Raphael Treza. Up until watching this film, I never knew that the Romani still existed in India. This film is created in a way that the subjects do not seem to be exploited for a story, but are actually given a chance to have their voices heard…Enough of me talking, peep the COBRA GYPSIES documentary below.
The economic recession can be most witnessed in Leeds, Yorkshire where many young people share a single bedroom between up-to-ten people and a few dogs. Born from harsh job market and financial strain, the deeply-rooted punk community began crafting homes for themselves in the city’s abandoned buildings, often scavenging supermarket dumpsters after hours to put food in their stomachs.
They call her Runaway. Sleeping on the hardwood floor of an abandoned house alongside 10 others for a week, she found a temporary home. She met a group of fellow travelers in downtown Gainesville whom she stayed with in a squat house they knew about through word of mouth. “I hit the road to find myself,” said Amy “Runaway” Gates, an 18-year-old self- proclaimed “dirty kid” from Houston who hitchhiked for about a month before arriving to Gainesville in mid-January.
The heavy metal cowboy get-ups sported by Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider and Mel Gibson in Mad Max are probably considered more than a little passé in the world of men’s style, better left in the 1970s. But in Sub-Saharan Africa, the art of dressing like you’ve just stepped out of a Metallica concert is still very much alive.
This thread is to discuss the reasons that alcohol is so prevalent in the traveling culture, and how some of our scenes are even alcohol/drug-centric. I know alot of us are from shitty situations where drinking at a young age is seen as necessary to escape. Also some of us were just born predisposed to addiction. There is also the whole 'punk' image, where punks are supposed to drink and fight and be stupid. I figure the majority of us either are or used to be punks, and still have that rebel without a cause attitude. Then I guess there are times where you are bored and alcohol seems like a good idea to pass the time. Peer pressure is an obvious reason to, and can be combined with the others.