Anyone once a traveler and then not knowing how to live day to day off the road? (1 Viewer)

Wildflower

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Joined
Nov 26, 2020
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8
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traveling
Ok so I basically lived on the road since I was 18 either traveling by van, car camping or backpacking/thumbing the country. I spent over a year even as a solo woman backpacking and thumbing the west. I traveled nearly all the western states via thumb or on foot. Every night was the stars and every morning to wake up to some new or camp location I ended up by chance to the sunrise and morning dew. Its hard to explain but life circumstances pushed me back indoors and I have to live inside now . Its been a hard adjustment for me mentally yet my old lifestyle was a different chapter, different time and different mental health state. Anyone else have issues after moving back indoors and suggestions on how to bridge the gap of the lifestyles? I find myself on a bad day daydreaming of good packs and just walking away again to the unknown and into the home of the world and how it held me so. Yet the world seems different than it did when I was on the road. Not just covid but a bit darker but that possibly could be due to some traumatic events eventually my travel led me to as well so possibly it was the view change and some bad luck that changed the road for me. I find myself trying to find meaning in the day to day life off the road and I do find meaning in family but I find myself depressed often. It was almost as if it was in my blood going back to the original wanderers and the only escape to depression and monotony was that form of travel and connection to nature as well as the lifestyle of the free roaming highway. If I could play an instrument and I have tried I would write instrumentals on my travels just to express the feeling because words do no justice. I know people may recommend to try this and I have already.. but possibly will get back to it again. I just loved the culture of moving and being so free and at times even forced into it and rather than being homeless finding a home alone in the world everywhere I went and it being enough. Then moving indoors thinking I would enjoy once when I daydreamed of an easier life of enjoying it but I find it so stagnant and myself lonely often. Its bizarre bc on the road I was often alone yet not so lonely. Anyone else once out there and for some reason not able to anymore for ever reason? If you ever desire a penpal keep me in mind. I just find myself staring out the windows daydreaming sometimes but also in the pits of depression. I know all the obvious recommendations to get into art or craft. I just do not feel the inspiration yet to move me to do so. It just made sense to wander once and I wasnt lost.. i was just wandering and somehow I fit somewhere into some lifestyle that held me when nothing else did.
 
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acardweaver

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Joined
Nov 21, 2020
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Tucson, Arizona
Good luck. I started Traveling when I was 19, and I'm 40 now... My longest Hobo's Holiday was a recent year and eight months I spent in Chicago, but that ended in April 2019.

Even then the two people I dated were Travelers, and I almost bailed on Chicago twice in 2018, so I never felt totally stable.

Please keep us updated, I'm also interested in how ex-Travelers settle down, and I'm sure I'm not the only one on here!
 

Wildflower

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Joined
Nov 26, 2020
Messages
8
Location
traveling
Well its a bit of a long story and some of it I do not wish to revisit. Lets just say I had an encounter on the road that wasnt "the way of the road" and I had some recovering time. The road was never the same again for me in ways. It was always a safe place for me in my heart in ways because it was my home and my familiar. (possibly familiar is a better word than safe but it was safe in my heart for myself bc it was my heart in ways and called to me and always held me in ways when nothing else did ) I still miss waking to the smell of sagebrush all around me and just breathing in that pure feeling and then on the road again later on. It was such an adventure and lifestyle. It was a lifestyle. I am traveling somewhat now but not on foot and I am staying indoors. I lived outdoors for years and backpacked the country. From rooftop to mountain highs. From highway to canyons. Its been such an adjustment I find myself feeling lost at times without my old life back but its a new season now. I may rest up for a while and consider van life again. On foot was quite the adventure though I must say.. what a life it was...
Not always easy but so beautiful at times.. even finding beauty in what others might see as trash. It was the contrast of wild nature and remnants from the road and those that wandered it. I found so much beauty out there and within myself for living that way. It feels like a different world now though but I am hoping it will shift to a better planet and the road will come back again...
Any really good road lifestyle memoirs or poetry books out there? I need something for my hibernation time possibly.
 
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acardweaver

Newbie
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
43
Location
Tucson, Arizona
You can't go wrong with those Hobo Lee "There's something about a train" series zines.
The Road by Jack London, You Can't Win by Jack Black, Sister of the Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha, Desolation Angels and Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, Enrique's Journey, Evasion from Crime ThInc., Scam, old Cometbuses and that Lee dude also used to do a 'zine called Hoboes from Hell...
 

acardweaver

Newbie
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
43
Location
Tucson, Arizona
hey thanks for the recommendations to you both!
You're very welcome, No Gods No Mattress is another great 'zine by a Traveler, Enola Dismay, and Johnny Alone has done great Travel art; I'm sorry for your situation. My last hobo's holiday was mostly by default of losing momentum after a bad break up and losing my gear following that. Please hang in there and keep us updated in how you adjust! If I think of more books and 'zines I can let you know. Maybe we can start a separate thread if there isn't one already! Take care.
 

Doom

Newbie
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
15
Location
Wherever
Fuck. This hits home. I grounded myself to try and work things out with my wife. Now I'm sitting here with my life and other lives in shambles cuz I ain't mentally cut out for housie life. Be traveling again soon. All the best, and I may take you up on the pen pal offer!
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
30
Location
USA
I grew up running around on the streets.. punk rock led to kinder-squatting, which led to meeting travelers, now I’m in my thirties, blasted in shitty tats head to toe.. most everyone cool is dead or in prison. In my early / mid 20s I had a kid and almost settled down until that went to shit.. only worked seasonal jobs and temp shit, no education.. North America feels small at this point and it’s depressing, almost killed my self with booze... so I went to rehab. Sobriety is my last ditch effort at “normalcy” ... all other attempts failed. Adulting is fucking hard, and the social media generation of travelers is mad cringy.. I feel fucking old as shit, back when I started phones flipped and no one had one. *sigh* sorry, thanks for the perfect thread to bitch and moan in though
 

Mrcharwe

Wayfarer
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
51
Location
On a bicycle, in the desert
Im approaching mid 30's. Basically left at 18 and haven't stopped much. I even built my "professional" salaried career around having at least 6 months a year travelling. In the end, 6 months wasn't enough, I quit and have been full-time back on the road for 2 years. When life is hard and shit seems to be against me, I dream of being in a stable life. I also know that if I get a stable place and a job I'll be miserable and bored 6 months later. So I keep travelling because I don't know what else to do and how else to be happy. I think the curse of travelling is everything after seems to lame and corporate but travelling can be shitty too, so you get stuck in that rock and a hard place situation. Bored or miserable, choose
 

Tekamthi

Newbie
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Great Lakes
i'm the odd one out here, cuz i only started travelling in the way you guys describe here when i was much older, and had followed the standard path society sets out for a "normal" life til then... even was a "valedictorian" (lol) before realizing I was building a life in which i was subject to the irrational whims of the despot in which I was born. I never really made the choice to start travelling... I began this lifestyle to avert my own destruction, not out of any internal desire.

Fast forward a few years, and getting stuck indoors has become truly difficult... living outside, I don't drink and rarely smoke, and only eat healthy. Whenever I settle somewhere, though, this brand of self-destruction reappears every time... either that or I find some way of leaving. On foot with a pack is the only time i feel at peace, but I can't maintain this lifestyle forever, cuz my homeland happens to be frozen for half the year, and as much as I've tried, I end up back here every time I try to leave it behind.

While we've each had wildly different experiences, no doubt, I suspect the problem underlying the issues described in OP are not intrinsic to any of us, really, but a product of the authoritarian nonsense that defies rational understanding, imposed all around us. The greatest insight I've found came from an undergraduate psych textbook, specifically the chapter on refugees... I don't meet the letter of this definition, however this unexplainable desire to travel, and many other factors I experience, are laid out very clearly therein. Now, I'm not giving a full endorsement to these theories; there are few answers or solutions to these things as they're laid out by academia, but at least reading this material might provide some understanding.
 

mrose

standing in the rain
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Dec 18, 2020
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anywhere but here
I’ll be almost 5 yrs off the road in March. I feel for you.. I woke up depressed today dreaming of the road and how my life used to be. I miss sleeping under the bridge near the yard and waking up in the middle of the night me and my pup.. listening to the trains and the cars over head.. smoking a couple cigarettes and staring off into the misty night. Listening to a couple songs on my phone if it was charged.. if I had one..I miss the freedom that I’ve never felt anywhere else.. I miss the dirty side walks and the alleys that used to know me.. meeting different people everyday.. seeing the kindness in people when they helped me out.. I miss riding trains and the bang of the tracks...into the night.. I miss my first road dog Felton.. RIP.. back in 2008 San Francisco when the city was different and we were young and wild and free. I was healthier then.. not yet burdened with 211’s and drug addiction.. the streets of Miami didn’t know me yet.. we’d camp by the fire on the beach scream to the ocean and burn our ID’s.. I miss sowing up my cloths and being dirty.. I miss the way a guys shirt smelled after he wore it forever without washing it... but all that had to change for me.. my health drove me back inside, when the road became the streets for me.. where I soon could only tune into the dark energy that awaits anyone willing to take it.. i became a magnet for bad things to happen and my experiences scared me bad. Been through some crazy shit out there.. but still I was never scared.. I’ve always been fearless..it’s just I’m worn out and worn down now.. I’ve been ok off the road for the most part until recently, I’m getting that itch again.. but it’s over for me now.. there is no going back.. going back for me is to die.. I do want a family someday, I’m 31 yrs old now. I spent 10 yrs on the road.. it will always have a peice of my heart <3.. I plan to take trip with my dog to bring him to the places he grew up traveling.. he’s old now and I know he misses the road to.. I feel really bad for him.. he grew up out side.. anyways idk that probably doesn’t help but your not alone.. it’s always really hard for me to let go of anything and embrace change.. a good book is “you can’t win” by jack black, a old train hopper from way back 1890 and on.. much love you to wherever you are
 

DuHastMich

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
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Jan 20, 2014
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United Snakes of America
I’ve always been fearless..it’s just I’m worn out and worn down now.. I’ve been ok off the road for the most part until recently, I’m getting that itch again.. but it’s over for me now.. there is no going back.. going back for me is to die..

Your story is pretty similar to mine, and I commend you for recognizing the death trap hitting the road could be for you.

One way you could "scratch your itch" without directly exposing yourself to the areas or lifestyle that you cannot return to is maybe rubber tramping. Convert an old van into some sleeping quarters, and have the freedom of knowing that when you feel like you need to leave, you only need to turn over the ignition and drive away.

Wandering America is so much different today than the early to mid-90s. The vibe is different. The people are not as accommodating as they used to be to vagabonds, hitchers and the likes.

Glad to have you here at STP to share your adventures. :)
 

Beegod Santana

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The woods
.. I miss my first road dog Felton.. RIP.. back in 2008 San Francisco when the city was different and we were young and wild and free.
Man I miss that kid. Showed him around SF the first time he made it out west. We homebummed pdx in the winter together years later... 09' Dead tour... Festy trash tour... Man those were the days. Whenever I didn't feel like I was about to collapse from exhaustion I was having the time of my life.

I miss it all dearly, but I just tell myself it can't last forever. You can only live in the moment so long till one of those moments goes horribly wrong. Not very inspiring I guess, but I'm just happy to be here.
 

seasonchange

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Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
88
Location
east coast
Currently posted in Philly with a room of my own for the first time in two years. My last spot was in the Bay area living with 10-12 traveling types where I managed to keep a room three months before leaving to roam again. That spot was cool because everyone was down with that and it wasn't a matter of if folks would leave for months on end, but when.

I ended up in this new place on accident. Built out a tiny ass Geo Metro during the summer and drove to Maine to kick it with some friends, then started a free EMT program in the city. Still have just a Geo's worth of belongings. Lost the key to my car and can't find anyone with blanks to rekey it so I bought a short bus with PUA backpay. I wanna fix it up nice and take my time but have work waiting on the west coast if I want it and an RV rotting in an abandoned house's driveway out there. Might end up ditching my month-to-month room and head for the sunshine.

I'm about to turn 30 and have wandered pretty intensely since running away at 17. The problem is ya make friends all over and have to keep visiting to keep the lonelies at bay. That and, there's just so many places to miss. I don't really feel at home anywhere and honestly, perpetual motion is the only consistent mental health care I can afford. Just started therapy for the first time ever but I'm willing to sacrifice it. Things sort themselves out when I've got more space and quiet to think. Cities have a lot of the amenities and friends, but I need nature and wide open spaces to feel right more often than not.
 

FawnGone

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 23, 2020
Messages
40
Age
38
Location
Massachusetts
All of this is so relatable. I was fresh off a two day ride on the low highline when I found out I was pregnant... Almost 18 years ago now. His father and I were in love and engaged, and thought we could settle down... I thought having a kid would get me straight and save my life from drugs and self destruction- which it did- but there was a high price. Mitch never adapted to housie life, and was dead in a few years from drugs and depression. I suffered horrible postpartum and then grief for my love, and grief for my son to raise without a dad, and for my father who died then too, and grief for the road itself. I had no idea how difficult it would be to leave that life, for what seemed like forever at the time...

Every day I have missed waking up in the yards to the screeching and banging of the cars, missed that feeling of getting by with little to no sleep and seeing the sun come up over a new city skyline like a dream, the feel of getting a ride with a long haul trucker and being able to safely sleep in their bunk cabin as the road rolls underneath, the smell of hot tar and wet dogs, the joy of having your friends come back through town, the pure freedom to not have to be accountable to anyone. The friendships made and broken, the struggle together and the shared bottles, I have ached for it and more, everyday somewhere in my bones.
I joked to Mitch when I was pregnant that this 18 years will be a long housie vacation, and then I'll return to my real life. I realize now that I wasn't joking at all, and as lil Skunky gets closer to 18 and wants to know more about that life, and his father, and the road is calling him the way it did to me when I was young, younger than him, that it is unescapable, and we are heading out soon...

I think that everyone who has ever lived this life feels it in their soul forever. There will always be this ache lodged between our hearts and our spines, somewhere deep and wild, that will never, ever let us be content away from trains, or the highway, or the road. It is a curse and a gift. And when that ache becomes too great, whether after 4 months or 20 years, we will lope off into the brush and yards and jungles and on ramps and alleys again.
 

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