Aspiring Freight Hopper From Mass. Looking For Mentor

StinkySocks

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Hello Good Humans,

My name is Sam and recently I've been putting a lot of consideration into quitting my two jobs and hopping freights for a little while.
I have a fair amount of money saved up and I'm hoping to find a well seasoned freight hopper in the New England area to show me the ropes and potentially join me for my first jump.

Currently, I am a preschool teacher by day and a bartender by night, I've been working 64 hour work weeks (against my better, anti-capitalist, judgement) because I'm going through a break up and I've been trying to save up to find a new apartment. What I recently realized though is that even with these hours, and the money I've saved, it hardly seems worth it to find a new place. Recently I worked 3 weeks straight without taking a day off in hopes that this would get me a bit closer to a more secure financial position so that I might be able to leave my current living arrangement. Shockingly, I've only saved up a third of what I would need to put down a first, last and security somewhere nearby and honestly after working 64 FUCKIING HOURS 7 DAYS A WEEK FOR 3 WEEKS it seems like there is literally no light at the end of this tunnel. The housing market in Massachusetts is absolutely bonkers right now and I've never felt more inclined to just take what bit of cash I have saved up and hit the road.

I also want to clarify that I am in no way fleeing a "toxic relationship", we broke up 4 months ago and have remained living together during this time mostly for financials reasons. We coexist peacefully and we have done well to respect one another boundaries but it has grown pretty clear that our continued living together has hindered our ability to move on in any significant way. I only say this because:
1. I don't want anyone to read this post and grow worrisome for my well-being and
2. I don't want people to think I'm am making some sort of impulsive decision that I will soon regret.

As a matter of fact when we first began dating 5 years ago we often talked about running away to live on a commune or hopping freights, but we both just grew comfortable with one another. The longer we were together the less of a reality it seemed and in some ways I think this made me begin to resent him. There is a 10 year age gap between me and my ex-partner (me being the younger of the two) and truthfully I feel like I always felt more passionately about doing these things and I feel that he felt the older I got the less interested id become in such a transient, vagabond life style but in effect it has done the opposite. I am now 26 years old and I feel if I'm ever going to do this, I need to do it now while I'm still young and able bodied. Sometimes I even feel like I already wasted the prime of my youth living in some shitty sea side town north of Boston dreaming of all the lived experienced I could have had by now. I feel like I need to try, and if I fail I fail, but I cant continue to live with the "what if's" as they have already begun to reek havoc of my conscience and I've not even reached 30 yet.

I plan trying to get out by the end of October as I'm a bartender in Salem, Ma. and I make most of what I make all year in this one month. Salem is also the only location near me that I am aware of a freighting dock but if I'm not mistaken it only runs from Salem and up north to Maine and I much prefer to head south especially with winter right around the bend. I know I've heard there's a few stations in Pittsburgh and Philly that would get me a little more south bound but if I'm being honest, I really have no clue where to start. Any tips, leads or pointer of equipment ill need or places to scope a rideable freight running south sometime in early November would be greatly appreciated!!

Much Thanks,

-"StinkySocks" Sam
 

StinkySocks

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Just start traveling and don't focus on trains would be my advice. Hopping outta New England in late fall sucks balls anyways. Most people with experience will be down south / out west by end of October. NOLA halloween is basically the dirty kid convention.
Would you think I'm best off hitching my way down there? Truthfully, I feel a little nervous about hitting the ground running without any previous knowledge of travelling. Or should I take a bus/fly out and try to make a few connections? Is NOLA a good place to start meeting other travellers? I know it's probably more common in the south given the weather and the more frequently active railroads but do you have any suggestions on a good city/town to start in? I could afford a one way ticket just about anywhere in the country without breaking the bank.

Thank you for the response ☺️
 
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superphoenix

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I’m pretty sympathetic to this, having gone the teacher-turned-traveler route, now with 20,000 train miles and 44 states under my belt. Best advice here is wait until the weather warms before trying to hop anything. I’m working in the northeast through the winter (booo) to serve my long-term travel goals. Unfortunately winter is unavoidable in most parts of the US except far south, like LA/Miami/Austin. As far what city to visit, depends what you’re into! Best to go where you already have some friends, but barring that, the aforementioned cities (along with New Orleans) can be fun as hell. Shoot me a message, I might be down to link up in warmer months after the grind of winter.
 

JackSquat

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
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Would you think I'm best off hitching my way down there? Truthfully, I feel a little nervous about hitting the ground running without any previous knowledge of travelling. Or should I take a bus/fly out and try to make a few connections? Is NOLA a good place to start meeting other travellers? I know it's probably more common in the south given the weather and the more frequently active railroads but do you have any suggestions on a good city/town to start in? I could afford a one way ticket just about anywhere in the country without breaking the bank.

Thank you for the response ☺️

What places have you always wanted to see? You could choose a favorite place and go there and then decide where to go next. If you've searched this site you know the information is here to teach you the basics fairly quickly. There are a few very helpful books you can get, too. Don't feel bad, you're not the only one working a lot of hours. Some people work over 80 hours a week. Just concentrate on all the things you're thankful for in your life and you'll be much happier.

Good Luck and Take Care!
 

Wermi901

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I’m pretty sympathetic to this, having gone the teacher-turned-traveler route, now with 20,000 train miles and 44 states under my belt. Best advice here is wait until the weather warms before trying to hop anything. I’m working in the northeast through the winter (booo) to serve my long-term travel goals. Unfortunately winter is unavoidable in most parts of the US except far south, like LA/Miami/Austin. As far what city to visit, depends what you’re into! Best to go where you already have some friends, but barring that, the aforementioned cities (along with New Orleans) can be fun as hell. Shoot me a message, I might be down to link up in warmer months after the grind of winter.

I'm based in Austin at the moment and have no experience with freight train hopping either but am super interested in learning. If you guys wanna link up around then id be super down.
 

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