Hey from my gothy, little forest in Ontario, Canada

Tree Peasant

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Hey all! Looonngg time lurker, first time poster. I'm a forest gothic, hippy weirdo from southern ON, pretty much straight edge other than occasional drinks (yeah, prolly rare for an STPer, right?). I grow trees, make art, write and wander.
Never done any real hoboing in the STP sense, but done some bike trips, work exchange, and been homeless.

Currently I'm at a crossroads in life and am likely to lose my home again. Spent all spring in Toronto trying to move there, but gaddang, that place is EXPENSIVE!

Anyway, thinking of doing some bike touring of southern Ontario (grew up here, but never seen the place, ya know?). Hoping to make some new connections and hear from the pros.

Long term, looking for an "easy" place to be homeless in the winter. Dont drive, so car camping is out. But I work online (for peanuts). So otherwise, world's my oyster. Might go back to L. America.

Hit me up if anyone has any tips or knows the Great Lakes region of Canada and ever wants to meet up.

Cheers, all!
 

ali

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If you have a passport, it's well worth bike touring south for the winter. I did it last year and ended up in Florida, where i got a cheap ($100) flight to Panama where the weather is warm all the time. If you want to keep riding i reckon Colombia is a bit better than Panama, but plenty of people cycle all over Latin America. I would highly recommend learning enough Spanish to get by, though.

Bike touring can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. It's easy to buy a cheap bike with a heavy duty rack and some panniers to hold your stuff. I recommend panniers plus a small backpack on the back, then tent on the handlebars if you didn't manage to squish it in the back. Even if you only go 50km a day, who cares? You're east coast so you'll always find a place to stay. It's a bit tougher in the prairies and out west where sometimes it can be 100km or more between towns. But if you just start out slow, you'll eventually find yourself able to do more and more.

The US isn't as friendly as Canada imo, and almost everywhere it's more expensive, but the weather makes up for it. The hardest part is crossing the border because American border patrol and customs are the world's grade A biggest assholes. Just tell them you have a house in Canada to get back to and that you're only visiting for a couple months, hopefully they'll let you through.
 

Tree Peasant

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If you have a passport, it's well worth bike touring south for the winter. I did it last year and ended up in Florida, where i got a cheap ($100) flight to Panama where the weather is warm all the time. If you want to keep riding i reckon Colombia is a bit better than Panama, but plenty of people cycle all over Latin America. I would highly recommend learning enough Spanish to get by, though.

Bike touring can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. It's easy to buy a cheap bike with a heavy duty rack and some panniers to hold your stuff. I recommend panniers plus a small backpack on the back, then tent on the handlebars if you didn't manage to squish it in the back. Even if you only go 50km a day, who cares? You're east coast so you'll always find a place to stay. It's a bit tougher in the prairies and out west where sometimes it can be 100km or more between towns. But if you just start out slow, you'll eventually find yourself able to do more and more.

The US isn't as friendly as Canada imo, and almost everywhere it's more expensive, but the weather makes up for it. The hardest part is crossing the border because American border patrol and customs are the world's grade A biggest assholes. Just tell them you have a house in Canada to get back to and that you're only visiting for a couple months, hopefully they'll let you through.

Thanks for all the info!!! And nice to meet you. I spent some time in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia some years back. Colombia was definitely the most expensive of the three, and as a Canadian, I have to pay an extra fee to enter. It was hard finding places to go there sometimes because sections of the country are still off limits to foreigners due to the civil unrest.

A friend I met in Panama actually cycled from Panama City to the States, pretty much for free. Camped out in people's yards with their permission, dumpster dived, even had the bike donated from a sponsor, as she was riding for charity.

I'm far lazier than that though. 😆 I'd likely just find a place to hostel it cheap, wander the beach each day, befriend the local cute surfers and work online for funds.

In my experience travelling the US, it's way too expensive unless I do work exchange, which I'm not up for these days. Also, way too much gun violence there for my liking - another friend of mine was almost killed in Vegas! And the borders are guarded like vaults! When I had dreads, I'd get interrogated for ages - even going BACK INTO my own country!!!

I do like California though, so if I can ever find a way to be a beach bum there, I'm in! 😆
 

ali

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Not sure how long ago you visited, but the good news is Colombia doesn't have the entry fee for Canadians any more! I didn't encounter any places that were specifically closed off to foreigners, but i also didn't try to visit any of the border areas which are still known for some degree of drug and political violence. Quite a few police and military checkpoints on the roads, but they didn't care about me pedaling through on a bike. I found Colombia to be significantly cheaper than Panama too, but that might be because i didn't visit many touristy places.

Totally get you on the US thing. If you're just looking to bum around on the beach for little money, definitely think spending the winter in Latin America is a better plan :)
 
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Andrea Van Scoyoc

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Thanks! Nice to meet you. 😊 (Cool name btw! I used to sell sock monkeys back in the day as a starving artist.)

Awesome. I make sock monkeys and put them in places with notes, to pick them up and take them to other places.

Had one make it all the way to Chicago!

😁
 

Tree Peasant

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Awesome. I make sock monkeys and put them in places with notes, to pick them up and take them to other places.

Had one make it all the way to Chicago!

😁

Adorbs! I used to crochet gnomes and leave them in public places with notes like "this gnome needs a home." Didnt track them though. How did you find out where the monkeys made it?
 
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Tree Peasant

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Not sure how long ago you visited, but the good news is Colombia doesn't have the entry fee for Canadians any more! I didn't encounter any places that were specifically closed off to foreigners, but i also didn't try to visit any of the border areas which are still known for some degree of drug and political violence. Quite a few police and military checkpoints on the roads, but they didn't care about me pedaling through on a bike. I found Colombia to be significantly cheaper than Panama too, but that might be because i didn't visit many touristy places.

Totally get you on the US thing. If you're just looking to bum around on the beach for little money, definitely think spending the winter in Latin America is a better plan :)

That's good to know the fee is gone now! The main thing I found more expensive about Colombia were the buses. I could get a 10 hour ride in Costa Rica for like, six bucks, but in Colombia it was significantly more.
Some of the Darién area was definitely off limits, and the Caribbean past Palomino, apparently. A few other places too. This was back in 2015 though, so things might be different now. I remember meeting a local guy in Medellín that said most tourists in Colombia were Colombians, because they hadn't been able to travel within their own country while all the violence was happening!
 

ali

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That's good to know the fee is gone now! The main thing I found more expensive about Colombia were the buses. I could get a 10 hour ride in Costa Rica for like, six bucks, but in Colombia it was significantly more.
Some of the Darién area was definitely off limits, and the Caribbean past Palomino, apparently. A few other places too. This was back in 2015 though, so things might be different now. I remember meeting a local guy in Medellín that said most tourists in Colombia were Colombians, because they hadn't been able to travel within their own country while all the violence was happening!

Yeah, it's too bad Colombia doesn't have those chicken buses, the big tourist buses are definitely pricey, you could almost just fly for the same price. Probably the best way to travel if you don't want to cycle is to buy a scooter, they can go through all the toll booths for free like a bike, and almost all the little village hospedajes let you wheel your scooter into the hallway. (Those kind of places are where i stayed most of the time on my bike.) Not sure if you need a license, though. Probably :(

I cycled all the way along the coast past Palomino to Riohacha, and took a couple share cars around the La Guajira desert. There is a pretty active tourist scene in Cabo de la Vela, a little pocket of foreigners either on group tours from Santa Marta or adventure tourists hanging out at the kitesurfing hostels. It's an interesting town, middle of the desert on one side, Caribbean coast on the other. No electricty or plumbing, just a couple places in town have a generator and you need to buy all your drinking water. I really enjoyed just walking out into the desert for a couple hours round there, pretty much only goats and sand out there.

Also in La Guajira there's a town called Uribia which is basically the last place with services before you go into the desert proper, it's a real busy marketplace with tons of almost-certainly-smuggled-in goods from Venezuela. They call it the indigenous capital of Colombia! Of course due to what i think was racism pretty much everyone outside of La Guajira said you shouldn't go there unless you are on a group tour, too many dangerous indigenous people who'll rob you, bla bla... But to be honest i found most Wayuu people i met super friendly, proud of their own language and culture, and happy to meet a tourist with perhaps less preconceived notions than internal tourists. One of them was proud of his hometown of Manaure, a salt mining town that's also on the coast. I passed through in share taxi up and back to Riohacha, looked like a nice spot. I stayed at a weird little town called Camarones next to the flamingo sanctuary too. Super chill. I met some local hippies up the road who said you could just go down to the beach and camp there no problems, get some beers from the local tienda and just bum around away from it all. I think if i ever went back to Colombia it's really La Guajira i'd be going back for. It looks a bit Mad Max on the surface, but the people there felt the most down-to-Earth i met outside of Barranquilla.

There are definitely loads of internal tourists. I think it's cool seeing so many people traveling around visiting their own country. It was probably a bit more than usual when i was there due to COVID, lots of people have spent the last few years exploring their own countries due to travel restrictions on the borders.
 
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Hobo Corncob

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Nice to meet you! I finally got out that way for the first time recently! Any good cycle spots or cool wilderness you know of there?

The Bruce Trail starts in Niagara and goes all the way up to Tobermory, 12 Mile Creek in St Catharines is pretty cool( also the original location of the Welland Canal), the current Welland Canal is always a neat thing to check out, there's also lots of waterfalls. Ball's Falls is badass, has a historic ghost town there as well as the waterfalls.
 
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Andrea Van Scoyoc

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Adorbs! I used to crochet gnomes and leave them in public places with notes like "this gnome needs a home." Didnt track them though. How did you find out where the monkeys made it?

I had a FB page for him and included the link with his paperwork, asking people to post on FB where he was found and where he was being left.

One woman took a pic of him in a tree in a Botanical Garden in Miami and then a pic of him sitting in his airplane seat and the last I ever heard of him, she set him in a tree somewhere in Chicago and snapped a photo.

He disappeared after that, but I'm seriously considering making another and sending him out into the world again.


😁
 

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