How to be a "hobby hobo" without being an oogle? (1 Viewer)

loathsomeginger

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I've read a lot of comments lately about what a true hobo/vagabond is or isn't on StP and r/vagabond lately, which I completely understand. However, with that said, I think there's a way for people who hop freights, hitchhike, etc. to coexist in a way that respects one another. Personally, when I'm on the road I do my best to treat everyone I meet as though they have something to teach me.

I don't pretend that I'm a true hobo or vagabond because I'm simply not and they seem to appreciate it when I'm upfront about it. I just explain that I'm here to observe and learn, i.e. to be a fly on the wall. I've never claimed to know what it feels like to be truly homeless or on the road for an extended period of time, because I've never been there and probably never will be. On top of that, I try to help whoever I hangout with during my travels in whatever small way I can, buying food, cigarettes, whatever. I feel like when you approach hobos, tramps, etc. with a neutral, nonjudgmental attitude it makes it a lot easier for everyone to get along. I also always do my best to learn on my own, i.e. through research or experience, before asking unnecessary questions.

I think that with this attitude one can be a "hobby hobo" or vagabond without being an oogle. Then again, maybe I'm wrong. What are your thoughts?
 
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MarsOrScars

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Your case is similar to mine. I'm not a full time traveller, but I'm working out how I will be travelling. Reddit can be a very opinionated place and I've already heard a fair share of negative opinions about StP - which all around I've come to love this place for the wealth of information and amazing stories.

So, don't worry about being much of an "oogle," just partake. At least as far as you feel comfortable, oh and shoot the smack dealer. Also, if you don't then GTFO. There are guides/anecdotes on personal safety around these parts you could look into as well.
 

Sweece

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Saw this on reddit and I completely understand huckstah's response on it. For me personally, I think it's totally cool if you are a hobby hobo, as long as you respect the people who actually need to live this lifestyle, in which case it sounds like you do. I'm in the same position where I have a great desire to travel using these "vagabond" methods, but I can always go back to a home if I want to. To me, it seems like a lot of these travelers who are homeless can't simply leave this lifestyle, so seeing some college kid who just wants to do it for fun is a bit of a threat or even an insult to how they live. They've earned it and you haven't. Of course I only speak from observation, so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that.

So yes, you can definitely be a "part-time" vagabond and not be such an oogle. I think it all comes down to experience, maturity, wisdom, and respect.
 

Matt Derrick

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Saw this on reddit and I completely understand huckstah's response on it.

I assume you're talking about this thread:
https://www.reddit.com/r/vagabond/comments/42tb2g/how_to_be_a_hobby_hobo_without_being_an_oogle/

which i looked over briefly, and i pretty much agree with most of what's been said there.

first off, i think it's important to point out that NO ONE travels full time. If they say they do/did they're a fucking liar. Traveling 'full time' is neither possible, nor desirable. I've had to travel to an ass load of place in a short amount of time and it sucks (e.g. flying coast to coast several times in a few weeks). You don't have any time to enjoy anything you're visiting, and I imagine that's what it's like to be a businessman that travels all the time.

even 'full time' travelers as they're referred to aren't constantly in motion. so we all need to get past this notion since it draws an artificial line between different people doing the same thing. the only difference is that the person on one side of the line thinks they're logging more miles than the other and that gives them some kind of seniority over people that aren't up to their standards. ultimately this leads to divisiveness in the community and in-fighting that is not productive in any way whatsoever, since it takes focus away from the real problem.

no one likes having their culture appropriated, and that's what the real issue is here. it's not that you're 'not traveling enough' (from an accuser standpoint) or that you're not traveling 'the right way' (again, in the accuser's opinion) it's that having someone come along and enjoy the fruits of your culture without contributing anything to it can not only be insulting, but ultimately threaten that culture as more and more folks come in to do the same.

unfortunately, the majority of the traveler culture as we know it today mis-labels and mis-interprets culture appropriation with accusations of being an 'oogle', 'hobby hobos', 'foamers', 'summer squatters' or any other manner of terms that basically are meant to de-legitimize those people in some way. whether these accusations are correct or not depends on the accused, but overall we need to discourage the slanderous terms being used and name the problem for what it is (culture appropriation).

at lot of it comes down to respect. like @thatjournalist said, humility, respect, and giving something back goes a long way towards becoming part of that community instead of taking something from it.

I've become pretty thick skinned when it comes to people's negative opinions of this website, but i'm not going to say that it doesn't bother me; it certainly does, especially when i put in so much work to keep this place going. but throughout the years i've learned that there's a lot of fucked up people out there that think they're better than you because of arbitrary/imaginary rules like 'i rode more miles than you so you're an oogle' and 'you're not doing something the way i think it should be done, so you're a shitty person' and similar stupid high school bullshit.

these people will do extremely fucked up shit like lie about you in an attempt to ruin your life (i.e. widerstand) and in some cases outright murder other people because they aren't 'train core' enough (I witnessed someone strangle a person nearly to death over this). so when you see someone talking shit on StP, keep in mind the type of people who are throwing the rocks.

ultimately, i've come to the opinion that if you're not pissing somebody off, you're not having a big enough impact on the world. so let elitists and 'better than you's' talk their shit. StP has done more for people than any of them ever will.
 

Frodo

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It really depends on the individual. in my experience, anyone that has judged me by the miles ive ridden, or how i looked were not worth hanging around with anyways.
 
T

tintinhurray

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Never mind.
 
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T

tintinhurray

I deleted myself
that sentence doesn't quite make sense to me. you mean that hobby hobos take away resources? what resources?
Was going to make a point, but my phone decided to hit "post" before I could even.
 

landpirate

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I feel like when you approach hobos, tramps, etc. with a neutral, nonjudgmental attitude it makes it a lot easier for everyone to get along.
Just by labelling someone a hobo or a tramp you've been judgmental sorry, but they/we are just people. It's not about how you approach them/us. You've made it sound like you're on some anthropological exploration or a safari in the jungle. Its just humans living, it's not a spectator sport.

I just don't understand why everyone and everything has to have a label? why does everybody have to be pigeon holed into one sub culture or another? We're all just people trying to do our best to live in a way that makes us happy.

Fuck justifying yourself to anyone. I couldn't care less what someone thinks of me and my way of life. That's not to say I go around acting like a selfish dickhead. I've just come to realise that people will look down on other people no matter what walk of life they come from, even people who are living the same way as you, so fuck them. it's not a competition. Life is hard and the last thing we need is to start fighting amongst ourselves, we're all actually on the same side!

Just treat people how you want to be treated. Show people respect and it should come back to you and if it doesn't then you can at least walk away knowing you behaved fairly.
 

loathsomeginger

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Just by labelling someone a hobo or a tramp you've been judgmental sorry, but they/we are just people. It's not about how you approach them/us. You've made it sound like you're on some anthropological exploration or a safari in the jungle. Its just humans living, it's not a spectator sport.

All valid points. I guess I used the terminology hobo/vagabond/whatever because the people I've met on the road self-identified as such. It wasn't a value judgement on my part, quite the opposite. I used that wording because that's how they described themselves to me. At the end of the day we're all just humans sharing the same ball of rock and dirt.
 
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no one likes having their culture appropriated, and that's what the real issue is here. it's not that you're 'not traveling enough' (from an accuser standpoint) or that you're not traveling 'the right way' (again, in the accuser's opinion) it's that having someone come along and enjoy the fruits of your culture without contributing anything to it can not only be insulting, but ultimately threaten that culture as more and more folks come in to do the same.

Would you mind explaining what you mean by "contributing to the community"? How does one contributes to the community?

I feel like I'm enjoying the fruits of it, by hitchhiking and squatting not because I need it and cant afford doing otherwise, but out of convenience: the cheapest I travel, the longer I can keep myself on the road.

I'd be more than happy to contribute to this culture, but I'm not sure how, besides giving hitchhikers rides, which I already did back when I had a car
 

MolotovMocktail

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Would you mind explaining what you mean by "contributing to the community"? How does one contributes to the community?
I can't speak for Matt but I think there a lot of ways a traveler can contribute to the community. The most obvious would be helping other travelers out (kicking down gear, helping greenhorns, etc.) but I think it also helps the traveler community to do stuff to improve society's views of travelers (not acting like an idiot in public, cleaning up after yourself, etc.). The better the impression people have of the traveling community, the more likely they are to help out a traveler.
Finally, I think sharing information helps better the community. Some people might think that publicizing your experiences only blow up the scene but I think the more accurate, skillful representations there are of the traveler experience (through writing, photography, art, stroytelling, etc.), the richer the culture becomes and the better we look to outsiders.
 

Matt Derrick

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Would you mind explaining what you mean by "contributing to the community"? How does one contributes to the community?

I feel like I'm enjoying the fruits of it, by hitchhiking and squatting not because I need it and cant afford doing otherwise, but out of convenience: the cheapest I travel, the longer I can keep myself on the road.

I'd be more than happy to contribute to this culture, but I'm not sure how, besides giving hitchhikers rides, which I already did back when I had a car

that's a good question. since you're probably as broke as the next hobo, I would argue that it's probably more important to not 'just take' from the community/lifestyle. but i do believe that simple participation, if done correctly, can be a perfectly valid form of 'giving back' to the community. obviously if there's no one out there 'doing it' at all, there's no community. so i guess what i'm saying is that you can give back in other ways that aren't monetary or physical goods. Just helping out your fellow traveler with directions, or sharing your soup with another hobo under a bridge are just a couple of examples. Just be helpful to your fellow man and I'd say that counts.

hope that makes sense, it's been a long day.
 

Matt Derrick

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I can't speak for Matt but I think there a lot of ways a traveler can contribute to the community. The most obvious would be helping other travelers out (kicking down gear, helping greenhorns, etc.) but I think it also helps the traveler community to do stuff to improve society's views of travelers (not acting like an idiot in public, cleaning up after yourself, etc.). The better the impression people have of the traveling community, the more likely they are to help out a traveler.
Finally, I think sharing information helps better the community. Some people might think that publicizing your experiences only blow up the scene but I think the more accurate, skillful representations there are of the traveler experience (through writing, photography, art, stroytelling, etc.), the richer the culture becomes and the better we look to outsiders.

@MolotovMocktail 's explanation is much better than mine.
 
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I find that as long as you are respectful, kind, and willing to contribute appropriately, you'll find companionship from all kinds of people on the road. I have a family that is always more than willing to let me stay with them. I am working to make myself consistently more and more independent of them, but sometimes I go back to do some part time work so I can get a tune up for my current "home", or just to see them for the holidays.

However, when I'm on the road, I'm more than happy to help random stranded dirty kids or what have you. I had an extra sleeping bag until, one sleepy night near Trinidad, I saw some shivering homeless guy on the side of the road. He didn't have a backpack or anything. Just this scraggly little blanket that barely covered his broad shoulders. I pulled over and gave it to him on the spot. I've never seen anyone so grateful.

In the end, it comes back to you. You help people out by giving them a ride, they provide you with company and food for the miles. Often, you even wind up with a new friend who'll keep in touch with you long after you've parted ways physically.

However, I can see where some of the bitterness comes from. There are certainly people who are looking to suck up the secrets of train hoppers/hobos in order to churn the information into some god awful abomination of a blog. Or maybe they are fiddling with the idea of train hopping because it seems "cool", rather than out of necessity. I mean, we see it on here all the time. "Lol, I'm 16 and I was wondering if some of the train hoppers could teach me how like where can I catch out..."

Honestly, with all of the horror stories I hear from train hoppers, I can't imagine why someone would do it unless they didn't have many other options. Nevertheless, it's pretty easy to avoid being one of these distasteful people. Show other people respect, no matter their subculture. We're all just people getting along one way or another, for one reason or another.

As for those who will judge you based on arbitrary bullshit (i.e.You're a rubbertramp, you're not a real traveler! You haven't hopped as many trains as I have! You don't bathe enough! You bathe too often! You don't LOOK like a traveler! You look TOO MUCH like a traveler! You travel 8 months out of the year instead of 12, you're not a REAL traveler!...), they aren't worth your time. They're stuck in some kind of high school clique mentality. Let them stay there. Not your problem. For every elitist who will snarkily remark that you don't have enough patches (or that you have too many, or that you don't have a septum ring, or that you DO have a septum ring and it really looks dumb), there's somebody else who doesn't give a shit as long as you show them decency and respect. That's really what it comes down to; decency and respect. It virtually erases subcultural lines a real hurry :p
 

Matt Derrick

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I find that as long as you are respectful, kind, and willing to contribute appropriately, you'll find companionship from all kinds of people on the road.

i think that's a very good point, if you pay it forward it'll almost certainly come back to you. If you contribute to the community you'll rarely want for friendship and basic necessities.

So basically just not being a dick ahaha

ha, yeah pretty much!
 

landpirate

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i'm just having a little tidy up of the general banter section and I've moved this over to the People & Cultures section because I think it will fit well there.
 

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