Recently stumbled across this site while researchin' hitchin', hoppin', and all around vagabonding. A little about me. Grew up in Vermont, served in the Army, lived and worked in a few places while serving, and after getting out, worked as a painter, landscaper, teacher, journalist for a long time, and more recently, did a three-year gig in the Adirondacks as a critical care tech in a hospital's intensive care unit. I actually left journalism for the medical field, because my son inspired me to make a difference in the world. My son, Sammie, was born with a syndrome, but despite some hardy obstacles, he defied expectations to the point doctors doubted, for example, how sick his heart was until they saw it. That boy progressed and lived in his own unique way and walked through life with grace and integrity, living joyfully and lovingly and always honestly, with no shame. A medical mistake during an emergency room visit claimed his life nearly nine months ago. Even though he didn't look it or act it, that beautiful boy was fragile. Left the medical field 'cause I can't be doing chest compressions on people anymore after watching them performed on my boy, and I can't care for patients in an ICU after watching my boy struggle during his final days, though I miss caring for people in that way, and always felt it was an honor to be with them during their most vulnerable of times. Went back to journalism briefly after my son passed, but it was too much too soon, and left after a few months and returned to Vermont and my siblings. Been there since, benefiting from their support (losing a child is overwhelming and devastating), stocking shelves a few hours a day at a small country store for routine and money, and reflecting and doing what I can to move forward with a version of myself I can live with and love, and with this pain and loss I'll always carry, which actually is one of the reasons I'm here. I fucking loved being a dad, all the adventures, kayaking, hiking, camping, exploring, laughing and dancing and just being goofy. Nothing like it!! But now that my son's passed, I find myself reflecting on how I'll spend my time. I've had a beautiful life and won't settle for anything less than intense and beautiful and raw going forward. I loved traveling in the military, always wanted to write and work around the world, but I've also always wanted to travel and rough it and live it with absolute freedom. Felt that tug my whole life, stronger when I read "On The Road" or watched "Into the Wild," etc. I ain't goin' to my grave with regrets. I wanna live and love life in the ways I want, and so that brings me here. Pretty sure after this summer, I'm putting what I wanna keep - mostly stuff connected to my son - in storage and leaving Vermont and head out, either hopping a train, hitching, most likely both, just explore, work when I find it and wanna settle and explore an area a bit, but just live, for however long as I want, with that freedom, especially while my body's still strong and healthy and active. Life is short, rules are constructs, and when you're free in your mind you can create your own reality, as long as you can live with it. So I've been doing some research, into dumpster-diving even, just seeing what I'll be getting into, and I came across this site. I'm eager to chat with some good folks, get some advice, pass along any I might have. So yeah, hello, y'all. Hope everyone's got some beautiful things going' on in life and that it outweighs the hard, heavy and painful stuff we experience and carry.