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Advice for people Living on the Road




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#1 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 03:05 PM

Hi. This thread is intended to help people who are planning on living on the road for extended periods, or who already are, and who'll presumably be travelling last class.

This thread is NOT intended to instruct or encourge runaways. If you're under 18 you won't be able to use most of the information in here anyway.
Bear in mind that no matter how bad things may be at home you're almost certain to get into worse trouble if you leave, you will probably get caught, and you will cause untold problems for yourself and whoever you happen to be hanging out with when they catch you.

That said, if anyone has anything to add to the information in this thread, please feel free but if you have any questions or storys please start another thread.
I'm hoping to have this thread turned into a sticky that people can refer to without having to sort through too much other material.


Links:

Here's the best all around road forum I know of;
Hitchhiking, Road Travel & subCultural Movement - digihitch.com
Hitchhiking and road travel portal with stories, advice articles, photos

Here's a few helpful links courtesy of TrippnBTM:

Vagrancy:
http://hipforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84405

Food:
http://hipforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87398

Here's a link to a site that teaches you how to make a very simple alcohol stove, I made one and works great:
http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html

On freezerbag cooking (easy method of cooking, includes many recipies, often updated):
http://www.freezerbagcooking.com/index.htm

General Camping/Hiking tips:
http://www.knowledgehound.com/topics/hikecamp.htm

Links to sites about living on the (very) cheap:
http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/.../030206toc.html
http://hipforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10472

I'll add more links as I find them.
whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave

#2 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 03:41 PM

Some general tips:

Fests and Gatherrings:
If you're just starting out on the road the best advise I can give you is make your first destination a fest or rainbow gatherring.
You'll meet people there who live on the road more or less full time (especially the vendors) who'll be able to give you advise about how to get by and where to go next.
If you're hitch hiking you should be able to score a ride pretty easy in whatever direction you want to go.
If you're driving you can become part of a caravan and should be able to find riders to pitch in on gas money.

Stick to the smaller towns and rural hi-ways:

Whatever way you're travelling you'll be better off staying off the interstates as much as possible.
Stick to the smaller state hi-ways and two laners that run between small towns and rural areas. For the most part you'll have less hassles, meet fewer weirdos, find work easier, and just generally find more acceptance and tolerance if you stay off the main hi-ways and out of the big citys.
Smaller towns are usually more receptive to wanderrers and more willing to help you on your way.
The cities these days have been so inundated with homeless people that as soon as you step off the hi-way all you are is one more person with a backpack, lowerring property values and making the citizens uncomfortable.
Works alot harder to find, churches have been begged to death, the free food places are crowded to capacity, finding a place to camp or clean up is alot harder, and life in general is alot less fun and alot more dangerous.
whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave

#3 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 04:21 PM

College Towns



My favorite places to stop along the way are always college towns (note:just because a town has a college in it doesn't necessarily make it a college town).

College towns are much more laid back and alot more fun than just about any other town or city you're likely to find of the same size.
Resources for homeless people are usually abundant, camping (illegally) is usually easier and less dangerous, cleaning up is no problem, busking, spanging (panhandleing), and street performing is usually permitted and profitable, people are generally more open minded, there are more young people and cooler older people, and of course partys are easier to find.

Most college towns have a farmers market and usually a flea market (good places to score a little work, play your guitar for change, street perform, and pick up cheap supplys).

Most universitys and every community college I've ever seen has a locker room with showers and a student lounge with a microwave you can use and most have free internet.

Alot of college towns have free concerts and events.

Every one I've ever been to had a food co-op and a few natural food stores (good places to score free veggies and pakaged goods past their expiration date).
Most food co-ops are staffed by hippies who won't be freaked out by your lifestyle and who've probably been on the road themselves (or are planning to be).

College towns are just overall the best places for a transient hippy to chill and meet like minded people.

Some of my favorites:
Madison, Wisconsin
Laffeyette, Luisianna
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Ashland, Oregon
and San Luis Obispo, Santa barabra, Santa Cruz, and Chico California.
whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave

#4 steffan

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Posted August 03 2005 - 04:30 PM

look people in the eye, smile, stay clean, lend a hand whenever posible
Posted Image if the only tool you have is a hammer you will treat everything like its a nail

#5 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 04:43 PM

Work/Money


Carnivals. they're everywhere this time of year and they'll hire anybody. One good fair and you're set fo a cpl weeks easy. (note; you can always get a job helping set up or tear down the rides but it's some hardass work for not much money.
You're much better off trying to get a job in one of the game booths and working the whole fair.
Working for the food vendors or novelty sellers can be a good gig too)
Note: In recent years carnivals have gotten more hardcore about apperances. All of them these days want you to be clean shaven and most will want you to cut your hair if you're planniung on working there for awhile.

Day labor at construction sites; Just walk up to one in the am, ask for the forman and tell him you'll work cheap.

Flea markets; get there as the vendors are pulling in in the morning and offer to help set up. It's an easy $20.

Busking (music)/ Street performing

These days I only do this for fun so I don't know how viable it is anymore as a way to make a steady living. I know some street muscians and performers who seem to be doing pretty well but everybody says it's harder than it used to be (during the Clinton years).

In any case college and tourist towns are still the best places to busk, perform, or sell jewelry or what-not on the street corners.
Best thing to do is look for other street performers as soon as you get in town (if you don't see any, it's probably not allowed) and ask them about the laws/rules for that town. Also find out what corners are open and which are already spoken for (you'll do better all around if you respect the other performers space).

Music: Just about any instument will do and really you don't even have to be that good, just bold. Make sure you have a hat or guitar case--anything people can throw money in (this makes a big difference).

Performing: If you can do anything interesting--juggling, sketching, reading tarot, making balloon animals, origamy, miming, you name it--people will toss you money to entertain them.
(more..)
whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave

#6 steffan

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Posted August 03 2005 - 04:44 PM

picking fruit as well, slough night can be a kick though, feels like showbiz :)
Posted Image if the only tool you have is a hammer you will treat everything like its a nail

#7 dilligaf

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Posted August 03 2005 - 04:51 PM

get ya a copy of the rainbow guide to tote along in yer belongings,,,, if nothing more ya may find a place for a shit shower shave n some grub n a sleep place for a nite or two,,,
could even hook ya up with someone they know for a bit for $$$

In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.



#8 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 05:40 PM

Work/Money (cont.)


These are better tryed in small towns

Churches; go to the church office and ask if they have any work they need done around the grounds, or if they have any contractors in their congragation who might be able to give you a cpl days work.


AA meetings; find out when and where the morning meeting is and try to get there just before it ends (unless you want to sit through the meeting). Check to see if there are any work trucks in the parking lot (there usually are) and when the meeting breaks up ask the guys headed for the trucks, or hanging out in the parking lot (contractors usually hang together after the meetings) and let them know you need a day or two or whatever of work.

Diners; small towns and even some big ones usually have a diner where the contractors stop for coffee or breakfast in the morning. Look for work trucks in the parking lot.

Go inside, order a some coffee and let the waitress know your a loborer looking for work (note; it's best to feel the situation out first. If you get alot of dirty looks when you walk in with your gear, better get your coffee to go and try somewhere else).

Other ideas:

If you have any kind of skill/talent or just a good imagination you can, with a little practice and stratagy, usually find some way to make enough $$$ (legally) to get by.

I've met several people who make and sell jewelry at swap meets, fest, college campuses, or just on the street.

I know one guy who manages to stay on the road as much as he wants by sharpening chefs knives at resturants (sharpening's a good skill to have if you're going to be camping anyway).

I've met more than one person who carrys a set of stencils, a cpl brushes, and a small can of white paint and makes a living painting addresses on curbs at residences.

One old guy I met was making $100 a day washing storefront windows.
whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave

#9 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 05:55 PM

Work/Money (cont.)

Recycling: Aluminium cans are going for $1.25 a lb these days. Which comes out to about $4 for every 100 cans you find.
Last year in southern cal I spent 4 months collecting cans and bottles (Plastic bottles are right about 70 cents a lb.) on a bicycle with a homemade trailer.
I was living on a commune at the time and spending about $5 a day so the $25-$40 a day I was making recycling was more than enough to live on and save up some $ to hit the road with.

It might sound a bit gross but recycling's actually one of my favorite ways to make money; no boss, zero pressure, work as much or as little as you want, pick your own hours (lol! almost sounds like one of those bogus work at home adds in the classifeids)

Between collecting, sorting, and taking it all to the recycling center I figure I was averaging about $8 an hour, which is more than most retail jobs pay.

Again, college towns are probably the best places to collect recyclables (mostly beer cans).

What you'll need; Trash bags, rubber gloves, a bottle of rubbing alcohol (to wash your hands when soap and water isn't readily available). That's about it.
Look in the phonebook to find out where the recycling center is and what their hours are.
whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave

#10 NaykidApe

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Posted August 03 2005 - 06:04 PM

Work/Money (cont.)

This on spanging/flying a sign courtesy of nesta:

well, i've got some buddies that have been on the road for quite some time, and periodically they'll stop back in for a while. they've been asked this question a million times.....basically they sell/trade drugs at shows and festivals for a large part, but they'll also do things for a few bucks. but basically their philosophy is "life is free if you're willing to fly a sign"

if you're in a more leave-it-to-beaver small town or someplace a bit more uptight and conservative, you may do best working for pity saying you're on the road and hungry, out of gas, etc. if you lie, don't be obvious.

if you're in a big city, a place with a lot of "freaks" (hippies, ravers, goths, whatever) or just a generally cool place, try stealing their attention instead. good signs i've heard of include "rival ninja clan killed parents, need change to save up for kung fu training" and the up front, honest, and widespread "need spare change for pot/booze/whatever"

wierd signs reoprtedly are far more common out west. i don't know, personally. that may mean they work better there, or it may mean that people out there are just more laid back and "wierd."

wierd things or really out-there things tend to get people's attention. even if they dont sympathize with you and wouldnt give you money otherwise, if you can make someone laugh you're a lot likelier to get money from them. i bet the guy with the ninja sign made a killing. similarly, people realize that panhandlers are often lying to you about why they want money. even if they dont like it, saying you need money for drugs or wine or whatever may be honest enough for people to go ahead and give you money anyway.

theres also always dumpster diving, too, but thats really a severe last resort for most people, in terms of food. but you can sometimes find decent merchandise in dumpsters behind stores that you can use yourself or sell/trade to someone else for something of more use to you.

you can always check open shelters and things about their policies, and see if you may be able to get a place to sleep for a little while.

hmm....hope this helps


whining does you no good, It amuses your enemies and annoys your friends.
---Burma Shave