15 long months across Midgard he went, traveling afar over fjord and field, through forest, and farm, by sea and sanctuary. Many folk he knew there abroad, and many knew him…
So it has been for this ongoing journey of mine, living as a tramp. I recently encountered some setbacks when crossing the border, not only once but three times, over nonsensical legalia, but these matters were finally meted out, and I kept moving on with the mission. Currently I am dwelling in Vermont, staying with a friend on her homestead. Sharing the sacred work that must be done with the second cabin to be put on the land, building a chicken coop and raising them, cutting wood, making traditional Faroese style stone walls, and turf roofs, as well as a primitive sauna, outhouse, and some garden/plant magic work. As I perpetually travel, my work load changes, the nature of my labor changes, and I try to be completely adaptable, as an animal is to their environment. Some may call it a nomadic lifestyle, as I follow the seasonal work from province to province, state to state and country to country, the earth is my territory.
It is hard living, but in a different degree of hard. It is not hard in the sense that I must concern myself with bills, rental contracts, insurances, and local conflicts, but it hard in the sense that I do not always know where my next meal will come from, if I will have to choose between sleeping in the street or exert myself to find somewhere suitable in the mountain carrying all my worldly possessions on my back. The HARDness comes through when I not necessarily am destitute but feel lost, and without direction as if my higher impulse or intuition has failed. The sacrifice of close relations, basic comforts, substantial food, company, sex, rides, or solitude. I counter these things by temporarily lowering my need or desire for them. I take my bed on the damp leaves in the nest of a mountain valley, and call it home, I find my company in animals, I don’t always eat 3 meals a day, but when I do I make sure it is good healthy food, usually cooked over a fire, I always have good literature by my side, and find my solitude in the spaces between the day, or for weeks on end all the same. Solitude is necessary, and a good medicine for the mind and soul.
I use the word tramp, but I don’t own it. I believe I adopted it, and it has become something more personal during my journey. I have respect for people who CHOOSE to not have a stable ‘home’, Hobos, Nomads, Wanderers and Travelers. It doesn’t matter if you plan out a 3 day stay in California, and have all destinations pre arranged, or if you are a tramp and let nature signs, bird calls, spiritual callings, and the road less traveled determine your way, as long as you are attempting to live All The Way Alive, at all times, it is what moves you to venture out is what I find influential.
Hitchhiking has become a grail for me, I try it wherever I go and test my luck state to state, country to country. Some are takers, some are not interested, some know it as part of the community, some have never one of us before. I have tried thumbing it in Seattle, Portland, California, & Arizona, I have been stranded for half days in pouring Cascadian rain, and scorched desert heat. I have has success in the rural backcountry of England, and the Northern hwys of Canada. Recently I spent time in the Oakanagan Valley, where I would hitch hike twice a day to put in a day on the farm. I made it drifting this way, and would plan around it, getting my food supply to return to the mountains or cross through the west coast. My fondest memories were in AZ, when stuck overnight at the TTT truckstop. A kind hearted gypsy invited me over to her van, we conversed, we shared each others story, she offered on her own accord, a place to sleep in the back, food, water, money for a shower, hell I thought she might want to fuck if it went on any longer. None of which I expected or asked for, we parted company when I finally found a ride, as friends, each to our own path. I even wrote a country song, sitting on the curb there. What started as a very uncomfortable situation, as I was tramping across the desert to see my lover, turned very favorable for everyone involved. No one I have ever hitch hiked with has ever experienced me as a burden, and fellow drifters will understand this. They would not have stopped if it would have put them in an uncomfortable position. I have shared rides for mere minutes and in the span of this time have made new acquaintances, shared a couple brews, smoked ganja with the driver, had work prospects, and been offered to meet again. There is almost nothing finer than good company with the right people, and sharing each others offerings. I hitchhike because I feel it is something of a lost way, especially in America.
I feel my role is as a story teller, and someone to follow a heeding primordial need of human wildness. There is a metaphysical paradigm involved of being free. Freedom through my experience means being non-attached, being adaptable to suffering, taking comfort and pain all the same, being open handed with ones own possessions if anyone person needs it more, not necessarily giving up stability, but understanding stability to be a trait that is carried within the self. A man or woman can have stability in their homestead or in their heart and body and they would be of the same value and worth. Even on the run, I may carry a totality of place, of wealth, of love, and of resource.
I feel impelled at this time of life to wanderlust, to see and understand and experience all places. I have thoughts that I would like to see all the distinctive places on this fine earth before I pass my time here amongst my folk. Whenever I meet others who are of the same ilk, there is always a sacred exchange. The exchange may come in the form of a carefully crafted bone necklace, or a 5 hour conversation on the ethos of tribalism, or a well cooked meal over a fire during after dark, but it is certain that if one is truly honored by the other the exchange will always be sacred.
It is without remark that some folks detain the persona of a tramp into an all encompassing identity, and ascribe a negative sentiment of someone looking to deny values and morals, in an attempt to self-fulfill their own narcissistic tendencies, or leech off the very society they attempt to outcast. I think this is far from the truth, and see a tangible difference between those who are destitute street folk, often with drug addiction, or teenage punks with actual privileged lives, and a tramp. In the old days, a tramp or some may use the word ‘hobo’, would travel relentlessly and offer his work and his stories for the basic comforts. He might get a gig picking tobacco, or on a ranch, but it wouldn’t last, and he would be off with his pack, to the train line seeking the new destination. In this age there are few left of these individuals, instead the supposed ‘free souls’ are those who do not have any moral imperative to work hard, they receive food stamps and government support, their parents are either born to the same lowly path, and the depressingly take sympathy on themselves for their genetic dis-inheritance, or shame mask their ego to be someone far removed than the nurtured, and support person they actually are. I strongly dislike panhandlers, beggars, and junkies who believe it is their right to deserve spare change from anyone and everyone for their next cigarette, or heroine fix. That said, I have no problem with musicians who offer something in return. Leaving an open guitar case and playing your songs on the side of the road, is perfectly honorable. If someone feels they have gained, and perhaps even shared a pleasurable experience from them, and decide to donate some money, there is nothing wrong with that. But returning to the idea of a tramp, who goes abound and expands his or her territory, nomadic, seeking honest hard work, and paying their way, there is an unfortunate shadow that hangs on these people. I know because I am one. True tramps do not aspire to vices like excessive alcohol, drugs, pornography, government funding, and freebies. I find these things far heavier to carry than the rucksack on my back. A tramp carries his might and his magic, and acknowledges the most primal language of order, will and sustenance.
The amount of input and output between a tramp, or nomad traveler is roughly the same as those living more stationary lives. A stable job, and resources immediately available to your means is compensated for by monthly fees, extra responsibilities, and increased work load. For one who desires to have less, the work may be more sporadic, or seasonal with constant travel in between, which puts a good measure of stress on the individual and keeps him or her in a state of animalistic readiness. As a bear must forage, fish, and hunt all the summer and fall so that he may have a period of dormancy and rest with less exertion on his body. A tramp may make a couple thousand dollars if he is prolific with his work, and ration it for half the year. Taking on a near buddhist ethos of desiring less, being sated with simple foods, minimalist shelters, and owning his or her own life experiences and reputation. Truly, the most valuable asset in this world before we are gone. I do not take this road less traveled or devote myself to these paradigms because I feel they are morally elite or superior, but because I believe I have heard my calling this time around. I have lived past lives and understand the ways of the world to now commit myself to the offerings of self. This is my Wyrd.
“Fate is the most powerful of all the divine powers that rule our world. She will take us where she wills, and the judgement she and her sisters pass on us when we die is not the direction of our lives, but on how we dealt with it.” – Blade Honer, Maria Kvilhaug