The way of a tramp is more than just road trips, and countrysides, cannabis, and rebellion. There is a lot of risk, and a heavy dose of suffering, and survival instincts. There are times when all you have is the pack you carry, and your story. No cash, nothing to eat, nowhere to go, and the world against you. I speak from experience of soon going on 16 months, having been stranded in 4 states, 3 provinces, 4 English cities, and detained at the border several times for merely the way I look, or the artifacts I carried on my person. I’ve been in the pouring rain of Portland, freezing cold, and the scorching Arizon sun with hardly more in my body than coffee. Sometimes you have to fight for the prime places next to the hwy to get your rides or walk miles from your drop off before you find a place to sit. The sheriffs run my name every time they stop to talk, and though I’ve never been arrested, I’m always treated like a criminal.
You need to know what to carry, and what to get rid of when you cross state lines. A friend of mine recently informed me that in Utah, a random drug test can be administered if you look suspicious, and if you had any ganja in your system in the last 2 weeks, you damn well know it will show, earning you a five thousand in payback. In Idaho and the Pacific Northwest, if you are carrying lock cutters, spray paint, bandanas, or anarchist literature you may be held under ag-gag legislation with no explanation as a supposed ‘eco-terrorist’. And everywhere runs the risk of getting fine or taken away if your hitchin’ in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the law is passing by, pretend you are taking a rest, and looking for something in your pack.
Thus far, I have not met with serious problems on my tramping journey. I heed the first stanzas of the havamal
“Watch out and check all gates before faring forth.
One should spy around,
one should pry around.
Hard to know what foe
sits before you in the next room.“
This is a good text to bear on your ways when you travel if you are ever going to survive, and be adaptable to fight the good fight. Being free in this age, makes you an enemy of the state. But being free also earns you a reputation with friends, and if you hold your honor in your heart, people everywhere will invite you into their homes. The fight or flight paradigm that is ingrained in man’s own behavior is as ancient as our species. One must know when they are in a dangerous situation, and when setbacks do occur, understand the divine imperatives that may be at work. Events may occur that seem annoying, or unwanted, but they may save you from grave danger in the big picture.
Something you want to have on you at all times is a good bush knife, and some kind of vest. Sometimes I will put mine in my cut, because that is all you will have with you when you get a ride if you are drifting. All your worldly possessions will be tucked away, and you are giving your trust to the driver to get you to the next state/destination. It is better to have one than not. I enjoy having some herb on me, because when you travel, the time dimension seems to bend into eternity, there is no schedule and you will be bored. Cannabis just helps with enjoying the experience and taking it all in stride. It heightens your libidinal energy, and proves to be a good social totem.
You need to be open minded to where you sleep, because you are not going to have a cozy bed when you are on the road, and forget about hotels. The four walls are as good as chains. It might not always be pleasant, but if you yield, and trust you will be safe, the night can be one of your closest companions, a time to heal, and contemplate your next day. I have slept in the garden of an ancient Norse cathedral, in the back of a gypsy van on more than one occasion, beside railroad tracks, train terminals, on mountains, beside a fjord, under trees and in public parks, behind abandoned cars, shacks and farmhouses, in forests, tipis, bushcamps and on beaches, sometimes with a tent, sometimes without, Rarely I pass the night on concrete, but it has happened a couple times.
If you are familiar with Animism, you will be empathetic to the way of the Animal. This is a useful paradigm to adopt if you are choosing to be feral. Understand that you must fight for what you need, that might is the most important mindset during struggle, and listen to your own instincts when you don’t know what to do. Take your identity with the fauna; bear, wolf, lion, horse, raven, any animal that you find a deep connection with. They will act as your fetch, and guide you where you need to go. Don’t let people abuse or harass your freedom, especially those who tell you to be normal, these are the sentiments of control freaks who believe their right is to micromanage every detail of your life. Be care-full with your words, because they can be turned against, act out in virtue, and make of your mind a weapon.