Tramp Life 5: A Man And His Pack

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When you’re out a driftin’, and all you have besides the story in your mind, all the green things around you, and the burden you carry, ya’ll need to know what is needed on the road; the ones that can save your life, primitive tools and simple comforts for when you’re in the nature, and some ol’ magic and native pieces and hobbies that you may consider if you’re of the heathen ilk.

The way is rough when you are restlessly moving from one place to the next. It usually takes the average person months of planning and packing before they decide to move. The attachment to materials keeps them where they’re at, and staying at home is no way to Live. I’ve already been through a few different packs, and I would either recommend the army style ones with the harness on them, a heavy capacity backpacker bag, or a tough fiber rucksack. Each has their own niche use, the army packs can fit everything you need but it tends to rip if you force too much into it. The hiking packs usually have quite a few pockets for separating your sacred possessions, and the rucksacks are simple with one compartment and good for hard use and weather.

What you put in the pack is reflective of how you want to live while you are tramping for months or years at a time. Personally, my pack weighs more than I do, one third of it is usually gift or medicine for other people. My perjorative is to converse and commune with those true friends in the flesh and spirit, this is the only way I know how. I collect relics along the way; bones, feathers, teeth, antlers, plants, resins… and create native craft or taufrs with them for use in trade. I am currently hauling two predator skulls that I acquired from the british columbia region, born of the mountains and valleys, close homes of mine. Two tanned cattle skins make my bed, and a goat hair mexican rug that keeps me warm under the stars. Clothes that can work in any weather, just a few garments will keep you comfortable; mohair, cordoroy, denim and sheep wool are your best bets. Having your music with you is a gem when you find rest in a new habitat, and when you’re tramping from one place to another. It could be 4 miles down the trail or 4,000 over the earth, with your music, you always have company for your mind to go. I carry my medicines with me at all times, and they are kept under protection. They are shared when the calling for such a gesture is provoked, and my skulls sit in with me wherever I choose to lay at night; be it in a rustic old cabin, a cheap tent, under the spruce and pine, in a tipi, the cozy homestead, in the silent forest or mighty mountains. On hand I keep a few tools, some primitive, some modern; a multitool with a file, bottle opener, screwdriver, minisaw, and other needful things, a couple bone awls recently acquired, a bushknife, a ritual knife, and a pocket knife, an antler piece for digging, a couple different lighters (which eventually will become rudimentary save for indoor use), some twine, sinyew, or horsehair for cordage, and a pencil, which is just about the best tool you can have when you’re lonely. I keep three handwritten journals, one for rune/Gild work, another is my galdrabok, and one for taking notes, adding to this 3-5 books at a time for reading IMAG0534and studying, as well as this laptop for a couple other journal blogs I tend to. A comb is a comfort and trust me, when you’re filthy or wake up with plant matter in your hair, sometimes it changes your whole day around. Some choice brews; coffee, wine, mead and whiskey to have on hand when nothing else quells the boredom and loneliness, or you need something more special for a rite. And hitchhiking signs to get you where you need to go. I usually have a random array of southern states, or signs saying ‘farm work’, ‘west coast’, or a km marker. Most other items in my pack are of a sacred nature and won’t be mentioned here but consist mostly of animal curio and collection which I use to make things. A few choice instruments stay with me at any one time, until I can return to my hoard that is kept safe out in the badlands of California with a friend. Collectively we have quite an array of ethnic, primitive, and acoustive instrumentals that we use in the raw landscapes of nature, currently I carry my bull roarer made from an african cow horn, a cherrywood didjeridoo, a conch shell from the pacific ocean, and a flute I carved from sheep bone. Almost anything can become an instrument when your tramping though, if your mind is creative enough; a pair of wooden spoons, or a dried out plant husk with seeds inside for a rattle, and then the traditional mouth harp, harmonica, bongos and acoustic guitar which I see so much of when I am around other wanderers. Alas, don’t leave without the ganja, unless you are crossing borders.

If you’re heading into the country for work, and need to cover some ground, some of those shiny pesos are a nice comfort just for when you need it, but generally, I don’t find myself spending much money, less than a hundred a month at least. Carry a couple pairs of boots or what have you, when you rely on your feet to take you where you need to go, you ain’t getting far without them. Going barefoot in the camps, and when you’re settled is good and actually preffered when you want to keep the miles off your leather, but otherwise I’m pretty fond of having some combat boots, my own came to me from a friend in Lynchburg, my tramping boots whenever I want to cover ground, and a pair of moccasins for wilderness treks, or masquerading around the land. The hobbies you carry are up to you, but still pretty essential when you need to keep yourself occupied during long days and nights alone. I’ll have my tattoo kit soon, which is another good prospect for earning money, but if you’re thing is carving, drawing, tarot reading, or photography, they are all surefire means of spiritual survival. Next year I would like to take it further and travel by horse, with saddlebags, and further simplify the clothes and tools I carry, this will also get me off the highways, onto the trails, and with a lighter penance on my back, therefore letting me use my energy on other more important means, cause it’s all ephemeral anyways, the only thing that matters is the experience.

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2 thoughts on “Tramp Life 5: A Man And His Pack

  1. Hi Wolf. I took you from Antigonish to New Glasgow. Hope you made the Yarmouth ferry the next day. Will be following you. Have a good one and good luck!

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