I’ll get by with a little help from my friends -a friends view of Esteban’s hobo culture
I once came home from work to find a tramp on my doorstep begging for food and I took him into my kitchen and gave him a warm meal and a few coins and off he went ….All my friends thought I was mad and that I had put myself at risk, that he would be there all the time bothering me… my very own pet tramp…..!! Well the truth is I never saw him again but when I left for work each day for a week there were wild flowers on my doorstep and those flowers where the prettiest flowers I ever saw.
However this is about hobos and there is a difference between the hobo culture and tramps…
HOBOS Are people who travel and look for work, TRAMPS are people who travel and DONT look for work, BUMS are people who neither travel nor look for work.
I once ….. met a hobo although I didn’t know it at the time I fancied he had a bohemian soul the mind of an artist and the voice of a poet….. How fanciful my mind is …. I am sure this is not true of all hobos but indulge my view as I like to remember this hobo with fondness as I have followed his travels and seen his growth as a person. I long ago became a friend and supporter of this hobo called Esteban ….. Perhaps because I admired his perseverance for such a life when I was snug in my home and maybe a wish that I had followed such a path before the 9 to 5 life overtook me…
I often asked the Esteban the question is it an easy option to reject normal material things for a life of unknown opportunities… I wonder do other people understand a lack of ambition for the ordinary, the average and see it as a failing in the person’s character. Probably there are times when Esteban might doubt his own life path and long for the things that everyone takes for granted just as most of us want to abandon all that we cherish for an easier life…. But would he have had so many adventures and opportunities had he not embraced the unknown?
I have always seen it as strength of Esteban, but then it helps if the person has good social skills…that factor called likability and perhaps my opinion would not have been so favorable had I not found Esteban to be charming and persuasive about his life journey.
Is the grass greener on the other side of the meadow?
Is there a hobo code …? If there is I imagine it to be something like
- When traveling, do so with respect, take no personal chances, cause no problems with others around you and embrace each meeting as the opportunity to meet a new friend or experience something good
- Live your own life, don't let anyone rule or control you.
- Respect the law of wherever you are and try to be a gentleman.
- Don't take advantage of people or situations especially if it will hurt someone.
- Always try to find work, even if temporary hobos are not bums who don’t want to work or tramps who cannot work. The term hobo denotes a migration for work moving to wherever the work is.
- Always respect nature and the world around you
- Stay clean and have pride in who you are…. Being part of hobo culture is not about forsaking yourself
- Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday. So if you have a spare bed and they are travelling through think of it as a duty and privilege to help that fellow traveller ….. You might need their help one day.
- Your voice should be heard so tell others of your travels or the things you have learnt to make life easier.
- Be kind and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.
- Be open to new experiences
You need to look at your skills and experience. Any skill that is in wide demand and does not require an extended time commitment can be useful to a hobo for example a good second language can assist you in finding work. As long as you can advertise your services and earn people's trust (ideally through references), you can do anything that your skills allow and be adaptable.
Have a plan. Yes, even hobos need a plan even if it is I will go where the wind takes me! If you decide to adopt the hobo culture then this is might be a life-altering decision. Don't abandon everything suddenly and disappear. Make sure all your debts are paid and responsibilities are handled before departure. If possible, have some money before you go, that you can access while you're on the road. Emergencies happen, and they cost money. Life is life and goes on whichever side of the track you are on.
Be prepared. You may like the romantic idea of leaving with nothing but the clothes on your back and whatever is in your wallet, but that could spell disaster. You will be sleeping, cooking, traveling, and essentially living so you have to be able to support that. How will you look after yourself, how will you cope what network of friends do you have on your travel path that might be able to offer help if it is needed?
Reality check. Down and Out in Paris and London" by George Orwell. It is a non- fictional account of living in poverty and hand to mouth. It puts into perspective how hard life can be…. for those who have overly romantic ideas about the hobo culture it provides a dose of reality well worth a read.
Living the hobo culture! Once you have found your temporary place to live and work from day to day. See the sights of each new place you visit. Make interesting friends. Life on the road means making the most of every moment that is your own. Keep healthy and safe …you decide how to best use your time how to achieve a balance between work, travel, relaxation, and entertainment. Enjoy the variety that your life style has to offer and have a plan for the next stop on your life journey.
If on those travels a friend helps you a little along the way then there are always ways to repay their kindness. If someone is kind enough to host you as a guest then be a good houseguest. I know I am richer for knowing Esteban as a friend and that means accepting and embracing his rather unorthodox approach to life.
Hobo culture is not a rejection of social graces if anything those social graces are even more important. I think from my observation of hobo culture that it is about learning about self, without the safety nets we take for granted and learning to find contentment and happiness without the common things we think we need to make us happy.