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Saturday, August 2, 2014

How to not appear homeless



Being homeless can really suck. There can be a lot of walking around in shabby clothes while smelling bad. Fortunately, there's a situation where that's perfectly socially acceptable, even admired a little. Every summer there are many many people walking around my area that fit that description. No one is upset by them. Unlike normal homeless people, folks engage them in conversation. What's their secret? They are hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There are worse things one can do with one's time. It's good exercise. The scenery is beautiful. Interesting people are your companions. The hobo look is frowned upon in cities, but on the trail it's normal. It doesn't cost much money. If your gear is a bit sub par, make it a virtue. You are trying to get back to the basics of hiking while rejecting high tech gear. That raises your status from poor bum to a person on a philosophical quest.

It doesn't have to be hiking. Go on a long canoe or kayak trip. The boat I'm building would actually make a pretty neat set up for a homeless person. It's only 12 feet long so doesn't need to be registered. No need for gas because it can be rowed or sailed. It even has a small cabin to get out of the weather. A small boat is a great platform for fishing and foraging wild edible plants. Even people in good sized boats dress casual and many don't take daily showers to conserve water. It's normal.

Maybe you'd prefer to travel around on a bicycle. Tell people you are on a cross country trip. It's just one more excuse for living rough with minimal gear.

Here's the perfect camouflage: notebooks. Scribble in a notebook now and them. Tell people you are writing a book. It's very hard to tell the difference between a writer and an unemployed bum. In fact, you could actually write the book. Even this blog makes enough money to keep me in beans and rice.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. True words.Most people that i know that are homeless feel those of us bound to a set address fail to live.

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    1. The key is to define the circumstances of your homelessness. I've been on the road long enough that people would not believe that I actually had a house someplace.

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  2. The police thought I was homeless one day and were going to question me about some fire that got set but I had my camera as I was actually taking photos. So having a camera can help you look like a photographer as opposed to a bum.

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  3. I thought that only a motorized boat needed a license. Heck, canoes are around 18 feet, some less, some more and they don't need a license unless you add a small motor.

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    1. In NH canoes and kayaks are exempt from the length limit. Regular boats, power and sail, need to be registered if over 12 feet in length. 12 and under need to be registered if using a motor. States may vary.

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  4. Wise words and I believe a lot more of us will get to experience homelessness.

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    1. Sad but probably true. Most people are just a few paychecks away from disaster.

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  5. Well, I hope that's one strategy I never have to put into practice. Being homeless is a very chilling thought.

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  6. I had a friend who had a little bit of notice before he became homeless. Before he lost his place he got 1.) a voice mailbox (this was before cell phones were popular, a prepaid cell phone would do the job); 2.) a private mailbox with a suite number address instead of a PO Box number; and 3.) a gym membership so he'd have a place to take showers. He was very well able to conceal the fact he was homeless.

    For a different kind of camouflage, there is the bulletproof clipboard... no, seriously, google it! When you're in a disaster zone, people tend to think of people with clipboard as people there to help and tend to not bother them... and if they do, well, you're holding something that will deflect bullets from your heart.

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    1. He was a wise man. A little prep makes living rough a lot less rough.

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