I never realized how many people - smart, educated working people I mean - are only a paycheck or two away from being homeless. In my case, I've been able to see it coming for a while now and have been practicing. So let me recap a few key tips for my possibly-soon-to-be-homeless compadres.

First, forget about sleeping at night, unless you want to move to an area where there are no people, and even then, remember there are still natural predators who will be very happy to make you their early breakfast. No, night sleeping is for those who have the luxury of watchmen. Out on the street you have to watch out for yourself. So sleep during the day, in a public place like a park or a beach. Wear a hat or a serape (or both), and cover your face from the sun with it. The rest of your skin should already be covered, to protect you not only from the sun but from weater, insects, snakes, thorns, whatever. I have, from the feet up: moccasins, thick wool socks (extra pair in my cargo pockets), warm-up suit pants as underwear (cotton-lined), cargo pants, two wool sweaters, the inner one long enough to tuck down between the warm-up pants and cargo pants, making a mosquito-proof seal; a wool scarf whose ends tuck down under the outer wool sweater, similarly protecting most of my neck; and on top of all that, the fishermen's vest that holds all my valuables, followed by (not one but two!) two serapes, one synthetic, the other wool - the nice one my lady got me for my birthday. If you're male and have the necessary genes active, grow a full beard to protect the rest of your face.

Get a rolling flight bag to hold whatever "stuff" is absolutely necessary. If you still have a job, keep some things at the job, like your work clothes; show up early and dress in the rest room. Hell, bicyclists do it all the time, why can't you? If you don't have a job, maybe you don't even need the flight bag. I need it for my laptop, but most of it would be empty except for the solar oven. I recommend American Tourister, others are cheaper but this can for sure take the abuse.

So if you're sleeping during the day, what do you do at night? Whatever. If you've got a little cash, hang out in coffee shops or bars. Learn computer programming and get a wifi-enabled laptop, you can hack all night; some places let you plug into their power. If you're broke, try to fish or hunt. Panhandle if your conscience allows it, I can't. I might try singing on the street (busking) though, if I absolutely have to. You have to eat. Survival manuals say you can live for a week without food, and it's true, but they also say it's hard to maintain your will to live when you're constantly hungry. Learn what wild and freely-available domesticated plants are edible and stuff your face whenever the opportunity arises.

More as I think about it; remember, I'm intending to turn this into a book someday. Maybe entitled Homeless with Dignity: Nomadic Survivalism in the 21st Century. Whadda you think?

Back to blog or home page

last updated 2013-01-10 20:17:35. served from tektonic.jcomeau.com