We just really like what this project is all about! Really well-done video interviews with interesting and happy people. Loving it! Enjoy this “Living Creed” from Jonathan Fields at the Good Life Project. Mmm mmm good!
We’ve compiled a list of “rules of the road” to consider while living the vagabonding dream. Of course, hobos don’t really abide by “rules”, so to speak, so feel free to take what works for you and leave what doesn’t from the guidelines we’ve suggested. If you have tips, feedback, or guidelines you follow yourself while traveling, please share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
1. Secure your safety when you sleep!
A good night’s rest helps you face the day ahead no matter where you may be. The happy hobo makes sure his back is covered no matter where he rests his head at night. Waking up to the bright sun shining into your tent is pleasant. Waking up to the bright lights of the local law enforcement is not! Just because you’re living on the move doesn’t mean you don’t require a good night’s rest like the rest of the world. If you’re camping, select a site that offers natural protection from surprise elements, and if you’re stealth camping, give yourself plenty of time while scoping out an area to select the safest, most discreet environment possible to rest your mind and body for the night. And when stealth camping, it’s typically advantageous to get your ass up, pack your things, and get moving in the earlier hours: the longer you stick around, the higher the likelihood of being approached and questioned.
2. Blend in.
Generally speaking, the happy hobo is not too concerned about making fashion statements. We know plenty of happy hobos who wear the same outfit for months on end! More important than the fashion points of your clothing and gear is their durability and functionality. Whether meandering through an airport or the streets of a small town, if you look dirty, disheveled, or if your attire/appearance makes you stick out like a sore thumb, you might be drawing attention to yourself that you don’t necessarily want or need. Taking the time to care for your appearance so that you “blend in” with locals, streamlining your backpack or gear so that you don’t have items dangling from keychains or clanging around while you walk, and choosing basic, neutral clothing colors are all practical tips you can use in order to keep from drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. The same principles can be applied to driving down the road: the classiest hobo’s vehicles are actually sticker-free, streamlined, and efficient. You wouldn’t know their hobo-mobile from a soccer moms! Sticker-laden vehicles are a crying out for unnecessary attention.
3. Remain amused.
For those living the hobo life, every day is going to provide opportunities to amuse oneself at the ridiculousness of society, the world, and life in general. From time to time, certain aspects of the world you encounter may threaten to dampen your spirits. The happiest of hobos have learned to softly smile even when things become a little strained, knowing that every rainstorm eventually lets up and every challenge will eventually pass. The ability to smile and laugh during difficult moments is a critical tool for longevity on the road, and is a tell-tale trademark of a seasoned hobo.
4. Give thanks.
Gratitude keeps the hobo heart happy. Though he travels with few possessions, the hobo is rich in life experiences, friendships, and a sound mind and body. He finds much to be grateful for and finds the practice of giving thanks to be uplifting and encouraging as he moves along his way. The happy hobo knows deeply that there is much to be grateful for in every single moment, and while he recognizes the abundance surrounding him, he invites the experience of miracles into his existence.
5. Humbly accept what is freely given.
There is an art to accepting what is freely given. The hobo knows when to say yes to an invitation or to a gift, and in practicing the art of receiving, the hobo has experienced the reality of the kindness of humanity in a way that many people on our planet today never will. There is a practical aspect of accepting what is freely given as well, particularly for hobos who are not currently earning income as they travel. The seasoned hobo is open to opportunities to obtain for free or at low-cost what he might otherwise pay for. As a fellow hobo puts it: “if it’s free, it’s for me!” Not to be confused with looking for a handout, the seasoned vagabond has no qualms about following signs to the free local pancake breakfast (what a great opportunity to meet community members!) or accepting an invitation to a stranger’s home to wash one’s clothes, enjoy a shower and a night in a bed with a roof overhead. Open to receiving all that life has to offer and all good things that come his way, the happy hobo, needing so little, enjoys and appreciates immensely what is freely given to him in a way that many may never understand.
6. Freely give what you don’t use or need.
In need of so little, the hobo has mastered the knowledge that if he doesn’t have it, he doesn’t need it. And if he has an extra, he certainly doesn’t need that either. The hobo is quick to offer the shirt off of his back to someone in need of it, knowing a shirt is incredibly easily replaced. There is nothing a hobo has that cannot be replaced, and knowing how to survive with so little, the hobo is as free to give as he is to receive. Good things come and go to the happy hobo, flowing in and out of his existence, while he remains content and composed all the while.
7. Keep on whittling down your needs.
Somewhere along the way, the hobo realized that his need for “stuff” was actually false. He learned to become unattached to whatever possessions he may have once managed, in exchange for the freedom of life on the road. Whether traveling or living in one spot, the fact remains that “stuff” can weigh you down. Material possessions can be stripped away, or we can voluntarily give them away. Either way, we will one day learn that we actually didn’t need most of what we once thought was indispensable. Ever been to an estate sale? The owner of all that “stuff” doesn’t “need” it anymore, now does she? The hobo has learned before many people do that our sense of “need” in this day and age is quite imbalanced, and through his knowledge, has opened a pathway towards freedom that many will never realize in this lifetime. The less the hobo has, the less he realizes he needs, and the more alive and present he becomes in his life experience. The seasoned hobo finds great delight in minimizing his needs further and further still, discovering and enjoying freedom as a fruit of his efforts.
8. Remain alert and sensitive.
It always pays to develop one’s awareness. While traveling or simply living life, the art of paying attention is one that could literally save your life. The hobo is a keen observer, scanning public areas for signs of imbalance or danger, reading people deeply upon first encounter, and viewing his life experience from a detached, impartial perspective. He knows that both his safety and his happiness depend upon his ability to remain aware and in tune with his surroundings, and he finds great joy in the process of sharpening his senses.
9. Keep your eyes up.
Nobody ever saw an opportunity while looking down at their own feet. So often people don’t see the fork in the road because they are too busy bulldozing down the well-trodden path. The happy hobo is constantly scanning the horizon, anticipating what might be around the next corner while remaining aware that the unexpected could come at any second. The hobo practices awareness and looking ahead in order to give himself the greatest amount of time possible to react to incoming stimuli accordingly and wisely, with grace and poise.
10. Keep moving.
The happy hobo, wisely, sees little to gain from stagnation. She has become quite content to travel lightly, leave no trace, leave things better than when she came, and be on her merry way. Moving along steadily and systematically, the hobo is never bored. She has found a pace that works for her and has discovered that the joy really is in the journey, not in the destination. She has learned to appreciate and to really experience wherever it is that she finds herself, and with intuition and skill, she trusts herself to know when it is time to move on, doing so with ease and grace. The happy hobo’s ability and inclination to keep moving has taken her so far already, and how far it can take her, she cannot wait to discover.
What do YOU think? Do you agree or disagree with our Rules of the Road? Do you have any vagabonding rules of the road you’ve learned while traveling or living simply that you feel need to be added to this list? Please share with us your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!
Not all hobos are happy! But the ones who are happier than others seem to share a certain set of characteristics. Enjoy!
The happy hobo is flexible in all circumstances. Willing to change plans on a dime, never disappointed when someone hasn’t met up to expectations. Understanding that just because a water source is listed on the map, doesn’t mean the stream will be running, and willing to adapt to meet challenges without complaining or losing his cool.
The happy hobo is open-minded, practicing non-judgment towards others and towards oneself. He is easily amused by his own wandering mind and has learned that not taking himself so seriously helps him travel with greater ease. The happy hobo knows that a newfound discovery or insight could change the direction of his course at any moment, and he welcomes this fact, maintaining alertness. She remains unattached to the viewpoints or beliefs that don’t bring her ease of mind or help her along her journey, and remains open to experiences and encounters that challenge and cause her to examine her pre-conceived notions.
The happy hobo has a keen understanding that what goes around comes around, and what we give unto others, we give unto ourselves. The happy hobo practices kindness towards oneself and kindness towards others as a daily discipline and as an extension of the peace he has discovered along his way. He understands from firsthand experience that at times, someone’s greatest need may be a smile, a hug, or a twenty dollar bill, and is unafraid to give freely of whatever he has to give in the current moment, knowing that he himself has been the benefactor of more generosity in his time than he could ever hope to pay forward.
The happy hobo, in need of so little, is always swift to give where giving is beneficial. And alas, she finds that giving is ALWAYS beneficial. Thus, she makes generosity a daily discipline and a natural extension of the peace she has discovered within herself, knowing that to give is to receive, and that the art and practice of sharing one’s resources reaps dividends far beyond the joy of serving another’s immediate needs.
The happy hobo sees much, and remains in a continuous state of wonder at it all. Wonder is one of the trademark qualities of a happy hobo, you can be sure that he has reached a particular state of joy in his journey if you can see that sparkle and sense of awe in his eye whether he is speaking to you or gazing into the distance. The happy hobo is in wonder of the beauty of creation in every unfolding moment, whether witnessing a sunset or sipping his morning coffee, it’s all a miracle and a moment to celebrate for the happy hobo. He is simply happy to be here, and he’s not taking one second for granted.
Needing so little, the happy hobo has found great joy in everything that surrounds her. She is grateful for every shower she takes, every mattress or forest floor she sleeps upon, every breath she breathes, every conversation she shares. Every moment is golden to her, every day she is happy simply to be alive! Whatever joys, sorrows, blessings or challenges fill her day, she gives thanks and practices surrender, remaining humble and unattached to what circumstances she faces, graceful, poised, equanimous.
The happy hobo is blessed with some purpose of existence. He feels there is a reason for his being here, and he feels happy to wake every morning. His days are spent in discovery of something greater than himself, and his searching proves more than enough to satisfy his need for purpose.
Without awareness, the hobo floats through his existence like most other citizens. But with awareness, the hobo becomes a happy hobo. He sees all things clearly, and thus sees them rightly. The happy hobo views everything through the lens of awareness, and his actions reflect a clear mind, sound judgment, and an open heart.
The hobo who loses his integrity loses his sleep at night. He lies awake in worry of the man who is going to come seek revenge on him for his wrongdoing! Better to act in integrity and sleep soundly. The happy hobo maintains integrity throughout every interaction, neither backing down or pushing forward with force or aggression. She has discovered the art and the joy of alignment, and finds this space to be a quite pleasant state to stay within.
Resourcefulness. The culmination of all the happy hobos qualities. The ability to draw upon whatever one has access to in any given moment, and the epiphany that all we have access to in any given moment is all we ever need. Thus…the Return to our Source in all of our Fullness. Resourcefulness.
What do you think about our interpretation of the quality of resourcefulness and our Ten Qualities of a Happy Hobo? Are we spot-on or all we full of whacky tobacky? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be bringing you more material on the Hobo Way of Living very soon. Until then, remember to GIVE THANKS EVERYDAY AND GET OUTSIDE AND PLAY!
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