Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting a balanced diet - Cheap.

This is very difficult to do. Healthy food is expensive, so It can be hard for a hobo to have a balanced diet. My diet consists mainly of pasta and other cheap carbohydrate based food, which is bad. I am at an all time low for cash right now, so I am stuck eating crap. But for those of you with maybe a few more dollars to spare, these tips will help you out.

First off, the food pyramid has changed this past year. Now they use a pie chart type diagram.

As you can see, your diet should consist mainly of fruits, veggies, and grains.

To get a balanced diet you need to incorporate all of the food groups into your daily diet. The best way to do this is to plan your meals out ahead of time.

Grains are the easiest thing to get a hold of. They are very cheap and come in many forms. I have gotten used to ramen noodles lately. Be careful though, some of the cheaper pastas and breads might as well be in the cookies/sweets category.

Fruits n Veggies. These can be very expensive, or cheap depending on where you live. I try to visit a pay by the pound salad bar once or twice week to get my essential vitamins in. If you can avoid the dense toppings like beans and cottage cheese, a pay by the pound salad bar can be a more efficient buy than getting the ingredients separately. Look around the store and compare prices. Where I am, fresh spinach costs around $15 a pound, but the salad bar is only $5 a pound. If you can make a salad out of ingredients that cost less at the salad bar than sold separately, than you are beating the system while nourishing yourself. Another cheap alternative is buying store brand canned veggies. I buy cans of beans for like $0.40.

Protein. Meat is expensive and you really need to cook it. If you can find a way to cook them, I suggest getting your protein from eggs. The yolk is pure;y nutrients, and has enough to jumpstart the life of a chicken in each egg. Other alternatives to getting protein include Deli meat (must be refrigerated) and nut based products. Peanut butter is always a huge hit.

Dairy. Dairy is the hardest to get because it is so hard to keep because it spoils. I have a dairy poor diet right now. Pretty much the only dairy I get is from a little cottage cheese in my salads. You need to get dairy in your diet though. If you have a calcium deficient diet, your body will take it from your bones. This can lead to them becoming brittle and breaking easy, or worse and more complicated health issues. If you can't get your dairy, take a calcium supplement.

Meal of the pros: Peanut butter and banana sandwich with a side of milk. Its very cheap and packed with nutrients. Also, its fucking delicious.

Loser meals: Fast food. In general, it is all crap and unhealthy. You may be attracted to the dollar menu for the cheap tasty calories, but they are empty calories and don't help you at all. Eating shitty food makes you feel like shit. The only fast food that I buy is the occasional sub at Subway, because with the right vegetables it actually has the potential to be healthy. Go get yourself a $5 footlong, or stay away from fast food.

That's all for now. I will likely talk about food and how to obtain it under a strict budget, in a later post when I have more time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting internet

Let me start off by saying that I recognize the irony in this post. You are all obviously on the internet already, and getting online should be a priority of someone who is homeless. In my situation it is though. I am constantly apply for jobs and communicating with potential employers via email, so I really need daily access. So really all this post is going to be about are the various ways to connect and where to find internet.

If you don't have a computer, then your probably rely on public libraries. There is no shame in that, I have spent plenty of time in libraries to use the computers. Another place you should consider are malls or shopping outlets. I know they aren't meant for suing the internet, but no one has ever stopped me. I have gone into Best Buys and Apple stores, solely to use their sample computers to get online. Generally there are is high traffic in malls and sales people will try to assist you constantly, so you won't have much time with this option. If you need to check you email or send one real quick though, this is a great option.

If you do have a laptop, tablet, or smart phone, you have way more options. There are some good places with free wifi, mainly fast food joints like starbucks or mcdonalds, but there are tons of places with unprotected wifi. I tend to target places that have multiple people requiring internet, because those are the most difficult to protect. Hotels and college campuses are great places to try. Lately though, I've been using apartment complexes. I realized that apartment complexes are densely populated and each apartment normally needs their own router. This means there is a high chance that there is one that is unprotected. As I am writing this blog, I am outside a complex that has 11 available connections, and 3 of them are unprotected. I come here all the time because they have fast internet that doesn't require a password, and I don't need to sit in public and drink expensive coffee. There are tons of places you can get free wifi, so look around. It was recently brought to my attention on a forum that Home Depot is a great places to park your car and get online.

There is another option for those of you with a laptop and smart phones. It's rarely advertised because it saves you a ton of money, but you can actually tether your phone to your computer. What this means is that your computer can use your phones 3g, 4g, or whatever network as its wifi. It is fairly simple to set up, and all you need is a cord to connect your phone to your computer with via USB. Not all plans include tethering, but if you have a phone and can afford to spend a few buck to get internet wherever you have phone service, you should consider doing this. I personally am unable to tether my phone, but I know people who have done it in the past and they love it.

So there you go. I have given you all the information you need to connect to the internet and comment on this blog post.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to open padlocks

Okay. Let me start off by saying that I don't condone stealing, but I understand that sometimes you need to. I encourage all of you to explore other means of survival than taking from others, but don't let yourself starve to death.

I found multiple tutorials online on how to pick padlocks in the past, and have practiced enough to have it down to a science. Tools can be hard to come by as a hobo, but this tutorial will show you how to pick a padlock with nothing but a soda can. Video

I have used this technique many times before, and it works quite well. Most of the times I have done it, you only need one coke can piece.

Also, here is a tutorial on how to pick combo locks:

I would just like to add that I have never used this to steal from anyone else. I have used it a few times to break into city recycling bins and collect cans, and once to get into a place to sleep during a storm. There are plenty of ways to use this technique without it having a negative effect on other people.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maintaining Hygiene

Hygiene is something often lost in poverty, but it is extremely important maintain. Proper hygiene will not only keep you healthy, but it will make you feel better about yourself and keep you motivated. Have you ever woke up in the morning and felt like complete sh­it? Whenever I do, I feel much better after a nice warm shower. These can be hard to come by for a hobo, but they are not impossible to get on a regular basis.

The first thing you need is a toiletries kit. You should have one of these regardless of whether or not you are going to try and shower regularly. My kit has various mini shampoos and soaps that I gathered from various hotels and friends houses over time, tooth brush and paste, and even a moisturizing lotion (not essential, but it came with some soap that I bought in bulk). I put all these items into a zip-lock freeze bag, and into a small drink cooler/lunch box. This is handy to bring where ever you want and it doesn't look suspicious. The next thing I have when I go to get a shower is a change of cloths. A shower isn't complete unless you change your cloths.

I've said it before and I'll say it over and over. I take advantage of my young appearance. I like to throw my change of cloths and lunchbox of toiletries into my backpack, and blend with student. I put on my backpack, go to a college campus and loiter outside a down until a student goes in or out of the dorm, and I slip in while the door is open. Student are told never to let anyone into a dorm, but if you appear to be a student then they really don't care. Once I get into the dorm, I just use their community shower stalls. Infinite hot water, and so many people are coming and going during the day that you should be able to blend right in without question.

I know that some of you readers are a little older, or may be uncomfortable trying this. If that is the case, then you should invest in a cheap membership to a 24 hour gym. I have been considering this for awhile, and I will probably do it soon. Even if you really don't feel like working out, a 24 gym membership will get you a shower, bathroom, clean drinking water and a place to get in from the cold or weather, anytime of the day. Planet Fitness gyms are nationwide(I think), and they always have deals that can get you a membership for as low as $10/month. $10 a month to be able to shower everyday, no matter where you want to live is an excellent deal. I see myself getting a membership to one very soon.

A third option to get clean is what I have dubbed the "Hobo Bath". I have done this a few times and it's no fun, but I am a firm believer that hygiene is extremely important. Go into any public bathroom, whether it is a single bathroom at a gas station or a stall style bathroom at a fast food joint. Take a cloth, get it wet and soapy, strip down and give yourself a dry bath with the cloth. Again, it's not fun, especially to do in front of other people, but its worth it. I have only had to do this a handful of times, but if I run out of other options, I plan to do it regularly.

The forth option to get clean is scrub down in a river/pond/ocean/etc. I personally don't like this option because the water is colder, dirty, and the soap+shampoo is bad for the environment. I supposed though that given no other choice, I would do it. I ask though that if you do choose this option, please try to find cleaners that are organic/biodegradable and won't harm the animals inhabiting the area that you bathe in.

That's all for now. Stay clean guys.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Clothes Shopping

Getting new clothes is very expensive, and often impossible to pay for without an income. If you do have a little bit of cash you can always go shop at a discount store or thrift shop. Personally I don't want to spend any money on clothes, so I found other methods of acquiring them.

The first way is less than desirable, but its free. Go to a laundromat, college laundry room, or random apartment complex laundry room. Most laundry rooms that I went to in college or in apartment complexes, have a pile of unclaimed clothes pushed away in the corner. This pile is normally compiled of pieces of clothing that stuck to the inside of the dryer when someone was doing their laundry, and they left with their other clothes without realizing it. Take them. Yes, this is stealing, but its mostly like that the owner will never miss, and they will be thrown out if left unclaimed. With this method, you also need to get over the fact that your accepting clothes from a stranger. It's pretty easy to accept, if you consider that they were just washed.

The second method is my personal favorite, because it helps others and gets me brand new clothes. Get involved with your community. Look online or in newpapers and bulletin boards for community service opportunities. More often than not, if you are volunteering at a yearly or ongoing event you will get a uniform and a free meal just for helping out. Sometimes you get stiffed, but I have volunteered and walked away with a full stomach and a hoodie after only a few hours of work. It doesn't hurt to try. If you are homeless you probably have nothing better to do anyways.

The last method sucks and I haven't done it yet. Begging. I don't ever want to have to do this, but when winter comes around I may not have a choice. Survival is the most important thing, no matter how embarrassing it may be to beg. If you aren't prepared for a snow storm, and can't get to a warm place, you will freeze to death. Most people I have talked to think that people in a city won't freeze to death, but they do. When I was in highschool, I volunteered in a homeless community outreach project(irony) in Boston. I spoke to some cops who were telling me that every winter they get calls some mornings about citizens finding dead homeless people who froze to death over night. It really put things into perspective for me. I hate the idea that people will walk by someone who is freezing to death and just do nothing, but it happens. So lose that pride and beg if you have to, or you will die.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hobo Definition

What is a hobo?  Is it bad to be a hobo?
A simple google search led me to this hobo definition:

1. a tramp; vagrant
2. a migratory worker, esp an unskilled labourer

Well, this is  poor definition of a hobo.  A hobo is someone who travels with next to nothing and survives by making use of his or her surroundings.  It has nothing to do with being unskilled or degenerate.  This hobo definition is slanderous. 

A professional hobo is simply one who excels in the hobo lifestyle.  I am not an ingrate or lazy bum.  I am simply a person who had some bad luck and is knows how to efficiently utilize the limited resources at my disposal. 

Sorry for the rant, just had to get that off my chest after reading that sketchy hobo definition.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking Shelter

I have been pretty lucky so far, to have only been a hobo while its warm out. Adverse weather, however, can ruin you even in the warm months. I can generally find a building to get into, or just hide out in my car, but I can't say the same for everyone. I took a walk through the woods the other day and I came across some man made shelters. They looked to be a few weeks old, but they are still standing strong. They were mad completely out of sticks and shrubs. No rope or string was used at all, which I found impressive.

They built them two different ways.

The first way, they pinned a log at an angle between two trees. They then simply piled sticks along both sides of the log, while leaving an opening on one side. It was a good one person shelter.

The second way was a tipi style shelter. A main sturdy stick was shoved into the ground, and other sticks were built up around it. This shelter was much larger and looked like it took more time. This shelter could have fit three or four people comfortably.

I took a picture of each for you guys.

This gave me the idea to invest in a large piece of tarp. The shelters look simple enough to make, but with a little tarp on top it should protect against rain fairly well.