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Vagabond is homeless again... in a much better way

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posted on Jun, 11 2013 @ 02:30 AM
Well, I've run away with the circus- I'm living out of my truck in LA just until I get a day job and a place to share with someone. The plan is to do open mic shows every day until I'm ready to do it for a living.

I've always had good luck at The Comedy Store and tonight was no exception. I did a couple lines out of one of my favorite chunks of material for the Deathsquad Secret Show- it will be on Episode 2 of Hinchcliffe Notes. Didn't even get to my favorite parts of it cause I had to trim it or risk getting cut off, but I got good feedback. Don't expect the funniest joke ever told if you hear the podcast- I'm just happy I didn't fall the hell apart since it was my second time on stage and I was being critiqued by guys I listen to at work and would give my blacker lung to work with.

All bragging aside, I'm nervous as hell but I got a taste of what I'm here for and it should be a great adventure. I don't suppose there are any other LA comics kicking around ATS are there, or maybe just LA members period who have advice on how to get around town, not get shot by the police, etc?

posted on Jun, 11 2013 @ 02:49 AM
reply to post by The Vagabond

According to your words, you don't seem to be homeless. I'd say you are a nomad of modern times.

posted on Jun, 11 2013 @ 10:59 AM
Good luck, I wish you the best!!!

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 03:11 PM
Well the Vagabonding just doesn't seem to stop. After the 2012 summer road trip which i had hoped and failed to stretch all the way out to Dec 21 on a meager savings I went back to my dead end security job until I ran afoul of a bully cop and got blackballed. That's what caused my flight to LA and the creation of this thread last year. And that little sojurn in LA was very very brief, then reattempted and failed again later in the year... I've been on the unemployed darkside of a vagabond existence for over a year.

THEN TODAY HAPPENED. I'm living in a campsite in a North Dakota boom town and working my butt off. It aint stand up comedy, but it's finally an adventure that puts me ahead instead of in the hole.

I don't know that anyone cares but I sure feel good about it, and if anyone here is in the kind of rut I had going on and is curious about chasing work to BFE, USA I'd be happy to share what little I've learned so far about trying to get started somewhere better on a tent and prayer.

posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 12:22 AM
Methinks you are a bard also.

Share away there is always someone interested in your story. I am.

posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 12:33 PM
a reply to: zazzafrazz

Thanks zazz.

If I might bard it up just a bit our story begins in sunny Southern California- a little too sunny actually in my home in the mystic Mojave- it's one thing to sweat all day in 110 degrees because it's a living. It's quite another to do it because you're ashamed of your broke and intoxicated ass and don't want to be seen on the couch even when there's nothing to do. That's the lot of quite a few people I know, including myself, in a county that has consistently had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country since the recession began so many years ago...

It's strange to think that these desperate of calling bare subsistence a break when you can find it have now lasted 6 years- fully 20% of my life to date, wasted in the hope that I could hold on until things got back to how they once were. And don't let me paint myself as "that guy"- I was an operating engineer- I made 30/hr right out of highschool and in 2003 I put that on hold to be a Marine and never financially recovered from that ego-driven misadventure. College came to nothing, so I took every job I could take- the ones that no other white man has ever done that close to the border and the ones that offer commission and then don't pay up a dime. Make no mistake about my excuses, I was ashamed despite them.

At any rate, my starting situation when I left California a few weeks ago was this: I've had 30 jobs in 12 years, ranging in duration from one day and fired to one day because it was temporary to 3 years of treading water as a full time guard who couldn't afford his own apartment and learning to love it. If I'd knocked somebody up I could have gotten section 8 housing assistance and watched a child grow up with nothing, but on my own all section 8 did was ensure that no landlord in my little desert valley would part with their property for what the average person makes down there. After my exchange of professional criticisms with a cop which began when i scared him by trying to show him the location of the alarm he had spent 20 minutes driving past without locating, that 3 years of stability counted for nothing and my other 29 jobs made me all but unemployable. And for over a year I had been a burden to family. Every move I made to try and find a way through only burned gas that I couldn't pay for myself. Luckily I'd paid my dues when others were down and out, mostly due to a now past meth addiction that caught several of my clan, though not myself, and had a good stock of karma to burn in the eyes of everyone except myself.

Perhaps I am going over-bard. When my brother, who worked a year in the North Dakota boom only to need gas money to come back home for the winter due to high cost of living invited me out, it didn't sound like the sure thing he made it out to be. A fast talking Californian whose legal status depends somewhat on what state he is in with a bad job history in the mid west? Could I even get there unarrested? I experience what I call "LA Guilt" every time I get North or East of Bakersfield, unless of course I'm going to Vegas (which, thanks to my reputation as a road man amongst friends and family, happens from time to time on the dime of happier and more successful people). But I was ashamed not to try.

I sorted the things that matter from the things I might never see again and loaded up my blazer- 150k miles, no shocks, chronic exhaust and motor mount problems (almost certainly related)- not your ideal lifeline 1600 miles from home, but I've done with worse. My first car was a camaro that had to be jump-started with a miniature golf club because it kept blowing ignition circuits, even when I installed a separate circuit with a push button and reduced the key to just a steering column lock- if teenage Vago can steal his own car on a daily basis and keep it running when it's older than he is, certainly I could make this work more easily than I could not even try.

It cost almost $400 to get to North Dakota. I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep a wink- I stopped a few times and tried but it was a bad joke, especially after I'd lost my key at a truck stop in Utah and nearly found myself stranded until I could pay through the nose to have the ignition changed. Instead I grid searched and found the key though, and that experience left me wide awake to drive all night and all day again. It was a beautiful trip, with the exception of Wyoming. Garfield fans are already aware that Wyoming is an Indian word meaning "there isn't really a state here".

Lesson #1 Pack light. Most of the things you think are important are not. Bringing an ice chest and a footlocker that was intended to keep my clothes orderly cost me sleeping space in the back of the SUV. I have been eating out of cans and both of those cumbersome boxes are now in my brother's garage, my clothes in manageable bags that are easily moved and stacked in the truck. The vain effort to reconfigure my load for space at the Utah truck stop is how I lost my key.

When I arrived I had an important advantage- access to the indoors- but this may actually have been a slight detriment in some ways as well, since desperation can be a powerful ally. My brother had rented a room with a truck driver, and it was agreed that for the 3.5 days a week when the room mate is not present to be disturbed that my brother would go have sex with lawyer and I would have use of his bedroom. This relative comfort, and the discovery that though I broke no laws in CA, the lingering effects of certain legal hobbies could necessitate professional rehabilitation at my own expense before I could ever work construction in this state, convinced me to burn the first weekend improving my health. This cost money and was not instantly successful.

Lesson #2 Some things just don't belong in some states. If you can put them behind you at home, do so before leaving. If you cannot, a place where there is no safe access to such things may be the ticket. For the first time since 2010 I honestly do not miss my unspecified health problem. I've also found that I can now remember my dreams and wake up much faster. I credit proper hydration and a toxin removing cider vinegar supplement for restoring my health a week ahead of normal expectations.

edit on Fri 22 Aug 2014 by The Vagabond because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 01:19 PM
Soon enough I was in the camp site that my brother had found by dumb luck on his initial venture into the boom. It's 10 dollars a night but you don't have to dig a hole to poop in and there are hot showers at no extra cost, you can also walk to an empty RV space and charge your electronics. In most places it is vitally important to appear to be a vacationer- you must have a tent to set up even if you will sleep in your vehicle, and above all you have to be friendly and clean and just the right combination of honest and vague. The campsite I was referred to however is across the river from a prison and is perfectly fine with the fact that there are plenty of out of town workers living there, provided that they leave 2 weeks out of the month so as not to become tenants and never pay late. It is best to avoid the places where your kind are openly welcome if you aren't on the rougher side of what is acceptable. Paying 10 dollars to listen to desperate couples fighting over who lost a 99cent can opener on a saturday night can be extremely demoralizing. Had I not been certain that I would not fare well in dealings with the local police I almost certainly would have gone over to make my feelings known to the man who was bellowing at his woman over the can opener, but when I realized that she was neither sounding scared nor attempting to leave I decided that no line worth enforcing had been crossed. The next morning I met the couple under better circumstances. He has a brain injury, but he works to support his dysfunctional family anyway, living in a tent and walking 10 miles to work 6 days a week. When he doesn't bellow he sounds like a child with a mouth full of food. There would have been no explaining what I had done to him or why if he and I had each been forced to tell our version of the previous nights events to a police officer, especially in light of what our respective presences would have been like once the bellowing had been knocked out of him. (I had also suspected a group of youths of having located my missing key at the truck stop, and had disabled my vehicle and laid an ambush for anyone who might try to take it once i disappeared before I made a second search and found the key- I'm lucky I didn't act on the impulse to confront them with an ultimatum to help me find the key or be presumed guilty by a guy who could roll through all of them)

Lesson 3 The road is no place for tough guys. Just get where you're going and keep your wits about you.

I will most likely spend my next camping stretch simply parked off the side of the road in an acceptable spot in the boondocks, and procure a bucket which will allow me the privacy of my SUV prior to taking up my pants and digging the requisite hole, and if I cannot freely avail myself of the camp showers under the guise of a free day use patron, I will locate a truck stop where i hope I will still come in under the 10/night budget.

Lesson number 4: when living outdoors cover your skin thoroughly even if the weather is warm, and accept bug repellant as a necessary expenditure.

4 days and 20 someodd bug bites later I decided that there was no point waiting for my health to recover as it did soon, and I began randomly applying to jobs that were beneath what I could fairly expect to find in this place. To see all of the help wanted signs- even McDonald's proudly proclaiming a 25k sign on bonus for anyone who worked an entire year- I realized that I could afford to burn a few minor bridges if it helped me slip through the cracks somewhere- i just couldn't apply anywhere that I considered a vital opportunity until I was sure that I wouldn't have to back out in the event of a physical exam. It took two days to slip through the cracks as described, at Labor Ready. I am now one of the most beloved peons in this area because I've made no bones about the fact that I will do just about anything to get a foot in the door- I'm smart, I'm motivated, I know what I'm doing, and I'll work one or two shifts for 9 bucks an hour even though Walmart pays 12- already 3 companies have had me give them my info and promised that I will work directly for them at a much better rate rather having to sacrifice a large portion of my worth to a temp agency next time. Today the company failed to staff a job adequately, so I got 2 hours show up time for not lifting a finger, and tomorrow me and my brother will do the job directly for cash- we effectively snaked the job out from under the agency and they have no problem with that because I'm gonna make something happen for their client when they couldn't- its worth me pulling a fast one and them not getting their cut because the customer still got the answer to his problem- namely me- by calling them. Then as a reward, next week I will be interviewed for the highest paid assignment the local agency has, and they've made it clear that they expect me to jump ship on them again and work for that company directly if that works out- they're just happy they can finally send somebody out when they haven't been able to come through so far.

Lesson 5 Very little is beneath a Vagabond if there's any road leading forward in it at all. Everyone loves to see a guy busting his butt to make a comeback.

I figured there'd be an automatic mutual hatred between me and the people of the midwest, and to be honest I do feel as though I am a foreigner visiting America for the first time. By California standards we're getting pretty close to Kansas now Toto. Luckily I haven't made the mistake of trying to be what they expect of me. I probably will eventually attend a church and keep my deeper spiritual questions and insights to myself, but for now I've continued to talk fast and poke fun at myself when it gives someone trouble, and it turns out most people don't even peg me as a Californian- they think I'm from Texas and I have to explain that I've never been, but that I grew up around a heavy Texas accent and some bastardized version of that has apparently superimposed itself over the hodgepodge of linguistic flares that I've adopted over the years of adventuring.

Lesson 6 Be yourself. (though i have so far found that people around here are content to act on the truth without calling you out on your BS when you have to BS them, it just doesn't work. I like that about these people. In LA it becomes an ego battle- nobody can leave you thinking that it almost worked there.)

That brings us up to present. Less than 2 weeks ago I was flat broke with no prospects and plenty of fear. Now I have borrowed the last I will ever borrow, just a few days labor has pocketed me enough money to live out a pay period when i switch over to regular employment, which is plentiful and given much more informally than it is in more desperate and regulated areas, and I've found all over again that people just aren't as bad as you'd expect. All that's left is to join an apprenticeship and turn this getting by into the development of a skill that will compete when it's time to go back home. I fully intend to die a Californian- but one who need not die young to avoid retirement issues and perhaps even one who can afford a motorcycle eventually.
edit on Fri 22 Aug 2014 by The Vagabond because: certain topics have been amended as changes to the T&C have been clarified for me and I do not wish to set a bad example

posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 01:25 PM
Jeez, I really did overdo it. I love to tell a story. I hope at least one person enjoys reading it all the way thru to spare me the reality that I'm a bit self indulgent.

Here's the TLDR (Tarded, Didn't Learn Reading) version- i know two letters are transposed but that's good enough for the illiterate:

There's good paying work for absolutely anyone who will do it in this country, if you've got the balls and the resources to get where it is.

You'll need to temper your bad impulses but not your personality.

You will need clothes, non-perishable food, hygiene equipment, a few minor camping items, at least 10 dollars a day to live on above your travel money for the first week or two, and an introduction to what is and is not acceptable in the area where you relocate, including advanced knowledge of outdoor conditions.

There are "business solutions" based on screwing the desperate that you can use for your own ends to get on your feet.

posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 01:38 PM
Lesson 7#
You take you with you wherever you go

Extraordinary read, I would have paid to read the longer book version, not the TLDR version

posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 01:43 PM
a reply to: zazzafrazz

I really appreciate that. I used some of my down time in camp to start writing something that was paced roughly the same as Kerouac's On The Road- but I'm notorious for not finishing projects like that. Time will tell. Your copy would most certainly come free... and probably handwritten and unpublished.


posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 02:58 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

Jeez, I really did overdo it. I love to tell a story. I hope at least one person enjoys reading it all the way thru to spare me the reality that I'm a bit self indulgent.

Well Zazz and I make two so don't hesitate to update whenever your muse whispers in your ear. Take care Vagabond.

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 11:06 PM
A few less dramatic tips on Vagabonding.

When living out of gymbags you don't organise by type of clothing- you put complete sets together, so you can pull the top layer out the bag and go, no digging thru multiple bags and still having to wear thermals because you can't find your last pair of boxers.

You need a bread box, or not to buy bread.

Read Wikipedia and other not important seeming things about your destination, no matter how obscure. You may find out that your campground suffered a catastrophic flood this time of year 3 years ago and that you need an evacuation plan.

Talk to bums and other people you usually wouldn't engage when the opportunity arises. This is an excellent way to get accurate info about what threat if any you might face from cops or crooks.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 04:42 AM
a reply to: The Vagabond

oh great for you! I was in between houses for about 2 months and I lived in my Volksy with my Dog and Cat.

I loved it. Went were ever I wanted to go...camped out sometimes. Had breaky first thing in the morning looking at the beauty of the landscape. It was the best thing for my head/mind. It is great to get away sometimes.

I don't have my volksy now... sold it which could be a good thing... yanno, I was always ready to pack my stuff and head towards the sunset.

Your free!!! Not bogged down with typical stuff. Congrats

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 08:54 AM
a reply to: Thurisaz

Sounds like quite a trip. Unfortunately my vehicle is no Volkswagen where fuel is concerned so I wouldn't say I can go anywhere, but I did get where I need to be, and after sorting out a number of expenses that go with relocating and enduring an actual winter for the first time (the Mojave only has Summer and Spring) I definitely will be making side trips.
I hear Montana is unofficially the "shoot something" state so I will probably visit to hunt and maybe also to make a "who am I kidding" kinda gem stone prospecting attempt.
It's also possible if I don't get set for the snow in time that I'll be making another impromptu move instead, because I have heard about some guys chasing work to someplace in Texas or Seattle during the winter.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 09:00 AM
a reply to: The Vagabond

omg so you don't have a wagon to sleep in?
one with wheels?

oh I just read it again and you wrote you were living out of your truck...

edit on CDT09000000Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:02:40 -05000240am237 by Thurisaz because: add

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 09:04 AM

originally posted by: The Vagabond

THEN TODAY HAPPENED. I'm living in a campsite in a North Dakota boom town and working my butt off. It aint stand up comedy, but it's finally an adventure that puts me ahead instead of in the hole.

I don't know that anyone cares but I sure feel good about it, and if anyone here is in the kind of rut I had going on and is curious about chasing work to BFE, USA I'd be happy to share what little I've learned so far about trying to get started somewhere better on a tent and prayer.

what happened to your truck?

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 09:06 AM
a reply to: Thurisaz

Yeah I've got wheels, they are just expensive to turn, so now that I'm here I've gotta milk this area for a bit before I think about roaming further.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 09:09 AM
you should write a book about your travels and experiences.

you have a funny wit about you and it is refreshing to read. One of my eyes ain't the best so reading for me is hard work.

I read what I could. All the best. Your life/adventure sounds so exciting.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 10:23 AM
a reply to: Thurisaz

I've always been a serious over-typer, which is hilarious since most of my reading is audio books and I can never seem to finish any writing project that I intend to make longer than 10 pages. Thanks for taking the time and effort, and for the compliments.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:03 AM
How to get where I am currently living:

Start at Captain Jack's Liquor Land and go south from there. Do not stop at Easy Street, just ignore the dead end signs and keep going. Take care not to make the wrong turn towards the correctional facility. When you run out of road make a left turn and go a little further. Go past the park authorities and the happy vacationing families until you find a little privacy, but not so much that anyone will question where you've disappeared to.
And that's how most of us got here.

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