Join us as we turn our backs on the pressure to consume.
We believe that we can share what we have and form a community of our own, a community where we are valued for who we are and not how much we have.
We share what we have. And when there are emergencies, we try to help. Please help us provide safe spaces, away from the drug riddled squats and violence of the inner city ghettos where they hide the bus stations, the shelters and the social service agencies that only seem to contribute to the problem.
Click HERE to give and help us with food, first aid, bus tickets,gas,phone cards, care packages and other donations.
August 7, 2016
Check out this article about the home-free lifestyle, written by "Ashley". It does a GREAT job of explaining some of the strengths in our community.
Who are the Dirty Kids?
Who are the modern day nomads, the travelers, the dirty kids? Recent interest from mainstream society has romanticized life on the roads and created an interest in an until now mostly misunderstood society. Why do the modern gypsies take to the road and how can we better understand their culture and needs? There are many kinds of travelers; train hoppers, rubber tramps, leather tramps, rainbows, pirates, gypsies and so many others. To try to define this culture in one set group would be like trying to describe Christian culture by simply talking about Catholics. Our culture is creative and unclassified, nonjudgmental and grown through diversity. Many of us start to the road because of a life crisis, or a need to explore and define ourselves. Some of us are driven to the road by deep disillusion with what mainstream America has to offer. Many don’t believe in supporting what they view as a corrupt system. Many believe in a self-sufficient, low consumer impact type of lifestyle. Others talk of a growing itch any time they stay in one place too long. Some are running away from abusive situations, deaths or a complete lack of fitting in anywhere. They find their purpose and place in a lifestyle that traditionally supports independence and self-sufficiency. But in a culture that doesn’t understand or support a Nomadic lifestyle, a society in which homesteading is the mainstream understood lifestyle, a different set of problems arises for a traveler simply seeking to live the way that works best for them. Sometimes in finding yourself you get a little lost.
We refer to ourselves as dirty kids, typically meant to mean those who live off or on the dirt. Dirty kids in general can be broadly stereotyped as youth and adults that stopped identifying with the typical ideas of home and community and represent the results of a collapsing system that no longer recognizes the infinite value of an individual being. Many are protesters, spiritualists traveling musicians, poets, performers, dancers and artist's and you are likely to see them with huge back packs, dogs, guitars, dreadlocks, a wide variety of collected clothing pieces and survival Knick knacks, and hats, in total typically referred to as gear. Some dirty kids are truly dirty, and live on the dirt, however many traveler folks are clean and own their own cars and rv’s, or buses they transformed into homes. Most nomadic folk will adamantly tell you they are not homeless. This is because they believe home is what they make it, wherever they are IS home. Home can be defined as the natural place to which a person or thing is located or drawn to, and therefore, the definition given by most travelers is both enlightening and correct.
There are many myths and misconceptions about traveling and one of these myths is that traveling is very dangerous. Traveling can be dangerous, but also traveling can be very safe, and no more dangerous than the low income houses and poor, sometimes dangerous neighborhoods these families would be forced to live in should they choose to work a nine to five minimum wage job. When you travel, the benefit is that if your situation is bad, you pick up and go to a safe or better place. Ultimately you choose where you put yourself and what you tolerate in any situation, but this becomes very apparent when you are nomadic. A nomadic lifestyle is empowering! Traveling requires you to be aware of your surroundings, to use and develop common sense and intuition, and to know your boundaries. Dirty kids everywhere are like a family and will often travel and camp together. They are not often associated with prostitution, hard core addictions, gangs or violence and typically band together to protect each other from such things. In a world where one person’s stupidity can mean life or death for a whole group, there is a firm and unique balance struck between taking people under one’s wing and a complete lack of tolerance for lack of sense. Tightly knit communities both accept people with open arms and hearts, loving them for who they are, and as a community shun and police the troublemakers, creating accountability and responsibility.
Critics will say that if we don’t live by society’s values that we should not be a part of society, but isn’t this part of the problem? Understanding that society isn’t black and white, but rather a whole rainbow of colors along with learning to redefine what is normal for different groups of people will go a long way into developing a tolerant, balanced and working society. Many critics voice that dirty kids should “get a job, share life’s journey, have kids and develop a moral compass”. There is no reason someone can’t live a nomadic lifestyle and do this. Many if not most travelers do work. They often live by the hobo’s code of ethics.
An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis Missouri. This code was voted upon as a concrete set of laws to govern the Nation-wide Hobo Body; (hobos meet every year and have a convention), it reads this way:
1) Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.
2) When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
3) Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
4) Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.
5) When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.
6) Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals' treatment of other hobos.
7) When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.
8) Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
9) If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
10) Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
11) When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
12) Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
13) Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
14) Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
15) Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.
16) If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!
Travelers still live by this code. Many if most meet partners or lifelong friends, who accept them at their best and worst. Travelers relationships always go quickly whether they end up in marriage or separation, because living such a raw lifestyle alongside someone shows you the depth of their character very quickly. It also builds and forges unbreakable bonds in the best cases. Many travelers are families, they feed their kids and take care of them, but believe traveling better for their child. In fact, traveling teaches kids about the world, it introduces them to new things, it teaches tolerance, perception, geography, culture, architecture and much more. It teaches adaptability, and brings them closer to nature, and forges tight family bonds. Traveling teaches responsibility, independence and sustainability, as well as interdependence. Traveler families often have a large community that outreaches wherever they go, and so kids are raised in a tight knit community that supports and encourages them. It takes a village to raise a child and dirty kids definitely have this. All in all, many housed up communities have families that move a lot, and they are healthy families (such as military) so logically it shouldn’t be any different for a traveling family. Finally, a moral compass has a lot more to do with who you are, what kind of boundaries you have, whether or not you recognize your needs and are meeting them, and who and what you allow in your life. Housed up communities have unsavory people, or people who make bad decisions, so do travelers, but that does not define traveling people any more than it does for any other community. Recognizing these strengths is key in understanding each other as different cultures and lifestyles, both different but both on the whole healthy.
To ask yourself if travelers are an acceptable branch of society, you must ask yourself if you believe that the current mainstream values of society are the only ones? That means asking tough questions regarding the balance between living a ridiculously sheltered life, and understanding where your boundaries personally lie. For example, we used to draw a correlation between a person’s sexual orientation and morality, but now for the most part, society understands there are just different ways to be, and while you don’t have to participate or even agree with the choices of one orientation, as long as it’s not hurting anyone, it’s not necessarily wrong. A person doesn’t have to house up to live a fulfilling life. In fact, trying to force someone to take a role in society that they don’t fit into can actually have devastating consequences such as depression, the inability to keep a job, debt and the various problems that can come along with that. Traveling however, can cultivate qualities such as mindfulness (living in the moment, which is key to good mental health), grit, creativity, zest, courage, humanity and perspective, among many others. These make up what scientists are calling the 24 VIA character strengths. Each one of us possess the VIA character strengths in varying degrees making up our own unique profiles. People who grow and nurture these strengths are found to be happier, mentally healthier, and successful in life. The VIA Classification of Character Strengths is comprised of 24 character strengths that fall under six broad virtue categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. They are morally and universally valued, encompass our capacities for helping ourselves and others and produce positive effects when we express them. Nomadic life nurtures and informs people of these strengths. Nomads have been around for centuries. Various cultures even today choose to live without cars or worldly possessions. All people desire freedom, and a connection with something bigger than oneself. The sense that there is another way to live and to question what standards we apply to create a fulfilling life is important to creating and sustaining a society the world can value. As a people we must keep in mind the immortal words, “Not all who wander are lost”; nomads, dirty kids, and travelers are just charting the path to the life best lived on our terms, and that deserves respect and support in any culture.