Hobo Living Made Easy
As a Professional Hobo, I don’t just live on the street and beg for spare change. I'm also not as lucky as Fabulously Broke, who, through contract jobs, manages to live out of a suitcase with her husband as "modern nomads".
And I don't have an exhaustive amount of money in order to cruise around the world and live in (even inexpensive) hotel or hostel accommodations. I have to be a little more resourceful.
Here are a few tools I've used to date in order to facilitate my Hobo lifestyle:
I joined Rotary many years ago when I was in business. I joined not for networking or business purposes, but because in the club I specifically joined, I found a number of positive enthusiastic people who were dedicated to dozens of charities around the world. Our little club of 30 people annually raises more than $100,000 for over a dozen charities.
When I have travelled anywhere in the world, all I ever had to do was show up at the local Rotary meeting, and more often than not I was received with open arms. It was a perfect way to immediately interact with the locals in a social manner and discover what really makes that town or country tick.
Not only that, but being so tapped into the inner circle, I was often given advice as to where to stay (or not to stay), and in many cases taken for a tour, even offered a place to stay and a homecooked meal.
Rotary fits into my Hobo lifestyle because one of my priorities is to give back to the world in whatever way I can. And when you are working on a small charitable project (like building a school in a tiny town in the Andes for example), the locals will in many cases offer up their homes in exchange for the contributions you make. Each Rotary club is tapped into these projects and can show me where my services might work best.
If this makes you want to jump up and join Rotary, I will offer one small note of caution: Not all Rotary clubs are created equal. Some clubs will only accept people of a certain business acumen or background, and some are even prejudiced against women (historically having been a boy's club of sorts). Some claim to be dedicated to "Service Above Self" (the Rotary International motto), but when you look under the surface are nothing more than a social networking group.
It is all in the specific group of people that makes up the club. So if you are interested in Rotary, visit a number of clubs until you find one you can call home.
WWOOF is an acronym for a number of different phrases, the most apt of which in my mind is "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms". It is an international organization (located in over 70 countries) of organic farms, gardens, businesses, ranches, (you name it) where you can exchange your services for accommodations, food, and training.
Required services include basic garden and farm maintenance, as well as cooking, teaching, caring for children, and handy work. There is usually some work suitable for anybody willing to adopt this lifestyle.
Whilst surfing Wwoofing opportunities, you will likely also find links to volunteer organizations, and other similar work exchange opportunities. It's a great way to gain valuable experience, friendships, and to cover off your living expenses in a constructive manner.
I found the Caretaker Gazette while researching Wwoofing opportunities. It is a newsletter that connects property owners with house-sitters, property caretakers, ranch hands, cooks, and the like. The common underlying theme tends to be rent-free living in exchange for services rendered.
Opportunities range from a home owner in Florida who requires somebody to house sit and take care of the pets while they are on vacation, to full-time fishing lodge maintenance, to caring for a private island in the South Pacific while the New York owners are back home.
The Caretaker Gazette is in fact how I found my next opportunity, and will be moving to Hawaii shortly! I was moved by the call of a property owner for caretakers:
"CO-CARETAKERS WANTED for a Big Island of Hawaii, 76 acre, beachfront, sustainable homestead/land trust in sunny Kapoho. Ecological, health conscious, drug free, responsible, energetic, fit, stable couple (age 20-40's) wanted to co-caretake an off-grid (solar and wind) educational living project, that supports fair, responsible, sustainable, and healthy living. Work/trade in exchange for housing: 13 days per month, four hours per day. Involves feeding chickens, milking goats, coppicing nitrogen-fixing trees for green manure and fodder, and garden maintenance. Stipend available for extra days..."
The owners are a neat couple who are completely dedicated to leaving as small a footprint on the earth as possible. They both work in the medical profession, and find themselves overextended in trying to maintain the property (which takes four hours a day) in addition to work on their employment and other projects.
All necessary training will be provided, and my boyfriend and I will be able to sustain ourselves entirely off the land and through any additional stipends we work for in order to cover the purchase of staples.
Caretaking typically appeals to (among others), those who are retired with a sense of adventure, writers or artists who need time to work on their craft and minimal expenses, or maintenance-handy people who like to live where they work.
This is what TIME Magazine had to say about Caretaker Gazette.
These are just three opportunities I have discovered and used to help me live the Professional Hobo lifestyle and give back to the world at the same time. Being a Hobo can take on many forms!