It’s the heat of the summer and most families and people take advantage of the warmer temperatures to escape from their busy lives and go on a vacation. Some explore other parts of the world while others plan a staycation in their home state or city. At Sox Place we meet lots of travelers and train hoppers that have made the decisions to be land pirates as they travel the world by train, van, or by thumb. Here are some tips and tricks from some travelers that have come through at Sox Place.
- It’s Not all Cupcakes and Butterflies
Free to the open road, with not a care in the world—traveling can seem like the perfect gig.
“It’s beautiful and full of wonderful new things to see,” said Melissa “but it’s not always cupcakes and butterflies. However it’s well worth weathering the storm to see all the rainbows,” she said. Yet vans can break down, money and friends can be scarce and sometimes you get stuck. “Traveling isn’t all fun and games. It can suck sometimes.” added Morgan.
- Stay Respectful
When you arrive in someone else’s city it’s important to treat those around you well, and hopefully you too will receive some mutual respect back. “Respect is key and get’s you far,” said Osiris. “Respect yourself but also the people around you and the city you’re in,” he said as he sat under the shade of a car, dog in hand.
- Scout Drop-In Centers
Being a nomad can be a low maintenance endeavor. Besides, all your belongings have to fit in a bag or on your body so it’s important to only carry what you need. That’s where places like Sox Place comes in handy. “Keep your eye’s and ears open for drop ins, similar to Sox Place,” said Melissa. Places that provide food a place to relax, and other essentials will make traveling a bit easier. Think of it like visiting a new city and knowing you have a long distance family member that offers to let you stay with them. This provides a sense of peace and stability when life from day to day can be so unpredictable.
- Choose Your Friends Wisely
“I’ve been beat up under bridges before,” said Morgan twirling and adjusting her sandy brown hair from underneath her hat, “It’s just rough sometimes.” Morgan who has been traveling since she was 17 admits that having a good crew can make or break a trip and that sometimes it doesn’t always work out for the best. Keep in mind that most people out there are looking out for number one, so travel with people you trust.
- Keep Your Feet Happy
Melissa reminds us that you are on the move a lot and taking care of your feet is vital. In fact Sox Place was started by Doyle just handing out socks to homeless youth knowing that socks are one of the most under donated items to homeless.
- Use Your Head
“As for trains.. I tell people not to be stupid,” said Melissa, “it’s a huge piece of machinery that can kill you. Use common sense. Wait for them to stop and be inconspicuous.” Hitchhiking can be unpredictable and sometimes owning a Van can be too costly, many kids revert back to hopping trains to travel the country as a free way to get where they need to go.
- Stay Humble
“Respect those around you who are wiser, and most importantly stay humble,” said Melissa. Don’t be too proud to fly a sign stating that you need help or that you’re hungry. Most people are uncomfortable asking for help, but if you’re a traveler it’s a necessity. Morgan was very adamant about not only being humble but also staying positive, “I am grateful for everything that comes my way, you get what you give. Sometimes that’s just being friendly and having a good attitude,” said Morgan.
- Embrace the Adventure
Imagine hanging with your best friends on a boxcar train whizzing past vast landscape as the sun sets over the passing horizon. “You have to be brave and get out into the world and see it,” said Melissa.
Reminiscing about some great time with friends Morgan talks about the benefits of the journey. “There’s nothing better than sitting on a train, if you’re lucky enough to have a bottle and a pack of cigarettes, drinking with your friends and watching the beautiful scenery go by,” she said. “You just get to see a different part of the country that no body else gets to see. In that way you’re fortunate and it’s usually really pretty,” she said.
- Roll with the Punches
There’s always going to be crap that life throws your way. Even traveling, wild and free, there will always be bumps in the road and things that rock the boat. However don’t forget that those always pass. “You have your good days and bad days but just remember that everything happens for a reason so it’s all gonna work out,” said Morgan.
- Go Home If You Can
I almost always assume that travelers have chosen that life and are happy with the loads of freedom that they experience on the road with not a care in the world. That’s why I was astonished by Morgan’s answer for her number one piece of advice.
“Go home. If you can go home, do go home. People should only be travelers if their parents don’t love them enough to let them come home,” she said seriously chased with a nervous giggle.