Hey Riah, why are you calling yourself a hobo?
Oh hey friend, I’m so glad you asked.
The name was born about a month ago. It was one of those wonderful, first days of fall, where the air is soft and warm in the sun but at night the temperature drops and it gets actually cold for the first time in months.
I had been working (more on this later) outside all day, underneath a tree. It was just me. Me and my headphones, my scissors and the fresh air. I was dressed warmly, wearing wool boots, a green and blue flannel, and a black beanie that was perched on top of my head, above the messy swirls of hair that were keeping my neck warm.
Oh, and I was wearing my headlamp outside of my beanie. Since you’re wondering, yes, I looked VERY cool.
It was 10pm when I stepped inside and heard the words, “Riah, you look like a hobo.” The statement came from the mouth of my dear friend’s incredibly sweet mother who was visiting from out of town. I was slightly surprised, but quickly shook off the feeling. I walked over to the mirror, studied my appearance, and with a huge grin spreading over my face, replied “I DO look like a hobo!”
We all cracked up.
This led to a discussion of what the word means and then google searches for definitions and history. The origin of the word “hobo” was difficult to find but two of my favorites were “homeless bohemian” (I think I actually made this one up) and “homeward bound”. Things got even better when we found out the definition of a hobo is “someone who travels for work”.
This was when I got really excited. “Omg, I AM a hobo!”, I hooted with glee.
You guys, it’s true. I have been on the road, in one way or the other, for TEN YEARS. Constantly traveling from state to state, town to town, farm to farm, and household to household… mostly for work, sometimes for pleasure or adventure. I have not stayed in one place for an entire year since I was twenty. More commonly, I’m here for a week, there for a weekend, at that place for a few months, and then gone like the wind.
This lifestyle works for me because I LOVE adventures and I thrive off change. The adventures can be as large as selling everything and buying a one way ticket to a tropical island (which I’ve done more than once) or as small as spending three nights a week sleeping in a tent or on a friend’s couch and the other four nights in my own bed (which I do all the time). I’ve driven entire days not knowing exactly where I was going or who I was going to meet, just knowing that a friend of a friend had work for me to do and a trailer for me to sleep in. I’ve followed new friends’ cars up dirt roads in small towns not knowing where they were going. And I’ve lived with so many strangers who have become friends and family (or quite the opposite) that I can’t even count them all.
This is normal for me. This is LIFE.
I’m a mover and a groover and I know that as long as I have my SELF, my morning routine, my healthy habits, my pen and paper, and my laptop and coffee, I can go ANYWHERE and do ANYTHING.
It’s been really interesting to observe how my dreams and values are changing as I collect years and experiences on this earth. I’m still wild and free at heart, abolsutely. I still take life one day at a time and have zero expectations of the future. I’m still a hobo.
However, AT THE SAME TIME, I’m working very hard to establish a foundation for myself, with regards to school and career and healthy habits. I have a general idea of what I am doing but I don’t get attached to details. Instead, I focus on feelings and visions, dreams and intuition, and that deep down knowing in my soul that I have work to do.
I have come to realize that patience, diligence, and small, continuous steps in the right direction will ultimately lead to much greater joy and freedom than instant gratification ever could. And I’m willing to DO THE WORK, because my dreams are worth it.
I’m still a hobo. But I’m a hobo with a FOCUS and perseverance and I’m happy to say that I’m damn proud of who I am.