8:00 a.m. I wake up, I really don’t have much plans for the day. I know the winter is going to be arduous, and I’m going to have a lot of time to myself. So I’ve developed a plan to create a larger, more functional camp close to a water supply where I can stay more comfortably in the future. After the winter especially. I do a short video, and get all my stuff together to get ready for the day.
10:00 a.m. I stopped by the Tent City in Salem. Ashley is there so we have a conversation and I ask how she is doing. She seems to be doing fine. There are enough tents to stay in with supplies like blankets and sleeping bags and such to keep people warm. I let her know that I’ll check in periodically, and just stay warm at all costs. It might not be well known that a good number of people live outside in tents all winter long, but I found this to be true. Living outside and relying on social service resources is a manageable lifestyle. I think when people struggle with mental health issues or substance abuse it becomes more difficult to make sound decisions. Adherence to routine is important in getting through cold winters. When a person’s mind is deluded from substance use, or an unhealthy mental state this clouds the ability to make sound decisions. The maintenance of an addiction can be a full-time job in itself.
10:45 a.m. I stopped at the market to get some food. I ate two spinach pastries and an egg cheese and sausage on an English muffin sandwich. My goal for the day was to scout out a permanent spot to camp, a place close to reliable water and urban resources where I can enjoy nature and live comfortably outside. The place I chose first was Rockport since there’s a large wooded area that provides beautiful freshwater quarries that provide water and where you can swim.
11:45 a.m. I arrive at the gate of the path at the Forest of Rockport Mass. There’s no-parking signs all along the street. I find a side street where there are no signs. I park my car. I take the bike off the rack. I ride up to the trail and ride down to a small quarry that I believe would be a good spot to set up a camp. Once I get to the quarry I lock my bike to a tree and I begin to scout out the whole area. It’s an open forest so there’s really no place to hide yourself. There are little paths all throughout the woods which means that people will be hiking here regularly throughout the nicer seasons. It’s a really cool place to explore and it’s really beautiful, but I realize that I would never be able to conceal a large permanent camp here without it getting discovered. What’s worse I think is the locals might not be too accommodating to a homeless man setting up a large permanent camp in their backyard. It would be a perfect place to have a nice big camp, but I realize it’s too risky and not worth the effort. I do think setting up a smaller camp, maybe like a six person tent, so that I can spend a few days at a time and enjoy the quarries here, would be a good idea. While I’m hiking to the woods I do come across a few broken down shelters that were haphazardly made.
4:30 p.m. darkness is encroaching, I headed out of the forest. I rode my bike over to my small car, lock the bike up on the rack and I drive out of Rockport to a friend of mine’s house in Danvers. This is a friend that although they are able to maintain a productive life, they’re struggling with some issues. I’ve been doing my best to support this person, in the hopes that they’re able to change their behavior in a positive way. I’ll be heading to Haverhill tomorrow, so I will stay the night at my friend’s house. I try to talk to my friend when I arrive, but my friend is in no mood for conversation. I spend some time searching on my phone on Google maps. I have decided that my permanent camp will be set up on an island in the swamp. A place that not many venture into, and I will have privacy and I believe that my camp will be safe from intruders. The plan is to do two miniseries, within Homeless 366. The first will be the creation of my mega-camp. The second will be living for a year for under $1,000.
8:00 p.m. I take a shower, and then I lay down for the night. I figured my friend will be in a better mood for some conversation in the morning.