The time of traveling homeless, or hippies in my mind is almost a thing of the past nowadays. While working on this project I learned about the rainbow family, and recently when I was talking to Matt the musician in Salem I learned of a man named Turtle who was a traveler that lived off the land, and then inherited a large sum of money when his father passed. Turtle bought a house in Westford MA, which he opens up for other homeless wayward travelers, they call themselves Dirty Kids. I visited Turtle and I learned all about their world. A world of traveling, panhandling for gasoline and food, and experiencing the sites and the people in different locales. It was really interesting to learn that this lifestyle is alive and well. I’m glad to have connected with Turtle and his friends to know that I could go there and help them with projects, or get to know the people that come through this wayward respite for the traveling homeless.The Dirty Kids explain to me the difference between begging out of pity, like saying you’re a homeless vet or begging with humor to make people feel good to give you money, like playing music or one gentleman at turtle’s house said they held a sign that said “too ugly to prostitute.” I learned terms like oogglers which means novice traveling homeless, and homebums which means homeless people that stay in one area and don’t travel. The Dirty Kids brought me back to The ’60s and ’70s when youth traveled around in VW vans following rock bands, experimenting with substances, and pretty much doing whatever they wanted. The Dirty Kids explain an inexplicable need to travel. They talked about a no-get-stuck mindset vs a stuck mindset. I was grateful to learn about this lifestyle from my new friends, and I look forward to learning more.
8:00 a.m. I woke up with the girl. We spend the majority of the morning together. She’s busy running around doing stuff around the apartment. The girl gave me an LED tent lamp for Christmas. I look forward to using it in my tent tonight. Once again I notice that the girl was distant, not paying attention to me as if she was waiting for me to leave.
11:30 a.m. I drove to Westford to meet with Turtle. Turtle is a man that inherited a large sum of money from his father. His father was involved in magic and other occult type things. Turtle is a person that is intelligent, eccentric, and has experienced the homeless traveling life. With his inheritance, Turtle bought a large house where he allows traveling homeless people to spend certain periods of time. A kind of respite for travelers, rainbow family people, and what they call Dirty Kids. I’m fascinated with this new aspect of homelessness which I know very little about.
12:00 p.m. I arrive at Turtle’s Hostel and I’m let in the house by a man who is a traveler. The house is large and it is a nice estate. There’s two dogs, a Roddy mix, and also a brindle pitbull. I became fast friends with the dogs. The traveler that let me in the house takes me upstairs to meet Turtle. This room houses a library and there’s a large table in the center of the room. I met Spiff and his girlfriend. I engage in conversation with Turtle mainly, but I chat with the traveler, spiff, and his girlfriend a little bit. My friend Matt is also at this house. Matt the musician from Salem. Matt had introduced me to Turtle. I end up doing an interview with Turtle that turns into an interview with the whole room. The Dirty Kids explain the philosophy of the traveling homeless lifestyle, opposed to the stationary homeless lifestyle. The homeless that stay in one place the Dirty Kids call home bums. While I’m talking and learning from Turtle, I get a text not meant for me from my girl saying “Don’t judge me I have no makeup on” then “eta?” I infer that she is having another guy visit her. I am relieved by this because it explains a lot. I have been wanting to focus more energy on Homeless 366 and this is enough to help me refocus. I set up my equipment and begin an interview with Turtle, which turns into a collaborative effort with everyone in the room.
3:00 p.m. After the interview with Turtle and the other travelers in the room I hang out for a while and I help with some dishes. Turtle makes a pizza and I stay for dinner and we continue to converse about the issues of homelessness, and the treatment of those who travel homeless or live in the street.
5:30 p.m. I say my goodbyes to my new friend and I head back to Salem to my tent. And make a stop in Danvers and I visit my friend Erin to say Happy New Year and see how she’s doing. I also stop at my friend’s house next door to see if he’s there. He’s not home so I grab a pair of boots I left there and some new socks since the boots I’ve been wearing are becoming rancid.
6:30 p.m. I drive towards Salem and I stop at a grocery store and pick up some Reese’s, some Snickers, some pepperoni, and orange juice so I have food not only for the night but the following day. The candies really help with the metabolism warmth when it’s freezing cold out.
7:15 p.m. I park my truck near the woods and I walk out towards the camp. I ate all the pepperonis in the truck. It’s 21° out and I’m dressed fairly lightly. I have a thermal on, the cashmere sweater that I got at Savers, my light Spyder jacket, and my cargo pants and boots and I’m not that cold. I’ve noticed that my body has been adapting to the cold pretty well. When I get to the camp I feel at ease. When I get to the tent, one of the first things I do is set up my new lantern the girl got me for Christmas. I’m really impressed with this product. It gives me more light than I need and the battery lasts 3 months. I scroll around on social media till about
9:30 p.m. and then I shut off my devices and I go to bed. It’s very cold out and I end up covering myself in my blankets and using my breath to keep me warm. Because of the cold I get woken a few times and I shift between being completely covered with the blankets to having my head outside the blankets throughout the night. I put my skull cap on as well to keep my head warm.