Author Topic: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?  (Read 1371 times)

gunwharfman

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If an experienced hiker was made homeless and had to live rough would their experience help them? For example, how to keep warm, how to manage food wise, how to find the best and safest places to sleep, what investment would be best if they had some money, a tent, a sleeping bag perhaps?

I don't know if other people have had my experience, when I'm hiking and meet people in rural areas they tend to see me and speak to me as a hiker. But on more than one occasion, when I have been walking through some villages, towns and cities, some people tend to treat me as if I'm a vagrant. I've found these atitudes to be regional as well, I've not often experienced sincere 'welcome' in the south of the UK, not even on camp sites sometimes, the north tends to be much better.

I know I'm generalising but I personally have experienced that for some people, the sight of a man or woman in a certain place with a rucksack on their back and actually walking can make some people rather nervous.

harland

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #1 on: 12:58:25, 23/12/18 »
In view of the photo of yourself on "What's the strangest things you've witnessed on walk " what do you expect! ;D ;D ;D

alan de enfield

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #2 on: 13:04:18, 23/12/18 »
I thought the days of the 'hitch-hiker' were pretty much over (either due to the hitch-hiker feeling unsafe, or, the driver feeling they may be accused of all sorts of 'nasties') but whilst out and about on my regular 'keeping the weight down walks' (and carrying my rucksack) in the last couple of months I have twice had a car stop and offer me a lift.
I don't do much 'road mileage' (mostly farm tracks & footpaths) so it was a surprise.
Only being 2 or 3 miles from home, and being as it would defeat the object I have declined with thanks.

It appears that the 'milk of human kindness' still runs freely in the 'North Midlands'.

ninthace

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #3 on: 13:16:42, 23/12/18 »
........
It appears that the 'milk of human kindness' still runs freely in the 'North Midlands'.
As it does in Devon.  It has been so wet lately that many of the footpaths have become downright unpleasant so a lot of our walking has involved the use of the back lanes, which we have in abundance.  A number of people have stopped just for a chat rather than drive on by.  Either they are friendly or the sight of people walking in the middle of nowhere is a novelty.  I have noticed that there are many more "off comers" here than there were up north and probably as a result, folk seem friendlier.


To answer GW.  I expect experienced hikers, as opposed to experienced wild campers, would probably get just as cold and miserable as any other homeless person but probably a bit more slowly as they would have better clothing.
Solvitur Ambulando

alan de enfield

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #4 on: 13:27:35, 23/12/18 »

To answer GW.  I expect experienced hikers, as opposed to experienced wild campers, would probably get just as cold and miserable as any other homeless person but probably a bit more slowly as they would have better clothing.



I think the answer will depend on whether we are discussing 'day hikers' or 'hikers that camp'.


As a 'camping hiker' I already have a suitable tent, clothes, sleeping and cooking equipment certainly OK for a few weeks living homeless, but is GW referring only to 'day-hikers by asking "what investment would be best if they had some money, a tent, a sleeping bag perhaps?"

richardh1905

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #5 on: 14:38:10, 23/12/18 »
I suspect that my experience of a wild camper would help me, Gunwharfman - you learn how to 'look after yourself'.

richardh1905

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #6 on: 14:39:56, 23/12/18 »
"what investment would be best if they had some money, a tent, a sleeping bag perhaps?"



Both. If money were tight, a cheap tent AND a cheap sleeping bag would be much better than an expensive one of either.

April

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #7 on: 15:14:39, 23/12/18 »
If I was made homeless I would have a tent and sleeping bag. I hope it never happens, it would be awful being homeless. A few weeks might be ok but long term sounds dreadful.

Phoebe Smith is fund raising again this year for Centrepoint. She is walking along Hadrians Wall over Christmas.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wanderwoman
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

fernman

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #8 on: 16:00:18, 23/12/18 »
It was almost certainly my experiences in my late teens of sleeping on beaches etc at weekends, followed by being homeless in France and Switzerland when I was 20, hitchhiking, walking long distances (e.g. Frejus to St Etienne in 2 days), living rough and scrounging food, followed by being homeless in Paris and afterwards in London, that later gave me the desire to take up backpacking and wild camping.

(The homelessness was self-inflicted. All of the following happened to me in the space of one week: I got the sack from my job for constant days off and bad timekeeping, my flatmates and I were kicked out for subletting, and my steady girlfriend gave me the boot when she found out about the au pair who had moved in with me.)

I am very sure that if some catastrophe occurred that meant having to cope for a while without some of the things we take for granted, such as electricity, heating, etc, I will be very well equipped to cope, with all my outdoors gear, compared with a great many of today's people with their silly, non-functionable fashion wear. 

A number of people have stopped just for a chat rather than drive on by.
OMG, I am clearly living in the wrong part of the world!

astaman

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #9 on: 17:39:25, 23/12/18 »
It's an interesting question. I have been a hiker who wild camps for a long time and I feel sure that the skills acquired would help me manage the physical hardships of a period of homelessness if it did not drag on too long. In a sense that what you opt to do for the time your walking. But the operative term here is 'opt to do'. If you can't cope then the physical hardships of homelessness must be hard to deal with. I have never been homeless but I'm sure that factors other than the physical stresses must be at least as great a burden. Homelessness usually results from some related dysfunction in a persons life so they tend to end up on the streets in a state of acute distress. They are on the streets not a flat pitch in the hills. There appears to be a high incidence of mental illness among those who become homeless which being on the streets must exacerbate. Then there is the physical danger from the world around them - the mentally ill and the homeless are much more likely to be attacked by the 'well' people around them than the other way round. Dealing with the sense of hopelessness must be very difficult. In fact, walking and wild camping has been an important way in which I have maintained my self-esteem and confidence; rough sleeping is, I'm sure, corrosive of both.


I know I'm in danger of sounding preachy and I don't mean to. I worked for a time in a homeless men's hostel in Hither Green in SE London as a volunteer and have a real sense of the physical hardships not being the worst of it.


To treat the question with the honesty with which it was asked I do think that wild camping would help both at the level of skills and a certain mental resilience too. I'm sure we've all had trips when we've thought 'this was a bad idea but I'll just tough it out'. I think I'm mentally as well as physically stronger, with a better range of skills than I would have if it had not been a hiker and camper.

vizzavona

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #10 on: 08:14:04, 24/12/18 »

Despite being reasonably fit and used to coping in the outdoors, however now a bit aged, I feel that 'going downhill' would creep up on me quite quickly.  Still a bit of cash in the pocket? would be extremely helpful for the purchasing of food. For me, even in the most basic of camping places, the morning wash and shave would be severely missed and just image our summer backpacking trips extending into the weather found at the fag end of the year.
In Scotland the network of Bothies could keep you going for a bit. Most of them now have a wood-burning stove or at least an open fire.  Of course most of these structures are a fair bit of distance from even a village so energy and the will  to reach them would be needed and are far from the places where food or help could be obtained.
Homelessness is a really dismal prospect for anyone.


richardh1905

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #11 on: 08:16:47, 24/12/18 »

Particularly agree with your last sentence.

tonyk

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #12 on: 10:26:10, 24/12/18 »
If an experienced hiker was made homeless and had to live rough would their experience help them? For example, how to keep warm, how to manage food wise, how to find the best and safest places to sleep, what investment would be best if they had some money, a tent, a sleeping bag perhaps?


Its a bit like asking if playing paintball would help with fighting on a battlefield.In truth it would help improve one or two attributes but the main thing that is missing is the emotion of fear.Not knowing where the next meal is coming from,the fear of being assaulted,the fear of cold,the fear of illness etc,etc, are things that a long distance walker or wild camper never has to face. We are only playing at being homeless and know full well we can pack it in at any time we like.The real thing must be beyond horrific and is thankfully is something I have never experienced.

Murphy

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #13 on: 11:46:15, 24/12/18 »
  Being in contact with homeless on a daily basis as part of my work, and being a regular backpacker (sometimes for up to 5 weeks at a time), I absolutely appreciate that the two cannot be compared.  There are various reasons for homelessness as other posts have said.   I pitch my tent knowing I have money in my pocket, I can call at the pub if I need to, I can buy a new can of gas, and food to cook on my stove, and I have a nice warm down sleeping back, I go to sleep at night knowing that tomorrow I head for another location out of choice..........after a couple of days I might feel uncomfortable because I value a shower and so I would seek out a shower.    I have the mental capacity to seek out and to make informed decisions,  and if it all gets a bit too much I can pack it up and go home to my nice warm bed.  I backpack because I enjoy it, being homeless is not enjoyable.  I agree, "[size=0px]Its a bit like asking if playing paintball would help with fighting on a battlefield", or whether to local first-aider would be able to perform open heart surgery because he had a few hours training in a classroom.......[/size]
[size=0px]Sadly homelessness is a problem which is likely to get worse before it gets better.[/size]

April

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Re: What would a hiker do if he or she was made homeless?
« Reply #14 on: 13:49:48, 24/12/18 »
Phoebe has now raised over 5000  O0

She has past Windshields Crags trig point nearly an hour ago. I'm pleased she is wearing a jacket. It is very cold up here today, must be near freezing where she is.

https://twitter.com/PhoebeRSmith?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Here is her justgiving page.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wanderwoman

As others have said, us lot wild camping is something we do because we like it for a few days. If we had no money and nowhere else to go it would be a different story.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong