For as long as man has organized into society, there have been those on the fringe. These were people who, for one reason or another, just didn’t fit into polite society.
Such were the hobos of our nation’s past. We tend to think of hobos as bums who stole rides on trains and lived in shanty towns. But in some cases, they were traveling workers who would go where there was work and move on when the job was done.
These were tough men, accustomed to backbreaking work and long hours. They survived and endured, becoming a forgotten part of our country’s history. Yet the work that they did has often survived and become part of making our country what it is today.
Looking back at the lives of these men we can see their lifestyle was built around the need to survive. Basically, everything they did was based on that one need.
There are quite a few lessons we can learn from the hobos of days gone by, and this shall be today’s topic.
Lesson one, you gotta be tough. Physical toughness is essential for surviving in adverse circumstances. A lot of us in the survival movement aren’t as physically fit as we need to be (myself included). But toughness goes beyond just being physically fit.
A boxer learns to take blows, just as he learns how to give them. Strength and agility allow him to give them, but toughness allows him to take them. If you’re not tough, you’re not going to be able to take the blows that life gives you; you’ll fold and just wait to die.
There are two types of toughness: physical and mental. Of the two, mental toughness can be harder to develop than physical.
If your mind can’t take the blows and bounce back, you are at a disadvantage. Your mind must be able to accept the changing reality of a crisis or a disaster, quickly overcome the grief, and move into survival mode.
This is all about training. The better trained you are, the better you can adapt. Training also gives you confidence, so that you know you’re able to survive.
Hobo lesson two, learn a variety of skills, and be willing to do the work. Hobos did whatever the job called for. While they may not have been experts in any one trade, they were still capable of working in many of them. One month they might be busting broncos and the next swinging a double jack in a mine.
Today’s society has become so specialized, in some cases one engineer can only work on one part of a project. He’s lost when he looks at the rest. But in Henry Ford’s day, the guy who designed the engine could also design the body.
In a survival situation, you need to have a wide variety of skills. If your home is damaged by a hurricane and you need to make it safe to sleep in, you don’t have to be a master carpenter. But you will probably need to be able to cut boards and nail them together. You’re probably also going to need to know a little plumbing and electrical work.
Hobo lesson three, develop a minimalist lifestyle. When you’re on the go, you can’t take a lot of extra baggage with you. You’ve got to cut things down to what you really need. Our modern lifestyle is so cluttered with stuff that we’d need a backpack the size of a semi-trailer to bug out.
Learn what you need and then cut down to that point. If you’ve got stuff in your house that you never use, then why do you have it? Really, if you haven’t used it in a year or two, you probably won’t. So, pass it on to someone who can use it and make room in your life for what you need.
Remember, we’re all in this together,