Winter’s Bite

The cold can be a bitter rival when you have no safe harbor and this is for homeless people as well as those enjoying the wilderness. Even for a mild winter hypothermia, frostbite, and pneumonia can put you down when you thought you were fine.

Here are some of the basics and some tips when dealing with the cold.

Portland 19The possibly biggest thing to worry about is staying dry as the winter brings down precipitation in various forms. Steam, snow, rain, and fog are some of the most common example and with a hard chill it can come back to haunt in multiple ways.

When you get wet it will be under conditions, that will as soon as it happens, make it so much worse. Adding weight to whatever moistened it could be the difference of making a nice wool sweater a scratchy, chilling, gripping maw that you have to escape from often shivering all the while.

Most tents will have outer coverings that are water resistant, but will have pieces that retain temperature. It is important to make sure you do not get cold water in your shelter whether it be a tent or just a covered sleeping bag, getting water in it may lead it to getting much heavier, so you will have more difficulty carrying it, or if it is cold enough for that water to freeze may damage it or even cause mold, and it can cause more damage to your lungs long term.

What happens if you get wet? Your clothes follow the function I set earlier for your shelter, but be ware your body is more capable of fighting the cold. Shivers are a sign where the body will try to make its own heat through subconscious processes, and this makes it much more difficult to stop if you already fatigued through hunger or effort. You will find that shivering will take it out of you faster. Deciding to go light, remove your glove only to find that hypothermia trying to have a party with frostbite doing the tap dance on your digits

Cover your hands and feet with as many layers as comfortable without losing movement and if you need to then double up on layers. The last thing you need is to take a chance because frostbite will come in the extremities first and work its way in, if you need more heat consider taking one of the hand warmers and putting them between the layers, I would wear two pairs of wool socks and when it was really bad I would get some hand heaters between them. All this can be boiled down to a proactive defense because it is much easier to keep warm then it is to get warm.

First and best option is always logically, but if there is none than being stealthy will be needed. Get a large mass of land without police presence or find a corner of a building that will work especially you get drenched to bad because liquid is not your friend in any cold situation when it is freezing, being wet may be signing your own death warrant. When you are in the forest or in the caves try to stay covered without keeping your back to the structure because you can lose a lot of heat that way. Stay dry, stay alive, water ,and other fluids can freeze on living flesh. That could be you reader, don’t

TL:DR: Stay dry, Stay covered, Dress in layers, Pack smart, Cover your extremities, Don’t over do it.

Stay warm and stay strong.

Donation vs Investment

One of the biggest things that drove me up wall when I was homeless is beggars. ( I wrote this when still homeless) Begging to me is just telling everyone you gave up and you expect others to come pick you up because life is hard. I never begged and I won’t support those that do.

“No! Really? Life is hard?“wonka

I thought it was sunshine and rainbows that gave me nerve damage. Life is and will always be hard and unfair and if someone says they will make it far then you will most likely see someone’s heart get chewed up over a small period of time.

Snark and sarcasm aside, and I use mine because it helps me not got crazy. Life will be hard to those in this situation, that is just the truth. That is a fact and you can take everything that can be learned and it will still be difficult. What will change is how you will answer the call. Responding is the only difference you are in control of and how it will effect you, and it would be smart to make it work for you and not against you.

One quote I think of comes from the Yakuza games.

“As long as I’m alive, I’m coming back for more.” Daisaku Kuze

So is there an ‘actual difference’ between what the two are when you are homeless? In my personal opinion when people ask for donations you look much different than being what I would call an investment, so yes.

Donation types are the ones you see with a sign asking for money. When people think of the stereotype of the homeless. Unwashed and wasted they are often only halfway in reality while the world spins. They do nothing, they complain, they do everything just to get by but nothing to succeed. Survival on the day to day is point one and making their own life easier. People do this when they have lost all hope and it is only when they hit rock bottom. Sometimes people will give them food and money as they sit on the sidewalk while people walk by. What gets me to be so anti-begging is that while I was in college some people would often get their rattiest clothes, beg for change, and use it at the bar while actual people who needed the help looked more invisible then ever.

Investment types are the own trying to peddle artwork, trying to sell something or maybe a service they are good at. They may not even be homeless but as there are while being homeless. In life there re donation types and investment types. What separates the two is numerous but one of the biggest is the unabashed effort they are putting in to turning their life around into becoming producing members of society or better producing members of society. Some may have jobs, some may even look homeless, some have side hustles, and plans to rise from their current post. When people like this continue to fight and learn under the weight of such pressure. It may seem harsh to say but more important then having hope is to what extent you will to defend it.

Now, something that should be stated is how everyone will have bad days. The most hopeful will turn blue for a good point. People may have to wonder how to get through such moments because all it takes is one truly bad day for everything in normal life to go off the rails.

One thing about a good portion of the the homeless is the clear failure of the ssi disability system, as I have gone over more in depth in another article here when I dissect the homeless population here.

Waiting for years so the system can try to shake you is a sad state of affairs. Disabilities cannot be hidden too well if they are physical so what is there may be easier to just take at face value.

Link – Who are the Homeless and Why SSDI is Important

Getting that money easier would allow more resources to successfully build their lives. That is enough of that if you want more on that specifically click the link above.

Let me explain a moment I had, I wish I had a twenty because I would have bought something.

One person had a real 4-d chess move and instead of standing on the small sliver of ground getting on the highway. Instead of a sign or begging like many others of the day he was creating beautiful pictures with either markers or paint pens and created some really awe inspiring work. If I can get a piece I will put it up here. This was a guy whose work could have been in any of the art shows in the city proper and looking like he had seen more worksites then anything and had spent the time learning his craft. Almost ironic was less then a block or so away on the sliver before the off ramp was the steeple of the largest Presbyterian church in the city.

Make yourself a better person and people won’t see the charity, but the investment that you made to be that better person will be its own evidence. It sounds tough but do it and you will find yourself coming back in to the society like a house of fire ready to go from the bottom and start rocketing up. Stay strong and try to be happy.

bobross meme

What to Pack When Going Streetside

Going from a home to homeless you may ask the how’s but if you find yourself in the situation of being homeless soon then there is really one thing you need to figure out.

Starting off what do you pack?

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Dealing with being homeless is going to be stressful but here are some things you will need to take with you if you want to make your life easier. Granted this will be done where you do not know how long you will be on the street and where or when you can get out.

Clothes – Obviously important. The more changes of clothes you bring means the more weight you are carrying and the less space you can use for other things. I have found when you find someway for washing clothes, either three or four at most with one being a business change of clothes.

Towels – Useful things, thick cloth used to absorb water or other liquids that may simple one regular gym towel and another smaller wash rag is preferred. More active people may want two towels for clearing the sweat of your brow.

Cutlery – Something that if you don’t know then you will find out quick. Quality metal silverware at least one set of knife, spoon, and fork and this will be much easier as the plastic stuff breaks down much easier. Get a metal set and wrap it in the washrag to keep the points as safe and as tightly wrapped up as possible.

Can opener – There are a few models that are going to be capable whether the military version or the crank double handle. Grab something that can crack some cans you wouldn’t be able to access beforehand. Considering some of the best foods.

Rain Cover- Whether you buy it or you make it or have multiple layers having your gear dry is always good because as soon as mold comes in your pack it is twice as hard to remove without just tossing everything out.

Hygiene – These are your deoderant, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, tp, soap, shampoo, and other items of the sort. It is a good idea to get at least one set of backups as well so that when you use something up you can switch to the next one without any issue.

Blanket – Especially when you are dealing with the colder season or nights using it under the rain guard to help with keeping yourself safe whether made from wool or not as long as it doesn’t take all the room in your pack and it keeps your body warm it is a good pick.

Writing Supplies – Important for many different reasons. Cheap, light, and effective for taking notes because you will need to do so when getting out. I prefer mechanical pencils with graphite, erasers, and metal tips. Journals for the sake of being cleaner to work with. Use what you feel most comfortable though because regular pencils really just need a sharpener and that doesn’t add much space anyway.

Water Bottle – This is useful just to have whether you are homeless or not. It holds liquids and sometimes you drink from it. Those without a good one can use a Gatorade, Powerade, or other screw top bottles. It would be better to get one that holds temperature so you can enjoy different things like cocoa, soup, and iced tea. You want to better enjoy anything you can especially when it as simple as a nice water bottle.

Multitool – A leatherman or other tool, mine is Ozark trail but just a tool that can be useful for a lot of different situations. Just one that you can get a hold of, use well and keep packed and put away when you do not need it.

ozrk trail

So you got all your gear, but you got extra space? Remember that you will also carry one thing that will be your biggest addition of weight. This will also be difficult because without refrigeration you often are eating cold food for the majority of your time. Cans add up very quickly to the weight you carry if you are not careful adding too much can work against you.

If you want to take anything like a laptop or phone make sure to take your cords as well because without a charger then many items will be useless. Stay strong everyone and pack smart.

Packing or Camping

Something important when falling into the homeless situation is how much you will take with you. If you have an issue carrying an amount of weight, don’t worry because that will be taught to you by life and boy she don’t give mercy. What you carry day to day is going to define how mobile you are.

Camping is where you do not carry everything and try to make a spot to sleep and live in peace leaving behind some gear that is not needed every day. Extra clothes, spare tools or utensils, bedding, and repair materials all could fall into this. This way means you can carry more back for comfort with more of a base in mind. Downside though is you are going to be open so thieves are more then likely and cops will be trying to move you out. Honestly, unless you have a car to make it a rolling base, I would not suggest it until it is your only viable option because the cons make a lot more problems and security

Many risks come up when you do not have full line of sight on your stuff one being how other people may swipe your gear. When dealing with your camp try to find somewhere close enough to travel to town while still being far enough that the risk of anyone getting into it stays as low as possible. Thievery aside be aware that making camp in many areas is either completely illegal or looked down upon heavily and the worst thing you can do while homeless is burn bridges. Police in some areas have to give 24 hours notice so if you need to camp then learn the laws of the area. Even if the police break down your camp you still have rights to your stuff that would be taken in. Still as it can be seen that you may want to stay away from camping. The best possible plan is that if you could couchsurf a schedule every so often so you don’t need to wear out your welcome maybe you can place a small amount of your stuff at each point and still have the ability to travel lightly.

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Ye olde pack again.

By the way this article is set up I do prefer the pack set up. It has its own negative points like how much can you carry, how can you pack it and actively thinking about what you will take. It will be more of a workout and if your pack isn’t stable it could be a problem. Going from place to place leads in to some other problems as well one being your physical ability to move around, with my issues I had to use a cane to begin with. Using public transport also will most likely have a limit of stuff you can and if you need to my suggestion is to learn the rules because there will be some that will argue it as lower to make their own lives easier. Knowing the rule keeps them honest but it also gives a hard cap and without an area to lay your head it could be difficult.

Going to public transport for a moment the one I use keeps me to either four grocery bags of normal size or two pieces of luggage and a carry on bag or backpack before anyone can deny me I have to be over that limit, and I found they did not define the size of the luggage. So a large hiking pack and an army mail bag with my backpack would give me the space and the ability to carry.

If you noticed I didn’t actually use a suitcase or rolling case, and that is also important because the kind of bag will be instrumental in figuring out how you get stuff from place to place. The heavier the pack the harder to carry. The combination of backpack and old military sack gave me a fair amount of options without worrying about corners and hard cases. ( picture of it here)

Going the carry route means you have to find bags that can hold up to the strain. Rolling luggage breaks easily for the comfort it provides rolling on asphalt and cement and it is harder to control if there are cracks or potholes. Organization of how you pack will be important and by a small amount of time you will be great at tetrising everything with as much space left over as you can get. It will have bearings on how and where you can go and how you will even travel.

Tetrising – The act of packing so that everything takes up as small a space as possible.

English is the chaotic neutral of languages. I make up my own words sometimes.

Sleeping with your bags is going to be hard but doing so with make any attempts of people trying to grab it that much more difficult. There are some places you can put them that may also add to your own comfort since pillows can take up too much space if you try packing them. A soft bag can work well though and a back pack could be used to keep your feet up turning any slab of sidewalk or bench a touch closer to a bed. In this article it could seem like a lot, but that just shows how important it can be. No matter what you pick there is a lot to keep in mind so stay strong.

Homeless Food

DSC_0096A picture of my pack, the green bag and the new blue one are close to the same size, but they show you the dimensions of what you are working with, and what I had to lift.

The biggest contributor to your pack weight will be of course, unfortunately food.

Cans will add up the pounds very fast and as it is the main form of food storage. Aluminum is the most common material to house food and often times if you have no place to cook then you will not be able to easily get things like microwave dinners that may be lighter but without equipment won’t provide what is needed. Things in glass will often be at risk without some packing technique involved.

Campers may have a bit more luck keeping things from breaking at camp but the trade off will be the security of such items, because of some other people see some food or expensive items out you may as well sign it goodbye as someone else will steal it.

Food banks when you go will often fill our bags to the gills so make sure not only do you get food but you get a power lift workout which you need sometime after so many calories. Hauling it in a car will take some muscle and hauling back to wherever you live in a forest or thicket of blackberry vines.

What will be some of the things eaten going from the homeless population.

Cereal – Whether in bags or boxes this will be away a good number of the homeless get some form of nutrition it is easy, often light and needs no cooking with a variety of flavors to keep from getting boring or maddening.

Premade meals – Despite microwave meals being out of play for a lot what is made but the supermarket deli’s and boxed up kept cold in the refrigerated case will be something that will not be common, but it will be enough to give some difference and sometimes more protein. That can be rare in cases because most of the protein sources will be hard to carry without refrigeration.

Chili and soups – Despite being in cans this can be either something that gives a meal right out of the can as long as it isn’t one that needs dilution. One of the things that can provide vegetables when you are out in the rain.

Sandwiches – Something you can make to give you a couple days because food fatigue will make you go even madder after a period, ask anyone who has had to eat the same thing for months, it can make you do anything to get something new. Pb and J or hand and cheese, tuna with green onion was a favorite of mine.

Wraps is another thing that can be tossed in under the sandwich rule despite what I feel in them holding all the fillings better. They also follow a couple other rules really in both cases you will want to follow these rules

No produce is going to be on it if it will be held for a while. This is about time and when you have a bunch of things that could be sitting in a plastic bag for a few hours at minimum and a couple days tops there is a lot of things that wont work including most greens. Onion isn’t the worst and neither are bell peppers under any chance if you put anything leafy on them when you make it then you will have to remember to eat those quickly. Remembering to not do so may leave you meeting slime leaves in what would be in else wise delicious and filling meal.

Meats are something else that may give you a few more unexpected options as often many will be cooked through for the sake of cleanliness, giving it a longer food life, and less spoilage. Chili falls back into this as it is often cooked through before canning no matter what the brand is.

Fruit in cans often is bound with either syrup or juice and depending on what it is you can still use it. Juice will be a refresher giving you stamina at times when you are feeling tired. Syrup from fruit cans I often use to sweeten jars of peanut butter for a little different flavor. One of those things to make it more palatable. Either of the options there always things to do with it. Drink it, mix it, make dressings for other things. The only things that will stop you is imagination and equipment.

Even after getting some food you still need to break up the monotony and sometimes fast food fits that role with often discount deals and helps bolster use by use of restrooms and a warm bright place to eat. Readers can figure out why this is a bad thing, whether it be sugar, salt, or fat you do have to use it as a spice and not the building bricks of your food.

Working with food allergies in these situations will me immensely worse. The problem is that many of the items that will be easiest to eat will be also those made in places that are not making solely that one item. This is how some items that have no ingredients of say soy for example will still have it as a warning. Machines may work on soy without working on that specific item. For example fish, nuts, eggs are all things that could also be under this set up of not in the item but still being worked on by the machines in later moments. For those looking often any food warning will be near the nutritional info saying such.

Nutritional information is on the label to the side of the logo and is in a table breaking down different values like carbs, fat and protein. Often time if it says supplemental info then it is not available to be bought with food stamps. Another little piece of info often in the same area would be the words “cooked thoroughly” Often on meat products this means that whatever is in it has been cooked to a point safe for consumption. Finding tat the special burger patties had been precooked allowed me to make a pretty awesome patty melt out on the benches that I would make warm when possible.

When you have the chance see what is cooked thoroughly, one thing often is Chef Boyardee food is cooked thoroughly meaning you can not only eat it but the use of pop top lids means you do not need to have a can opener. Lunches and snacks when you go to work will have to be often done out of deals or shopping out of the discount rack. Keeping track when the supermarkets nearby put things on discount will give you the best chance for good options because while packing or camping you will often not have food for long.

If you can work out a safe space to put non spoilable food, it would behoove you to do so. This means you can collect at more opportunity leaving you to also have somewhere to drop weight but in doing so you will lose money for the storage if you have no other options. Always something to think about.

In any case, stay strong and keep going on.