Here’s a question I bet you never thought you’d be asked: do you know the difference between a hobo, a bum, and a tramp? The truth is, back then, it depends on how you make your living. A bum is someone who doesn’t work at all, a tramp is someone who only works when they have to, and hobos travel from job to job.
The terms come from the old hobo culture of the 20’s and 30’s, when being a transient worker was fairly common. But the tradition of the hobo hasn’t really disappeared at all, just changed. In fact, with ridesharing and roomsharing on the rise in the US, it’s becoming easier than ever to use your job as an excuse to travel, and you need never step foot on a train car or run across a railroad bull.
The idea comes with questions of its own, though. What kinds of jobs are available? Where are they? How do you find them? And finally, how the heck do you pull off a hobo lifestyle in this day and age?
While the stereotype of the hobo is a guy who picks fruit or shovels elephant dung at the circus (okay, maybe that’s not as stereotypical), the reality is that there’s all sorts of jobs available for those who like to travel.
One of the best ways to see the world and make money at the same time is just about any job aboard a cruise ship. The cruise ship industry is absolutely massive – North American cruise lines raked in about 23 billion dollars and servicing about 12 million passengers in 2015 (Source: https://www.statista.com/topics/1004/cruise-industry/) and rely on about a hundred and fifty million employees – many of them seasonal.
Expect to spend anywhere from six weeks to nine months at a time working on the ship. It means plenty of hard work, but plenty of time to explore as well…not to mention the money you’ll save on lodging, food, and entertainment. Most ships also offer training courses that you can take advantage of, like language courses and business courses. Plus you’ll get discounts on future cruises. Insiders say to check out All Cruise Jobs to find a fairly comprehensive listing, but nothing beats researching and applying directly to a company.
Not interested in getting out on the water, or looking for something less strenuous? Think about a job in a national or state park. Sure, they need to fill lots of hospitality jobs, rangers, and foresters, but they also need people to give horseback riding lessons, people to act as guides for whitewater rafting, and even sled dog drivers. Could you imagine taking care of adorable Alaskan sled dogs for a summer?
Employment in the park system is typically seasonal. You can be a park ranger for the summer in Alaska and then be a Ski instructor in Colorado for the winter. Benefits include free/discounted room and board, meal plans, and the best thing is that most of the activities that the park offers are free or at a low rate. Spend your day working and spend your night camping with new friends from all over the world. Check out sites like CoolWorks, which specializes in jobs at tons of great locations like resorts, ranches, cruise ships, theme parks, National/State parks, island and beach jobs…the list goes on. There’s also sites like WorkampingJobs which cater to hoboes who can drive something to sleep in, and are looking for employment at RV parks, campgrounds, and more.
Another site worth looking at is Backdoorjobs, which helps you find short-term jobs in the US or short-term International opportunities, everything from teaching abroad, outdoor field instructors, wilderness therapy guides, field mentors, adventure therapy support staff, and residential outdoor youth counselors.
And the best part is, hoboes these days don’t even have to be the outdoorsy type. All kinds of professions can accommodate hobos, from writers to coders to designers and more. If you find yourself working at home, or doing most of your job from a laptop anyways, think about changing up the locale every now and again. Really, all you need is a city, a gig, a place to stay, and a ride to work, and we can help you out with the last two.
Typically, a modern hobo will choose a destination first and a job second, but there are some who choose to let fate do decide for them, taking whatever jobs wherever they can find them and enjoying the ride. It’s really up to you. There are a few things to keep in mind, though.
First, safety should be your priority. At Haydash, we do our best to create a safer and reliable community for ridesharing and roomsharing, and one of the ways we do that is by taking the guesswork out. Even though we offer a platform to help answer so many of your questions it’s up to you to be sure to meet or chat before you make any agreements. Always keep your friends and family in the loop about where you’re going or staying and who with.
Picking the right job is crucial. If your goal is to have a working vacation, you don’t want to pick a job that requires long hours, less pay, and no time to visit any destinations. No matter what job you decide to take, make sure you take time to do the research. Search for blogs from other employees of the company, watch YouTube videos, and read the fine print in your contract. Plan it all out and prepare as best you can, so you make the best out of your time.
Living a hobo lifestyle can be hard work, not just in the logistics and planning, but also the jobs involved. Expect to be well-compensated, but also expect that your free time will sometimes be limited and you’ll need to make the most out of it. Find those days off and plan for them, you may only get a chance like this once in a lifetime.