On the last day of March in the year 2008, Wade from Vagabond Journey.com finally met the the masked man behind Hobo Traveler.com. His name is Andy, people call him foreigner, and for a long while I only knew him through his blog posts and emails. I can now call him a friend. He is an interesting character, and he quickly became one of those rare birds that I mention frequently on Song of the Open Road. Now, in Guatemala, I have finally met the Hobo – I suppose all apples eventually fall to the earth. This meeting was, perhaps, inevitable. I was very curious to find out what Andy looked like, as he does not show photos of himself on his websites, and, on the day of our meeting, my only direction as to his appearance was “blond hair, red shirt.”
Then he appeared at the door of my hotel. He surprisingly looked much like I thought he would. Though his youthful disposition and energy struck me as being of that of a man much younger than 52 years of age. If I did not already know his age, I would have taken Andy to be at least a decade younger than what he is.
“The girls still like me,” he has written to me before, and I must say that it is the truth. I watched as he wrapped a pretty Guatemalan lady nearly 15 years his younger around his finger. It was a pity for the Hobo Traveler that her mother was a crotchety old crow.
The Hobo Traveler is a great talker. He has the ability to tell wrap a travel yarn around, through, and over the top of what would otherwise be a sterile evening. This man knows how to tell a story, he has one of the greatest gifts that a traveler can have. For this past week Mira and I sat and listened to his tales from the nether-regions of planet earth, stories that even the best of wandering grios could not touch. Iraq, West Africa, Niger were some of the places that he told far-gone tales about. Mira and I listened with open ears. Andy’s observations were surprisingly astute, poignant, and, yes, very entertaining. What he writes on the Hobo Traveler blog is but only a shadow of what he tells in person:
“What do you want?” a stern-faced soldier asked Andy at the gates of the Garden of Babylon in a war torn Iraq.
“To go in,” replied the Hobo Traveler.
“What are you?” questioned the soldier.
I am under the impression that I have two sides to my personality: one is severely introverted, the other is mildly extroverted. I either talk or I listen. I have never gotten the hang of bouncing between both. These two sides of personality switch back and forth depending on my surroundings like the swaying of a pendulum. I cannot control this, as one side simply takes over the other whenever it feels like it. Sometimes I listen, and sometimes I speak. When in the presence of the Hobo Traveler one would be a fool not to listen. And even if you do not agree with him, you must fully regard the direction that his opinions come from.
I am a good listener.
Andy writes about how he constructs his blog posts in a matter of minutes. I did not believed this to be true until I met him. It is true, the Hobo Traveler seems to prefer the real world of the living to the stale dimensions of the Internet. He writes his thoughts, publishes them, and then goes out and plays. He works hard for a couple of hours a day, and then he spends the rest of his time talking to people, walking around, and looking at pretty women. “Life is good.” All the while that I am slaving away writing and making web pages, Andy is out enjoying the fresh breezes of the traveling life. Andy makes $125 a day, I make $1.25 if I am lucky. I must laugh at the myself here.
My goal in this website venture is to make a tenth of what Andy does a day. I would be jumping in the streets if I could put together $12.25 a day from Vagabond Journey.com, the 900 photo project, Vagabond Fieldnotes, Song of the Open Road, and Traveler Photographs.com. I do not mind working hard for this. I rather like it. But I must grumble a little when Andy walks in on me in my eight hour of work and chuckles about how he had his work finished before I ate breakfast. The man is a master in the old time sense. But he is willing to share a small portion of his mastery to help a bubbling young traveler to make up the funds to keep traveling on.
The Hobo Traveler is a traveler in the old time sense.
He seems to chuckle at my erroneous ways, letting me make my rightful mistakes, but he also does not hesitate to toss me a bone to chew on every once in a while.
I am chewing up these bones with great relish and appreciation.