Pedestrian Life

Staying alive on the shoelace express.

If you're at all poor, like me, then except in the cases of living in the 'the projects' or slums, you probably can't afford to live anywhere close to any cities where anything you need to get to is really close by, so you probably live in the middle of nowhere. And there's nowhere to work where you currently live because you live in the middle of nowhere. And you can't move out of the middle of of nowhere and into the city so you can find work because you don't have any money. And you don't have any money because there's no work in the middle of nowhere where you live. And since there's no work where you live you can't get any money to move to the city which is the only place work is to be get the point.

And of course for the same reasons, you also cannot afford a car or even a bike that won't fall apart after riding it 5 miles down a dirt road. So you are left with but one option left. Hoof'in it.

Walking is not a word that sounds like it has connotations of difficulty. But even if you are fit walking long distance for hours on end is still tiring and you need to prepare for it.

The Footwear.

First things you want are two pairs of boots. First, real winter boots for the cold season. Steel toe is good, but do not get steel toe boots for the cold season, only get steel toe for the warm season. Get boots that go up well past your ankle. The treads on the bottom NEED to be great, you want your feet to be able to dig into whatever you are standing on or walking on. Even ice. Get ones that are made out of thick, tough as fuck material. Reenforced leather or something. Choose correctly and you wont have to replace them for years. The boots I own now I have used for almost four years and do not yet show any signs of wear and tear. Wear long, thick wool socks with these. And no matter what socks you are using with what footwear, always use clean socks. Never reuse dirty socks.

Second, you want warm season boots. Basically all the same stuff still applies here as with the cold season boots. But these do not have to go as high as the cold season boots do. During the warm season you wont be trying to keep your feet from freezing and you'll want your feet to be able to breath more anyway. As long as they are tough and go up your ankle higher than sneakers do, you'll be good. Get steel toe boots here.

And for the love of fuck do not get sneakers for this. They will break down and turn to shit. You'll be seeing your toes before you know it.

The bag.

For all this walking you will be doing you'll have to carry shit at some point. Food. Books. Gasoline. Clothes. Eight pounds of weed. Whatever. You need a bag, and you need a good one. Come wind, rain, snow, ice, and being thrown over fences, you're going to want a bag that survive it all. Now I'm not one to be a sheep for 'brand loyalty' or anything like that, but here I have to recommend the brand L.L.Bean. They are a local New England in the United States. (Though they are also randomly popular in China?) Their backpacks last forever, and short of some crack head taking a knife to it, it will not rip or tear on it's own. They have many different types of backpacks for differently kinds of situations. I have owned the same L.L.Bean backpack since I was seventeen years old. I'm twenty three as of this writing. The only difference between now and then is that over time I've drawn on it a lot. It has been thrown over a fence, left outside in a snowstorm, covered in ice while walking, rained on, sunk in a lake, thrown from an ATV while traveling at 40MPH, and it has no rips, tears, holes, or broken buckles. Best forty bucks I ever spent.

The clothes.

Dress in layers! You will not look stylish so don't try to be. In America there are these things call Army surplus stores. You can get things there that will never die. I have an 'operation desert storm' era army raincoat that's been through a lot but still looks great and keeps me dry. Rain is always something to watch out for during the warm season. But once it's done raining and the humidity hits you'll really want to be able to strip down

The tools.

So it's not like you're climbing a mountain or going camping, but you should always have a certain number of tools and other items at all times in your bag at all times. One is a small medkit for scrapes and bruises. You'll want some kind of pain numbing cream, along with a pathogen killing cream. A roll of gauze, some cotton swabs, some band-aids of different sizes and shapes for joint and odd parts of the body, and medical tape. Also get some small scissors, a small knife, zip-ties, a compass, and duct-tape. And one of the most useful things you can get is probably a rechargeable solar-powered flashlight. Out of all my non computer related gadgets, this is my favorite. I bought it for seven dollars at a hippie shop years ago and I still use it. I can clip it to the outside of my bag and walk around all day while the sun charges it. When night falls I can just pluck it off my bag and light up the night.

The food.

ALWAYS BRING A WATER BOTTLE and remember to fill it! When I was younger there were too many times have I been on mile 12 of a 20 mile walk, gone to reach for my water only to find stupid past-me never filled it.

Trail mix is always good. Mix a bunch of different nuts and dried berries or fruits and raisins together with some M&Ms and you've got yourself a bag of cheap food that will both keep you feeling full AND give your energy. Those energy bars are no better than candy bars, stay away from them.

The weapon.

At some point you may need to defend yourself. Pedestrians and footweary travelers in general are prime targets for gangs, drug addicts, and knock-out game players. Traveling without a weapon is a huge mistake. Depending on where you live you may not ever have to use it. And never having to use it is a good thing. If you're the type of person to actually use the story of how you tazed three hoods that jumped you on a highway as bragging material, then you're an idiot.

Tazers, batons, and certain types of knives are all, as far as I know, legal to carry on your person, and do not require an expensive license or any registration. But, Knife laws are a bit dodgy and change not just from state to state, but from city to city. Take one area I travel through frequently as an example. In the city at the center of the region the law with knives are that you may carry a knife as long as it's blade is three inches long or less, and if it is not a fixed blade then you can still carry it as long as the blade does not extend on its own power. Like, nothing that has a button you press that makes the blade shoot out on it's own. As long as your knife meets these rules, you can carry it in that city. Now here's the funny part, in the three towns around that city there are no knife laws at all. You can carry a goddamn O Katana down main street and it's still legal. Cops will probably stop and talk to you while looking at you funny, but there's nothing that isn't legal about it. I can confirm this. I did it once.

Of course, everything I've already listed is trumped by a gun. Provided that you're practiced and knowlegeable, a gun is the thing that will keep you safest from those who wish to do you harm, and travelers such as you and I are the easy targets. (The only reason I went over other weapons first is because this article you are reading is hosted on the internet, which is accessable all over the world, and many people live in lands where their governments are authoritarian shitstains, and do not allow people to own firearms. In some places like the United Kingdom and others it is against the law to defend yourself from robbery, assaut, rape, or murder, and you will go to jail for doing so. (I suggest to simply not travel to such places.) But which gun to get? What kind of gun is best for every day carry self-defence? An old Makarov? A renown 1911? A cheap walmart Hipoint? Honestly that subject is is a whole other article in itself, and a long one too. More over, it's one that many other people have written, at length, many times over. So much so that anything I were to write here would be a poor repition of thier work. But I will give you some general ideas to start with:

So this is a rifle, but take the AK-47 for example. The ammo that it uses is pretty easy to find and somewhat cheap. The rifle itself is known for being able to fire under crazy conditions. Something with those traits in a small pistol form is what to look for. If two guys chase you down and make it clear they are about to rape you, and you go to shoot those assholes, but your gun jams because a bit of dirt got in the chamber, well that would suck, right? That's all I'll say here. Like I said many people have written many papers on this exact thing before, but those are some good general guidelines to start with. Do your own research on this subject.

As with all things, having a weapon to protect yourself with will mean nothing do not know how to use it. After choosing what weapon you think would suit you and your body type best, look up books and videos on how to use it properly. And finally: only pull out your weapon as a very very last resort! Walking, no, running, away from a bad situation is always the first, and best, thing to try.

Remember, using a weapon is always last resort. First try talking your way out. Second try walking away. Third try runnning away. Only as a last measure should you ever ever ever use your weapon. Even then you should use the weapon only to stun or disable the person attacking youlong enough so you can run away. Please remember you are not a comic book character.


This is pretty much all I know about traveling long distance by foot. This was written mostly all at once when I was thinking what knowlege I had that was worth sharing. Though, I will make additions to it over time as I people ask me questions about the subject. Later I plan to take photos of my gear too.

When I was younger my family was very poor, but we always traveld by car. I only saw destinations and never anything in between. As I got older we got poorer and I had to walk everywhere to look for work. When you live in a rural area, everything is far away. Traveling like this has changed how I view human geography and how I would normally see the places between point A and point B, which are typically nothing but a blur of houses and trees as seen through a car window. Because of it I have found, seen, and explored interesting things places I would never have noticed or gotten the chance to experience otherwise.

When I've been walking home on a winter night, in a light snow, at 2:30AM, when the houses are dark and the roads are empty of cars but filled with snow, it's times like that where I feel very small, where I feel like I'm the only person in the big, wide world. It's a good feeling.