Home Free – A Lifestyle
Article prepared by Hollis Taylor and Brandon Hippy Dad
Home Free by Wookiefoot
I hope you chose to listen to the song, hear the words, get the feeling for Home Free.
I, Hollis Taylor, am co-writing this article with Brandon because I feel passionately about what he does. I have personally lived home free for a short period of time and never rule it out as an option. Although these days I live in a home as I explore different personal passions. Home Free is a concept that I totally understand. I honor people living this lifestyle, these brave and strong individuals. My personal experience with the Home Free culture has been as a host for the most part. Often I pick them up on the side of the road, gift them things on the street or offer a place for someone to stay. I reach out because I want to hear their stories. I want to share dinner with them and hear what they have to say. I want to hear their stories, wisdom and all they learned. These people are evolutionary. Have you experienced these youth that identify as Home Free?
Here: Meet Brandon.
My name is Brandon. I choose to live home free.
My steps to cheap travel*
- Stay humble and smile.
- Say hello to everyone.
- Accept blessings, but don’t ask for them.
- Be patient.
- Pray from thankfulness.
- Wake with the sun.
- Have a book.
*Actual results may vary. These claims have not been studied by the FDA or any other agency. …swim at your own risk.
A story from Brandon:
As the sun is setting I start to examine the sparse bushes a few hundred feet away and see a spot of ground that looks fairly level and somewhat hidden. I stuff my journal into my pack, fold my cardboard “Westbound”sign, and concede defeat, feeling somewhat relieved that even though I won’t make any miles today, I will at least be able to get some rest.
I pull my pack onto my shoulder and look down the on-ramp to make sure no oncoming cars will see me as I head for my make shift nest. When I see my opportunity, I cross the pavement and as I hit the grass, a streetlight comes on directly above the area where I was intending to lay my bed roll out.
I realize in that moment that it may be a long night.
Stopping, I rotate a full 360 looking for any other options that I may have missed and find nothing. I glance at the sky, half asking God for a break, and half looking at the clouds. At least it won’t be raining, I remind myself as I let my pack fall back from my shoulder and heavily sit down onto it. With a sigh, I unfold my sign and aim it down the ramp figuring that if I’m at the “fishing hole” anyway, I may as well have a hook in the water.
I’ve sat at ramps through the night before. Propping myself up and drifting in and out of light sleep simply because I had nowhere else to go. It certainly seemed like this was going to be another one of those nights.
I had resigned to doing just that when a white Chevy Lumina pulled up with what appeared to be a full load of passengers and a pit bull. I approached expecting a few bucks and a “good luck”, but was surprised to hear the driver say “I think we can make room if you don’t mind holding your pack.”.
That’s exactly what they did.
After a few minutes of shuffling, I was in… barely. I closed the door which seemed to seat itself more against my leg than the door jam and the car pulled back onto the ramp, slowly making it’s way into the traffic.
“Thanks for the ride.” I offered with all of the sincerity my tired brain could muster.
“Well, we couldn’t just leave you there.” The driver said as she smiled in the rear view mirror.
I hadn’t seen anything but her eyes and cheeks as the cars behind us lit her face in the reflection, but she had a kind, soft look, and I could tell by her voice that she genuinely was not the kind of person to pass up an opportunity to help someone.
“I’m Vicki.” She offered.
“This is my son David.” she pointed her thumb at the front passenger, “And that’s Amy and Steven, his friends. …Steven is our Hippie.” she added with a bit of a giggle.
“I’m Brandon. It’s nice to meet you all.” I replied.
“So where are you headed, Brandon?” Vicki asked, again arching her neck to see me in the mirror.
“The Black Hills. Piedmont, specifically.”
“Well you’ve almost made it.” she stated cheerfully.
I had known I was getting close, but it certainly provided me some comfort to finally be near enough that someone else recognized the name of the town.
“Whatcha’ doin’ up there?” she asked.
“There’s going to be an event at a lodge there and I’m going to help set up for it.”
“Really? What kind of event?”
“A concert, basically. But there will be a lot of ceremonial aspects to it as well. Essentially a gathering of people representing the Lakota nation are going to be spreading awareness of their cause. They want the government to honor their treaties.”
“Hmmm. Sounds interesting. So you just travel around helping the indians?” she asked.
“Right now, anyway.” I answered.
I fought back a yawn, and stared out of the window at the headlights racing by on the other side of the divided, 4 lane highway, as I tried to collect something more I could add to keep the conversation going.
“So, it’s like a festival? Steven and I went to Wakarusa one year when we were staying on the east coast.” said Amy, sitting next to me as she leaned back to see me around the dog that was now standing in her lap, and eyeballing the spot between the driver and front passenger as a potentially more comfortable place to be. “We had a blast there. We camped next to a group of people from Michigan who all had dread locks like you.” she added.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been there before. But it seemed like a good place to be.” I said in reply.
She was young. Maybe 17 or 18 and I could tell that she was very excited to see someone who didn’t fit the normal description of the oil field guys and farmers she likely served big plates of diner food to at her job. Steven, looking even younger was quietly focused on me as well, smiling and slightly nodding to add credit to what Amy was saying.
We rode in silence for a brief time, just long enough for me to think I may have an opportunity to shut my brain down when Vicki said that they were only going a few more miles before taking their exit, but that there was much less traffic, and a small truck stop where they could leave me.
I thanked her again, and said that anything would be better than what I was facing where they met me.
Everyone chuckled and the conversation drifted into how I live on the road. I fielded the same questions I’m used to answering during most rides for the next few minutes, from How do you eat to whether or not I worried about being robbed. With my pre-canned responses I explained to them that I had food stamps that covered my groceries as long as I was sensible, and that I didn’t fear being stolen from because I didn’t have much to take. They all listened and smiled as we made our way down the road, with my attention more on the mile markers and upcoming exits than the conversation.
I wanted to be more interested and present, but it had been over an hour since I had seen those bushes and started thinking about sleep, and I was fading fast.
We approached another large green road sign, and as I tried to make out the lettering I heard the familiar repeating click of a blinker, and watched the amber light pulse at me rhythmically as it bounce off of the reflective sign.
“Do you eat fried chicken?” Vicki said from the front seat.
“I’m Cajun… I’ll eat anything that doesn’t eat me first.” I retorted. “But I have all of the food I need in my pack, and I don’t want to take your dinner.”.
“Nonsense. It’s just leftovers.” she said as David handed me a heavy styrofoam box with a kind smile.
I accepted it as the car slowed outside of a small gas station and adjacent big gravel lot, already full of semi trucks with their amber lights glowing as if they were giant dragons sleeping.
A welcome sight.
And looking out of the window, as the smell of cold, greasy fried chicken started to call to me from the box, I saw at the edge of the lot a stand of trees. Sparse, but concealing. Most importantly, there was no street light.
As the car came to a stop, I pulled the door handle and the door sprung open with a “pop” immediately sending blood into the outside of my deprived left leg. With a quick round of thank you’s and well wishes, I hopped out and made my way through the maze of 18 wheelers to the edge of the gravel lot.
Casting a quick glance around, I dipped into the tall grass, opened my pack and with a few tugs and a toss unrolled my bed and slid in to the familiar smells of my sleeping bag.
The chicken could wait for breakfast.
To all those Home Free Lifestylers out there! Contact me, Hollis Taylor, I want to hear what you have to say. Send me your videos and writings. I want to share your messages with the world! We need to hear it, please contact me at any time with anything you are willing to contribute. I want to share it with the world!