The term hobo is derived from the English term "hoe boy," which refered to the people who worked the gardens and estates of the wealthy. The "hoe boys" were the original migrant workers (sorry, I don´t have a reference that supports this statement but it sounds good). The reader needs to understand and appreciate the life, desires, and motivations of these unique individuals.
The hobo is often maligned, misunderstood, and exploited. The term hobo is generally used interchangeably with bum or tramp. However, the difference between a hobo and a bum or tramp is significant. The hobo is hardworking, enterprising, talented, self-reliant, self-confident, and sensitive. It takes courage, strength, skill, imagination, daring, and endurance to live a hobo´s life. The true hobo is basically a laboring man - a man of many trades and many talents who wanders the country in search of work. He may clear right-of-way, cut logs, lay railroad track, harvest wheat, mine gold, herd cattle, shear sheep, work the oil fields, and move on.
A hobo is a state of mind - a desire to explore beyond the horizon, to try another Job, and examine, live with, and watch people. The hobo learns from watching, doing, listening, and thinking. He has a lot time for thinking while working and traveling. It is truly an education that cannot be gained in a classroom. A hobo´s attention span is usually quite short. Once the job is mastered, he moves on to another challenge.
Traveling is at the heart of hobo life, and trains provided the means for that travel. But, in reality, the hobo rides the train to get from one place to another. He may spend a couple of days getting to the apple orchards of Washington or the potato fields of Idaho where he works until the harvest is in; then on a train again to the next work site. The train is just a convenient means of transportation. I have spent more time hitchhiking cars, trucks, airplanes, and boats than I have riding the rails. I once hitchhiked 25,000 miles in one year over the highway and have hitchhiked even more miles by air and ship. Hobos often go to sea, as I did, perhaps to break the bounds of land. I vividly recall having a compelling desire to see beyond the horizon the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean. I have the same feelings when I gaze into space. I doubt that I will ever travel into space, but I have been involved in historic space launches, such as the Hubble Telescope, Galileo, Cassini, and the Space Station launches. I was working down range from Cape Canaveral for the first manned launch. That is as close as I will ever get to space. I feel privileged to have been involved in the space programs.
This book is an account of the first forty years of my life, which follows a hobo´s philosophy.