If I was asked to write about every significant person that has entered my life, one way or another, over the past 2 weeks, this blog post would take me hours to write. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Maybe I would start by writing about the women whom, when I realized I had no cash when getting on the bus, handed me five dollars plus two extra dollars so I didn’t get stuck. Literally shoving it in my face whilst I’m trying to tell her I can’t except it. Then I might go on to write about the boy who bought me a corn on the cob because I was trying to save money but I told him he HAD to try it as they are absolutely delicious. Then I would go on writing about the boy I met at a bar, who (true to his word) told me to come into the Japanese restaurant he manages in Hayes Valley and he would set me up with a meal free of charge. Not to mention a new friend who at the time barely new me, none the less welcomed me into his home in LA, fed me, then drove me back up to San Francisco.
My awesome host and road tripping buddy from LA.
Then there’s the people who I have known a while and continuously manage to humble me with their kindness; the family I once worked for in California, who have welcomed me once again into their home, friends from the city who have taken me out and not let me pay a dime for a meal or drinks because I’m ‘backpacking’, and of course those who have found out I’m back in the country and go out of their way to take me out on adventures.
Oh, the list goes on and on, these beautiful souls I meet everyday, and they all affect me a great deal, they really do.
I think John and Paul said it best when they said, “I get by with a little help from my friend’s”. That’s what these people are to me, whether its for a moment, a day, or a lifetime, they become my friend’s and I am so grateful for them.
Today, for instance, I decided to walk through Golden Gate Park to Hippie Hill to sit and read my book. I got about 10 feet into the park when a group of ‘homeless’ (we’ll explore that term later) people asked if I would like to come hang out. I’m not one to refuse an invitation to anyone. So, I walked over and started chatting to them. These boys as young as 18, were some of the loveliest people I have met yet! They welcomed me and we started talking about our stories, where we came from and why we were here, where we were going next and where we would like to end up. I stayed with this group of people, lying in the sun for almost 3 hours, just conversing about life. At the end of it they told me to add them on Facebook so we could keep in contact and maybe even hang out again.
My mum is probably reading this going, “My God my daughter is hanging out with a bunch of homeless people on the streets of America… What am I going to do with her?!”. But here’s the thing, these people are just like you and me. They have parent’s back home and they have worked and saved a little money to live off. They just choose the way they want to live their life, with no one to answer to. They are living by their own rules. The same way I’m trying to live. The same way many people wish they could live. They choose this way of life, they aren’t ‘homeless’ they’re ‘free’. Society puts these labels on things because they see something out of the ordinary and they freak out, they don’t know what to do with these people, or things, or ideas that aren’t considered ‘normal’, when in fact, these people are leading a much more natural life then you or I am. And who are you to tell them they are wrong? Their roof is the sky, the sun and the stars. Their bed is wherever the grass seems soft and they spend their days surrounded by friends, partaking in activities that make them happy, whether it be making music, playing sports, conversing in conversations or creating art. When by-standers see these people they see women and men that look ‘dirty’ in some way or another. They see what appears to be dirty clothes or greasy hair and they are instantly shunned away from them. These people don’t really ‘see’ them at all. They turn a blind eye. If they are approached they keep walking, sometimes they don’t even turn their heads. Because in our modern world, that’s what we have been taught to do. I am guilty of this too.
Now I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs, grow dreads and go live in our local parks, live off the land and busk for money (though wouldn’t it be kind of awesome if we did?). I just think we should all become a little more aware and maybe a little more open. Who knows who you could meet, or what lessons you could gain, you might even make a new friend. At the very least, you can make someones day just by smiling and giving a quick ‘Hello’ back to them.
I for one think we could learn a lot from people like the people I met today;
They live simply and take each day as it comes, if you ask me, they’ve got it pretty good.
Perhaps a better word to categorize people like this is: Nomad.
I learnt a lot from the people I met today, they impacted my day and I gained some friends in a way I wouldn’t have generally expected!
So anyway, this post has just gone way out of context, I started it off with talking about the friends I have met or reconnected with on the way and its somehow turned into a rant about homeless (or the Nomadic) people.
As well as sitting in a park with lovely Nomads, I also met up with some old friends. One friend I made (again, in a park) last summer, and two friends from home who are passing through the area.
Toni and I met in Dolores park last summer. I was with my Au Pair friends and Toni and her friend Demetrius were walking the same way as us into the park,. Both parties had beers in our shirts, half trying to carry them, half trying to hide them. I don’t know why we were trying to hide them, it is Dolores Park after all. No hiding necessary. Anyway, Toni and Demetrius came to join us and that’s how our friendship started.
Today as we were waiting for my two Australian friends to join us, me and Toni sat again in Dolores park, catching up and talking about how wonderful San Francisco is. It was so wonderful to catch up with another old friend from the USA that shares the same love for the city that I do.
Shortly after we were joined by my two Australian friends. It’s such a comfort having people from home around you when your in a foreign setting. I cannot tell you how good it feels to sit and talk about a place with such enthusiasm, and actually have the people around you not only listening to you but completely understanding and agreeing with what your saying, because they are witnessing it first hand.
Friends from home.
The conversations I have had over the past few days, with the multiples of new and old friends, have made me so happy and given me so much knowledge as well as awareness. Above all it has made me realize how much I want to stay in America.Three months is not enough for me, and I WILL find a way to extend this trip. I’m already filling out a form to make this happen!
I decided not to wait much longer before heading off again. I will be leaving Friday or Saturday to start Wwoofing (stands for World Wide Opportunity’s for Organic Farms, see link at bottom of post). I have two farms that have both told me I am welcome to join them anytime over the next couple of weeks, in opposite directions. North or South? Better choose a route quick, Friday is near!
If you want to check out what Wwoofing is all about: https://wwoofusa.org