A man wearing a black t-shirt featuring an American Truck event logo on the left breast. The background shows an active day in the city.
“My parents split up when I was 12. When I was 14, I ran away and have been on and off the streets ever since then.”
What follows is a lightly edited transcript

Amazingly, I had a fairly normal country life. My parents split up when I was 12. When I was 14, I ran away and have been on and off the streets ever since then. When I was 20, I got with my girl, got married, had 3 kids, and we were together for 13 years. I worked in marketing at three different newspapers.

I have anxiety issues with driving and with fire, and I don’t like sleeping inside too much, and I’m doing the traveling thing, just hitchhiking and sleeping under bridges and behind dumpsters. I don’t mind the sacrifices that other people would probably mind – sleeping outside, going hungry for a day or two.

Hygiene is my biggest challenge – getting showers and clean laundry. My biggest struggle is that I like to help people out here on the streets. I probably go too far out of my way to help and kind of neglect myself in the process.

The biggest misconception of homeless people is they think we’re lazy. There’s also a lot of addiction out here, but a lot of people think we’re all drunks and drug addicts.

Some places are real hard on homeless people, and other places don’t care. I like trying to find day labor to support myself, but sometimes, I can’t. Some places I don’t even have to panhandle. If I’m sitting with my pack and they see that I’m homeless, they’ll come up and give me $5. Some places are a lot friendlier than other places, and I want to settle down again, relatively soon. I just have to find a good place, somewhere that I’m real comfortable with. North Carolina – I might try that.

We always get chased off everywhere by cops and business owners. Business owners have a pretty good right to say don’t sit in front of my business, but sometimes I’ll be sitting on a bench, and for no reason, the police come and make me leave. We have to be somewhere, you know?

There are some hard times, but I enjoy traveling. I get to see things and meet a lot of different people. I like the freedom of it. If later today, I felt like going back to the beach, I could hitchhike to the beach.

I wish I’d be able to see my kids more often. I wish there’d be more help for some of these people on the streets that are really trying but are legitimately having a hard time. As for my third wish – I wish the Cleveland Indians would win the World Series this year.