Homeless or just bivvying?

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Bindle

Tenderfoot
Oct 10, 2014
78
0
The Mendips
It appears I have upset someone with my earlier post, but how about I explain a bit where I was coming from eh?

I am a psychiatric nurse, and as part of my job I teach people to deal with other people who are contemplating or planning suicide, it is called the ASIST programme (have a quick Google). One of our biggest 'customers' is the homeless charity sector who deal with dozens of cases a week, (Scottish members can check out 'Choose Life- Glasgow')

Often, homeless people contemplating suicide are doing so because of the stigma and the way that the rest of society views them, you know by making assumptions that they are all ex-squaddies, criminals or prostitutes. As they feel they have lost their self-worth, their identity and often their place in society and have to deal with all the associated 'failure' that is subsequently heaped upon them. Who knows, maybe those thoughts of suicide may have passed through the minds of those close to us at times when they found themselves homeless, let's not just label them as ex-cons or 'pro's' eh?
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,596
497
Mercia
It appears I have upset someone with my earlier post, but how about I explain a bit where I was coming from eh?

I am a psychiatric nurse, and as part of my job I teach people to deal with other people who are contemplating or planning suicide, it is called the ASIST programme (have a quick Google). One of our biggest 'customers' is the homeless charity sector who deal with dozens of cases a week, (Scottish members can check out 'Choose Life- Glasgow')

Often, homeless people contemplating suicide are doing so because of the stigma and the way that the rest of society views them, you know by making assumptions that they are all ex-squaddies, criminals or prostitutes. As they feel they have lost their self-worth, their identity and often their place in society and have to deal with all the associated 'failure' that is subsequently heaped upon them. Who knows, maybe those thoughts of suicide may have passed through the minds of those close to us at times when they found themselves homeless, let's not just label them as ex-cons or 'pro's' eh?


Perhaps you should learn not to be rude to people if you would like to take some form of moral high ground? Especially those who have first hand experience of homelessness? Whilst you might do valuable work, that does not give you any form of licence to throw insults around - especially when your problem appears to be rudeness.

No we should not label or belittle anyone. Nor though should we be blind to risks or socio economic realities. Hiding behind political correctness or denying the realities of the groups that are most of risk of homelessness is no way to address one of the great injustices of our society - and offensive posts such as yours do not foster understanding, they close down discussion and awareness.

Red (Ex Homeless)
 

James Higgins

Member
Oct 4, 2014
30
1
Nottinghamshire
demographic said:
More urban or at least where the big roads are but...

I've worked away with a mate round the country a bit, he used to be a trucker and we were living out of the site cabins we were putting in place as well as living out the back of his van.

Truckstops often have free shower facilities or at least pretty cheap to use.

Motorway service stations have shower facilities and he's sometimes just gone to municipal swimming baths and got cleaned up there.


Worth taking crocs or something like that if using the truckstops cos you might not want whatever on the floors there on yer feet. Yeah they look bad, better than verrucas though eh?

Thanks for the input. I thought you might be able to use public swimming baths if the need ever arises. It not something I plan to do a lot, but its good to know it can be done. I would think if many people started doing it they might start doing something about it, but then I would think they realize most people using the baths are not nomads on a budget, but people with their own homes and showers!

Useful to know about the truck stops and motorway services too but these may be a bit tricky to reach for a hiker.
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Really interesting thread. It upsets me when I see bus stops with seats designed with "anti homeless" "features" be it arm rests designed so you can't lay down, or my real pet hate the ones where you can't actually sit on them, but rather you rest your **** against them and keep all your weight on your feet. I don't know what soulless heartless creature came up with that as a design, let alone the one that thought they were a good idea to install them.

I am fortunate to have my own place, but I know many aren't. I wish I could do more to help, but I only have so much space. It became even harder when I let another stay when their home was made uninhabitable by last winters storms.

Julia
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,775
1,020
64
Florida
.....Often, homeless people contemplating suicide are doing so because of the stigma and the way that the rest of society views them, you know by making assumptions that they are all ex-squaddies, criminals or prostitutes....

By that statement you infer that you are "assuming" ex squaddies to be the same as criminals and prostitutes. You're certainly free to make that statement; but only because of the sacrifices of those very ex squaddies.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,351
343
-------------
Crikey, is this an "I'm offended because" competition?

Looks like I'm losing badly, I'll have to find something that offends me fast or someone else will get the prize. Whatever it is.
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
I'm looking forward to testing out the pubs. Abandoned bus stops seem like a good one if you can get a brew on first thing! I was thinking of planning a trip early next spring for a week or so. Not sure where yet.

The idea of abandoned or under utilised rural bus stops becoming a public shelter for weary travellers rather appeals. If used sensibly and politely, I think it's a great idea. But I fear there are some who would use "there are homeless people in that bus stop, this must stop" and then the council pull it down.

On extended trips the subject of hygiene becomes an issue. Usually I just find a campsite and mostly they will allow you to use the facilities for a fee, or I just camp over for the night, but sleeping on a campsite in a bivvy seems like overkill so I've been thinking about ways to get around even this cost too but it's not so easy.

It's a common problem for long distance hikers. I tend to opt for a B&B every 5-7 days, this tends to nicely match up with the need to resupply, so if you can combine a B&B stop with also collecting a package of supplies, it helps.

If not, then it's the squaddie options. A strip down wash works well. Merino wool is a fantastic material as well. Where by late afternoon when wearing synthetic baselayers you may not want to be in the same timezone as yourself, or at least not upwind of yourself., with wool, it resists stinking amazingly well. Saves on laundry, and means you don't have to have as many spare/clean items.

If you are on the coast in the summer then no problem, just dive in with a bar of soap, lol. But apart from this there is not much you can do (unless you can find a deep forest with fresh running water to heat and plenty of privacy!) Maybe public swimming baths in towns? I really don't know. I was thinking if you have a gym membership at a big national chain, then you could just walk into the gym at the nearest town. Not sure how much a gym membership is nowadays but maybe its worth the cost for a year if you have access to clean hot showers.

ARGH! never wash in a water course, even if it is the Atlantic. Take a bucket of water 100-200 yards away from the water course, wash there, then poor the water into a shallow cathole. Given sea to summit make a washing bowl that weighs about 50g, there is no excuse not to carry one. You can get the expanding towel pellet things, which are very useful in a weight/bulk/usefulness tradeoff. Or just wet wipes. Amazing how well you can keep clean on the trail without needing a shower. If it wasn't to wash my hair and collect resupply parcels, I don't think I would return to civilisation on long treks.

The hair thing is a non trivial problem. My hair is just over 30" long, and reaches to the belt on my jeans. Curiously I don't have to wash it as frequently as I did when I had short hair. Short hair needed a daily wash, long hair only needs it every 5-7 days. But it does need a fair bit of water to clean it properly...

I've digressed a bit here but some of the posts above have made me think about pushing bivvying to the limits of cost-cutting adventure . Or just plain tightness!

Apologies, for taking the thread a bit further off topic.

Julia
 

Bindle

Tenderfoot
Oct 10, 2014
78
0
The Mendips
By that statement you infer that you are "assuming" ex squaddies to be the same as criminals and prostitutes. You're certainly free to make that statement; but only because of the sacrifices of those very ex squaddies.

Ah, now I can't claim to have ever been homeless, but I can lay claim to have served for 9 years in the British Army.
 

wandering1

Nomad
Aug 21, 2014
341
0
Mansfield
One place that no ones.mentioned yet. Is bridges
When I go on a long walk.
I meanyeah there's bus stops. (ive spent a few nights in. A church porch slept.in .a mausoleum once.(dead quiet)
But wide bridges are a good place aswell
Especially those on the.canals not.many ppl walk the canals at night so its usually quiet
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,939
228
Knowhere
One place that no ones.mentioned yet. Is bridges
When I go on a long walk.
I meanyeah there's bus stops. (ive spent a few nights in. A church porch slept.in .a mausoleum once.(dead quiet)
But wide bridges are a good place aswell
Especially those on the.canals not.many ppl walk the canals at night so its usually quiet

I have to say with my knowlege of the local canal bridges, there are a lot drier places where I would chose to spend the night.
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
I have to say with my knowlege of the local canal bridges, there are a lot drier places where I would chose to spend the night.


I must admit that when I read about the idea of sleeping under a bridge, my first thought was "Not on my local river" I hold my breath when cycling under the two main road bridges over my local river. The stench of pee is over powering.

My personal preference for bivvi sites is on the edge of woodland, under a nice tree...

J
 

boatman

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
2,444
4
74
Cornwall
One bridge I tried to sleep under made for an awful experience. It was Churn road bridge over a disused railway in Berkshire. Raining and windy. It was like trying to sleep in a wind tunnel.
2792809_8f13410a.jpg
 

James Higgins

Member
Oct 4, 2014
30
1
Nottinghamshire
Quixoticgeek said:
Apologies, for taking the thread a bit further off topic.

Julia

I wouldnt worry too much about taking it further off topic. I prefer this direction to the other one going on. Really great tips, thanks Julia. You are right that its not necessary to have a full blown hot shower, i need to get my mind out of this conditioning. I must check out those Sea to Summit bowls, and definitely merino wool if it delays the onset of the undesirable. Cheers
 

xylaria

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
The rats around canals can be horrendous. The local dunes like alot of uk have ww2 concrete structures they are heaving with rodents as well. Bivvy under bush or a wood beats both.West Welsh bus shelters are the solid concrete type with a flat wide bench. Unfortunately the one up from is also just that up the clwb so by Sunday morning smells of wee wee.

For people that like to have plan Bs to Zs there are organic farms and hippy communities that give shelter and some food in exchange for part time work.
 

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