a bit from my youth and a song that reminded me

I saw this video with the Civil Wars song The One that Got Away,  which took me back to a certain period in my youth when I lived out of a back pack, and did indeed hop trains.  The trains were in Canada, I hitch-hiked In the USA.  My own experiences were  somewhat different from this girl’s, yet essentially  similar.  I thought to share a little of that time.

I had some different items that I carried about and used.   I had a sleeping bag,  a small pot, teaspoon, and cooking spoon, toothbrush, paper, pencils, pens.  wet stone , pocket knife, scissors and large eye needles and crochet  thread, hat, matches, canteen with clean water, and extra water bottle inside backpack. And an easily assessable, very sharp, hatchet attached to exterior of my back pack. Wash cloth and small hand towel.  5 or 6 clean bandannas.  Clean bandannas make an excellent first aid kit.  Useful for everything.  Long-Johns and a light jacket. 2pr Navy surplus work jeans, and 2 Navy surplus chambray work shirts.  Long sleeves, as there are mosquitoes everywhere. 5 or 6 pairs of good socks  4 set of my style, at that time,  undies, and I wore a pair of boys work boots rather than hiking boots.  At that time they were cheaper, lasted longer, better traction, came up higher over my ankles,  and had  room for two pairs of thick socks.

For food, and I never ran out, even though I shared ???? dunno how :  beef  bullion cubes, tea, brown rice, salt, pepper, garlic, usually some honey or sugar for the tea, and vitamins.   Sometimes canned salmon or mackerel.  Additionally I had rocks in the bottom of my pack (souvenirs and keep sakes) and some books. Oh and a ground-cloth tarp which doubled as rain cover the back pack and gear.

Not once did I ever have such a big fire, as depicted in the movie clip.  Even with company.  And I didn’t flirt with strangers.  My purpose (yes I had a purpose) was to take in as much scenery and wonderfulness as possible before it was no longer possible for me.  I was blessed.

I’m not so sure such a independent life could be lived now.  Not the (relatively speaking) care free, wild, and happily peaceful (with notable exceptions)  time that I had.  I wanted to stay everywhere.  Everywhere was beautiful. I did encounter fear, evil, and danger.  But more prevalent was beauty and goodness.   Beautiful families of many ethnic backgrounds offered to “adopt” me.

This was such an  entirely different part of my life that I seldom think or speak of it.  This little film clip and wonderful song brought a flood of memories.

I used that crochet thread to decorate my jacket and shirts and mend and decorate my backpack.  I still have the backpack.  Maybe I shall blog about this again. And picture that back pack that has traveled so many thousands of miles.

Civil Wars   The One that Got Away

Music video by The Civil Wars performing The One That Got Away. (c) 2013 sensibility recordings LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

This from the comments  AR is Arkansas  :

Hi I am the GurL in the video Claud_Davila (Claudia Davila) I read all the comments and Wow 🙂 thank u for all the positivity This is a Great Band and I am so Lucky to be in there video, it was shot as a film, not ur typical MV Tom Haines as the Director!!!! It was a huge production so many amazing people worked on this non stop 24hr 2wks or more, I came on towards the end 5 days to shot the whole thing, a lot went into this! it was shot in various places in Beautiful AR 🙂


8 comments on “a bit from my youth and a song that reminded me

  1. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    Truly amazing how little we manage with when we are young and travelling. All of a sudden one gets older and travels with medicine, electronic attachments, clothes that one does not get to wear etc.
    “I wish you were the one that got away”. That is a good line indeed. 🙂


    • ‘Tis a good song. I like The Civil Wars, apparently they have parted ways, which is sad because they worked together so well. Individually they are good, too, but with their blending of voices and timing, sometimes together they were transcendent.
      Ha! try taking a hatchet through security. 🙂 or anywhere, now. One trip I had a machete. Maybe securely wrapped it cold be in checked luggage. But nothing carry on. My back pack with the sleeping bag was not small enough to be a carry on. In the movie clip, the girl didn’t even have a blanket roll. I had long hair too, but shen on the road I kept if braided. And I looked like I was about 12. I did have a Florida driver’s licence, which red for minor, in those days, but it did get checked once in a while and I was glad to have it . ID was a problem for most homeless or road bums or military escapees and even some hippies. I never saw any hippies hopping trains. and they mostly only hitched near their homes, and with money. I didn’t see hippies doing casual labor, which I did do.

      Well enough reminiscing for now….. We politically active young folks used to think South Africa was schizophrenic … there were free press bookstores … and refugees … there were protests and riots (I didn’t riot) I did participate in protests …. I did work for civil rights … I did march in Washington DC … I did………enough reminiscing …. 🙂 We were so righteous, how could the world not change?…….. Well, it has changed, but not all for the better….. some things are better, but the bad guys seem stronger, meaner, more rotten ……


      • Nomzi Kumalo says:

        Lol. 🙂 Such a rich life you have. And you have such a wonderful sense of humour. I sometimes think about writing some poetry about my early years and South Africa back then but for now it is still a project for another day. I hope you have blissful weekend Bear. Many thanks for being an inspiration. 🙂


        • There is much beautiful outstanding literature from “back then” from South Africa. More truth is hidden in poetry and biographical fiction than in all of the propaganda rhetoric rags. Perhaps yours will be included in that greatness. I wish it for you that you are able to allow yourself to say what needs saying.

          Far away hugs XOXOXO


  2. Write write write more about this, Bear. These are the journeys that sustain and test us.
    Love the video music and images.


  3. willowdot21 says:

    I married at 17yrs……….. well still together, yes more than a life sentence! I wonder if we met ourselves at17yrs would we recognize them!! More to the point would they recognize them….. would we of sold the out , I hope not.
    Loved the video, and Claudia Davila input ! Thanks for sharing all this with us!! xxx



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