“I’ve wandered around with nothing more than time on my hands. I was lost in the night with no sight of you and at times it was so blue and lonely heading for the light.” — The Travelling Wilburys
Half of difficulty of being the Broke Backpacker is the broke part.
Unemployment. For many this word is synonymous with depression, trouble, and hunger. For the traveller, this word evokes a sense of uncertainty rife with the promise of adventure; it conjures flavours of white rice and bananas; it brings about an aching in the knees and feet, like that from long days of walking, carrying a heavy backpack. Unless you’re one of the select few who get paid to travel, you’ll know what I mean.
I find myself at this very moment (12 noon) sunk so deep into the cushions of my couch I may as well be a faded old nickel. I’m worth about as much; Unemployed, not a friend in sight, bored to death.
The job market isn’t the friendliest at the moment, even for those with skills other than shoveling. Surfing the net day after day, I’ve come across some interesting ads. One fellow offered his services—doing supposedly whatever—in exchange for some food. His ad had received over 300 views in the first two hours, which for a city of only 70, 000 is quite a few. Hopefully somebody gave this guy a can of beans.
While I’m not quite as desperate as him—after all, I am travelling to Central America in three weeks, an option not available to the completely broke—I do feel a strong desire to accomplish something. Despite my continual efforts, I have not been able to master the online world of Call of Duty; I am currently ranked 5, 465, 555th. But I’m climbing. My parents would be proud.
A visit to the YES Employment Center here in town reassured me that, YES, I am getting desperate.
“What kind of work are you looking to do?” asked the young man behind the counter.
“Anything at all,” I replied, watching him tick-off boxes like “snow removal,” “manual labour,” and “male prostitution.”
“I’ll put you on the on-call list,” he said.
I missed a call that very night at 3 am, a questionable hour for calling a potential labourer. I deduced it was probably some trucker needing “a hand” if you know what I mean. Luckily the number was restricted and I couldn’t call back.
There are other ways to make money, however. Considering gambling as an alternate source of income, I flipped a coin and lost.
Just trying to live up to my title,
The Broke Backpacker