25 Traveling Terms Every Green Horn Should Know

Road Dog- A person who accompanies you in travel. You may have met them 10 years ago, 10 days ago, or 10 minutes ago. Learn to love the smell of your road dog and they will learn to love the smell of you. My first road dog was an Irish girl named Roxanne I met November 2012 in New Orleans. Over a course of three days, drunkenly convinced seven other travelers from the Indian House Hostel to accompany us to Florida. The caravan lasted two weeks, sometimes losing each other for days at a time, and finally catching up in the Florida Keys

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Green Horn- a newbie traveler. One can usually spot a Green Horn by the latest and greatest pack/gear, spotless clothes, and a Vende Soy Carmel Macchiato in hand. Be pleasant to a Green Horn…you were once one too. I look at pictures of my Green Horn days…a watch, straightened hair, nail polish, size 1, and makeup.

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Pack- a backpack on crack. The pack is filled with a traveler’s necessities, trinkets hanging from every strap, and covered in dirt collected from the roads of America. When filling a pack, first walk two miles before beginning your adventure. This came from personal experience as I had walked in Frisco for 6+ hours with 65 pounds of gear, which was later unloaded to a train hopper at a Target parking lot in Oakland.

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Trinkets- My favorite word! Small items one accumulates on the road to which he/she believes has value….but most of the time it’s worthless shit. Items vary from stones, beads, string, precious metals, anything shiny, and/or any type of ground score. I pride myself on my collection and have a terrible time getting rid of anything. My favorite trinket? I have a friend who gifted me a wire wrap made to look like The Tree of Life. I have known him since high school, having live din the apartment below me. Davey and I spent much time talking about our dreams after school. Before I ventured out in The Van, he gave me a quick mentoring in traveling. I hold him and my pendant near and dear to my heart.

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Ground Score- An item one finds on the ground; food, money, gear, trinkets. The feeling one gets when ground scoring is comparable to Christmas morning. One must ensure to scream, “Ground Score!”, when picking up an item. I once ground scored a boyfriend, no joke.

Rainbow- an international group dedicated to true “hippy living”, having been around since the early 70’s. Anyone from Babylon can visit their regional and national gatherings always held in a national forest. I recently attended my first Rainbow Gathering in Florida and was pleasantly surprised by the sense of community and was quite heartbroken to return to Babylon.

Babylon- A reference used by Rainbow while in the woods to describe civilization outside of the gathering. When I first heard this at A-Cola, I wasn’t entirely sure what Babylon meant, so I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to come off as a Green Horn. Over a few days, I was able to put two and two together…and let out a giggle.

Babylon tickets- Another Rainbow reference, used to describe currency. There is no use for Babylon Tickets at Rainbow Gatherings as everything is free/traded/bartered. Once again..I was able to put two and two together and giggle.

Trade Circle- A special place at a Rainbow Gathering where one trades and barters trinkets. One can score a turtle shell backpack, shiny pennies, or yesterday’s underwear. No Babylon Tickets allowed.

Skank- a handkerchief a train hopper wears around his/her neck. Primarily used to cover the face from smoke and/or soot and prided on their dirtiness. I own two skanks; one found wrapped on tree in the woods behind a Dairy Queen at the Alabama/Florida State Line and another, a small yellow reminder of a terrible one night stand. Mine are clean as I have yet to train hop.

Train hopper- a traveler whose mode of transportation is by sneaking onto train cars. Train hoppers can usually be spotted by their skanks, dirty bibs, and even face tattoos . I once saw a train hopper in Oakland with a walkie talkie around his neck, which was fitted into a crocheted case on the same frequency as the train yard. The same train hopper was the lucky one who crossed paths with me immediately after Frisco and my 6+ hour walk with Ziggy and my 65 pound pack.

White Box- leftovers carried by restaurants patrons. One can politely ask for their white boxes and 75% of the time, the patrons will say yes. This is a much better way to score food than dumpster diving. When I was with Fuck You Bob in New Orleans, he white boxed some frog legs. “This is some really good fish…..”

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Dumpster Dive- sorting through/climbing into garbage can in search for food or booze. Grocery stores are reliable places, especially ones found in yuppie towns. Dunkin Donuts throws away all the donuts into one single garbage bag every night, for all you sweet tooths. Any fast food restaurant is impressive if one sifts through every exterior garbage can. I once ate fried pickles at a McDonald’s in Blountstown, Florida.

Freegan- a traveler who NEVER buys food. Freegans always dumpster dive, white box, or ground score their meals. If your road dog is a Freegan and you chose to purchase your meals, do so in secrecy. A Freegan will drool with your every bite and pick your crumbs from below you. We once had to throw a Freegan out in Jacksonville, Florida because he crawled under the table to pick up the onions which had fallen off our hamburgers.

Fly a Sign- A piece of cardboard held by a traveler describing their wants/needs, often in a witty way. If you wish to fly a sign, always keep a permanent marker on hand and you can locate cardboard behind any fast food restaurant. My first sign was made on my first day of ever hitchhiking. It read, “This Is The Sign You Have Been Waiting For”. Try to included peace signs, hearts, or any small drawing. I’ve seen…..” Too Ugly To Prostitute, Too Honest To Steal”, “Instant Karma Sold Here”, “Jesus Was Homeless Too”.

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Spange- to ask a person for spare change. Every traveler has a particular way they spange, yet all come with the same results. One can spange very well at Wal-Mart, high traffic roads, and gas stations. My first spange experience happened in Atlanta after I picked up a very random group of rainbows, a bicyclist with a dog named Maggie, and a first time traveler(now a dirty kid). They spanged from Atlanta-Chicago-Denver…took two fucking weeks goddamn it. I myself don’t spange, but can see why travlers go this route as it is quite effective to get from Point A to Point B.

Busking- playing a musical instrument for money, a socially more acceptable way of spanging. One can busk virtually anywhere yet will find city centers work best. A busker may sometimes score a meal, a phone number or even get housed up. In Frisco, I met the most attractive busker I had ever seen. What is it with a man and a guitar…what’s a girl to do?

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Housed Up- when a weary traveler is invited into a home to kick their feet up. Usually means a warm shower, comfy bed, and home cooked meal. I use “usually” because well…it also usually ends in a great story for your friends. I call these “driveway escapes”. ALWAYS have the house cleaner than before you arrived and even leave a trinket. I once was housed up for a week at a condo in Pompano Beach, Florida and blessed with four star meals, hot yoga sessions, and the bill footed at the dry cleaners.

Squat- an abandoned building/house where all travelers/dirty kids/oogles can go to sleep/shit/eat/leave their packs. I’ve heard fairly tales of squatters actually getting their squat kicked downed to them by the building/house owners.

Hotey- tough one right….a hotel. A hotey is highly desired as there is an unlimited supply of hot water, trashy television, no one to kicking you to wake the fuck up, and breakfast. I first heard the term hotey after picking up some kids leaving a gathering who had been in the woods for months. I can go a week without a shower, some of these cats went months.

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The Tree- Outside “Check Point Charlie’s” in New Orleans, one will come across a great tree with many travelers below at any given time. The tree lies on neutral ground, which means for anyone familiar with Napoleon Law, the 5-0 can’t fuck with you. Anything goes. My first visit to The Tree was Halloween 2012. I found a couple of dirty kids in The Quarter or much rather, they found me. We sat beneath The Tree with thirty plus other oogles and passed around a bottle of, Jameson. Look up the history behind Check Point Charlie’s… ;-)

Schwilly- a traveler who enjoys drinking and/or is a complete fucking alcoholic. Schwilly’s will drink at any time of the day, for no particular reason. Spange money is often used to quench a swills thirst. Swilly’s are not entertaining once the booze is gone. I enjoy a Swilly’s company, they often have a lot to say, and quite alarmingly, it makes perfect sense.

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Thumb it- to stand at a road, intersection, or off ramp with your thumb out soliciting a ride. Always have a smile on your face when thumbing it and I find it even helps to do a little dance. Use your gut when catching a ride and remember you don’t have to agree to jump into every car who offers a ride. My first hitchhiking experience was in Colorado after The Van had crashed. It took me 3 hours to get from Silverthorne back to Breckenridge….15 miles…in two feet of snow.

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Kick down- when someone presents you with money, clothes, food, booze, etc. Appreciate each and every kick down because well…it’s free shit. Share if you can to those who are blessed with terrible karma and never receive any type of kick down. I was told of an Oogle who was flying a sign and got kicked downed a goddamn truck. STD’s and staph infections don’t count.

Gas jug/jugging- picture spanging but solely for gas. When traveling in a vehicle, one can walk around at a gas station with a five gallon jug asking those at the pump to put in a bit of gas. Try to not stay at a gas station for longer than ten minutes, this is usually when the gas attendant notices and kicks you out. I personally have never gas jugged, yet have reaped the benefits after running out of gas with some Rainbows somewhere in Alabama.

So what’s an Oogle? You tell me…