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Tramps, bums....

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Originally part of Backpackers.
Have you experienced prejudice against yourself, as a backpacker in the US?
11 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 1 Msg: #90375  
B Posts: 602
hmmm - I am starting to think that the idea of backpacking in this part of the US and where you are is very different. To me backpacking is going into the wilderness on foot. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 23rd 2009 No: 2 Msg: #90498  
B Posts: 602
That kind of backpacking is frown upon in the US and considered dangerous. Only tramps bum rides and walk along the roads. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 23rd 2009 No: 3 Msg: #90509  
Dympna, I am losing track of what you are talking about. What kind of backpacking is frowned upon in the US? The type that the members of TravelBlog do?

A lot of backpackers and members of this site actually are US citizens...... It must be a relief for them to get out of the US, if they are thought of as bums and tramps there.
Reply to this

11 years ago, October 23rd 2009 No: 4 Msg: #90510  
B Posts: 602
When you do the backpacking along the highways or through city streets yes. We do backpacking - but typically it is into the wilderness. Actually there are laws in some states restricting use of on foot travel along certain highways. Example, no hitch hiking allowed here on the interstate. Hitch hiking became taboo in the 70's when there was a rash of murders & other things that happened because hitch hikers were picked up or to the person picking them up. Those with sign on the side of the road going to somewhere are often looked at as bums and few give them rides. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 24th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #90540  
I dont know where this walking along the highways thing is comming from, Dympna. Many backpackers use trains, planes and busses to get around. Trekking and hiking is something they only do sometimes.

Some do hitch hike though. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 25th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #90612  
N Posts: 6
Gotta agree with Dymphna on this one. If I seen a backpacker hiking along the woods and trails, I'm at ease. If I see a backpacker hiking in my neighborhood, I see a drifter who could potentially be casing out the neighborhood looking for an opportunity. Hate to be doom and gloom when talking about a wonderful thing like traveling, but we gotta look out for each other. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 25th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #90618  

I see a drifter who could potentially be casing out the neighborhood looking for an opportunity.


So if there is a backpacker in your neighbourhood, what type of opportunity do you think they are looking for?

Hate to be doom and gloom when talking about a wonderful thing like traveling, but we gotta look out for each other.


This is just plain weird. We as backpackers work hard to get the opportunity to travel. It may not be 5 star travel, but it still involves hard work and a lot of dedication on our parts.

So, I presume that you and Dympna dont travel then, unless you can afford more than backpacking? Reply to this

11 years ago, October 26th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #90860  
B Posts: 602
Backpacking like that here is called hitch hiking and is frowned on. No I would not do it here, as it is very dangerous. Those who will pick you up (being that I am female) would be expecting a type of payment I am not willing to give. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #90905  

Backpacking like that here is called hitch hiking and is frowned on



I use the term backpacking alot ... hmmm, that's interesting ... now I wonder what my American friends think what kind of person I am.haha
... i don't hitch hike though, it doesn't feel safe.
when I travel, one of the things that interests me most is how the public transportation works in a certain place. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #90986  
B Posts: 602
Yeah - we have too many hitch hikers end up up in bushes with knife wounds.

If you are using the bus - whole different story. It is those who go about with thumb out that have the problems. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #90987  
So, the backpackers who use the bus are not tramps and bums then? Just hitch hikers are?


Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #90988  
B Posts: 602
Yes LOL that is it. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 13 Msg: #90991  
There's no such thing as a backpacker in the states. Either you go camping or you stay at a Motel 6. They'll leave the light on for you, just like Tom Bodett says. Unkempt looking people lugging a huge pack on their backs walking the highways will be immediately picked up by the local sheriff and a get good talking to about not wanting any drifters in their town, then drive them to the county line, and dump them there, just like Rambo in that movie First Blood. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 14 Msg: #90998  
Goodness me! Looks like the US is not the place for us to visit then. We are not always unkempt, but sometimes are.

Alright, now we can add drifters, to the list of what we are called in the US. Bums, tramps and drifters. Backpacking is such an innocent hobby, and it broadens the peoples horizons who do it. Pity about this attitude in the US!

But, maybe being dumped at the border Rambo style would make for an interesting blog...... Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 15 Msg: #91001  
B Posts: 602
It was taken over by the seedy and so it is not safe here. I was surprised to see it in Europe, even as a teenager 30 years ago. Yes it would be fun, it is just not safe here. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #91002  
The seedy? Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #91003  
B Posts: 602
Seedy are those who are drunks and abusive. It started really bad in the 70's when there were multiple times that people were murdered and raped in this practice. It was done by both the one hitch hiking and the ones picking them up. Those who still do it are the ones who can't afford any safer mode of transportation. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #91006  
Thanks Dympna 😊

Though, I dont know why anyone would mistake backpackers for the drunk and abusive types, when they are usually just wandering around looking at things and enjoying absorbing the culture. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #91007  
I think this discussion really highlights the multiple meanings of "backpacking," especially to the American ear. When I grew up, the term primarily referred to going into the backcountry, carrying your supplies on your back, and getting away from civilization. The person walking the streets with a bag on their back and trying to hitch rides was a dangerous drifter (not even a backpacker to me). But I believe the term backpacking has changed over the years and is used considerably differently on this site (i.e., backpacking = form of low-cost, independent travel). Nevertheless, backpacking still has a negative connotation in the States. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 20 Msg: #91009  
So, what is a better name for low budget, independent travellers in the US, if they dont want to introduce themselves as something with negative connotations attached to it?
Reply to this

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