Vagabond Type of the Day: Transient

by Ashe Vagabond of the Vagabond Express

Day 1

Transient: The Clan Type

Not all those who wander are lost.

Vagab I am putting Transients first because they may be the heart and soul of what a typical vagabond is fabled to look like. When a person says ‘vagabond’ these might be the first people who come to mind. No matter what kind of wanderer you are, likely you can “feel” this group, understand its core fabric, and appreciate the level of extremism they are willing to live in so that they can live the life on the road—and on their own terms.

Strong personalities abound in these groups. I have personally migrated with transients and camped out with them in various cities in different countries. I was never a full-blooded transient, but I do have a first-hand understanding of this kind of vagabond.

About Them

Definition of TRANSIENT (Merriam-Webster)


: passing especially quickly into and out of existence :transitory <transient beauty>

: passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn <transient visitors>


: affecting something or producing results beyond itself


Transients are what happen when the fringe of society becomes so distant from the main social groups that they just plain fall of the map entirely—but in groups. Transients usually travel in packs. They are not “homeless people.” Some call themselves “residentially challenged” in jest, but what they really mean is that they don’t  WANT to live in society the way most people do. Their lifestyle represents a rigid fortitude to manifest their own destiny within the confounds of what they deem valuable in life.

Notable values they hold dear: freedom, friendship, unencumberance.

Notable values they don’t really give a hoot about: money, materialism, societal roles.


They are often self-educated, well-read individuals who are very capable of participating in society like any average person—yet choose not to. To really give a description that might ring a bell: they are those “punk” looking people with the dreadlocks and pit bulls roaming around at all hours (at least the average person would unknowingly label them punks). These Vagabonds move a lot, but may stay for a certain period of time in certain locations. They follow a life pattern similar to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, actually, and one might argue that they’ve managed to remain pure in a constantly changing social landscape.

These people usually know the best and safest places to camp out, and they’ll gladly sleep there with or without a tent. They usually have a vast network of contacts in all walks of life across many cities, states, or even countries. They fluently enter and exit mainstream society, meaning that they may sleep in the woods but wander into town to buy beans for their open campfire back where the clan is waiting.


They look out for one another, are often humanists with a strong sense of kin with their fellow man (and animal), and are not unknown to have hidden talents under all that unassuming exterior. I mean that person with the green mohawk walking with that muscular dog could be a concert trained pianist or have a university degree—seriously. At the very least, they have a Diploma in Life Experiences that most people know nothing about.


If you’d like to live amongst them or spend time with them, leave your pretention at the door, but feel free to unload your quirks. They are usually very resilient to displays of originality and genuine character, unlike the folks back at the office.


* The awesome photos are from The Life of American Vagabonds. Click on the link to be taken to even MORE awesome photos of Transient Vagabonds.


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