A Hobo travels to work, Tramps travels, and won't work, bums will do neither. We Hobo Travelers live the good life, join Hobo Traveler to live the Hobo Way.

What is a Hobo? Definition     1navigategothisway.gif (395 bytes)     GO THIS WAY

Introduction by Andy Lee Graham of HoboTraveler.com, I go by the name "Gadget" as a Hobo member on this site.

A Hobo was an economic refugee, they truly had not choice, they went searching for ways to earn money, they were clever, adventuresome, often minimalist.



Hoboes is a name coined for men and women, but almost exclusively to men that travel as migrant workers or left their friends and family in the depression or after wars when there was no work for them in their home cities. They either in many ways left to go look for a job or just to avoid the stress and strains of life in a family where they could no support their families because there was no jobs. They would maybe jump on a train, and ride in a boxcar to the next city to find a temporary job where they was building a large building, or some other temporary job like picking strawberries for the season.

Hoboes do not like to be labeled or to have people talk for them, they are an independent lot and they really do not fit into an categories. The ones that actually call themselves Hoboes have a sort of code of the road that they adhere to or are aware of, and this code is some ways enforced or not enforced. The Hobo is penniless and poor, and lives by his or her wits from a day to day existence and the future is not important because they have to normally make the cheap choice, and not the best choice. They are pragmatic and accept the reality that they are not rich and they must accept the way they must travel from place to place.

There is a love of Hoboes for the trains. Train hopping is almost synonymous with being a Hobo and although there is no hard cored connection that says a Hobo must travel by train, it is the customary or common way for a Hobo to travel. In the early years of transportation in the USA the easiest, quickest, and most convenient way to travel was by rail so there became a Hobo culture that had its community centered around the trains and living close to the railway. They would set up camps close to train tracks and live in these camps waiting for the next train, or working at a local job, and ready to leave whenever they heard the sound of the train whistle.

Life for the Hobo was harsh, and brutal in many ways, it was not the life for the weak of will, or the person that could not tolerate some bad conditions. They did what they had to do to survive and this was not always the best of ways. A Hobo was in many ways a good family man that ran astray and did not know how to compete in the world of normal jobs, and especially when the ravages of war or the depression took away their jobs, and threw them into the road. So there is a resourcefulness to the idea of being a Hobo that says you will survive by doing what you have to do.

Hoboes were both loved and hated by people. Maybe there is the "but for the grace of God, there goes I" mentality, and back to the basic idea of human nature. People take care of each other in the end. If the time really get bad, and there is a common bound of misery, or poverty people can share, but they can also be cruel and mean. Life is not always so good for the Hobo, you do not just fit in like the rest of the people, and how do you ever get up to normal standards of the community by getting a good shower, a clean bed and cloths when you are living in boxcars or traveling for days, and the last meal you had was not remembered clearly.

Hobo is almost exclusively used by the American culture and small amounts by the British, Australian, or New Zealand cultures. Basically it is an American originated word and adopted or utilized by other English speaking countries. It is part of Americana and the world of being a rag muffin immigrant land where people had traveled to for the dream of golden streets, and land of plenty, but there was not always a way to live. The American dream although not achieved by the Hobo, was still professed, and understood at it more essential end. Being a Hobo in America was about the ability to claim the American dream in the end by saying,

I be Hobo, I be FREE

So the love of freedom and the wonder or wanderlust of the Hobo as led them to explore the places the rest of the world did not go and often did not want to go, but also help them to understand real freedom.

I did no justice to the Hobo, and I am just a traveler without a home. I appreciate their free spirit, but also understand the loneliness, and possibly the life of a Hobo with no future. There are lot of Hoboes in the world that neither can return to their homes, do not remember how to return home, and when they do return, find they must leave for the road calls, and they only feel complete when they are traveling.

Andy HoboTraveler.com March 14, 2004 - Mongolia


- hobo hoboes hobos hoboing
One who wanders randomly from place to place looking for temporary homes, and jobs.
Origination Unknown, but is folkloric now.
In the depression people would go to other cities to get, or search for a job. by traveling in the cheapest way they could. Example: Jump in a train car.  They seem to "Never go home" again. Like the life of the wanderer, or rover.

A Hobo is a person that travels to work.
A tramp is a person that travels and won't work.
A bum is a person that will neither travel or work.


Hobo.org  Please write Andy... me. Webmaster. This is strange

Hobo Movies
The Billion Dollar Hobo (1977), starring Tim Conway and Will Geer.
Emperor of the North Pole aka Emperor of the North (1973), directed by Robert Aldrich. OCLC 70283150. Loosely based on Jack London's The Road.
Hard Times aka The Streetfighter (1975), directed by Walter Hill (his directorial debut), and starring Charles Bronson (as a hobo turned street fighter) and James Coburn.
Into the Wild (2007), directed by Sean Penn, based on Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008), starring Abigail Breslin, Chris O'Donnell, Julia Ormond and Max Thieriot. Directed by Patricia Rozema.
Resurrecting the Champ (2007), starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett, directed by Rod Lurie.
Sullivan's Travels (1941), directed by Preston Sturges. "This one is closest to reality."
Tokyo Godfathers (2003), an anime directed by Satoshi Kon.
Wild Boys of the Road (1933), directed by William A. Wellman
The Polar Express (2004), a computer-animated feature film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, features a gruff but helpful hobo character (one of five characters played by Hanks) who seems to be the corporeal appearance of a spirit or angel. 

Hobo Books
All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life, by Loren Eiseley, 1975. ISBN 0-8032-6741-X
The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman - Humor book which features a lengthy section on "hobos", including a list of 700 hobo names which spawned an online effort to illustrate the complete list.
Bottom Dogs, by Edward Dahlberg
Beggars of Life (1924), by Jim Tully
Evasion by Anonymous
From Coast to Coast with Jack London by "A-No.-1" (Leon Ray Livingston)
Hard Travellin': The Hobo and His History, by Kenneth Allsop. ISBN 0-340-02572-7.
Hobo, by Eddy Joe Cotton, 2002. ISBN 0-609-60738-3
The Hobo - The Sociology of the Homeless Man, by Nels Anderson, 1923.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair contains a section in which the main character, Jurgis Rudkus, abandons his family in Chicago and becomes a hobo for a while.
Knights of the Road, by Roger A. Bruns, 1980. ISBN 0-416-00721-X.
Lonesome Road, by Thomas Minehan, 1941.
Lonesome Traveler, by Jack Kerouac ("The Vanishing American Hobo")
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Muzzlers, Guzzlers, and Good Yeggs by Joe Coleman
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
Once a Hobo... (1999), by Monte Holm
One More Train to Ride: The Underground World of Modern American Hobos by Clifford Williams.
Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression by Errol Lincoln Uys, (Routledge, 2003)ISBN 0-415-94575-5
Riding Toward Everywhere by William T. Vollmann, 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-125675-2
The Road, by Jack London
Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes by Ted Conover - Paperback: 304 pages, Publisher: Vintage (September 11, 2001), ISBN 0-307-727-868
Sister of The Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha - (as told to) Dr. Ben Reitman
Stumptown Kid, By Carol Gorman and Ron J. Finley
Tales of an American Hobo (1989), by Charles Elmer Fox
Tramping on Life (1922) and More Miles (1926), by Harry Kemp
Waiting for Nothing, Tom Kromer
You Can't Win, by Jack Black
Kings in Disguise (1988), by James Vance and Dan Burr
Television and radio
Invader Zim Episode Hobo 13 - It states that the Hobo race are probably homeless types of aliens.
The Littlest Hobo - A movie and TV series about a dog of the same name.
Mad Men Episode "The Hobo Code" - The protagonist has a flashback to his childhood, when a hobo's brief visit teaches young Don/Dickie something about his father and something about life.
Many cartoons depicts hobos as main or secondary characters, hobo related activities such as traveling by train, with a bindle, or in company of hobos. For example, 8 Ball Bunny (1950) with Bugs Bunny, Merrie Melodies Hobo Gadget Band (1939), Mouse Wreckers (1948) and MGM's Henpecked Hoboes (1948). 

Hobo Songs
Musicians known for hobo songs include Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Utah Phillips, Jimmie Rodgers, Seasick Steve, and Boxcar Willie.

Examples of hobo songs include:
"Big Rock Candy Mountain" by Harry McClintock
"Cold Water" by Tom Waits
"Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" recorded by Harry McClintock, Al Jolson, and others
"Hard Travelin'" and "Hobo's Lullaby" by Woody Guthrie
"Hobo" by The Hackensaw Boys
"Hobo Bill", "I Ain't Got No Home" and "Mysteries of a Hobo's Life" by Cisco Houston
"Hobo Blues" and "The Hobo" by John Lee Hooker
"Hobo Chang Ba" by Captain Beefheart
"Hobo Flats" by Oliver Nelson
"The Hobo Song" by Johnny Cash
"Hobo's Lullaby" (aka "Weary Hobo"), written by Goebel Reeves, recorded by various artists including Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Emmylou Harris, Pete Seeger, The Kingston Trio, Ramblin' Jack Eliot and Danny Kyle
"Morning Glory" by Tim Buckley lyrics by Larry Beckett
"I Am a Lonesome Hobo", "Only a Hobo" and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie" by Bob Dylan
"Jack Straw" by Robert Hunter and Bob Weir
"Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" a recording of a hobo singing on a London street, by composer Gavin Bryars.
"King of the Road" by Roger Miller
"Like a Hobo" by Charlie Winston
"Last of the Hobo Kings" by Mary Gauthier
"Kulkurin Valssi" (Hobo Waltz) by Arthur Kylander
"Lännen lokari" (Western Logger) by Hiski Salomaa
"Papa Hobo" and "Hobo's Blues" by Paul Simon
"Streets of London" by Ralph McTell
"Waiting for a Train" by Jimmie Rodgers
"Waltzing Matilda" by Banjo Paterson

Hobo Convention

Hobo Quotes

Famous People called Hobos
Jack London

Books on Hoboes

Code of the Road

Hobo Handbook

Hobo Movies

Hobo Magazines

Hobo Newsletters

Hobo Signs - Signs left by Hobos for other Hobos

Hobo Terms or Hobo Slang


* A tramp; vagrant.
* One who seeks to live off others.
* To live or acquire by begging and scavenging.
* To loaf.
brl>Possibly from German Bummler, loafer.

BUMMING A RIDE: hitchhiking

To beg or get by begging.
brl>From Middle English cadgear, peddler.

Etymology: Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French corsaire pirate, from Old Provençal corsari, from Old Italian corsaro, from Medieval Latin cursarius, from Latin cursus course- more at course
: pirate; especially : a privateer of the Barbary Coast

1 : a member of a traditionally itinerant people who originated in northern India and now live chiefly in south and southwest Asia, Europe, and No. America
2 : romany 2
3 not capitalized : one that resembles a Gypsy; especially : wanderer

HITCHHIKING - To solicit a ride in a car by placing your thumb out.

Song title, referring to a hobo
King of the Road - A Song by Roger Miller
My parents used to play this song on the new stereo in the house when I was young.
The reason my email is hoboontheroad! at yahoo.com... hehehe

: an armed private ship licensed to attack enemy shipping; also : a sailor on such a ship

1. travel without a destination: to move from place to place, either without a purpose or without a known destination
They wander the countryside looking for work.

2. leave a fixed path: to stray from a particular course
Don’t wander far from the path.

3. daydream: to lose the ability to concentrate on or listen to a particular thing
My mind was wandering.

4. take a curving path: to follow a winding course
The river wandered through the meadows.

5. stroll somewhere: to go somewhere at a leisurely pace

6. fail to think or speak clearly: to lose the ability to think, speak, or write in an organized and coherent way

n (plural wan·ders)
aimless stroll: an aimless or leisurely moving from place to place

The traditional beliefs, legends, and practices of a people, passed down orally.

RUBBER TRAMPS - A hobo maybe that gets on a bus more than a train

* One who travels aimlessly about; vagrant.
*  To travel on foot; hike.
*  A walking trip.
* A cargo vessel that has no regular schedule but takes on freight whenever it can.
brl>From Middle Low German trampen.
* To go from one place to another; journey.
* To advance or proceed.
* To move swiftly.
* The act of traveling.
brl>From Old French travailler, to toil.
The person that travels

* A series of journeys.

* A person without a permanent home who moves from place to place; wanderer.
* A tramp; vagrant.
brl>From Late Latin vag³bundus, wandering.

* One who wanders from place to place without a permanent home or livelihood.
* One who lives on the streets and constitutes a public nuisance.
* Wandering from place to place; roving.
* Moving in a random fashion.
brl>Probably from Old French wacrer, wander, of Germanic origin.

Vagabondo - Giramondo -  Italian possible translation of Hobo

1. Hobo pictures
2. Norman Rockwell links to pictures
3. Information on the "Littlest hobo", a traveling dog show in 1970's
4. Author Dick Whittington - English Classic (Guy came to London to make his fortune.
5. Red Skelton
6. The word HOBO in other languages:
Italian: Vagabondo, or Giramondo
7. Links to hobos.
8. The Littlest Hobo - Television show about a dog.

Well, here' s what I've learned about the Little Hobo:
The Littlest Hobo was a long running Canadian TV series about the
adventures of
a dog named "London". The series ran from 1963-65 and then was remade into
another series in 1979-85.

Hobo in Ethiopia

Man with Bindle in Ethiopia

'The American Hobo,' (2002) – Documentary

“The rhythm of the rails,” says Ernest Borgnine, who narrates the documentary, “is an enticing song for those who long to be far away.”


The Bindle is commonly associated with Hobos, they Hobo would use a bindle to carry clothes and personal possessions.

Economic Refugees are Called Hobos

The definition of an "Economic Refugee" is a nice way of saying Hobo, a Hobo traveled to another location in search of work.


Flaneur - Hobo


A Hobo travels to work, Tramps travels, and won't work, bums will do neither. We Hobo Travelers live the good life, join Hobo Traveler to live the Hobo Way.

Hobo Music

Hobo Music - Hobo

Hobo News the Newspaper

Hobo News the Newspaper

Hobo Photos

Hobo Photos - Hobo

Hobo Slang

Hobo Slang - Hobo

Hobo Songs

Songs about Hobos and the life of a Hobo

Rubber Tramp

Rubber Tramp - Hobo

Sat, 24 Jul 2010 07:28:07

This is from the movie, "The Razors Edge," with Tyrone Powers.
Hobo Bindle of Baby in Movie Warrior Way
Hobo in Mojo Ethiopia with Bindle
Hobo With Bindle

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