One of the recurring themes of my adventure is the reality that while im trying to raise awareness for MS, there are indeed other issues out there. Often when I meet people and tell them about my family’s story they will tell me about their own situations….my brother has cancer, my wife has alzheimers etc. These stories underscore for me that we all have our own crosses to bear. One of the stories that has also unfolded becore me is that of the homeless. In every city and town, and in every state I have passed through on my journey I have seen, and often interacted with homeless people. Such was the case as I passed through Cocoa Florida. Knowing that I was going to be outdoors for the night, I began scouting potential gypsy campsite locations as dusk approached. As is often the case, it didnt take long to find a vancant lot that would meet my needs for the night.
While it may not look like much to the untrained eye, to campers and homeless people this is an ideal spot. It’s close to food stores, and public bathrooms, but also wooded enough for privacy…or so I thought. After venturing into and through the maze of pathes that work into the woods (to the left of the white Styrofoam) I found a great spot to put up my tent. As I was starting the process however I was interrupted by a couple who were on their way through the woods as well. The male asked what I was doing, and before I could even get the words out he said “you can’t camp here this is our woods”. When I asked how he came to own these woods he shared that he had a deal with the owner, and that only he and his girlfriend….and another couple were aloud to live in these woods. I told him that I only intended to stay the night, and that I was heading south towards Key West in the morning. He looked to his girlfriend and she shrugged her shoulders…and then he said “well then you can stay…but only for the night, and you better be gone when I get home from work tomorrow night”.
It’s amazing to me, the shear numbers of people I have seen living on the fringes of our society over the last few months. Some are beset by circumstances often associated with mental health and/or addiction, but others have made a clear lifestyle choice. In this case it was a little of both I think as I couldnt help but notice the beer, cigarettes, and fast food they were carrying with them to their tent.
I made sure I was up early the next morning, and did not see any of my forrest residents again. I did wonder how their night went though as it rained fairly hard a couple times in the night. They were probably fine since, as is usually the case, their tents were better than mine☺
The picture above was taken just outside Providence Rhode Island back in August.
I spent Wednesday night at a motel in South Patrick Shores, and then Thursday night at a gypsy campsite on the beach in Floridana
I’ll be continuing south on the coast towards Vero Beach today, and hoping to get to Fort Pierce by Saturday.
Stephen “Forrest” Moyer