Exile by Choice (2015) - full transcript

It has been four years since twenty four year old Conor Girard first hopped on a freight train and embarked on life as a homeless street kid. Now that he's sober, 'Roaming Bear' will try to keep the magic of the road alive by introducing a suburban teenager to his alternative lifestyle.

[train in motion]

[train horn]

[train horn]

[train horn]

Conor: I've never hopped on
this train in the daylight.

[train in motion]

[easy-going guitar music]

Pat: He'll jump on
trains, from here and

go all the way to California.

[distant train horn]

He'll do it with like 10
bucks in his pocket and

he'll make it there by
himself and he doesn't like

staying in one spot, he
likes to keep moving because

he feels like, that's what
keeps him going in life rather

than just staying around
and doing nothing.

He likes to be on the move.

Conor: Sorry it took so
long man, here you go.

[guitar being jammed]

Man with American flag on
his back: [unintelligible]

good for the body,
good for the soul.

[slight laughter]

[guitar being played]

Sue: I knew he wanted
to be a musician,

and so in my mind I was kind
of guiding him towards college.

He was going to go to Southern
Illinois and I don't know if

you know what
happened right before

he went to Southern Illinois.

[guitar playing picks up]

[Conor starts playing
The Nets by Roaming Bear]

Sue: I was pushing, pushing,
pushing and the whole year

beforehand he kept saying:
"No mom, that is not me

"I don't want to go to college."

And he actually did
overdose, he tried to

kill himself, is was a call
to say: "You're not listening,

"I have to be true to
my own heart and soul."

[distant train horn]

[train in motion]

Conor: We'll hop another
train in New Orleans and

maybe we'll hitchhike from
Memphis, I don't really know.

Jennie: Yeah from
Memphis we have no idea.

[train crossing
alarm and train horn]

[loud train horn]

[train bell]

[train horn]

[train horn]

Jennie: We're leaving.

[gentle guitar music]

[train in motion]

Conor: The first time
I traveled on my own,

I left the first week
of November in 2008,

with 50 dollars and a backpack
full of a bunch of junk

I really didn't need,
probably like 60 pounds.

It all just made sense to me.

These guys are [golden].

Jennie: These people
were not ready

for Katrina to hit them.

Fuck this place.

Conor: We went over to
the school that I was

squatting at the last
time I came here.

[several people shouting]

When I was staying there,
there was maybe between five

and 10 of us each
day staying there.

There weren't too many kids
and we were all friends.

Matt: Long story short
it is all different.

It's just fucked,
it's all fucked.

Every single spot
that I have been to,

recently, has been more
blown up than anything.

It's that movie 'Into the
Wild', it fucked everything up.

I'm not even kidding,
it was a great book.

Scabby: In the 90's-

Matt: But that movie
fucked everything up,

That was a bunch of 14
year old motherfuckers now

that are out here
blowing up lines.

You know, you think we're
a bunch of drunk punks

that just want to fight
people in the street?

We prefer to be by train yards
and eat some good-ass stew.

Curtis: I don't want to fucking
stay in the house anymore.

Matt: Dude, check
it all out man,

Curtis: Yeah, you know
what, there's certain things

you haven't done in your life?

Do them, you know what I mean?

You only got one life to live,

especially if you're this young.

Conor: Did you ride
trains here from...

Right now Scab and this
other guy named Chris

said that they were
going to show us.

Conor: Cool.

Curtis: So you know, my friends
around the hood are like:

"Yo, isn't that dangerous?"

and I'm like yeah, but so is
the hood so what the fuck?

[Conor, Matt and Curtis laugh]

Scabby: Hobo stew,
the Mulligan stew.

The one tradition that
we actually hold on to

from the original hobo
brothers, is served.

[Matt]: Why are you
guys listening to him?

Scabby: There's no point in
bowls, there's no point in cups,

there's no point in
separating things.

We spin everything, I mean...

Dude a bunch of fucking yuppies
could show up right now,

I mean we will spin
this pot with them.

There ya go.

[Conor]: Thank you, my man.

Matt: This is the home-bum
at his natural habitat.

[Matt and Scabby laugh]

Scabby: I'm not a home-bum.

I never stay anywhere.

Matt: Yeah bullshit.

Conor: I didn't meet one sober
street kid today, not one.

Being around them
was painful now.

[fast guitar music]

The last couple of months
before I decided to get sober...

they're all just madness.

It is really when I came
down here last Halloween that

sparked the craziest days of
my alcoholism and [raging].

[big band music playing]



Jennie: I've never really
thought of the future,

really stressed about it,
I was always concerned

about what I'm going to
do in the next few days.

I want to go everywhere,
I want to see everything.

[general crowd mumbling]

Conor: Lately, I don't even want

to be traveling with a backpack.

You know, this is definitely not

something I want
to do all the time.

I couldn't even
imagine working a j o b

to pay for rent or
something, maybe.

Jennie: People always
worry about the future,

we don't have a
future right now.

You don't have the
past right now,

you have right now, now,
you know, that's it.

[guitar being played]

Conor: I love the
feeling of going home,

there's nothing like it.

[guitar being played]

[guitar being played]

Sue: Oh well, why
don't you start there.

Where do you usually sleep
when you're on the road.

that's my like favorite
place to sleep.

Sue: As I told you when I
invited you to the classroom,

they just really, really,
wanted to meet you because you

intrigued them and they've
got lots of questions for you.

Conor: Alright, oh, I'm
supposed to be calling you guys.

You had your hand
up first though.

Girl with blue hair band:
When you go out hitchhiking

and you get in
other people's cars,

do you ever get
scared or like...?

Conor: Sometimes, I am
scared yeah and I would not

suggest that any of you
guys start hitchhiking.

Boy with black hair and
gray shirt: Were you scared

the first time, when
you hopped on a train?

Conor: I wasn't scared,
my heart was beating like

really fast but it was in a
good way, I was so excited,

all my adrenaline
started was pumping.

[Pedro]: Do you ever
get like, lonely,

when you're just...?

Conor: Sometimes it really
kicks in when you're a couple

1000 miles away from home
and I, you know, want to be

with my mom, want to be with
my friends and family and

it kicks in that, there's
no way that I could possibly

come back here any time soon
because I'm so far away that

I can't afford a ticket
home, I'm just stuck.

Sue: [Pedro] has been begging
me if he could go with you.

[the class laughs]

Girl with blue hair band:
Would you ever take somebody

with you, like
one of us [maybe]?

Conor: Do you have any plans,
or any ideas of a plan?

Mikey: Not really, I mean
I have like, yeah I guess,

a couple of ideas but like...

Conor: Then, where
do you want to stop,

where do you want to go
or who do you want to see?

[train bell and horn]

Mikey: Surprised me though
that they have some shit here.

This is what I wanted to
do for a long, long time.

When I was a little kid I
used to think about, you know,

like damn hobos ride
freight trains and I thought

that was like a
pretty cool life.

I guess I fantasized about it.

Conor: I don't really know
what he is about, you know,

I don't know if he like
wants to go and travel

and just like, score all the
free pot he can in California

and like fuck off
at rainbow gathering

or if he wants to like...

I don't know if hopping
trains is even something

that he is into, or
hitchhiking, or if he just wants

to do it to get away
from a bad situation

which could be a
possibility too.

Do you make jewelry at all?

Mikey: Uh-huh.

Like, wire wrapping
and things like that?

You can get like 20
or 30 of these from

one bullhorn, which costs
like five bucks from a farm.

You cut it down
[into these wraps].

People pay like 20 or 30
bucks for one of these,

and it takes like an
hour, tops, to make it.

Perfect way to make
money on the road.

Mikey: I haven't tried it yet,
I like make hemp and stuff

but like my brother started
making wraps like before he died

and I have a bunch of his
silver and like stuff like that.

I've looked at it, you know,
like watching him doing it.

I like understand how to do
it but I haven't tried it yet.

[faint sounds of nature]

[Tom]: ...and that is a fact.

Mikey: I'm stuck in here,
these people are like stuck,

they've like [set ground] and
I'm going to break out of it.

[guitar plays]

Tammy: So what exactly
are we discussing?

Tom: At age 10, when Michael
was 10 and Matt was 13,

Matt had been down the city
a couple of times and then

he asked if Mikey could go down.

[slow paced guitar music]

They went down to the
city, take the train and

street skated the city.

Tammy: Come back with stories
about giving his money

to the homeless guys
and talking to them.

Tom: Michael always
has big brother.

Tammy: Yeah, all the
guys watched out for him.

Tom: Yeah he had his big
brother always looking out.

Tammy: Uh-huh.

Tammy: That's Matt and Mike
wrestling, that's Michael...

Tom: Yeah.

Tammy: Remember that little
purple hat he always wore?


[skateboard clangs on metal bar]

Tammy: Michael has
been struggling

for a long time, for years.

Tom: You know in any household
there's an expectation and

over the course of the
last couple of months Mike

[did] expect things differently
or expect more or whatever

and things weren't changing.

Tammy: There are ways to
live off the grid and I think

if you want to eat,
you got to work.

If you want somewhere to
live, you have to work.

You can't just being mooching
off of everybody forever.

[Conor starts playing Minimum
Wage Brigade by Roaming Bear]

[Conor starts playing Minimum
Wage Brigade by Roaming Bear]

Tom: That's clearly somebody
I want my son to emulate...

[Tammy laughs]

Tom: Isn't it?

Tammy: No.

[Tom laughs]

[band is jamming]

Conor: Alright, so, I'm
Roaming Bear and this is Ethan.

[applause and cheering]

It's good to be
playing with him again.

So this first song
is called Run and is

about running away from
here, or there, or anywhere.

[the duo starts playing
Run by Roaming Bear]

[the duo starts playing
Run by Roaming Bear]

Mikey: I got three teeshirts,
two packages of socks,

a pocket knife and utensils.

Olive leaf complex
if anyone gets sick.

I got my pot.

For a little while it's like,
I can't do this, like I'm

not going to do this being
on film and everything like,

that was the big
thing that I didn't

really feel to good about.

Like I said, I don't want to
come back here, I want to just

get out and probably just
like stay in California.

That's where I want to be.

I mean, for a little
while at least.

Tammy: Ok, stop all of this.

Mikey: Don't cry in front
of the cameras, bye.

Tammy: I love you.

Mikey: I love you too.

[train in motion]

[train in motion]

Alright so which
one do i get on,

the front or the back?

Conor: The front one.

And you want to get
on as fast as you can.

I'm going to have
to run and keep up

with the train the whole time.

I can't get on until you're on.

Mikey: Holy motherfucker!

Do I get up?

Conor: Yeah, up in it.

Conor: Yeah, up in it.

Mikey: Ultimately, we are free
to do, what we want to do.

You know, you always have the
ability to free your mind.

No matter what time
of the day it is,

what time of the year it
is or where you are at.

[train engine]

Conor: Oh shit.

We're in a train yard, man.

I don't like that.

Mikey: We're slowing down.

Conor: We're just stopped in
the yard right now, waiting.

I don't see any workers
out there though, so...

That's a plus.

That's a plus.

Mikey: [Unintelligible]

[various strong
train yard noises]

[frantic ticking]

Mikey: ...on the night train.

Conor: Yeah maybe...

Mikey: Yeah I kind of want to
get the fuck out of here dude.

Conor: Let's just
keep going man...

[crickets chirping]

Mikey: I've wanted to ride
trains and travel around

like that since I was
like a really little kid.

But now I'm just like, being
like introduced to the idea

about actually doing it.

It's like slowly giving me
more knowledge about it before

I came on and it just
like became a bigger
part of my world.

The first time I met you was
like, wow man you're like a

traveling man and now like
that's like just kind of normal.

traveling man and now like
that's like just kind of normal.

Conor: We're trying to
make it to the West Coast.

Do you think these guys
know what I'm talking about?

[guitar playing]

[guitar playing]

Conor: Alright, this is
pretty much the trick here.

As you walk out with a gas can
in one hand, CD in the other,

ask them if they'll spare
a gallon of gas for a CD.

Mikey: First try, I
think it's about like,

just confidence man.

Oh shit!

[guitar playing]

[car in motion]

Mitch: So, [unintelligible],
get out here or if you want

I can actually take you
out to Idaho Springs.

Mikey: I don't care.

Conor: You're
going out that way?

Mitch: No, but I got
nothing else to do tonight.

Mikey: We stopped in Idaho
Springs and me and Bear

were about to walk to a
gas station and fill up

water bottles when all of
the sudden I just like notice

this guy talking to Conor and...

[Conor is talking
inaudibly with the driver]

Conor: Do you think me and Mikey
could grab a ride with you?

Driver: Yeah.

Conor: Cool.

Driver: Alright,

Mikey: I just got
to fill up some

water real quickly right there.

Driver: I got better water at
my house than they got here.

[Mikey laughs]

Mikey: Alright, alright.

Conor: He saw our packs and
asked if we had a place to stay

and apparently he
takes in strays here
quite often, he said.

He's let all kinds
of traveling people

just come and use
his campground.

Mikey: NO, fuck!

Conor: It feels like there's
less random acts of kindness

like this in the suburbs
because everyone is just

trying to survive, they're
just trying to get by.

And out here, you know, you
just got room to breathe.

Mikey: Zip-line take one,
never before done in my life.

Aaaah, aaah!!

[guitar starts playing]


[Mikey laughs]

That was pretty scary dude.

[guitar playing and
streams of water flowing]

[guitar playing and
streams of water flowing]

I want to eat this so bad.

I want to eat this so bad.

Oh yeah dude did you
see this last night?

Conor: Yeah,
[unintelligible] the water.

Mikey: Yeah man.

See this, it even rhymes too!

[Conor snickers]


[cars driving past]

Conor: I coughed up
chunks of blood today.

That's why I know
that I'm getting sick.

Mikey: Yeah.

Kinda good tasting...

It might make you like [gargling
sounds] a little bit...

Super ORAC antioxidant.

William: I want to try some but

I'm kinda scared because
of how Bear reacted to it.

Mikey: It says it supports
a healthy immune system,

healthy joints,
healthy blood pressure.

After that it took maybe
like an hour of waiting.

Conor: A dude named
Troy picked us up.

And then Helena, Helena was a
super cutie, super fine cutie.

Helena if you see
this, I could love you.

[Mikey laughs]

Yeah these kids took us
to Newcastle and I asked

them right when we got out of
the car if the cops were cool

there, if we could
walk on the highway

without getting in trouble.

And sure enough, we had
two chargers on our trail,

flashing lights and the
cops came and hassled us.

In the past 24 hours we've
been offered twice to get high

for free and neither of us
had the urge to get high.

Mikey: Three times.

Conor: Three times, apparently.

Mikey: After I said no to
them, I was thinking about it

for like the next 20 minutes,
like man can I just finish

that because you just left
it sitting there, you know.

But I was thinking, you
know, like maybe I can go

a whole month being
completely sober and just

enjoy the luxuries
of consciousness.

[guitar and harmonica playing]

[guitar and harmonica playing]

Conor: How's it going man?

Smags: Uhm, I don't even know
what to say about him man.

Like, he came and visited
me last year in California

which meant a lot to me
because I was in a patient

rehabilitation center and
this kid just hops on a train

and hitchhikes and does whatever
he has to, to get out to

California and makes a
point to stop and see me.

Conor: And I got
kicked out of there,

for not being a sober person.

Mikey: Ayyy...

[guitar jam]

[guitar jam]

Conor: I've left sober
on the road before

and I've always come back drunk.

I really realized that I
needed to get sober when I

got two of my friends
pregnant, two separate friends

in the same month.

I didn't even know about one
of them until after she had

an abortion and then found
out about the other pregnancy

while the girl was
having a miscarriage.

That really made me
realize that yeah there's

consequences to my actions.

Mikey: I mean the road is
definitely a hard place

to be sober but if you
have a good support system

on the road I think...

If you have a good support
system anywhere I think you can

do anything you want really.

Conor: It's this right?


[Cameraman]: Bum life yeah.

Conor: Bum life.

Now if someone said this
stuff might be set aside for

a pig farmer, because
pigs will eat anything...

So, it's probably
not all very good.

Some potatoes, these
potatoes look pretty good.

You know what, cream puffs?

Nah-ah, not good.


The cream is anything but
like cream and cheese.

No good, it has been sitting
out in the sun all day.

This stuff has been
here for awhile.

Oh, oh [snap peas] down here.

Mikey: Wow, imagine that!

Conor: Some fresh green beans

covered in chocolate
and frosting.

Mikey: It's amazing, the flavor

combinations you'll
find out here.

Conor: It's almost
like shopping, kind of.

Got four papayas, a
mango, half an avocado...

Mikey: I wanted
to try a plantain,

but I didn't want to
pay for one inside.

Conor: I don't know, I don't
even, I got to get like

permission to talk about this
right, quick, because you know

it's their spot and I won't
fuck it up for them so...

Cameraman: Go ahead, sure.

[Conor talks with
female anarchists]

Female anarchist: So, mostly
it's that we're a sober space,

so no drugs and alcohol.


Because it makes certain
people really uncomfortable.

And they won't be able
to rely on a safe space.


Mikey: I slept on that little
couch, the really nice one.

[Mikey laughs]

Today is food not bombs,
big vegan potluck.

[Spanish conversations
in the background]

Hey, hey, hey!

[Conor starts playing Let
It Fall by Roaming Bear]

[Conor starts playing Let
It Fall by Roaming Bear]

Hell yeah, getting down!

Conor: Thank you man.

So what I'm saying in short,

my pack and my guitar is
just way too much to bring.

I think we should we
hitch, it'd be way safer.

Mikey: You want to hitch
all the way to Seattle?

Conor: Yeah, that's about as
far this from Denver here,

just a little bit further.

Nice to meet you.

Guy in green cap: Nice to meet
you too dude, good luck man.

Conor: Hopefully we get a ride
quick, out of Salt Lake City.

[bird chirping]

Mikey: We walked from the house.

Conor: Got one ride up
to Route 15 and 94 split

and then a cop came and
kicked us off the highway.

Mikey: And he's like, you
should just hike up the hill

right here and go up this
street right here and

we're walking along
this bridge...

Conor: And there's a train
slowing down right beneath it.

Mikey: I got on the
front of it and Conor

was trying to get
on the back of it.

Conor: I was running with it
for a second, I tried to pull

myself up and my foot totally
missed the bottom rung.

And I just went tumbling.

Mikey: I jumped off, and it
fucking hurt real badly like...

Conor: I thought he might've
gotten his leg chopped off

or something because
it looked like

he rolled down into the train.

Mikey: I landed right by the
train and almost got fucking

ran over by the train,
it was really scary.

Conor: And then,
another train just

starts rolling up next to us.

Mikey: We found one that
they call Cadillac grainer...

Conor: Which is like the best
kind of grainer you can hop on

because it's got two
compartments on the porch

where we can each have
like our own little space

that we're completely hidden.

Mikey: And then within
like maybe 20 minutes on it

Conor: We started to see the
Salt Lake on both sides of us.

Mikey: There's no road
that goes over it, there's

train tracks but you're like
right in the middle of it.

Conor: Great Salt Lake!

Mikey: Hang on tight
man, hang on tight.

The sun was setting, as
we were going over it,

it was like...

that I've seen in a long time.

I don't remember, you
know, feeling that amazing.

Tripping, or doing any other
drugs, or seeing anything,

skating huge hills
or whatever like,

I felt like so high and like...

Words don't really
explain it you know.

[Conor starts playing
Wasting Time by Roaming Bear]

[Conor starts playing
Wasting Time by Roaming Bear]

Conor: I eat nothing but fruit,

I feel like a goddamn hippie.

Mikey: Uh-huh.

Conor: Feel like
a granola muncher.

Jamila: I have a pickup truck.

It's got room in the back.

It's actually got room
for two people, kind of.

Conor: Awesome.

Jamila: Ok, yeah

Voiceover: Bye bye
and have safe travels.

Mikey: I don't like
being on a camera.

Jamila: Yeah.

Mikey: I'm used to it being
around now but like at first

especially I was like
pretty nervous about it.

Like of course I like to
travel but just being like

a part of a movie or anything
like that was almost enough

to make me say that I don't
want come and do this.

Jamila: So the way that you
guys are traveling is just

by finding rides and
by freight trains or?

Conor: Yeah, I call freight
trains the Anarchist Amtrack.

Jamila: Yeah, I've
always wanted to do that.

Never had the opportunity.

Mikey: Every day there is
like so much happening.

I'm so happy right now.

Conor: My real name is Conor.

Jamila: So why do you
call yourself Bear?

Conor: Uhm, well, initially
I had a huge fascination with

Owsley Stanley, you know the
sound-man for the Grateful Dead

they called him Bear.

It's kind of like out
of admiration for Owsley

and then I was like in the
psych ward and I picked up

a magazine and read
like this real awesome

article on Owsley while I
was in there and I'm like,

wow, Bear, like I
could see being a bear.

[Conor laughs]

Jamila: So what were you
in the psych ward for?

Conor: Uhm, overdosing.

[Conor laughs awkwardly]

Jamila: Oh yeah, in what way?

Conor: Uhm, Tylenol that's in
Vicodin and I took 200 Vicodin

and it wasn't even the Vicodin
that got me, I didn't realize

there was so much
Tylenol in Vicodin.

Those people in the psych
ward are fucked up though.

Conor: I got shot up with
tranquilizers against my will

twice to the point where they
just tackled me and pulled my

pants down and shot me in
the butt with a tranquilizer.

And you know why that happened?

Because I was walking
around backwards singing

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

[everyone laughs]

Jamila: I guess they
can't take a joke?

Conor: Yeah they
were not having it.

And they like tackled
me and were like:

"You can either take this
medicine or we're going to give

"you this medicine, I hope
you calm down mister Gerard."

[Mikey laughs]

And I'm like I'm not going take
your drugs, like I'm in here

for drugs and now you're
telling me to try and take drugs

that are even better
than the drugs

I was taking to get me in here.

Like this is pretty fucked up!

But now I'm seven months
sober, from everything, so.

Jamila: Congratulations.

[knock on the door]

[kids shouting]

Val: Come on in.

Conor: Hey you guys need
to meet my new friend Mike.

That old friend Mike wasn't
as cool as this friend Mike.

Emmie: Oh hi!

Conor: This is the new Mike.

Mikey: You're Ally?

Ally: Yeah, hi.

Val: We have extra pizza.

Conor: Awesome.

Val: Guys have a seat and
make yourself at home.

Val: [unintelligible],
who wants a fork?

Emmie: I have a fork!

Val: What stories of
adventure do you have for us?

Conor: So many, we hopped a
train out Ogden, Utah yesterday.

We we're going to
hitchhike up to Seattle...

Val: That's what I thought
you were gonna go, Seattle.

Conor: Yeah, but then we saw
the train and accidentally

ditched the camera
crew for like 48 hours.

[Val laughs]

Val: Well last time when Conor
got here, he had scabies.

So he had to stay in the yard,

we had a little
covered tarp area.

[Conor laughs]

The last time when they
got here, it was in

the middle of the night or
something because it was so...

Conor: Yeah, it was
like three AM...

Val: And Emmie woke us up and
said: "There's two homeless

"guys sleeping in the back yard

"and one of them
looks like Conor."

[Val laughs]

It is Conor!

Ally: Hello!

Emmie: Hello!

Ally: Knock-knock.

Emmie: Knock-knock.

Ally: Aarrrrgh!

Emmie: Aarrrrgh!

[Ally and Emmie babble
in the background]

Val: Oh they just
love having company.

Are you willing to do
some swimming with them?

Conor: Oh yeah.

Val: Oh good because
it is a school night

so I have to get them
into bed by around eight.

Conor: As soon as I finish
this, I'd love to go swimming.

Val: Uhm you guys, do you
want to put on your swimsuits?

Because Conor said he
would go swimming with you.

Conor: I'm going to
put on my swimsuit.

Emmie: YES!

Val: Ally if you're
going to swim, you got to

get your swimsuit on now
because it's a school night.

[Conor makes
anticipating sounds]

[Emmie and Ally
playfully scream]

[Conor screams]

Val: As much as he's on
the road he's a family guy.

[Emmie chokes]

Conor: Are you alright?

Emmie: Yes.

Conor: You're not
supposed to drink it.

You're supposed to hold
your breath under water.

Emmie: I know.

Conor: Those goggles don't work
when they are full of water.

Val: Both Ally and Emmie
had [unintelligible] so

neither of them were
supposed to live.

Emmie was on oxygen
until she was two.

She couldn't even
hold her head up

really until she was three.

She didn't start talking
until she was four and

Emmie also has developmental
issues and so it's hard

being a mom and trying to
figure out Emmie's going to fare

when she's an adult and we're
not there to take care of her

but the one sort of grounding
point that I have is that

Conor has told me since the
day they were born, you know,

that I don't need to worry and
that he's going to be there

for them and, so Conor's my guy.

Ally: Aah!

Val: Your eyeballs are like
stuck to it, I heard suction.

Ally: Really, you heard-

My eyeballs are stuck to it?

Val: Yes, I bet they are stuck
to the inside of the glass.

Oh my god, they are!

Ally: Really?

Val: [laughingly] No.

Ally: Are those fake eyeballs?

Emmie: No.

Val: Go on in, dad is going
to bring you your meds ok?

Jamila: It was nice meeting you.

Conor: Nice to meet you,
thanks for the ride.

It was awesome talking.

Heya, I want a hug from you too.

Mikey: Ok.

Good night, thank you so much.

[birds chirping]

Voiceover: He has
weird earrings!

Conor: These kids picked
on me when I went here and

they're picking on me even now.



[birds chirping]

Mikey: Two years ago, I
learned that there's this place

like in my mind kind of
like my idea of paradise.

Olympic National Park.

That, there's a rain
forest in our country.

Well, what I'm trying to
say is like I think it's

supposed to happen that, you
know, that we're you know

supposed to all go see this
incredibly beautiful place.

Conor: And you're on Route
99, which is like the most

beautiful road to
take across the five.

Mikey: Right on.

Conor: We'll probably stay
in San Francisco today

and tonight so Mikey
can skate and stuff.

[guitar plays]



Mikey: I'm ready to go man!

[metro in motion]

Mikey: Oooh...

[various cars honk]

[cello music]

Mikey: I don't know but right
now I'm kind of feeling like,

there's like no
way out, you know.

Like I don't want to go back
and work my job and be doing

the same thing, living in the
town where I was living in.

Like that's, that's not
good either, but being a bum

that obviously sucks too.

I don't know it's just...

I like to think that
there's an in-between,

where there can be like a
nice community of people.

This is like where it gets real.

Actually like, what
are you going to do

when you're on the streets

Instead of like, oh we have,
you know, two kids that

are just like hitchhiking around

seeing beautiful things
everyday, you know.

Storekeeper: They
should be able to

heat that up for you
next door, is that ok?

Mikey: Like down there?

Storekeeper: Yes.

Mikey: Ok, alright.

Storekeeper: Thank you,
do you want a receipt?

Mikey: No, that's ok.

[cars driving speedily]

[cars driving speedily]

[phone ringing]

[Ron]: Hello?

Mikey: Hey man,
it's Mikey again.

[Ron]: [Unintelligible].

Mikey: We're at the lookout
point, and we're just chilling

at the bathrooms right now,
just figuring everything out.

[Ron]: Yeah, it's all good,

I mean we're going
to be smoking pot.

Mikey: Alright, well we
can't really do that but...

[Ron]: You still
smoke pot, right?

Mikey: [laughingly] No, we're
like doing this soberly...

[Ron]: Whatever,

I'll see you guys, in like
45 minutes to an hour.

Mikey: Alright,
yeah, we'll call you.

Mikey: Yeah, we left
on Monday of last week.

Ron: And that was your intent,
it was to just hitchhike

across country, just-

Mikey: Yeah.

Ron: Put a thumb out,
and see what you can get?

A road-scholarship is
what you're getting.

[Ron laughs]

You're a road scholar,
in my opinion.

You're much more brave
than I could ever be.

I mean, I love my
creature comforts...

Mikey: Yeah.

Ron: I love my bed-

Ron: I love my television-

Mikey: Yeah, I do too.

Ron: I love my car.

Mike: I also don't
get like, fuck it,

I'm pushing it all away,
like I just want to like,

hang from trees with a loincloth
on and reject everything.

Do you know what I mean?

Mikey: I have a job,
you know, back at home.

I could abandon it and
just stay up eating trash.

Ron: Millions of people in
this world, in this country,

do that on a daily basis
and they worry about

where there next
meal is coming from.

I go to the city all the time,

I keep a pocket full of change,

and the first person
to ask me for money,

I give him my whole
pocket, that's yours.

Anybody that asks me
after, doesn't get shit.

Mike: No way man, they got
to perform a service for me.

Ron: Fucking Hacky Sack.

Mike: If it makes me laugh, if
you can do anything in front

of me and I'm like, oh
yeah ok, or it's just like

oh, I'm sitting on my
ass like give me change.

It's like come on man,
where's the sales pitch?

Come on, give me something
to work with, you know!

Ron: Give me a stone
so I can go to sleep.

I got to go work for
the man tomorrow.

Mike: [That's what
I don't know.]

[Ron laughs]

Ron: That old mighty dollar.


Mikey: If we are in a
documentary we might as well

be realistic about it, like
ok, I accepted to be in

a documentary, like, what's
it all about, why did I

strangely, maybe sort like of
reluctantly agreed to do this?

Well I have something
to say also.

And all this analysis
of things just like,

it needs to end, at least
for me to have peace of mind,

you know, because like
you guys said like,

do you want us to stop?

Like kind of like yeah, you
know I don't want this, clearly.

And most people don't want
that at all, that stress and

that intense like examination
from other people.

that intense like examination
from other people.

[metal music]

[Isaac is drowned
out by the music]

Mikey: [Unintelligible].

Isaac: Hey, hey, you
guys want to hit this?

Mikey and Conor: No, no!

Isaac: [Unintelligible].

Conor: I'm sorry man.

Isaac: [You never ask somebody].

[everyone laughs]

[Isaac turns the metal
music even louder]

[Isaac turns the metal
music even louder]

[[Mikey] shouts something
at the other car]

Conor: Oh that's cool,
thanks a lot brother.

Isaac: Happy doing
it man, safe trips!

Conor: Thank you man

Mikey: Thanks a lot man!

Bina: First [year]
that I'm trying to do.

It actually is my first
time on the West Coast ever.

Conor: Oh fuck yeah.

Bina: Yeah.

Conor: Where are you guys from?

Bina: I'm from State
College, Pennsylvania,

like right in the middle
and he's from Delaware.

Sam: Yeah.

Bina: Do you guys
want to burn one?

We have some, and we were
just about to smoke probably

and give our hitchhiking for
the day, it's getting dark.

Conor: I'm personally good, I'm
not smoking right now but...

Yeah, I'm good for now.

Bina: That's alright.

Sam: That's a sweet bag dude.

Conor: Thank you, I found
this puppy up in the [U P].

Sam: It's awesome,
that's super cool.

Conor: You guys are going
to give up hitchhiking?

Sam: We should.

Bina: Yeah we got pretty
much nothing but time to go

where we are going.

I'm trying to get up
to Humboldt county.

Mikey: Are we on the 101?

Bina: No, the 101
is right up there.

[cars driving past]

[cars driving past]

Conor: How about right
here, right down under here?

Mikey: Just right here?

Conor: Yeah, it's not
too [unintelligible].

Are these berries?

Oh hell yeah, there's
a lot over here.

These berries are everywhere.

Mikey: Oh these are
some good ones dude.

Conor: Ah, garbage and berries,

garbage and berries for dinner.

Garbage and berries
for breakfast.

Life doesn't get much better
than garbage and berries.

[plane flies over]

You want some corn Mikey?

I've got an orange.

You like the oranges, Mikey?

[Mikey mumbles]

Conor: You like the oranges?

Mikey: [muttering]
Ah yeah, ohhhh.

[Conor laughs]

Conor: I bet they imported
this corn from Illinois.

How much money do
you have Mikey?

Mikey: 20 dollars.

Conor: You're going to need
like all that money for...

Transportation fees.

[Mikey laughs]

Mikey: Really?

Conor: Yeah.

Mikey: I'm taking the bus,
that's seven dollars right?

Conor: About that, and then
we got to take a ferry.

[guitar playing]

Mikey: There's like little
tiny chunks of hemp seed

from being in that bag though.

Smells like pineapple.

I think that was what it was.

Conor: That is not good.

Tastes rotten.

All day I've been
struggling with,

[harmonica is being played]

whether or not, or if I could
possibly justify smoking weed.

My problem is with alcohol,
it's not with weed.

It's just a matter of that
will lead to me somehow

rationalizing doing other
drugs and drinking again.

I can already see like how this
would all unfold in my head,

all the rationalization
processes and...

Mikey: I don't
drink at all like...

I usually [light one up],
I like to do it so...

I kind of forgot what I was
trying to make a point about

earlier but, oh yeah, uhm...

[car in motion]

Conor: You know certain
people can smoke weed

and they go throughout their
day in a normal fashion.

Some people, get
high and go to Mars.

[birds faintly chirping]

[birds faintly chirping]

I'm glad these
people picked us up.

[Conor yawns]

[engine starting]

[car doors close
one after another]

[radio is playing]

Zach: We're driving through
Laytonville, California.

It looked like they were singing
and playing the harmonica

which made them a little bit
more appealing and actually I

thought their bright colors
that they were wearing too also

made it pretty obvious that
they were friendly folks.

Monica: Yeah.

Zach: Mike seems like
he's having his mind

pried open pretty dramatically.

You know, it's hard living.

Monica: Yeah

you're spending a lot of
time on sleeping next to

railroad tracks or whatever
and I can definitely understand

the interest in taking
the edge off a little bit.

Bear stayed sober-

Monica: Yeah Bear stayed sober.

Zach: But we gave them a
[nudge] thinking they both

wanted it and Mikey enjoyed it.

[Zach and Monica laugh]

Monica: Yeah.

Zach: It's funny, there was a
shift too in the conversation

when that happened, a
little bit of disconnect

as far as our communication
with Mikey afterwards.

Ganja makes you
really self-conscious.

Monica: Yeah, and I
think that's probably

where it's stemming from.

Zach: A little bit and
if they're going to do it

it's probably better [herb]
or something else than

alcohol, you know, because
that's just going to send them

tripping a downwards spiral
and you see people who

live this lifestyle that
have taken that road and

they're not shining as
bright as these two guys are.

[reggae music starts playing]

[reggae singer
sings to the music]

[chafing and filing]

[car door closes]

Conor: Looking for [ganja]?

[Conor snickers]

[Conor snickers]

Mikey: I'm not going to get a
ride with this guy, you know,

I'll try to go somewhere else

probably with some
different people.

I have something like urgent
that I need to tell you.

I'm in a place where I,
like, meet good people and

I like what's going on but
I don't feel right about why

I'm there you know, do
you know what I mean?

When I get picked up by someone
I don't want to tell them

like hitchhiking, I don't
want to tell them like oh yeah

this is what I'm doing, there's
some people following me

right now like, if I don't
want to tell them that that's

what I'm doing then why should
I keep doing it and going

along with it, you know?

Like it's clear to me that
this is not what I should

be doing because it feels
funny and really strange.

I realize that I made
a decision that I

didn't fully understand,
wasn't really sure of.


What I'm really feeling is
that I don't feel comfortable

being in this situation that
I'm in and I have the ability

to change it for the better and

so that's what I'm going to do.

No, I don't need to think
about it anymore, like I said

I realize what is going on
and that I don't want to

have this continue to go, so.

That's why I'm
trying to leave here.

I don't want to stay here
but I'm going to leave here.

Look it's these
guys, Sam and Bina.

Look it's these
guys, Sam and Bina.

Conor: Mikey decided that
he's done with all of this,

he doesn't want to be
photographed or anything anymore

so he's just going home.

Bina: Where is his home?

[dog barking]

Conor: [In Chicago], around
there, suburbs of Chicago.

Conor: [In Chicago], around
there, suburbs of Chicago.

Mikey, did you brush
your teeth today?

Mikey: No.

Conor: After you
were eating plenty,

you didn't brush
your teeth today?

Mikey: No way.

Conor: Mikey!

Didn't even know this place
is [cool], I'm fucking glad

it is our last night in Arcata.

I was over Arcata right
when we got dropped off.

[sleeping bag zipper]

Right when I saw that field
full of hippies and reggae music

I was done with it.

[birds chirping]

[telephone rings]

Fuck it's cold!

Conor: [Fuck yonder].

Voiceover: [Unintelligible].

Mikey: I mean, it's me that's
letting it get to me but,

it just feels like
that's not what I would

normally want to
do with my life.

And I feel fake, or I'm not
here for the right reasons.

And I've just gotten more
uncomfortable with it,

the more that I've
been around it.

It's kind of helped me
like wake up and realize,

I don't have it so bad.

I don't know, I really don't
know what the answer is.

Thank you.

Mikey: Yeah, thank you
so much man, good luck.

Conor: Thanks.

Mikey: Hope it gets better,
and better, and better.


Conor: I guess I should say
something special here but

I'm just going to start
walking north instead.

[cars driving past]

It's ok.

Look at this thing.

Maybe he'll be my new road dog.

Bald driver: They drill
for oil fields back there,

they took all the big ones
and the easy ones first.

Conor: At first it was
awesome travelling with Mike,

nice to have someone to
bullshit with on the on-ramp,

when there's nothing
to do or say.

Someone to just joke around
with, but it's easier to travel

on my onesome than with Mike.

[cars driving past]

Right now I'm running
to some solitude,

some creative time,
some serious woods time.

[ferry in motion]

[ferry in motion]

[birds chirping]

Dan: We went into the rain
forest a couple of times...

Conor: You've been
to all of this today?

Dan: No no no it's-

Conor: Oh you just
got here today?

Dan and Nancy: Yes.

Conor: Gotcha.

Dan: Now it's been about six
weeks so far for us doing this.

Conor: So you're doing
this the right way.

Dan: We think so, we take
about five months every year

and go traveling.

We've camped in a couple
ghost towns at night,

just us and the ghosts
and nothing else around.

That's cool.

[Dan laughs enthusiastically]

Conor: You we'd be sitting,
hitchhiking, just laughing

telling jokes, telling stories,
that was the first week.

And then the second week
we'd be hitchhiking and Mikey

would be trying to
wrap up the whole world

into one perfect little bundle
which is an impossible task

and it just never worked.

There's definitely a
lot of things I, like,

wanted to say to Mike that I
didn't say and want to take

the role of telling him
what's right and wrong.

I wanted him to figure
that out for himself but

the whole time I was
traveling with him there was

definitely a lot I felt like
I should tell him, you know.

Check it out Mikey, I made it
to the Olympic National Park.

I'm going to fuck off from
these guys for a little while.

Go on my own walk to
talk to you, Mikey.

Because apparently according
to these guys you took

the shape of this camera now
so, if I want to talk to you

I got to talk to this
piece of plastic and

glass and metal and foam.

It's weird, never thought
you'd take the shape of

something that you hated
so much but since you did,

you're in the shape of a camera.


[Conor laughs]

It's beautiful out here man.

It's a shame it had to
end where it did because

we were so close to getting
were we wanted to go you know.

Sometimes you just got to
follow your gut instinct and

if that is not being on camera,
well then fuck the camera.

This place is like the
best place to walk barefoot

because there is just this
moss everywhere and it is

super soft on your toes.

This tree it's branches
look like your hair, almost.

[Conor snickers]

I don't know what exactly
your plans are, you know,

now that you're
back in the suburbs.

But you know, my advice
for you like I said before

would just be to keep
your nose clean, you know.

[Unintelligible] is cool, but
it's not like this you know.

If you ever feel like life
is getting overwhelming and

things are too crazy?

Just remember that there's
always places like this

waiting for you.

So, if you need to
change, change there.

[Conor starts playing guitar]

He doesn't want to be
portrayed where he is now

because he doesn't
know where he is now.

You know if you caught
Mikey in a couple of months

after he started painting
on his empty canvas

and he had a good grasp of
who he was, he might've felt

a lot more comfortable
about being on the cameras.

But if you caught me when
I was in Mikey's shoes,

I would've done the same
thing, I would've ran.

[Conor starts playing Log
Cabin Thoughts by Roaming Bear]

[Conor starts playing Log
Cabin Thoughts by Roaming Bear]

The only people I'm really
looking to travel with

for [one piece at a time] at
this point would be musicians.

Or it would be nice to
find a lady to travel with

or make music with
me but if I can't

find that I'd settle for a band.

And the ladies will come later!

[Conor laughs]

[Log Cabin Thoughts by
Roaming Bear is being played]

[Log Cabin Thoughts by
Roaming Bear is being played]

Pat: Yeah, yeah we're by 3H.

I don't really know the
full thing but I think

he might've caught something
while he was on the road.

And he's just coming home
because of that kind of.

Conor: I don't know if I
have something different than

a Staph infection but I mean
like my blisters and stuff

are going away but I still am
getting fevers and headaches

and like nauseous
and dizzy every day.

So, I didn't want to have to
hitchhike and hop freight more.

Pat: Just in case something
bad ever does happen he always

has the option to come home.

I think he likes
coming home too because

he does miss his family
and stuff like that so,

I think it's all around good

Conor: How's it going man?

Pat: Good, good to see you.

Conor: Good seeing you.

I talked to Mikey's mom for
like 10 minutes a couple of days

ago, she asked me if
Mikey seemed to have fun.

I said he did at first.

[Conor laughs]

[birds chirping]

I live here five days a week
now, for the time being.

Sunday night through
Friday night,

I get 48 hours off
on the weekend.

Some about 15 weeks ago I
started working here for

my grandpa as his caregiver.

It's not very hard work per
se but it's hard to be at work

that long and not really
be doing what I want to do.

Steve: He's always available.

Never grumbles, always smiling.

He's told me some of his
experiences on the trains

and cars where he maybe gets
complimentary rides, somewhere.

I would definitely say
it shaped him a little.

You can't be exposed
to that many different

situations, environments, other
personalities along the road

of life and wouldn't be
swayed a little bit by it.

Conor: I don't think I do a
good job of fighting it off.

I think it's always there,
I mean it's just that

anxiety that I have
to bear I guess.

That as long as I'm
going to be here doing

monotonous things, living
a normal life I'm going to

be desiring to do
something more exciting.

So, that feeling
doesn't go away.

Music helps me forget
it temporarily but
it doesn't cure it.

[guitar playing]

[guitar playing]

Tom: He was determined to
go forward with going out

with Conor and
said wait a minute

this isn't what I want to do.

Tammy: He has realized he
doesn't want to be a bum

living on the road, he
said he used to think that

that's what he did want to do.

He realized that's absolutely
not what he wants to do.

[Mikey sighs]

Mikey: So what have I
been doing, growing food.

Tammy: He found a guy that
is one of the most well-known

farmers in the country
that do permaculture.

Do you want to visit him?

Here's Michael, of course.

[Tammy laughs]

Some of us walk on our feet,
others do things differently.

He's healed a lot, he's dealt
with Matt's death a lot more

then he had when he was here.

He was very unhappy here, and
this is not the kind of life

that makes sense to him.

Mikey: I do not work
for money, ever.

I don't have money.

I'm not scared at all, of that.

Tammy: Will he ever
come back here?

To live, I would be
surprised if he did.

Mikey: Two years it has been.

Yeah, I was searching
for a lot of things.

And I still search.

Thanks Conor, for doing
what you're doing and

inspiring all these people.

It's getting dark so I'm going
to get down from this tree.

Thank you all for watching,
this is just a message

from the Underground
News Network.

[Guitar based song plays]