He lives in a van and earns honest wages delivering parcels all day long.

When night falls, along the beach he pitches his tent, where parking, shower and toilet facilities are free. Fresh air is a welcomed bonus.

He is part of a community, along the East Coast Park of Singapore, a land of plenty.

************ Copyright, Eric Alagan 2014 ************

Rule One: A 55-word flash fiction about a hobo – use this term loosely. No images this time. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then this would be 1,055 words!

Rule Two: Do NOT use the word hobo in the body of your story.

More 55 word flash fiction – with images 🙁

Covert Affairs


Maternal Instincts


The Watchman



  1. Eric, I had a relative who lived in his van for a year while he worked full time. He never told me until years later. I suspect it is one of the reasons why he now does volunteer work with the homeless. Your story is well done and very realistic.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    1. Hello Wendy dear,

      Yes, nothing like having walked in another’s shoes. I’m happy for your relative and all the people he is helping.

      Thank you for your kind words. There are real stories all around us, and it’s my pleasure to relate this based on what I observed along Singapore’s East Coast Parkway.


  2. I knew a female hobo once, like yours, she held a part-time job for cash and shower regularly (where I did not ask). Her daughter tried to get her to move with her, but this was the life she wanted – where Nancy is now – no one knows.
    [off topic – check your notifications, I have re-answered your comment on my site.]

    1. Yes, some people do enjoy that supposedly ‘care free’ life.

      I checked out your reply and bookmarked that publication – many thanks 🙂

  3. Fortunately our weather helps.

    I recently saw a documentary where in Mongolia, those who become unemployed, whether alone or with their family, had to live in underground tunnel between large drainpipes to keep warm during winter. They use waste paper to make small fires to cook. Walk a long distance to the stinking public toilet to collect water in plastic bottles for drinking. Don’t dream of a bath. In summer they move out to the nearest tree, pull up a canvas sheet as roof. The entire family will search the dumps for things that can sell to a rag & bone truck guy to settle a meal for the day. Most of them have no will to live if not because of their children. But there are many destitutes in this world.

    I think the ECP temporary home is considered a luxury by comparison.

    1. You’re right, Jasey dearest,

      Many ‘destitutes’ as you call them – where the system of governance has gaping holes.

      Yes, the ECP is a luxury venue – well manicured park, abundant trash bins that are cleared daily, clean bathing and toilet facilities – that are washed every few hours; cool breeze and great sea coast sights – and food centres that offer a variety of price ranges from a couple of dollars for a meal to a full sit-down, complete with Champagne.

      Yes, even our ‘destitutes’ live well 🙂

  4. This a great story, Eric. I will admit, there is something attractive about a carefree lifestyle like that. Your prompt has inspired me, so I think I might write my own story for this one. I’ll link back.

    1. Thank you, David and that’s great you’re planning to write your own story. I say this with some dread – LOL! but all in good fun – because of the very unique POVs you bring to your stories 🙂

      I look forward to your story 🙂

    1. You’re very welcome, Michelle

      Happy to see you churning out posts too – love the silence 🙂

      Didn’t really dwell on it that way – until I read your post.


  5. As you hint at Eric, the people who choose the nomadic lifestyle seem most admirable when they’re single. When you inflict a quirky and possibly dangerous existence on your children we start to get critical. The point about the TV made me smile. We have never had a TV and when our children were younger, they would sit glued to the box at friends’ houses. It made them terrible guests!

    1. Hello Jane,

      I admire the gentleman and his wife but it’s not a life I would embrace or even recommend – guess, I’m too traditional 🙂


  6. I love this, Eric. I was immediately reminded of a guy who came to work for me many years ago. We remain dear friends, but he had moved from Canada. It was only a couple of weeks before I realized he was sleeping in the parking lot (in his van) at nights, and showering in our fitness center. It seemed to fit him. Rather than worrying for his safety or financial situation, I was envious of his freedoms – the ability to carry all that matters on your back. Wonderful job of pulling life from our imaginations. ~ Love, Bobbie

    1. Hello Bobbie,

      Lovely to have you return 🙂

      Yes, some people choose this life style but it’s not for everyone, I suppose.

      In the 1980s, I knew and worked with a German in Singapore. The man and his family – wife, a daughter and a son – lived on a sailing yacht. Here’s more – the man hand built the fibreglass yacht in his backyard in Germany and they had been sailing and working around the world. The wife was a certified teacher and she home-tutored their children on board. He had gypsy roots and he laughing said that those roots were strong in him. He worked in Singapore – as an aircraft engineer for 3 years, and then sailed off to another job in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. When I visited PNG – he had already left for Fiji, I believe.

      What I recall vividly was, when I had the family over for lunch, the children aged 8 and 10 sat glued to the TV – they did not have TV on board that sailing yacht.

      I marvelled that he actually had the confidence and courage to take his loved ones out into the ocean on a home built yacht! Apparently, it was all checked out by the classification people and insured. For a landlubber and city dweller such as myself – it was all out of this world!

      What a life, huh?

      All good wishes,

  7. It will only work in a pleasant climate. Our ‘companions’ ‘neighbors’ ‘hobos’ do OK until it freezes, then the churches in the city attempt to provide temporary shelter but I understand that it is always a tough time. Many of the ‘homeless’ or should I call them the ‘itinerants,’ as some want it this way, don’t know how to escape the place in which they have landed. Thank you for this poignant post which shakes my complacency even though it depicts a contented life style. Cheerio, JAne

    1. Very true, Jane dear

      Singapore’s weather provides an ideal – certainly compared to the harsh winters in other places.

      I agree that many of the ‘itinerants’ don’t know how to escape the place. I suspect, certainly in Singapore, some of the government policies had inadvertently contributed to ‘hobos’. The good news is, the government is aware and making incremental changes (incremental because there are knock-on effects) to plug the holes through which these people had fallen through.

      Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcomed,

    1. The ECP is probably the most popular of the many public beach parks. It gets horrendously crowded during weekends made worse by visitors who lack basic etiquette – walking and/or cycling abreast and blocking off all the paths, littering, walking on cycling tracks, cycling on foot paths – the works!

      I visit on weekdays when there is a semblance of sanity – even then, one sees people (educated types) doing all of the above.

      Am I ranting? Yes, because the Trees & Parks Division have done such a marvellous job in providing for the public but many – yes many, simply abuse the facilities. If the place is clean, it is only because an army of sweepers keep the place clean!

    1. Thank you, Padmini

      I usually visit the ECP on week days, as weekends are maddeningly crowded. Often, I spy tents pitched under the trees. I bet some of the ‘campers’ are permanent residents there, playing a cat-and-mouse game with park rangers.

  8. Nice to join you in a long promenade through the East Coast excursions… Cheers to your writing, Eric.

    Best wishes, always, Aquileana 🙂

    1. Hello Ian,

      The East Coast Parkway is one of my favourite spots. I’ve seen people camping there and decided to spin a fiction 🙂

      I’ve since added a link if you want to relive your memories 🙂


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