Most people wouldn’t choose to go by the name “Lint,” but Clint Bunting (@lint_hikes) isn’t most people. He is strange and wonderful and a bit of a Lost Boy (of the Pan variety, rather than the mulleted vampire sort). You know what? Check that. It’s not fair to assume he has never grown up, simply because he lives his life without a formal career or address. More accurately, Lint is redefining what it means to be an adult in 2017. His completely unorthodox approach to living has meant squatting, renting in gutter punk houses, dumpster diving for groceries, van living at varied times, and hiking constantly. It’s not the path your parents tried to put you on, but to be honest, that path always seemed pretty “meh”, right?
Lint is a thru-hiker, meaning he is all about long-distance hiking. He has actually walked The Colorado, Arizona, and Ice Age Trails end-to-end. But, that’s nothing, Lint has done the end-to-end dealie three times on the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and Appalachian Trails, too. That’s just under 30,000 miles. Daily, the man is clocking 30 to 40 miles. And, he does it with a six pound pack on his back (though that’s like a fifth of the normal pack size). He is maximizing distance and minimizing pack weight. It might be fair to call him a bit of an extremist. Lint prefers “hiker trash.”
We were lucky enough to get his feedback on some questions and some great shots of his hikes and his tattoos (hiking a trail from one end to the other takes dedication; getting the trail tattooed on you takes commitment). This interview is a peek into the sort of person the world needs more of: True Originals.
What do you consider yourself? Like what title would you consider fitting? Why?
Free Range Human? That sounds trite, but I’m not that special really. I’m just out here living my life as I see fit, and doing my best to ignore social constraints that limit happiness. My main goal is to squeeze as much adventure and experience out of this one and precious life I have, without impeding the happiness of others.
What percentage of the time are you van living? What do you do the rest of the time?
I spent all of last year traveling in my van. My partner and I visited Baja for some of the colder months, and then drove out east where I hiked the 1,100-mile Florida Trail. She drove the van and met me at road crossings while I hiked all day. This allowed her to work on art projects while I tromped through the swamps. After that, we stayed on BLM land in Arizona for a bit, and then ended up housesitting for our friend who took a month vacation to Europe. His cat needed to be fed, so we gladly parked in his driveway and took advantage of the running trails in his neighborhood.
Once the weather warmed up, we turned the van north and returned to Oregon. During my travels I had quite a few people try to purchase my van from me, and I realized there was a huge market for these types of vehicles. I struck up a conversation regarding this with an old friend who is an expert fabricator and designer, and we decided to see if we could build another van and sell it. He had a shop space already, so I simply parked out front and called it home base for the time being. We just finished our first conversion build, and I’m happy to report it’s even nicer than the one I’m in now. Once it sells, we may reinvest in another, or I may head out and travel some more.