Here be dragons … so I’ll move over here instead

“Why I came here, I know not; where I shall go it is useless to inquire – in the midst of myriads of the living and the dead worlds, stars, systems, infinity, why should I be anxious about an atom?” -Lord Byron

Saint Augustine has been quoted as saying “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”.

I want to be an avid reader, and there have been times that I have been. But these days I seem stuck on the same page. The book got a little darker than I wanted, and I put it down weeks ago. Until recently, I simply did not want to pick it up again. But as scary as the story might get at times, if we don’t keep reading … we will never know how it turns out. It is really silly to hide from a book that hasn’t even been fully written yet. I made the mistake of getting caught up in other people’s chapters, thinking that the pages I am writing are inextricably tied to  said chapters. My mistake.

One I often make.

But I found my courage again. Or maybe my inherent stubbornness has had enough of my hiding under the sheets. Either way I am back again for the nonce.  I will not whine about my journey stalling, or make big promises about where it is going, for neither is particularly productive at the moment. Nor would there be much truth to the words.

No journey ever truly stalls. Even if we seem to stay in place, it is only in a relative sense. We are a small speck on a tiny planet that is both revolving and rotating in a small galaxy that is also constantly moving; said galaxy part of a moving cluster of galaxies; all part of an inconceivably large universe that is also in constant motion, How can we say that our journey has stopped. Each moment we are in a different point in the space-time continuum, and we will (probably) never cross that point again.

When seen from this perspective, stagnation is purely a mindset.

Time for me to shake that mindset. Bold words. Let us see if I can turn said words into action now. My journey is far from over, unless I call it over. I do not know what is next. Perhaps I will continue the promised book, for even if never read there is power in the writing. Or maybe my wander lust will find another outlet that is beyond site for me right now. Wherever my path takes me, I will begin reading (and writing) again. The Book of Life; The Book of MY Life, is far from over yet.

The digital journey continues

It seems the more I want to explore the world on foot, the more I find myself  sitting in front of a computer screen. Or maybe I want to explore more on foot precisely BECAUSE I am always in front of a computer screen. Some day this blog about my worldly walkabout will once again include walking about. But in the mean time I pursue my endeavors to document and save the world, and hopefully make a few bucks doing it.

So far, it is mostly none of the above.

The photo site is bursting with photos, with many more to add. There are two issues there. 1) There are about as man people who visit THAT blog as visit THIS one. And that person isn’t all that interested in buying photos. B) The software that allowed me to actually SELL my photos randomly stopped working. Good thing my fan doesn’t want to buy anything!

My Don Quixote complex is running strong. It doesn’t help matters that I actually made a good call recently, not only giving PAX Nation the illusion of exposure, but gaining a few new members, no doubt as crazy as I am. This has encouraged me to push harder, to the point that PAX Nation has now become my main focus. I still want to wander the world. I just might be tilting with all the windmills I encounter along the way.

I also continue to not write my books. By the time I write The Tao of Picnic, my memory of events might border on fiction … which may actually improve said events. Ironically, much of it is already written, since a lot of it will come directly from this blog. I just need to catch that disease called discipline. Unfortunately to catch something one needs to be exposed to it, and my social circle (which essentially includes me and Brown Dog), is severely lacking of infected folk.

I am not sure if I should be proud or ashamed that I managed to make an update for any interested in this blog into a commercial for some of my OTHER blogs. I may not be infected by discipline, but apparently the advertising bug has gotten into my system. Until the next time folks! Maybe I will have something more interesting to share!

Stop seeking and ye shall find

One of my goals when I originally set out on this journey was to take a LOT of pictures. Photography has always been one of my passions, but as my skill (and the technology) improves, so does the passion. Why else would I carry a good 15 lbs of extra photo equipment in my pack … especially since 35-40 lbs is the recommended TOTAL weight for such an endeavor? This extra weight no doubt contributed to my lack of success in becoming Hiker Extraordinaire, but only a little.

Part of the extra weight was a hard drive, to store all the evidencephotos. By the time I got sidetracked to Ohio, I had about 4000 (yep … thousand) pictures on that hard drive. Unfortunately, due to the constant, unplanned uprooting of my life at the time … the hard drive got … misplaced.

As one might expect, I was a bit devastated by this. I had access to copies of many of the photos, but the originals … let’s just say my character grew three times that day. In a way it seemed I had invalidated a few months of my life. But ya can’t change what ya can’t change.

In the past few weeks, I have been upgrading my photo site, to make it more functional, add more photos, and add the capacity to (gasp) sell said photos (had to be done). Despite my “loss”, I still had a couple of thousand pics to sort through and upload … the vast majority NOT on the site.

It turns out … 2 years later … that I in fact did NOT lose most of those photos. I … surprisingly … did the smart thing and actually backed up the back up drive, without even remembering I did it. I may have lost a few photos, but the vast majority were actually hiding in plain site right here on the computer I picked up in my travels. Most of these photos are now available on the photo site (or soon will be).

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A random image from the re-found photos.

It just goes to show you that if you let things go, they might just come back to you.

P.S. All of the original photos form this site are available on the photo site. You can even BUY them if you feel so inclined … but either way they are often higher quality versions than displayed here. Swing on over and take a look.

Long time me no visit!!

There is a difference between being a nomad and a simple drifter. Nomads may not stay put in one place very long, and may have a wide range of movement, but they move with purpose. They are following the resources that are needed to meet their needs … whatever those resources, and needs, may be. On the other hand, a drifter just aimlessly moves from one spot to another, with no real purpose other than basic survival. As I look back at my life in recent years, it dawns on me that what I am seeking to be is a nomad, but what I HAVE been is a drifter. Even when I have stayed in one place for a long time, it was less by intent, and more as if driftwood caught in a cove.

This has gotta change!

I am working on it. That is part of the reason I have not been here in a while. I need to put purpose in my wanderings, so that I can be The Intrepid Explorer or The Noble Wanderer instead of The Shady Homeless Person. This involves a few things:

  • Establish a self-sustaining support system. I have been working on this in several ways, including making my photo “store” and custom storybook site prettier and more functional. Incidentally, if anyone finds any of the photos on THIS site pleasing, they can be purchased in varying different forms.
  • Remember to appreciate where I am. A nomad is present. A drifter often seeks to be elsewhere.
  • Have a central goal. Beyond exploring the world, I want to actually leave a mark everywhere I visit … even if only a small one.  PAX Nation is the ideal, my nomadic lifestyle the method.
  • Live instead of simply exist. I have been just a marionette with an unknown puppeteer.  I need to cut (or maybe reclaim) those strings.

These are the basic steps for now. the book that this blog is essentially notes for continues to be written one day at a time. I just need to put it into a coherent whole, and decide on a good place to stop it … for the story will carry on long past the end of the book.

A simple reminder that I don’t have to actually GO anywhere to find beauty.

Shaving off my corners …

When I wasn’t the Test Dummy, I was The Chronicler.

Can people change? Do they? I believe they can. I also believe that the vast majority don’t, at least not without serious motivation and effort.

Once upon a time I was known as The Test Dummy.

It’s not that I had no fear, but rather that fear never stopped me from pushing my limits. I was not exactly reckless. I fully understood consequences. I just did not let the possibility of negative consequences stop me from trying something. I knew my limits. I also knew when those limits could be extended. I would stop only when possibility became probability. In other words, if a bad outcome was the ONLY possible outcome, I would (probably) show restraint.

Why do I bring this up?

Since my physical journey stalled, I have slipped into a state of limbo. I am existing instead of living. I recently had a regular check up with my doctor, and discussed this with her a little. She (rightly) sees this as depression, and recommended I seek counseling. In our discussion, she said to me that sometimes people have to be willing to jump off a cliff. That made me laugh internally. I am The Test Dummy after all. But it also made me think.

Have I actually changed that much?

I don’t think I have. But I do recognize that the weight of experience in an unkind world has siphoned my energy level enough that what I once did without thought I now need to convince myself to do. THIS I am not so happy about. Have I started let the insidious siren song called FEAR actually influence me?

I don’t know that counseling is the answer for me. One cannot fit a square block in a round hole without altering either the block or the hole. In my mind, counseling is just trying to reshape the block to fit in the hole, when the problem may actually be the hole itself. I am no fan of society as we know it. For me to actually fit in it would require society to change an awful lot. It’s not that I feel somehow superior to others, but rather that the shape society has taken has not been defined by what is best for humanity as a whole, but rather by those who would mold things to conform to their own selfish needs.

Some might call this a midlife crisis. In my mind, neither my attitudes nor my desires have changed since my youth. I just understand them better. Ironically this does not help clarify a very uncertain future any more than when I was younger. What I lack most is purpose, something I seemed to find much easier when I was younger. So where do I go from here? That is really the question that needs to be answered, and that is precisely the answer that I do not have. The only certainty I have is that simply existing is not going to cut it.

Time to start living again.