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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.

Brown Dog teaches …

“Not yet Brown Dog! It’s too early! Go back to bed!”

This is my equivalent to hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. Every morning Brown Dog enthusiastically and urgently prances about, essentially saying “Gottagogottagogotaago!!,” while her mean and unfeeling companion hasn’t the energy to crawl out of bed yet. This has become part of the routine. On some levels, there is resentment in these actions: I went on this grand adventure, and all I have to show for it is a dog I did not ask for. Yeah me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love Brown Dog. Precisely because of that, she is often the target of my frustrations with life in general … and with myself. She has an exuberant energy that drives me crazy … mostly because I envy it. The irony being that my NOT having it is essentially my own fault. And any resentment is really just my inherent allergy to responsibility. Truth be told … once I actually get the walkies project started … it usually turns into a moment of peace (if often slightly agitated peace thanks to B. D.), reflection, and … believe it or not … learning. I take these moments to appreciate: appreciate what is around me; appreciate what I DO have and what I don’t; appreciate the simple fact of living. These moments are also good for letting the mind wander in nomadic bliss. My thoughts are often random, but I will explore that randomness to its very edges.

SQUIRREL!!!!

SQUIRREL!!!!

This morning, as I admired the early morning light on the autumn colors, the chill, brisk air instilled some nifty thoughts in my head. One that I may actually pursue (let my inner inventor run for a change) is the concept of a treadmill for dogs. As seems to be the norm for this time of year, Brown Dog’s focus was torn between the desperate need to GO NOW!!, the finicky need to GO HERE!!, and the distracting need to  CHASE SQUIRREL!! Basically a typical morning’s walk. Nearing the end of the walk, our slightly frayed, “ghetto” rope of a leash once again burned my fingers as B. D. once again decided THAT squirrel was Public Enemy Number One. So I said to her: “They are everywhere, girl. If you chase them all, we’ll never get anywhere.”

With an eye awakening smack, the cold air put its fingers to my cheek and I suddenly GOT IT!

I was talking about squirrels to a dog, but there was a profound lesson in what I had just said for myself (and maybe others). This simple statement so well applies to many other things … but most applicably in MY life to dreams and … causes. Dreams are everywhere. So are battles to be fought. One of the temptations an Idealistic Thinker faces is the need to follow ALL the dreams; the need to fight ALL the battles.

THAT way lays eternal frustration.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so adrift these days is because I have CAST myself adrift. If I keep chasing everything that catches my attention, my own personal squirrels, I will never get anywhere. To reinforce this message, B. D. suddenly got another scent, and started towing me at the cost of her own breathing … again. This time I said, “Stop choking yourself chasing after something you will never catch!!”

The cold air slapped me in the face again as soon as I said this.

Yep. Brown Dog is one fine teacher!

 

Walking on

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu
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Once again it has been a long while since I have dared put my ongoing journey into the weak vessel that is written language. Photography is a better method of sharing for me, but sometimes it too does not relay what needs to be relayed. Anyhoo, as happens when time passes, much change has come into my life. Paths past have been left and/or revisited, while paths future still live in the nebulous land called Possibility. Companions have moved on with their own journeys, which for many now means a separation of ways … though our paths may cross again. Such is the wonder of the land that I once again am heading towards.

Though I did not complete the Appalachian Trail as a Through-Hiker, there is no doubt that it has changed not only my view of life, but how I live it. The experiences I had there and around it; the people who I met on it … the journey so far has helped shape who I am becoming and where my next steps will take me. The irony of this adventure is that much of the journey has me staying put in one place for indeterminate lengths of time. Right now I am back at what I guess I can call my home base, the “attic” of my mom’s house. While here I need to start repairing some of the inadvertent damage my exploration of parts unknown caused, nurturing the seeds that have been planted along the way, and regrouping for the next part of The Grand Adventure.

One of the potential seeds planted would have me joining a fellow explorer, known on the A.T. as EZ Rock, as he does a documentary in Colorado. This is a photographer’s dream, and I seem to more and more be calling myself a photographer. But there are a few stumbling blocks (as usual) that I need to … well … stumble through.

The biggest challenges are a lack of functional equipment, and the transport of my newest hiking partner, none other than the famous(?) Brown Dog. To that end, a new gofundme campaign has been started:

//funds.gofundme.com/Widgetflex.swf

More importantly, since four-legged companions seem to be discriminated against in the travel world, I need a method of getting myself and Brown Dog from eastern Massachusetts to somewhere in Colorado. Volunteers, suggestions, and/or donations would be most welcome!! Spread the word and maybe I’ll have a chance. And since I know that four-legged companions get way more attention than scruffy middle-aged men, here is a cute pic of Brown Dog:

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MA 02324 41.964741, -70.966568 My Training Camp

This time I took a left

It has now been over a year since I began this … you know, I am not quite sure what to call it anymore.

Hmmmm

It started off as an adventure. Gradually it morphed in walk-about. Then it shifted into a whole new realm … maybe the world of dreams. But as a I ramble about this, I am clarifying for myself. What I am doing is simply LIVING LIFE.

Finally.

That said, part of the lack of posting about life recently is being too busy living it, part of it is living said life in the woods far from any communications capabilities other than smoke signals. Fortunately, I am momentarily pretending to be civilized, so time for a bit of an update. Team Idiot finally escaped the dangerous jungles of suburban Cleveland, managing to make it all the way to the safety of the Spiritual Way Station known as Damascus, VA. Unfortunately, the spiritual world is both of light AND shadow. It seems this past winter shadow seeped in deep, and instead of the bright greeting we were hoping to find, we were instead met with the worst of the human spirit. Apparently free and happy spirits are not welcome to the spiteful spirits that actually try to dominate this otherwise beautiful haven.

But I digress. Back in part of the heart of Appalachia, the team intends to hang here until the Bacchanalian Fest known as Trail Days is over, then decide where to wander to next. Gonna find a place to sit down, do artsy stuff, sell said artsy stuff, hopefully rendering financial issues less of a P.I.T.A.  I will personally try to actually finish one or three of the ever growing number of projects I keep creating.

That was an awful lot of words to get to my ultimate point, that I have gone and started yet ANOTHER blog, kind of spin-off from this blog. Our newest member of Team Idiot is Brown Dog, who has left the city for the first time to explore the wonders of nature. It’s a work in project, but check out …

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF BROWN DOG.

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