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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.

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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What comes after the summit?

Hey guys! It has been far too long since I last updated the masses (all 6 of you) on the status of my journey. By now 4 or 5 of you have had a brief moment (no more than a passing thought) wondering if I have ended up in a ditch somewhere, then immediately went on with the more important things in life such as finishing cleaning the toilet. But I will type away, keeping my delusions that SOMEONE might be a bit curious.

Before I set foot on the Appalachian Trail, it was pretty clear that there would be a lot of climbing involved … clear to anyone who has ever seen a mountain. It was less clear to the middle-aged couch potato who still thought of himself as 18 how STRENUOUS and painful some of that climbing would be. But without fail, reaching the summit always carried a sense of achievement; frequently a sense of awe; and all too often a sense of severe pain and hunger. Yet we continued on, sometimes because we really had no choice if we wanted continued survival, but usually simply because that is what we do. But as I have no doubt mentioned many times before, my life is governed by irony. Little did I know that the pains and rewards of that first part of my current journey … a mere hiking a few hundred miles through varying terrain with a house on my back … PALED in comparison to what came next.

logo-546e4da8_site_iconWithout getting into TOO much detail (after all that is what my best-selling yet to be book is about), suffice to say that the emotional and spiritual part of this journey that has defined the last couple of months is to the hike like The Incredible Hulk is to the kid that always got stuffed into the locker. If you want a less S.A.T.-ish metaphor, or better yet clear speech, it was downright HARD! I reached the depths of despair … not even being able to envision continuing another moment … yet still continued. I found moments of pure nirvanic bliss, so content that if my life stopped at THAT moment, I would know the Question to the Ultimate Answer … yet still continued. I did manly battle with inner demons galore, with many a scar … yet still continued.

And here I am, at the proverbial peak … wondering what is next.

Now I can finally start this blog post. Since I spent so much time in prepping you, I’ll shorten things up a bit. What is next is to continue climbing. No more path to WALK on? Guess I am going to have to fly now. So my new life plan in one long-winded set of words: yet another website (which is also a business) up and running; one old website in the process of being revamped and also turned into a business; two more websites to be upgraded to join the team; all to fall under one shell that also will require a website; three books to finish writing; going to massage school to round off the plan; all this with no steady place to live and no active income yet.

I think I got it all.

Stay tuned folks, it is really starting to get interesting now!!

I should have taken a left at Albuquerque

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Monroe Falls, Ohio

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Monroe Falls, Ohio 41.144501, -81.439834 Monroe Falls, Ohio

This journey has always qualified as exploring the unknown. Even when I was under the delusion that I would leisurely walk 2200 miles with nary a sweat, I truly did not know what to expect. But I have to admit, ending up in Ohio never even entered the realm of far-fetched possibility. It is definitely NOT on any trail map I have encountered.

Yet somehow that is where I am today.

This journey has definitely shifted in ways I could never even imagine, yet it is all the more exciting as a result. I am truly beginning to explore the world as I always wanted to, even if some areas are not on any list of Place to Explore I might have ever made. This just brings to the forefront a very simple reality … there is beauty and ugliness to be found EVERYWHERE. We often all have expectations every time we visit someplace new, whether from information gained through the information storm technological societies face daily, or our own imagination. And most likely our expectations are at least partially wrong.

“Why?”, the more curious might ask, “ARE you in Ohio anyway?”

Well I’ll tell you.

As my journey morphed from a jaunt in the woods into a nomadic wandering, any budget that I even imagined got completely shoved into the realm of poorly written fiction. Sadly, this means some people have been hit harder than others in the capacity of supporter (thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU mom). In an effort to recoup some of the excess, as well as have something to work with to start actually earning funds again, I have come to the land of Kelly (my fellow nomad). Here she will use her skills and connections to earn a few bucks so we can get back to th realm of survival again. So we will be exploring the wilds of Ohio for a couple of weeks.

In the mean time, here are some pictures of the beauty I have already encountered along the way.

Learning to play a game with broken rules

One of the reasons I took on this journey in the first place was a fundamental disrespect for the society we live in. I find many of our societal priorities completely backwards. If anything, much of what the mainstream considers important actually makes me cringe. I have been told many times that I need to learn to compromise, but my definition of compromise means that all parties give a little. The definition of compromise in our “me” centered society has metamorphosed into “do as the more powerful party wants and learn to like it”. I simply can’t play by broken rules, no matter how much easier they would probably make aspects of my life.

It is an interesting linguistic fact that the concept of “give and take” is always expressed in that order, no matter the language. Give ALWAYS comes first. Since language is ultimately just a representation of the way we perceive reality, how is it that we tend to live in the exact opposite way. Much of the human world … especially the modern world … is driven by The Profit Motive, which is really “take and give”. Too many of us will not do ANYTHING without some sort of personal gain or recompense. We take first, and if we feel satisfied we might give in return.

Like I said, to me that is totally backwards. My personal philosophy is if someone needs something from me and  I have the resources and the skills needed, then I will give them what they need, expecting nothing in return. THis does not mean I won’t accept a reward if offered, but I neither expect or require it. In other words, I find it difficult to ask for money for something that I am willing to do for free. Admittedly this make my life very difficult at times in a “what’s in it for me?” world, but I am who I am, and frankly like that person.

A major draw of the hiking community is many understand that GIVE come first. People take care of each other, and often if one can’t “pay” for services, pay it forward comes into play. Barter is frequent. This kind of living makes a lot more sense to me, and makes for a much friendlier and happier community. Unfortunately, as much as I think this is the way the world SHOULD operate, it plain and simply doesn’t, which means I am usually scrabbling to survive (at least financially).

Basically, I need to make some money to survive in a world I don’t like. I no longer have the patience to work at a to me pointless job just to pay for bills that would not exist without the job. I have skills that I can use, but as I said, if I CAN do something for another I will … pay or no. And if I actually enjoy doing it, I might just do it for the sake of doing it. For instance, I have skill with writing and photography, and I guess I should be able to make some money with either or both. Yet it goes totally against my grain. Art, especially, is MEANT to be shared. So I dabble with selling my skills, never really getting anywhere because my heart is not in it.

Sometimes having a moral code is a pain in the butt!

In the meantime, while I try to figure out how to get paid for something that I love to give away, here is a crayon drawing from one of my trip pictures. It may not resolve any of my issues, but I think it looks pretty good and I enjoyed making it. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well. Feel free to reward me for it if you feel so inclined. KIDDING! Mostly.

Crayon mountains