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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.

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.

What are the rules again?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

-Lao Tzu

I have probably used this quote before, especially because it is a simple yet profound truth. But I also have recently realized that it is not completely accurate. No journey really begins with the first step. Rather it begins with the decision to take that first step.

For those of us who seek meaning, the soul searchers and the questioners … I am coming to truly understand that the answer to these profound questions may actually be less important than the search itself. I have come to the conclusion that there may not be a definitive answer at all, but rather an answer we each create for ourselves. For how can an answer that gives us peace of mind and purpose be a WRONG answer? Unless of course peace of mind and purpose are not something we should be seeking. And there is the basic problem with the search. How will we ever know we have found what we are seeking?

What is out there? Guess I best go and find out ...

What is out there? Guess I best go and find out …

Every destination is ultimately also a new beginning. For if we consider it an end, what more is there to live for? Is the goal of life to find and end to life? Those who value the afterlife more than life itself would basically say yes. Yet I think that even in an afterlife there would be goals to aim for, otherwise it is just stagnation. Perfection is a destination with no further goals. Is that something we really seek? Sounds kind of boring to me.

Basically this is a long-winded and rather flighty way to say that it seems to me the journey is much more important than the destination. I need to stop thinking that I have somehow failed because I have not reached a certain goal, or because I am not even certain what those goals may be, and simply appreciate the journey that I am on. Sure it is not always be exciting, or even enjoyable … but what journey ever is? I may not be physically exploring the world at the moment, but sometimes my imagination makes for much more exciting places to visit. So for now I explore THOSE realms. My walkabout is mostly metaphysical at the moment.

Yet I do still want to explore this physical world of ours before we make a complete mess of it. Guess I need to sill figure out some purpose after all.

Conclusion … life has whatever meaning we want it to have. But sometimes we have to play the game by other people’s rules.

Walking in place

What exactly IS adventure? A dictionary definition is “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”, but does that really give us the full meaning? Adventure falls into the same category as other, life changing yet often sought after mysteries, such as love, happiness, and hope. Each of these concepts is ultimately defined by the individual. Concepts that, when found, often turn out far from what we expect. Not everyone seeks adventure. Adventure is for those who like to push boundaries. Those content with comfort and safety are not likely to go out of their way to seek adventure.

I am definitely not one of the latter. My life has really been defined by a search for adventure. But like so many, I truly did not know what I have been searching for. Adventure is the province of the imagination. And because of this, much is left vague or undefined. Part of my starting this journey was to once again chase after that mysterious entity called adventure.

It has taken a few hard moments and a LOT of boredom for me to realize that adventure is not really something I ever needed to seek out. For life itself is an adventure.

Is that adventure over there?

Is that adventure over there?

The truth about any of these most sought out concepts is that when we find them, we will realize that the exciting parts, the parts that we think we are looking for, are actually only a small part of the picture. We are trained by the Tale Tellers of the world that adventure is all about excitement and constant activity. But the tales tend to gloss over the mundane, sometimes even negative, aspects that fill up all the time in between the exciting moments.

Sounds like a fair description of life to me.

I am once again in my cave, with a very limited and often boring routine. And yet I truly understand that my adventure is far from over. Even as I sit typing on the computer, my mind explores the ‘what were’s and the ‘what could be’s. I am in the process of completing ALL the manuscripts I started over the years. Ironically, the two fiction ones may be the easiest to finish, because I control the outcome. But my real life manuscript, the one that is based on what has actually happened to me … I have no idea how THAT one will turn out. I will never lack for material in THAT story, for my life is full of experiences. Whereas in the fiction, I need to create what is not already there.

So my walkabout continues, though to some it seems that I am not moving at all.