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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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Return of a footsore Idiot

As I think I have said before, I am not sure one can really go walk-about if they are not doing too much walking. Now that I have survived the most recent pass through the forge as I turn myself into whatever tool I will be, I decided to start taking some control back. Winter is approaching, which means that it is a good time for nomads to stay put for a while. Plus it would be good to replenish the coffers. Gotta start paying back money I owe, resupply, and ensure I actually survive the winter. Since me becoming a wealthy award-winning author seems a very slow process, this means some temporary work. I consulted the digital genies and immediately found a new bar opening up only a couple of miles away. Walk-able, and in many ways ideal. Food service is good for flexibility of schedule and occasional cash in hand.

Being the excellent planner that I am not, I checked routes on Google. To the bar; from THAT bar to “MY” bar … er … um … office. Filled out an online application, got an email saying come in for a talk, and the process was started. Of course in my usual perfect timing, this day it decided to snow. Oh well. Walking in a light snow can actually be quite refreshing. I walked to he potential job site, actually FOUND it with only slight difficulty, had my ten minute canned interview (stay tuned for results), then began the walk to the office to get some REAL work done.

Pause for sarcastic laughter.

deep-snowIt is one of the many ironies that govern my life that the more “civilized” and area is, the less capable I am of navigating it. Put me in the woods, and I will rarely get lost. Put me in something man-made, like say a city or a mall, and I will be lost for hours. I am glad (?) to say yesterday was no different. I apparently totally misread the map for my return journey. Add to that the lowering temperature, the increasing snow, and my tendency to go into the “zone” when conditions become less than comfortable, in no time I was … completely unsure where I was.

I am one who travels by landmarks. Like trees and rocks. Stock buildings, highways and advertising signs completely baffle me, especially when they keep repeating themselves. After a few, “I’ll turn here, it is bound to take me somewhere,” mishaps, I finally ended up somewhere that there was potential for warmth and better yet … directions. I shed what remained of my pride and … dun dun dun … asked. I may be remembering incorrectly at this point, but I am pretty sure the answer was, “You are in the wrong state.”

Finally I figured out where I needed to be, roughly 5 miles That-a-way. Fortunately it was now getting darker, colder, and snowier, ensuring I didn’t settle down in someone’s yard for a nap. So after a walking only about nine miles out of my way, I finally made it to the “office”, I stayed long enough to thaw out before I skied back to my room to crash for the night.

So basically I walked roughly 13 miles and got slightly hypothermic for a ten minute interview for a job I may or may not get. All in all a rather productive day.

Where IS home anyway?

Though I seem to be staying put at the moment, I in a way< I am still travelling far … at least in a spiritual and mental sense. I was talking to a fellow nomad (one also trapped in the vortex), about where HOME is.

A “home” with a view?

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I have yet to find the answer to that question. I think it is a false assumption that home describes a precise place. It is becoming more and more apparent that home is really more of a state of mind. I have lived in many places, some quite comfortable, others barely a comfortable rock on soggy grass. I have occupied the same location for years at a time, or found myself relocating on a daily basis.

Yet I still don’t know where home is.

I have encountered home a few times … usually when I least expect it. But there is no specific defining characteristic that said to me: Yep, THIS is home. For many, home may be conjured into being by a specific location, but I guess for us wandering nomadic types, defining home is not so easy. The platitudes tell us home is where your heart is, but what if your heart keeps moving too?

I guess this is also part of my rebirth … defining home for myself. It has fully obvious to me that it will NOT be a specific location, but a part of myself that I will discover (or create?) that I will carry with me continuously. I am seeking my home.

I am kind of annoyed by the belief that I already have it with me. I am just too blinded by my own choices and over-active ego to SEE it yet. Anyway, if there are still folk out there who are interested in my oddly evolving adventures (even if they are a far cry from what they started as), sometime in the next few days I will be going with my partner in crime (or adventuring) to the wilds of Akron, Ohio. There she will ply her trade as a professional torture artist, while I turn a blind eye and ears to the evident agony and help book her clients, all to recoup some of the money we have been shovelling out in recent weeks. She calls it deep tissue massage, but I am still struggling with my conscience over this. hopefully I will have tales to tell of the flora and fauna of the area, and maybe even find a few notable sentences for the pending book. In the mean time, here are a few more pictures to distract y’all:

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

Anyone for a visual journey?

Now that I seem to have formally switched from Hiker to Traveller, I have access to more of that pesky technology that I have a love/hate relationship with. Which means I can now bombard people with the millions of pictures I have (and will be) taking. OK, maybe I am exaggerating that number a TINY bit. I have picked 538 of the pics I am least disappointed about, and created a slide show for anyone who has 8 or so minutes to waste. I was going to add music and make it kind of cool, but I don’t have the patience for copyright nonsense at the moment. So pick you favorite travel music and enjoy!

If you want a better look at the individual pics, they can be found here. I am also in the process of trying to set up a website so I can actually sell prints of the better photos. If anyone has any desire to have one of the accidentally good pictures hanging on their wall, contact me and we will talk. Or you can inundate The Idiot with painting requests. I hope some pleasure is gained, and maybe y’all can get an inkling of what I have been experiencing in the last few months. 🙂