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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.

Confronting my inner hobbit …

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

When does a journey truly begin? Is there a specific beginning? Or are all journeys just a continuation, the journey endless though the participants are ever-changing? Does the journey pick the path, or does the path define the journey? Does the destination matter? Or is the quality of the journey what is truly important? Perhaps it is neither, but rather how the travelers choose to approach the journey.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Does staying still mean the journey has ended? Or just changed speed? Is a journey defined by the distance traveled? By the places visited? Or is it defined by its effects on the traveler? Who defines which is the correct definition? If the destination changes, does that mean the journey has changed? Or is it still the same journey?

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

If the journey seems to end, is it truly an end or just a paradigm shift? If the road appears to end, does that mean the journey has ended? Are endings truly endings, or just changes in direction? Are endings … or beginnings … just a matter of perspective? If so, whose perspective?

Is there only one answer to any of these questions? Or ANY answers for that matter? If we find an (the?) answer, how will we know it is the correct one? Do the questions even matter? Does the journey?

My walkabout continues, though the journey has stalled. Or has it?

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.

A morality tale

Once upon a time there was this man who was feeling mighty lost. Unsure how to deal with the hollow feeling that was plaguing him, he locked himself in a nowhere room for a couple of nights … but found the company very lacking. Since hiding from … whatever it was he was hiding from … seemed ineffective, he decided to start walking. He put his bag on his back, left the nowhere room, and walked to the end of the street. Here, something told him to go right. He walked to the end of THAT street, and something told him to go left. He didn’t really know where he was going, just that forward motion was needed.

He walked. And walked. And walked. Then walked some more. As he walked, worlds were created and destroyed. Thoughts paraded in an endless stream, and then were no more. Sadness opened the floodgates, anger beat holes in the walls, and curiosity did its show and tell. And the man continued to walk.

Sometimes the little voice inside the man, the voice of wisdom … the voice of censure … the voice of creativity … the still small voice that should be heard but is so often ignored … spoke to him. It said that maybe he should ask for directions. The man answered his voice, “How can I ask directions when I don’t know where I am going?” The voice then said that there were people wondering where he was … maybe even concerned about him. Again the man flippantly answered, “I’d tell them where I was if I actually knew.”

In the midst of ugliness ... beauty. Or is it the other way around?

In the midst of ugliness … beauty. Or is it the other way around?

The man walked on.

The still small voice, not to be deterred, got wily. It appealed to the one thing the man rarely ignored … his hunger. With this backup, the man decided that he would stop walking … at least for the moment. He found the nearest place to sit and eat (at this point no longer so near), and stopped his feet for a bit. The still small voice took advantage of the pause, and finally got the lost man’s attention.

After eating, the man considered what the voice had been telling him. He also considered maybe actually picking a destination. As these thoughts bounced around the emptiness inside, a couple with a cute young girl came in to order some food. Shortly thereafter, a woman came in with an equally cute and young boy. As far as the man could tell, these people did not know each other.

This did not deter the young girl. She was so excited to see the young boy, that they were immediately friends. For several minutes they interacted on a level of pure joy, giggling and laughing. It was a pure, innocent moment. It made everyone there, including the lost man, smile with the simple love and happiness of the moment. The man thought to himself, “Yes, that’s it.” The still small voice agreed.

Suddenly the persistent shadows; the enemies of innocence, came rushing into the room. It dawned on the man that his enjoyment of the moment would so easily mark him as something not to be trusted in this world gone mad. He was a nameless wanderer; a stranger. If ANYTHING happened to these children in the immediate future he would be the automatic scapegoat, the demon in the room.

The moment was made. The moment was lost.

Shortly after this stark and ugly thought, the little boy left, and the little girl slipped into a screaming tantrum. The man, always alert for lessons to be learned, wondered what the moral of THIS story was.

Even the still small voice has not answered him yet.