Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm About to Die

Apparently imminent death is the only thing that justifies long-term travel. Yesterday, while looking at maps of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, someone asked what I was doing. When I told her about my trip she asked "did you find out you're about to die?"

How can people be so caught up in the mundane tasks of daily life that they can't imagine taking some time out to explore? In fact, most people I've talked to can't even comprehend the idea of exploration. They ask me what there is to explore. Perhaps they've seen the entire world and assume that I have also. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I have seen very little of the world and I believe that the people who can't comprehend my desire to explore will see far less than I will.

It's difficult to explain my motives to these people. They ask where I'm going and I tell them that I'll go wherever the road takes me. Then they ask "why?" I feel like I'm trying to explain the color of the sky to a blind man, and in a sense, that's exactly what I'm doing. To some people the idea of doing something unpredictable and adventuresome is so alien that it doesn't compute. Sort of like Calculus.

When the girl asked if I was about to die, my reply was quick and to the point. "Why would I wait until I am about to die to start living?" She said that she'll travel... one day. Maybe.

I doubt she ever will.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Where am I going? That is the question that I am asked most and no one can comprehend the idea that I have no answer to that question. I am not walking for miles and miles every day to get to a destination. I have no destination, only a desire to explore and to see what is out there with my own eyes, on my own terms. I want to see the world for myself instead of traveling to a certain destination with a preconceived notion of what it should be like. There are no travel brochures for my trip and there is no itinerary. I do not want a package deal, all expenses paid. I want a raw adventure.

For me the destination matters so little that I don't even have one. I'm going east because I've never really traveled east before except for spending the weekend in Daytona while Hurricane Hannah was throwing a tantrum. I've been north as far as Missouri and west as far as New Mexico, but not really east. And even though I'm going to start walking east, I would not be surprised to find myself in Seattle or Portland.

The walkabout trip is for the purpose of satisfying my need to explore, to quench my wanderlust. If something looks or sounds interesting, I'll set off in that direction. If I find something more interesting along the way and detour, I will not feel bad. If I miss a thousand landmarks and fail to see a thousand sights, I will not be disappointed because I will have been doing exactly what I wanted at that time. I will do what is most important at that time. Nothing more. Nothing less.

And if I find myself in a place that no longer interests me, then I'll move on. Likewise, if the trip becomes a bore or I feel that my heart is no longer in it, I will turn around and go home, because that too will be the right decision at the time.

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
~Lao Tzu