Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nesting vs. Adventure

Wow, this post has quite a history of sitting in draft.  I wrote this back in 2010 and never actually posted the darn thing.  If I had finished writing this post when I first saved it back then, the rest of this could have been called a pre-echo.  Instead, now it well and truly is an echo of someone else's words, framed in their language and experience, and now 2 years removed.  I still believe what Russ and Laura say on Path Less Pedaled and my own commentary (including the bit about Rhode Island residents).

After having had it sit in my "Must Read" list for nearly four weeks, I devoted the time to read and appreciate "Travelling without Moving" from The Path Less Pedaled.  I was immediately reminded of what I thought was a set of notes kicking around in a notebook, or as a draft on this blog.  If there are any notes, I've misplaced them, and the draft consisted of a title and a link to a web comic.

On my second read, I'm reminded of many stories from prior journeys that illustrate the points Russ is making, and must remind myself that this isn't the story of those trips, but an attempt to understand why travel can be the most rewarding time spent alone, in random encounters and with the best friends in the world.  More importantly, its an attempt to find the magic formula of how to experience the world through travelers shoes every day.

I believe the answer lies in not succumbing to the familiar, avoiding the ease of nesting in front of the same entertainments.  The answer must include some time for nesting, to recharge and be comforted, and  realizing when the recharge is complete, that its time to take action.

When I say we should do something sometime, I'm secretly hoping you'll say 'Why not now?'
xkcd #187 The Familiar (The comic linked above could also easily be interpreted as a commentary on many residents of Rhode Island's attitude at traveling more than a few minutes drive from home.)

The action doesn't need to be profound, walking a different way home may be all that life allows.  Or it can simply be the hunt, scanning the paper for a show, special dinner, anything to throw off the torpor that remaining static engenders.  Being a traveler in one's own hometown can be uniquely satisfying.

In some ways, it feels like an attempt to collect all of the achievements and unlocks.  Sunrise at 5AM, mountaintop sunrise, glacier hike, open ocean kayaking, book reading by author, 43 mph without pedaling, hitting 30 mph while pedaling, waiting out a rainstorm in a Hindu temple, spending the night with other travelers in a crowded bar after a major tragedy.  Some are distinctly individual experiences(okay, my sample list skews heavily that way), others come from joining in community with other people, but all require being aware and open to the world, some require a certain amount of planning, but some of the best come from random happenstance and initiate encounters that can't be contrived.