Friday, November 18, 2011

Indie Travel - Passion

Travel has long been a passion, but how has that passion translated into my "regular" life?

Well, for one thing, travel forces me to pay close attention to everything. I have to notice where I put my feet so I don't slip or fall. I need to keep close attention to money, cameras, computer, and other valuables. I have to problem solve constantly. How do I dry my towel before I pack it, or how do I pack it damp without it getting everything else damp and/or moldy? How should I carry my passport, or should I leave it at the hotel and carry only a copy? How do I get more money when I need it, and how much should I carry at any given time? Oh damn, I've run out of xyz medication, now what? Who should I trust? Where can I find a carry-able map of this little town so I don't end up walking all over the place? My camera has quit working, now what do I do?

Travel makes time slow down because my attention is tight and focused. The most wasted days are those spent fretting about things out of our control, when close focus makes time slow down to the way it was when we were kids and it seemed like three days ago was an eternity.

I just realized it was one week ago today that I went to see Adena, and it does seem an eternity ago. Everything that has happened since then has been interesting and vivid. I've spent the entire week since Sunday camping. It's cold, the wind has blown, it's rained hard, everything is damp, then the sun comes out and everything dries out.  I'm feeling a deep empathy with my ancestors dealing with the weather all the time and without the benefit of zero-degree sleeping bags and fleece jackets. This morning was the first time I fired up the little stove and actually made breakfast. Then, I made a mistake and left the food bags out on the table while I took a shower. Crows got into everything, knocked over the food, dumped oatmeal onto the ground, ripped up every bag that contained nuts or dried fruit, they even sampled coffee grounds. For me it wasn't life threatening, but what if that were all the food in the world that I had? A mistake like that could have caused great hardship.

Increased awareness, and perhaps even sensitivity to the possibilities of disaster that might otherwise escape my notice are the side-benefits of this trip where I have been traveling on the ground, camping, slowly moving through the landscape.

When regular life returns, some of these lessons will be retained, I hope.