Monday, August 11, 2014

Running Away From Home

"Adventure must start with running away from home."  ~ William Bolitho

So what is compelling us to run away from home?  We know RV fulltiming can be meaningless wanderings or productive seeking, so what turns one's travels into a quest rather than escapism?  
"We have turned travel into something ordinary, deprived it of allegorical grandeur … whatever impels us to travel, it is no longer the oracle, the pilgrimage or the gods.  It is the compulsion to be elsewhere, anywhere but here." ~ Ilan Stavans, professor of literature, Amherst College
Because we don't want to just "be elsewhere, anywhere but here", Ed and I are examining our travel motives to determine what is driving us to sell everything and take off in a van for months and months on end, aside from our ongoing desire to downsize, simplify and live inexpensively.  We will be following the words of Larry Pardey, "Go small, go simple, go now".

In our going we do not believe we are escaping but searching, although there is always a bit of escape involved in any change, I suspect.   And, we know we want to fall in love with North America again with all its grandeur, grandeur that can become blasé without the attention it needs.  We definitely do not want to be blasé, there is too much beauty and excitement in our world for that.

Our vacations have always spun our heads around, showing us again and again the splendor of our world, along with the values and issues we had lost sight of in our comfortable lives at home.  But a real adventure, like the one we are now planning, will it transform us?  That's what we're hoping.    We want to turn ourselves over to life's mysteries, to becoming disoriented, perhaps afraid, lonely and homesick.  

I can remember our dear friend, John Braun, saying, "It's good to put yourself in a position to be afraid.  Experience the dark and cold.  Lose yourself.  Scare yourself.  Seekers look to be on edge."

Beautiful-in-the-day, but scary-in-the-night garden of John Braun. 

This is my first crack at putting in words our philosophy of travel and I'm certain it will be modified along the road, but for now I'll say we're seekers.  We want to know ourselves better and our world better and our world's people better.  We want our retirement years to be stimulating rather than too comfortable or too predictable.  Yes, we want to be a bit on the edge.  John Braun was a great teacher.  

John with our son, Brad, many years ago.

Our other great teacher is our son, Brad.  In 2012 Brad hiked 5,000 miles.  First he thru-hiked the Te Aurora Trail in New Zealand, then the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S., and then the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.  He traveled light and he traveled far, all under unfamiliar circumstances.  He put himself on the edge, time and time again.   He was a seeker.  His trail name was Freestyle as he was always willing to step into a side adventure.  We closely followed Brad's adventures on his blog, and physically on part of the PCT in California where we supported him and other PCT hikers by being trail angels.  We perhaps got our travel bug from Brad, the travel bug that includes seeking and adventure and stepping out on the edge.  

Brad, PCT 2012

"Leaving what feels secure behind and following the beckoning of our hearts doesn't always end as we expect or hope.  We may even fail.  But here's the payoff:  it can also be amazing and wonderful and immensely satisfying." ~ Steve Goodier

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