We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
In mid-autumn of 2016 the monotonous grind of a 9-5 office job followed by mental exhaustion and a lazy, unproductive evening at home, before ultimately crashing and repeating it all a few hours later, had finally taken its toll. I had become a weekend warrior. Add to that, living in a house with the smoldering ashes of a once soul-shaking relationship, all the while trying to keep the fire in her heart lit as brightly as mine. “If not this, then what?” she always said. And to top things off, the dark, unexpected end of a particularly depressing election year. It had all finally crushed my soul and left only an echoing hollowness.
I knew I needed to leave, just…go, but where and for how long? I didn’t have an answer and I liked that. I had always wanted to be a wanderer without a plan or destination, but never had the guts. Haven’t we all? In fact, when I tell someone a bit older about what I’m doing, the response it usually ‘I wish I would have done something like that while I was still young.’ I don’t want to be saying that later in life. I had also recently been inspired by my good friend Danger Dave. He had spent 6 months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and spoke so fondly, so passionately about the refreshing sense of freedom he felt on the trail. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I needed to reclaim myself, reconnect with nature, find balance between my inner and outer worlds, feel alive…you know, that whole shebang. The one we all crave deep down. So I ditched my car, backed a 65 liter backpack, grabbed my guitar and set out.
I’ve never been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
Off the Grid
The day I moved out of my house and began my journey, in a serendipitous twist of events, I met Stephanie. Stephanie is living the life that, for the last year or so, I had said I wanted. She owns a secluded, off-grid, solar-powered, modestly-sized, organic farm while still being close to a major city. The only thing missing is some mountains. She is inspiring; a good soul, a kind heart who immediately reminded me of the compassion and understanding that does, in fact, exist in the world. For the next week and a half, she offered me amazing hospitality in return for some minimal help around the farm – I am now an expert at chasing down rogue chickens! In the short time I spent there, I gained a greater appreciation for the generosity of our fellow humans and a deeper respect for the earth and all she provides. I met some incredible people and learned many lessons that I will carry with me on the path ahead. I am grateful.
The Path Ahead
Currently I am in Ann Arbor, Michigan assisting/messing with my temporarily blind friend as she recovers from Lasik eye surgery. I’m not sure what she was thinking entrusting me with this task. From here, I will venture west towards the Badlands and, perhaps, the Standing Rock Reservation to take part in the protests to protect our water rights. I will be taking this time to disconnect a bit from social media and other forms of communication (aside from the occasional blog post) in order to better connect with myself and my surroundings and to open myself to the clarity that only nature and solitude can provide. I move forward, optimistically, with open eyes and an open heart.