Most of the other travellers I know have some purpose to their travels: musicians, photographers, artists, writers, and healers. They’re passionate about what they do, they’re driven and ambitious, they have purpose. I envy this sense of purpose, the creative process that drives people and affords them a love that is greater than them selves, be it for their family or their art. I’m not talking here of the tourists taking a few weeks to see something different; tourists travel, but travel does not make up a huge part of their lives.
My own travels don’t stop for more than a couple of months. From one place I get the urge to go someplace else. No reason really, it just becomes time for change: for new surroundings, new people, and perhaps a new pastime, of just to find a nice place to go for a walk. Perhaps I’ve become addicted to the fears and thrills of change.
I dabble a little in all things, wandering, my destinations changing with the landscape. I have neither a path of love and passion, nor a path of responsibility. Almost every time I land somewhere I ask myself, “what am I doing here?” I rarely go someplace to do something; I rather go, and than I ask. It’s tiring. It’s often isolating as I’m continually leaving behind friends and family and the familiar.
I’ve tried inventing some reason behind my travels (photography, holistic courses), but it never lasts, before long I find myself wandering aimlessly, leaving everything I was doing to go on to something new. I have nothing to hold me where I am and nothing except the weather and whim enticing me to go anyplace else.
At times I tell myself it’s because I don’t want anything, I’m happy with what I have, but mostly I see the truth that I want more. It’s like an underlying drive for more without any overlying destination. Sometimes I am perfectly happy, but then the underlying desire begins to simmer and then boil and before I know it I’ve done something rash and I’m on the move again. Some people go shopping and buy pointless shit, I buy plane tickets or spend days driving across the country.
It’s unsettling, and I mean that in every sense of the word. There’s no ground but myself and mostly as I travel I’m asking myself, “who am I?” Now I ask you, what kind of ground is that?
Artist and muscian travelers have some kind of outlet for their crafts. They easily come together from shared interest and often draw people and fans towards them. And of course they all have their craft fill their days and their career to drive them. I write; sometimes. I take pictures; sometimes. I take courses; sometimes. But I have no thing I do, no deadlines; no expectations coming from anywhere. I don’t even know where to begin to turn whatever it is I do into a business. People ask me what I do when I travel. I don’t know what to tell them: I do a little of this and a little of that. I’m usually busy, crazy busy for a guy with nothing in particular to do but that’s just it: I ‘do’ merely because I have to: with a body and the march of time doing is all we really have. Broadly speaking, I do philosophy (whatever that is exactly).
I feel the same confusion when people ask me where I’m from. Where am I from? Canada is the only clear answer I can give, and this is a big country. I was born in Calgary and then I moved around a lot. Then I moved to Edmonton and kept moving around a lot, but kept going back to Edmonton. I have nothing in Edmonton though, except work that pays well and doesn’t expect much commitement. (I don’t wish to alienate my Edmonton friends, I love you guys, but Edmonton is no home for me). I wish I could at least say that home is where the heart is, but I rarely feel at home for long and my heart is always with me.
And just as I keep asking myself who I am, the question of what do often arises in my mind. That s right, not only do I not have a clue who I am, I don’t even know what I want. What do you want? Some people just seem to be born with some destination to go with their drive. I have not had this honour. But not knowing what it is we really want is a hallmark of our age: vague unfocused and unconscious desires.
I’m not saying desires do not arise in me. I wouldn’t want to leave that impression for a second. I’m full of desires and a glutton to them. I tend to give myself everything I want and I’ve received more than I could have imagined. But I’ve also lost everything I’ve ever wanted. Sometimes it’s taken away or inadvertently lost, but most often my achievements just fade away like a child bored with his new toy. I just leave things and move on. I often feel a little lost afterwards: My heart broken at the end of relationships; my sense of purpose uncertain at the end of some intensive course or work season; and my very being shaken from intensive practice or experimentation or just by the happenstance of fate. My god how many times do I have to feel the death of some old life followed by the naivety and confusion of a re-birth. Things can never be the same as they were. Experiences so great that you simply cannot see life the way you did before. Everything changes. All the time. And what a rush it can be to fall into the abyss of the unknown.
But I do know that somehow something will happen, from one change will come the next. I don’t know if everything will be ok. I’m not even really sure what that means: That I don’t get injured ill or dead? These things will happen and I’ll still be ok. This is the nature of things: everything will be ok.
Every time I feel like I’ve been left with nothing; weeks later I look around me, knowing I’ve acquired nothing, but feel as though I have everything. The many injuries I have sustained in my life likewise have led me to this path of knowledge that I am on. Knowledge of what? I don’t know. Knowledge of what I need to know.
You can’t imagine how isolating it is to travel alone. 90% of the time I live in just my own little world. My thoughts, dreams and actions so bundled together so that I can’t tell one from the other. And what is the difference? In regards to their effect on me their reality is equal.
But that leads my to another question that’s often passes thru my mind: “what is real?” Seriously, what is real? Do you know the difference between real and not real. Hind-sight is wonderful for distinguishing, but in the here and now, what sort of test is there to know the difference. Approximately half the yoga community believes that there is reality and illusion, the other half believes merely that there are different worlds, all of with are real.
But lets go back to those times when I’ve felt like I’ve lost everything. It all seemed real enough to me at the time while I was plunged into my own sorrow, but months later I look back and see that nothing had really changed; nothing had been lost and nothing really gained. What’s the reality? That we make our own reality? Then what happens to the objective observable reality we’ve become so familiar with? Considering the limitations of our senses (we don’t smell as good as a dog or see as an eagle), we have to admit that there is much more to the world than what is objectively observable. Why should we rely on just our senses to determine reality when we see the effects of so many things that many people would say are not part of reality.
My mother spent of most her life working in forensics as a psych. nurse. She often wonders aloud if I’m going (or have gone) crazy. I can understand this from her perspective. I don’t know who I am; I don’t know what I want; and I don’t know what is real and what is not. From the perspective of western psychology all these traits point to insanity.
But from my perspective, I see most people pretending to be someone they are not; if I ask them who they are, I will likely be able to point out to them why they really are none of what they say. If I ask people what they want, they will likely share only the basest of human desires with me. And their sense of reality will likely stop with their senses, which would, quite simply leave of most of the phenomena that drives the world. The point is, no one knows who they are or what is real or what they want, they just don’t often stop to wonder about these things, and it’s certainly not considered polite conversation to bring them up at dinner parties. So, we get a world like the one we have where wealth and power and lust rule simply by default. People go on defining themselves thru or living for their work, their family, their possession’s, or their reputation. Personally, I think these people are closer to insanity than I am, they have merely learned to wear acceptable masks. But that is the secret to civilization isn’t it: it’s all in the mask.
It’s no secret in this new age age that we are mostly disconnected from our emotions. I would say also that we are generally disconnected from God, but I don’t want to loose my atheist readers, but even they’ll agree that there is a mass disconnect happening in the world. We know about this because it’s the age of Auqarius; a time when we begin to reconnect. But if this is the age of Aquarius, that means we just advanced past Capricorn: a dirty old goat of a time. But Aquarius and Capricorn are both ruled by the planet Saturn; a kind of dirty old man him-self. Saturn doesn’t like your normal every day people. He doesn’t care much those who are energetic or overly whitty, nor any other who have anything to do with authority and power. He likes to keep to himself or spend time with older people, cripples, the disadvantaged, hermits, or even those who are especially close to the land like gardeners (farmers today are closer to their machines than the land); anyone who is isolated from main stream whether by choice or circumstance.
Asrtrologically speaking, I’m currently in my Saturn period. This is not the same as the dreaded 7 ½ year period when Saturn will affect my moon, but rather Saturn’s opportunity of 18 years to exert his influence over my life. Saturn is the fellow who makes us experience our karmas. Karma can be a bitch, or we can accept it and embrace it. We have no choice but to experience our Karma and we should be thankful to have the opportunity to experience it. In many ways Karma is the fuel we have to burn in this life; the action we must take and the actions we must experience.
When someone harms us and we have no recourse it’s natural to think that Karma will get them, but few people stop to think that Karma has just gotten them. We are all instrumental in affecting each others karma. In other words, we have to dish it out as well as swallow it. Accepting our karma is accepting our own actions as well as the actions of others and the universe at large. Karma isn’t all bad though; actions that produce joy and please are also karmas.
What most eastern thought seems to suggest is that Karma is Karma; it’s neither good nor bad; in this we must find equanimity. We each have our own karmas to experience and we must accept that in ourselves and others. This is one of the main indicators the general disconnection most cultures are experiencing: the level of emotional attachment people have to their karmas. This attachment is taught to us by television and the like in particular and the culture of consumerism in general. Change is presented as such a fearsome exchange that each new thing has to be hyped. The middle path is completely ignored, leaving the people bored
Thinking of Saturn reminds me of my own pointless wanderings. Saturn has taken over my life for the next 18 years. When I look around at my surrounding I see my tent, some old four-wheeler trail, the forest a stream, an over-head power line going thru. I hear the odd car drive past. I’m only as far back in the bush as my Volkswagen Rabbit will allow me to go. Even then I’m only a half hour from town; the nearest house can’t be too far away though I see no sign of it. But isolated enough without cell coverage or other hallmarks of our civilization.
I’m here because it’s free. One of the main hallmarks of our civilization is that it costs money to be a part of. You pay for parking, for sleeping, for news, even for water. Nothing is free in civilization. If anything was free you wouldn’t have to keep working to keep it all flowing. Maybe it’s time to get back into the flow of things.