Three years of traveling the world with my wife, a few months of that with my son in tow, and I really didn’t write much about it. Even if it was only for myself, I should have been jotting some of it down.
The truth is I was mostly dormant the whole time. I managed to get one book published, and to write a couple of short stories.
But on the whole, I was focused on the experience.
I saw wonderful things and met amazing people. At different times (and sometimes all at once) I was stressed, broke, depressed, lost, angry, elated, and filled with unrivaled awe.
I hope to write some of those stories down before I forget them forever. That means the timeline of my blog posts won’t make any kind of real sense. For example, right now I’m in Munich, but I just posted about a hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in California. Tomorrow I may write about a village in the mountains of Vietnam. Or about my favorite movies. Or maybe I’ll chuck a writing tip out there and see if anyone picks it up.
It’s a fractured diary, I suppose. Or a schizophrenic chronicle, if bigger words are preferred.
Either of those on my hands at the end of the day means I’ve earned it.
Earned my sleep. Earned the right to call myself a man. It sounds like macho posturing. I guess everything needs a label. So be it.
The feeling is primal and deep, pure and unfiltered.
It is not an emotion I gleaned from reality television or the newest lifestyle magazine. It cuts through the everyday bullshit and reminds me that I did something today. Something real. Something that will leave a scar.
I’ve worked in offices. I’ve made phone calls and balanced spreadsheets.
But I’ve also ripped tree stumps out of the ground with my bare hands.
I’ve helped carry the bloated carcass of a twelve foot alligator, the scales sloughing off in my hands with each step.
What was a frontier to the American settler was actually home to the Tribes. They knew what it meant to walk a true frontier — a blank canvas.
They didn’t paint all over it like we did, though. We painted the hell out of it.
The world is a busy place.
What used to be empty wilderness is now mapped and trod, lined with the litter of the ignorant to prove it. There must be a clear separation between what is and what you wish to see in order to conjure images of a land untamed; of a time before cars, before electronics, before pop culture.
Not everyone can do that, and it’s not because they lack imagination. It’s because they have invisible tethers pulling them back to the real world should they stray too far from their responsibilities. Continue reading Mapping A Mental Frontier