Friday, February 09, 2007


TRAVELER


Some say that the first half of life is spent acquiring things, and the last half is spent letting them go. That's generally true, I suppose, but it's different for travelers, who from the start of their journey begin to let things go. One of the unsung benefits of travel is learning how to do this, how not to invest too much of your presence in static physical things.

If you're a traveler, you know the deepest meaning of goodbye. As to physical things, you never accumulate more than you wish to carry, and from your first day of wander you work to pare even that down, to give yourself maximum mileage; you therefore reduce all that matters to practicals, minimals, symbols, essences, thoughts, memories, things you can take with you when you go-- as you always do, or at least always think of doing.

If in your latter travels you physically settle down somewhere, in spirit you still treat time like a traveler, still live like a traveler, consider like a traveler, eye your surrounds like a traveler, always thinking maybe next month, maybe next year, viewing all your possessions with a jaundiced eye, plotting what to do with them at departure, who might need them, enjoy them, buy them... for you know what anchors they are to passage on the endless river - known only to travelers - that runs through the world and has carried you here, the marvelous river you've never really left, that runs now inside you, calling to the boat of your soul...

The traveler spends his life letting go and going onward, and at death it is the same.

10 comments:

Maya's Granny said...

I had lived in 26 different places in California by the time I was six. Went to nine schools in nine communities (most of them in different states or territories), by the time I graduated from high school. And it is very easy to let things go. The difficulty, for those of us who were born under the wandering star, is to learn how to hold on to friends.

Anonymous said...

I have moved 15 times in my life--not counting all the college moves--and am a bit of a wanderer. For a while I had a tremendous restless muse that would not let go. I am also upper middle class and a bit of a acquirer since I grew up pretty poor. So, I have a split personality. I am now at a time in my life where I am starting to let lots of stuff go.

Taobr

Anonymous said...

I also cannot type and am too busy thinking about my next move to login to the new blogger!

TABOR

Todd said...

As a traveler facing the birth of my first child, I wonder how other travelers managed family and lifestyle?

ShortWoman said...

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/the-alan-parson-project/days-are-numbers-the-traveller.html

The traveller is only passing through
He cannot understand your point of view
Abandoning reality, unsure of what he'll find
The traveller in me is close behind

Winston said...

Over the last few years my brother and I have faced the disposal of a lifetime of accumulation by our parents. Dad died about 12 years ago, but nothing was disposed of until we moved Mom to assisted living 5 years ago. Selling her house forced the issue. Then when she moved to a nursing home last year, the final cuts were made. Painful process... There is no way to keep all of it. Most has no utilitarian value, no market value. Yet much of it has sentimental attachment, things we grew up with, things Dad was proud of, stuff Mom made with her hands prior to the onset of crippling arthritis. What to do?

I too have been a pack rat despite many corporate moves and marriage/divorce induced moves over the years. In my early 60s now, I have been eyeballing my own accumulation, wondering if I should start disposal on my terms rather than leave it to chance and whim of heirs and others. If only we knew how long we would live and what we might need or want before we reach the terminus...

Joy Des Jardins said...

I am one of those pack-rat people too....basically. I'm starting to come to terms with the need to organize some things and clear them out. But the task of actually getting rid of and letting go of things seems overwhelming to me...and I find myself frozen in my efforts. I've made many donations to Goodwill, The Salvation Army and various veterans organizations...and it always feels great to do it. But I have so much more..things from when my kids were....kids. Typical of my thinking..."you never know when someone might want or need this." Why is it that they don't? My kids always know where their treasures are....safe at mom's house. It's a curse.

Pam said...

I am a traveler and my sweetheart is a pack-rat. He cannot understand my ways, nor I his. The upside is that my lack of accumulitis leaves more space for his stuff. Although really, I just don't like a lot of stuff around. My ideal room probably looks something like the guest room in a Japanese house or ryokan. My eyes like to wander over the smooth, clean surfaces. My sweetheart thinks I'm insane.
Thanks for explaining this so it makes sense to me now. Even though I have settled down, I'm still a traveler.

-c said...

Thanks for this post!

-yet another traveler

maruchan said...

I am seemingly stuck in the U.S. with my Japanese husband, after 8 years in Japan, because he is the gaijin now and having the time of his life. I, on the other hand, am the traveler and am planning my departure, at least, mentally. Looks like I will have to drag him, kicking and screaming, back to Japan ~ which I miss so much, I often cry. And, from there, I'll think of other places to travel. You said it so well. Are travelers every satisfied to stay put?