Colorado leaves a funny taste in my mouth; the taste of something that was pleasant to bite into, but that lingers as dry, gritty, earthy – a crumbling apple hidden among the juiciest...
...I was born a vagabond, and I have been tethered, hitched to this post, pawing at the ground for twenty years. The majesty of the Rocky Mountains, the great plains combed over with golden grasses, loyalty to loved ones, and an endless well of anxiety, fear, and depression used to be enough to keep me here. It used to be enough to help push through the pain of my magnetic core pulling me toward change, toward the world. It used to be enough. No longer.
In mid-February I will be leaving Denver for the bustling metropolis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then onward from there to who knows where. That is all the certainty I have for my future, and it’s all the certainty I will ever need. I am used to the constant unraveling and explosiveness of my life, but where I used to get swept up in rapids, either stalling or fighting, I now ride the turbulence, befriending the chaos. I have lived through an abundance of chaos, and I do not foresee it ever ceasing. So now I rise, and arm myself with bedlam and ambition.
The open road – the promise of drastic change and challenge – stretches before each of us, and I am through with the roads both more and less traveled. I veer into knee high grass, into the forest, to expose myself to the elements, to be brutalized and renewed. I leave on my own to become wild, feral, indomitable. I shed the skin of stagnation, and bare my resilience, bare myself to the vastness of the world. I am most myself when traveling, when in flux, and I wander off now to be fully and wholly who I am: an old soul seeking connection, meaning, and newness.
In one of his most famous works, Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse tells the story of the Buddha coming to enlightenment, of becoming Buddha. He tells the proverb, one which many of us are already familiar with, of never being able to step in the same river twice. The river may always exist as an entity, but no matter where you enter or where you stand, it will never be the same. “Onwards, onwards, this is your path,” the river speaks to Buddha. To always flow, change, adapt, impact, move – this should be the goal of all people. Without growth, without movement, there is only stagnation and wilting; what could be the Ganges in us reduced to a muddy, coagulated trickle.
I have been built and readied to wander, to live out of backpacks on the floors of friends and strangers, to immerse myself in the worlds and lives of my fellow human beings. I can no longer be true to myself while allowing myself to sink further into my own decomposition, and while many good and beautiful things have grown from and in Colorado, this soil has become deficient and depleted. Like the soft white seeds of the dandelion I release myself to the whims of the wind.
**For the first leg of my trip I will be traveling with my buddy, Ryan, who is also setting out on a traveling adventure. I will be posting a weekly blog about my travels and experiences. Get ready for more ramblings on the nature of travel and being human. To get another perspective on traveling, and if you're interested in reading some beautiful words on the impact of Christianity and religion, head over to Ryan's blog, theholyapostate.com.