Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Flighty Life of a Traveller

ODO 99,350 - nearly at the ton!

There is an aspect to being a traveller that I had not really expected. I don't have direction. At any point in time, I am always headed in one of the directions of the compass. That seems, however, to have diminished as a source of inspiration and motivation.

I am in the unusual situation that nothing needs to be done. With an increasing freedom from time constraints even moving is optional. Even things that 'can't be put off', only need to happen before certain other things (which usually aren't pertinent), and nothing ever seems to back up. Things like blogging or my email inbox... being on the road, there is little significance to such things actually being up to date.

I think I have 'free time'. Previously, an abundance of this creature was semi-mythical. Something people have in movies, or maybe high school - in lands far, far away. The possibility of 'free time' always seemed to coincide with the acceptance of yet more things to do with it - an accretion which typically outpaced that actually occurance of this time. And which, of course, was consequently never 'free'.

Some people may know this as what happens after work, or on weekends. I have had some encounters with this before, and I can tell you an abundance of it is another matter altogether.

These days, I have to work out what I will do, based almost exclusevely on what I want to do. 'What(ever) you want' is only really a plus if you can actually work out how to remove the 'ever'. So I've invented all sorts of funny games, which have become the backbone of my daily life. They are not easy! Winning requires a degree of consciousness, experience and intent that I am only just building.

As a couple of examples:

Cleanliness: If you're dirty, plan to have a shower (clean the clothes etc.) after you've both accepted being dirty, then gotten sick of it. Don't plan on doing anything dirty until after you've milked the cleanliness for all its worth. (e.g., don't spend the weekend in a hostel in Carnarvon with 'snorkelling' on the todo list, when you could bask in cleanliness after a week on the beach.)

Food: Eat when you're most hungry. This is a good opportunity to be happy, don't waste it by jumping in too early or putting it off.

There are a range of base 'happinesses' which are identifiable in day to day life. Oddly enough, the best way I have found to manage them is usually by bingeing. There isn't much room for the median life on the road.

One of the definitely positive (not just new and novel) aspects of this 'free time' business is that things which should make one happy, can do so, when in normal life they usually would have a minor impact. Things like good food, fine company, beautiful surroundings - you don't need to binge to enjoy them, it just wakes you up to their presence. I've found that, having time to sit and think, I often say to myself "hey, this [potential source of happiness] should be making me happy!" And usually, then it does. It just helps to realise that.

I can only speak of myself here, but I think normally life is ruled by imperatives. 'Should do', 'need to do', 'want to do'... Out here, the positives have room to assert themselves. 'This is good', 'I enjoy it'...

Taking some getting used to, but I'm getting better at it. : )


1 comment:

Chris said...

i can relate to that feeling. like the way the holidays never quite sink in til the last two weeks and then you have to go back. sounds like an amazing trip, good on you