Friday, August 06, 2004

The open road

This is a great little story.

I often dreamed of walking away from it all. When life and its responsibilities got too heavy to bear; when love was unrequited or unkind and the proverbial highway began to call, I considered taking that left turn and never looking back.

I'm not sure when it happened, that I allowed myself to be shackled by the comforts life offers. Or when I forgot the early realization that by giving in to those comforts I would forego the pleasures that freedom offers.

It wasn't always that way. I decided early on that anything too heavy to carry in a backpack was simply too burdensome to own. But then came things, and my love of things. Things like stereos and books, guitars and accessories, microwave ovens and CD's...what's a guy to do?

I remember once while still a bachelor, when I found myself caught up in that materialistic quagmire, that I chose to rid myself of all the objects that held me down. I separated 50 books and 50 records and shipped them overseas to my parents. Sold the rest. I was a free man.

But freedom brings a whole new set of responsibilities and expectations. You feel the pressure to do something worthwhile, like hitchhiking across the country, or traveling as a stowaway on a boat to China. Not doing something crazy and dramatic makes you feel unaccomplished and cowardly. I wasted my liberty in the pursuit of cash on which to survive with.

More than just our material assets, it's hard to cut away from the habits and routines we've developed in our daily lives. I have a certain need to read the paper every morning and watch the news before I go to bed. Shallow as these details may be, they are still real and they are a part of me. Though they are most certainly things that I could live without, as the creature of habit that I've become, the thought of altering these routines gives me pause.

Since the birth of my daughter, departing has become an impossibility because I can't fathom life away from her. But every now and then I can still hear the call of the wild, and I can see the open highway. And I tell myself, "maybe someday, maybe someday..."


Anonymous said...

Mick, you bring the child with you! There are plenty of books, for instance, about whole families selling everything, loading themselves into a sailboat, for instance, and sailing off around the world. And then writing a book about it to pay for the kids to go to college, I suppose. But still.

I share your feelings something fierce. I just could never bring myself to sell a book.


Amber said...

I remember all the freedom I felt when I moved into that little house with almost nothing to put in it. Free at last!

Yes, I like all the nice things we've accumulated since then, and I don't want to give them up, but there really is nothing like that unfettered feeling of not having much to tie you down.

SN said...

screw it...sounds good...
i am out...

[nah...just wishing...]

C. Fish said...

I get moments of restlessness.. but like you I can't bear the thought of being away from my kids.

How ever would I get to sleep at night without my youngest girl's "I love you MORE!" as I tuck her in?