An inquiry into living while walking the roads of America, Mexico, and beyond
August 17, 2006 6:55 PM   Subscribe

It's a cool thing. I know someone whose family dropped out in the seventies and wandered Europe in a camper for a year. They were not hippies, just adventurers. What a great experience for all. This journey seems perhaps even a bit more intimate. Life is a journey, it is good to experience a few things along the way.
posted by caddis at 7:19 PM on August 17, 2006

Interesting; like the author mentioned, I'm one of those folks who've considered doing the same thing, stopped mainly by familial obligations and expectations.

The bits about food kind of pissed me off, though, especially his facile and somewhat condescending 'Not having food isn't a big deal unless you make it a big deal' attitude. Pretty easy to say in a society where even the poorest citizens suffer from obesity-related illness.

Still, worth a read.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:22 PM on August 17, 2006

Did he ever get around to writing the book?
posted by haikuku at 7:38 PM on August 17, 2006

White text on black = unreadable.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:39 PM on August 17, 2006

What a great read, thank you MetaMonkey.
posted by tellurian at 7:55 PM on August 17, 2006

Nice stuff. I'e got a friend who does this on an annual basis, or so it seems. He'll just drop off the face of the earth. 9 months later he'll show up and tell stories of working the fishing boats in Alaska, or walking across Honduras, or hitchhiking cross-country. I've always been somewhat jealous of his ability to chuck it all and go off adventuring, but I suspect that a person has to be of a certain philosophical bent to do so. I'm just not that sort of person, but I do love hearing the stories.
posted by lekvar at 8:21 PM on August 17, 2006

Thanks MetaMonkey. I needed that.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:22 PM on August 17, 2006

I agree that if you walk long enough, paying attention to the plants growing along the roadside which guides your steps, you can come to think that eating thistles cooked with wild onions you've found is a good idea.

This, however, is not enlightment; it is hunger and low blood sugar, and in your confused, weakened state, you are simply unable to distinguish that fact. Also, it's a kind of silly solipsism to maintain that you didn't want a canoe or have any use of one, until the very moment you were given one. Same for the ride thing.

Thinking it's fine to cancel your health insurance and trust to naturopathic luck is just, well, blind unreason bordering on stupidity. I bet if he came down with appendicitis, he'd do more than graciously accept the services of any surgeon who happened to offer them. Pain rising to screaming agony is wonderfully clarifying to the mind.

My BS detector is mightily exercised by this sort of thing.
posted by paulsc at 9:43 PM on August 17, 2006

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Sort it out, I dunno.
posted by eegphalanges at 9:59 PM on August 17, 2006

A very clear thinker. Some people should clean their BS detectors.

I needed that too. Thanks.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:09 PM on August 17, 2006

Good reading. Food for thought. Liked the links page of that site which I misread as carefree, when it is car free.
posted by nickyskye at 10:46 PM on August 17, 2006

Ok writing and an interesting story, but a bit too preachy for me.
posted by Poagao at 1:18 AM on August 18, 2006

*singing* What’s the best mushroom? Chicken-of-the-woods

I think his point is dead on (preachy juvenile laments and the inevitable dick sucking for money story aside) it’s pretty easy for a human to basically survive on earth. Money is a man-made construct as are it’s attendant desires. There are very very many people who are good and decent. And I could probably do this myself except for a couple of things - one of course, I have, and want, my family. And number two - ever seen “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” where Nolte is eating pate’ out of the garbage and he can’t do it anymore and he looks back and says “let’s go get a cappucino” despite knowing the ton of bullshit he has to put up with? I think part of what brings him back is the bullshit, not so much the cappucino. I mean those people are at heart good and decent too, just maybe a bit less clear, bit more screwed up. And that’s a journey as well.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:22 AM on August 18, 2006

Excellent post, MetaMonkey. Clearly not everyone's cup of tea, but for those of an enquiring bent, a lovely exploration of the roots of what we call happiness.
posted by RMALCOLM at 9:09 AM on August 18, 2006

I found it overwhelmed by introspection a lack of humility. How can one have such an adventure and not realize one's ultimate insignificance in the larger scheme or how good one has it? Even with "nothing" he remained fed, healthy and occasionally sheltered. He did not have gunfire raining down upon him by people who despise his very existence on the same planet or to pick at barren, parched earth for a bare survival. He had the luxury of walking through a fat land and receive the goodwill of those with something to spare. He somehow got to Oahu and Thailand and appreciated it little (the $120 wouldn't have even gotten him to Maui -- clearly there's some juice in there missing).

Also, the uniquness of his position seems to escape him: "Why so much hatred when we are capable of living in such beauty?" Answer: because the lifestyle he leads is paradoxical. It can only really exist because the rest of us didn't get there before, strip the forest of its fungus and start eyeing itinerants as potential sources of jerky. His wandering lifestyle is no more sustainable than the poor slobs he pities so.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:31 AM on August 18, 2006

Almost reminded me of this book. Interesting, with some points that struck me as valid but also a bit preachy and requiring a functioning BS detector.
posted by exit at 11:00 AM on August 18, 2006

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