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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The world at my finger tips-

That is what the bloggosphere seems like to me. In one of my many serendipitous explorations I bumped into Antarctic explorers. I was just poking around, and I found scholars exploring changes in Antarctic climate. Through their blog I got to share that adventure.

What was amazing was that they wanted to know a little about the place from which I was doing my exploration. That is the place I sit right now, in the bowels of a jail facility. I am charged with monitoring the 34 inmates in this unit. Imagine that, explorers far away asking about my job.

From this place I follow several other bloggers who live on the road. Tioga George, Wanderwolf, and several others. Some travel in vintage RV's, compelled by economics and wanderlust. Others are better off economically, traveling in wonderfully designed and equipped rigs. They share one thing no matter what their traveling gear. A passion for being out there. Travelers.

Steve Roberts is a traveler whom I have followed, off and on, the longest. Ages ago he melded high technology and bicycles, and hit the road. His adventures are recorded in several locations, this one being central enough to take you to most of the others. Steve has moved his experiments with nomadic technical lifestyles (technomadics) onto the sea at this time in his life.

I have longed for the road for much of my life. I chose to sit in one place, however, and pursue the path of family. Oh, I get to go someplace now and then, but the life of the road has not been mine very often. On the whole my family has been very satisfactory in exchange for that mythical road that still calls me. I do not regret the choice.

Now, Steve Roberts just recently made an observation regarding life on the road in comparison with life in one place. The two are quite different. I cannot say it better, so I shall quote him here.

Although we have only been on the water for a month, the skewed perception of time that I first observed in my bicycling epoch has returned... and with it, a sort of virtual life extension. In retrospect, this journey feels like some indeterminate time on the order of 3 months, yet the present is so full that it appears to flit by with the days barely able to contain all the activity.There are plenty of changes, and those form waypoints in the memory.In contrast, staying in the same place all the time — even a nice place — yields the opposite temporal perception: real time seems to drag, but the past seems to have flown by. ("Has it really been 6 years since we saw each other??? Yikes!") This phenomenon is very hard to overcome, since the setting is constant and it all blurs together into a single undifferentiated jumble of memory, un-indexed by moments of discovery and the epochs of travel.So that's my secret for living longer: keep moving. The number of years may be identical, but it will feel like more...

He may well have found the essence of the siren call of the open road. Change. A constantly changing environment of experience. A difference in awareness, and a different way of thinking. A different way of being.

I am still not at a place where I can answer that siren's call. I have responsibilities I have freely assumed, and I cannot just hit the road without being unfaithful to many people. I just will not do that.

Until the day arrives that I can go forth and journey with abandon, I must be satisfied with this world at my finger tips. It is not a bad world at all. I can sit here at my desk, and as I monitor my sleeping charges I can also visit with the bloggers I have met. I can view their photos, and virtually travel to the places of which they write, simply by touching the right keys.

For the moment, I am content. That is enough.


Louise said...

What a great quote! Mr. Roberts has a real way with words; thanks for sharing them.

Your post today reminds me of another quote, but I don't know who said it: "Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have." The contentment you show in your life is an inspiration, Michael.

The road is a wonderful life, for some, and a loving family life in one place is another equally wonderful life. May you continue to be blessed with a wonderful life!

Michael Lockridge said...

Thank you, Louise. I just hope I can embrace that inspiration when my contentment is tested.

Sometimes when I write I find the contentment that has slipped away. The act of writing helps me gain perspective.

It is nice that it sometimes touches others.