The more I say it, the more I think about myself in that context, the more my life, my discontent and the reason I am on this journey make sense. For the first time in my entire life somebody put words to those feelings. Somebody reached out to let me know I am not alone. Not only am I not alone, I am preceded by thousands and thousands of years of travelers. Many are ancient and spiritual and linked to some amazing cause. Many went forth, despite personal pain, strife, affliction, extreme poverty. Even more had a cause to journey for, a place to journey to, a reason to go. I know I am not those people. I have yet to identify some deeply personal reason or grief or cause that moved me. I just had to go. There was something inside me that would not rest until this journey, nay, this pilgrimage, happened.
All these years I thought it was just me. I thought I was alone with these feelings, this unrest, this sense of freedom when I was able to travel and live on the road. I thought something strange in me, and me alone, that beckoned me to go. I thought I was the only one who had ever heard that call. I cannot put into words how this feels. How this journey, this adventure all makes much more sense. How much more at ease I am, how many things have just melted away.
I was caught up in the business of DOING this adventure, and not BEING the adventure. Of doing travel and not being a traveler. I was not of the mindset of the pilgrim. OK, now, I am not talking about the Mayflower and the Europeans who came to this land to reek havoc, death and destruction. Oh no, this is not THAT kind of pilgrim. This pilgrim is on a stint of travel, maybe a week or a month or a lifetime. This pilgrim seeks a deeper sense of his or herself, of the world around them, and of the people who live there. I have been so busy trying to make this happen that I forgot to let it happen. I forgot to just be.
I feel different now that I have the words to describe that which has tussled inside of me. That beast who is now quietly sleeping. That angst, dissatisfaction, discontent. I have read the words of others who feel the same way, whose lives were called for more, who left for a week or a month or more to travel to the neighboring town or across the country or around the world. I have read the words I myself could not find, I have heard the voices of those who speak as if to me, as it by me, as if it were me. I have found my kin.
I cannot wait to get to the next town, to the next camp, to the next stop. I need a bookstore, I need the internet, I need to run with these thoughts, these feelings, this validation. I need to seek out those who seek, listen closer to those who move me, learn from those who went before. The blocks of my life just clicked into place and I have no words. I have no images, no poems, no photos of how this feels. I am excited and anxious and thrilled and humbled. I feel validated and enriched and centered. I feel like I have my fingers on the pulse of my being and that feels really, really good. I feel full, I feel aware and awake and in awe.
I now know what to do. I am a pilgrim and my job is to look, listen, engage, reach out, give and receive. I now see the random conversations I let slip by that were my travel gifts. I think of the Vietnam Vet at the library whose story I missed out on, the chance encounter that never happened because I was tied up in knots about where to go next, where to lay my head and how much it would cost. I was missing the point, missing the journey, missing the gifts the Universe was giving me.
This campground is a perfect example. I thought it a dud. Stuck down here in a gully with nothing to do, following the right sign to the wrong place. Well, there was a hike and there was a day of biking and there was awesome views and a shower and all the water I could want. This was exactly where I was supposed to be and I was too dense to know it.
I am a pilgrim and I am on a pilgrimage. This pilgrimage shall last bout a year or so, but I have no real plan. I have a route and some options, to earn a little money and see my family and friends. That is the grand purpose, after all. My pilgrimage is about my midlife breakthrough and connecting with the loved ones I know, and those whom I have yet to meet.
I am a pilgrim and I am humbled and excited to be here.
Amen and Cheers!