Have you read Bruce Chatwin? I read Songlines, his fiction-meets-non-fiction account of his travels in deep Aboriginal country during a hiking trip at the start of the year. It’s worth a read. As I shared with my friend and National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner: “He is a rare writer who can actually insert himself into a story and report without judgement. He gives his impressions and interpretations, but the lens is clear.”
As it turns out, Dan sent me a New York Times article about Chatwin’s life (that’s him in the top image). I find knowledge of Chatwin’s life comforting and the NYT read is a great one. He’s a nomad. Goes the NYT:
Chatwin was powerfully attracted to nomadism, and you might view his collective writings as a struggle to discard this idea of home as a kind of heaven, and to replace it with the radical notion that the person who found himself adrift, in perpetual motion, might already be at home — that movement itself might be the ideal human state.
I had to think about this for a bit:
Movement itself might be the ideal human state.
Do I agree? I think I do. As I asked this question of myself, I also had to ask, after much avoiding, if I was also a nomad. I guess I am. I’ve lived out of a suitcase or backpack for eight years, in temporary accommodation for no more than six months at a time. Often no longer than just a few nights.
I know this: It’s in movement that we find so much joy. It’s in movement that we create. It’s in movement that we fend and grow and connect more readily with big minds and reach more important touch points.
It’s with just the clothes on my back (and perhaps a small bag of extras) that I know myself to be my most true and vulnerable. It’s by being agile and going to where the charm is, rather than waiting for it to happen upon me, that I am my most purposeful and alive self.
Studies show babies are most settled when rocked at the same pace at which a woman walks. We are calmed by the primitive memory of our moving ancestors.
As I write in first, we make the beast beautiful, walking occurs at the same pace as discerning thought. It’s in the movement of walking we find clarity. As I share quite a bit, I hike to get ideas and to work out tough problems. This recent trip I hiked the bejesus out of some tough stuff.
Is this why I’m nomadic? Is this why I find the idea of settling with possessions so…not possible, or likeable? I’ve honestly only just started to ponder this. It’s taken eight years to recognise that I am of a nomadic character…
I’m not settled on a theory yet. I know many of you who read this blog are also nomadic, or are drawn to the idea… Is movement ideal because it allows us to be comfortably lonely? Because moving forward is inherently optimistic? Because it allows us to constantly reinvent and be our best selves as we meet the new – no preconceived ideas of ourselves or of others? What do you think?