Friday, November 11, 2016

The Vagabond and the Homesteader

For me there are two ways to get to know the world. One way is to travel it. The other is to sit by the river and see what comes my way. Both methods have their charm.

I've always been interested in different people. We are born into a limited set of circumstances: a family with a certain social position, in a particular religion, and in a geographical area. That is what we we think of as normal. To others it might seem exotic, but it works both ways.

Normally this time of year I'm the traveler. Sometimes in November I'm in motion, either traveling down the road or on the water. If not actually traveling by now, I'm preparing to travel. My mind is filled with thoughts of routes, motion and equipment.

Circumstances and choice have put me in the role of the one who sits by the river. While the role is not new to me, it's been sometime since I've played it. My focus has been less on the skills of the vagabond and more on the necessities of being a homesteader. Much of my time and treasure has been spent on the mundane yet important duties necessary to thrive in a northern winter.

Old Einstein was right. It's all a matter of perspective. Is the person in the boat really rushing past the shore or does it just look that way? Could it be that the boat is standing still and the world is revolving beneath him? The end result is the same.

The worse part of being a vagabond is leaving so many people behind. Yet the very act of travel brings one into contact with new people to befriend. There's also the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family who live far away. The homesteader may have more friends and family in their daily life, but the chance to meet new people is limited. No wonder that so many cultures put great emphasis on hospitality towards the traveler. The value of differences is recognized.

There was a third path, but it's not as common in the modern world. Migratory tribes used to be common. Perhaps at one time that's how a good part of the human population lived. It has many of the advantages of the vagabond and the homesteader. There is the advantage of seeing new places and meeting new peoples. Yet at the same time one is surrounded by ones own culture and community. Unfortunately today we have the poorest expression of that dynamic: the tour group. Oh well, such is life.

There's a saying that no matter where you go, there you are. The biggest journey happens within. Whether we stay at home or travel the world, it's the backdrop to the greatest adventure.



  1. Yeah, I've always heard that everybody's gotta be SOMEWHERE! ;-)

  2. Some wise words there, I never thought about it those ways. Except for one summer and a year and a half in college, I've spent my life where I was born. Not counting vacations of course.

    Some private property I am REALLY attached to keeps me here - if it weren't for that, I'd consider moving. I was taught early on that travels open up your mind, and stopping often finds more adventure and opportunities to learn, vs. rushing on by to make time (whatever that is, lol).

    Thanks for the post.

  3. You have a poet's soul, Sixbears.
    Delightful reading.

  4. Whether you're smart or not depends on where you live. In Indiana, we knew how to catch possums. In Florida, people ask "Do you mean 'O'possums?" with a sneer. So I much prefer sitting on the bank and watching what passes. At least it's passing and not rowing for shore. lol I haven't really felt at home since leaving my roots.

    1. Down there in Florida you'd better keep your eyes on the river and not sit too close. Never know what's going to crawl out of it. :)

    2. Living where I do, I saw a lot more water when I was living in Indiana. Can't get near a decent beach with all the snowbirds or rich people in their condos.

    3. That's why I love boats. Water everywhere you look. ;)

  5. one can still stand perfectly still

    traveling as the earth turns

    going in its orbit around the sun

    as the whole solar system orbits the galactic center

    "grok that"!


  6. I used to love to travel. But these days, I like being at home. We get out some, but mostly day trips. It's comfortable at home. I've had my adventures in life. Quiet is good now.

    1. I'm torn because I love to travel and also love my home. The semi-nomadic life has worked so far.