Super Tramp Nomad Life
September 24, 2012
I wrote this post about four months ago, but like many maaaaany blog posts I’ve written, it’s been languishing in my Drafts folder awaiting further editing. Well, I’m in Florence now, and I don’t feel like editing – I feel like going out into the summer rain and getting some gelato. So that’s what I’m doing. Please excuse the unedited rambling, says the perfectionist.
May or June, 2012, El Huecu, Argentina:
One of my oldest friends has been traveling the world since November of 2010. The other day on Facebook she posted a photo of a beach in Sri Lanka, white sanded and turquoised watered, palm trees in the distance and a few puffs of cloud in a pale blue sky, a surf board stuck in the sand. The caption: “The view from my office; busy day.” Someone asked, “Your office? What are you doing out there?” And she replied, “I’m a hobo.”
A hobo. Wiki says the word “may come from the term hoe-boy meaning “farmhand,” or a greeting such as Ho, boy!… or from the railroad greeting, “Ho, beau!” or a syllabic abbreviation of “homeward bound”.
Writer H. L. Mencken wrote this:
Tramps and hobos are commonly lumped together, but in their own sight they are sharply differentiated. A hobo or bo is simply a migratory laborer; he may take some longish holidays, but soon or late he returns to work. A tramp never works if it can be avoided; he simply travels. Lower than either is the bum, who neither works nor travels, save when impelled to motion by the police.”
I’m not sure if she’s a hobo or a tramp. It’s a shame tramp has taken on a negative connotation. I want to be a tramp! Or do I?
Being a hobo has definitely simplified my life. I’ve let go of a lot of my possessions and I’ve learned that I can live with less and less.
I feel content where I am right now, with my life right now.
Though I’m the most content I’ve ever been, there are a few small things I still struggle with: I am still working out procrastination blocks, especially when it comes to painting and writing, and I’m not currently living my intention to meditate two hours a day – one in the morning yes, but that second evening hour hasn’t happened more than a few times. I haven’t rolled out my yoga mat since I left Buenos Aires (I haven’t shaved my legs or armpits either, which is kind of awesome). I’m also eating more than my body needs, out of avoidance and self-soothing.
But I’m practicing acceptance. I saw a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh the other day that resonated with what I’ve been coming to comprehend – ”To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
A woman that I met here in Patagonia, who lives on a beautiful remote ranch, was wondering – does being out here in the middle of nowhere make people crazy and eccentric, or are the crazy and eccentric ones the ones who are drawn to this kind of life? And I wondered – crazy and eccentric compared to what? Eccentric, ex-centric, deviating from the circle, not having the same center. The same center as society? And of course we don’t all have the same center – our hearts and souls call each of us to our own paths, our own hero’s journeys and personal legends.
This song found me the other day as I was laying on some rocks and watching the clouds:
Ella sings of the murmur of the cottonwood trees that you see here in Patagonia, brought to Argentina by settlers, the only plant around here that’s taller than two feet. Cottonwoods, or alamos, reach straight up, towering three stories above the flat desert floor, crowding around ranches. ‘Don’t fence me in’ could be talking about physically being fenced in, but I think what’s more poignant is the longing for emotional freedom – to not be emotionally and psychologically fenced in, trapped by the opinions, expectations and judgements of others; and by the internalized fears and limitations that have been programmed into you.
It seems to me that out here, away from the crush of the judgment and opinons of the “normal” world, people are able to truly be themselves. They’re free. They’re not subject to what others think of them, and they have the freedom be wholly, unlimitedly, crazily, eccentrically themselves.
Homeward bound, searching for that center within, our souls,
We can only be free by accepting ourselves, and loving ourselves – hobo, tramp, whatever.
I find the worst things inmy life are my fears, my internal limitations that keep me stuck, that keep me suffering. The Buddhist word for suffering literally translates to ‘a stuck wheel.’ I am afraid, so I don’t do, nad then I paradoxically create the exact situation I was trying to avoid. My avoidance creates the suffering, the discomfort, the negative consequences I’m trying to hide from, that my fear is trying to protect me from. You are the only one who can fence you in.
Las unicas barrierires son mentales- The only barriers are mental. The only limitations are mental. My only limitations are mental. I have created the sitations in my life that I don’t like, that make me uncomfortable. I am 100% responsible for the good that has come to me, the good that I’ve refused to accept, and the bad that has come to me. I’m like a racehorse. I’ve put the hobbles on myself and then wonder why I can’t run free the way my heart longs too. I wonder what’s stopping me, holding me back, tripping me up. Well, it’s me.