The Influence of Land-escape.
I’ve landed on new territory. I left behind bamboo coned-shaped hats and banana trees for furred boots and earmuffs. The streets are lined in ice and snow. Pink cheeks occasionally smile at me as I cross a working pedestrian crossing. In Vietnam, stoplights were optional and made pushing Athena difficult (and intimidating) when making left turns. Here, the streets are wide and as I head west into horse and ger country, everything will become wider.
I am chasing solitude.
I crave the shapes around me to be hills and mountains instead of cars and buildings.
I desire the sounds inspiring me to come from birds instead of vocal chatter.
It was challenging for me to decide to change my route. I had created a few rules for myself in the beginning. One of the most important ones is to walk every step myself, never to take a ride no matter how difficult it may be. This was only broken when I got heat stroke in Australia, and was returned to where I was picked up.
Another was that my route be a beautiful, unbroken line across the planet.
The major challenge I have in sticking to my own straight-line rule is Visa’s.
Even in my original plan of walking across SE Asia, traversing Myanmar in the allotted 28 days was physically impossible. (Although, I admit I convinced myself that any hidden superhuman powers that lie latent in myself could help me accomplish it.)
And there are some places that as an American, I am denied a Visa. If I stood in the middle of Asia and looked in all four directions, there is a country that I do not have access to or enough time to traverse on my own hooves.
Instead of feeling trapped by the politics, this realization freed me from the constraints of my own walk. If I am bound to hit a wall somewhere, I might as well walk where I want. And take my time doing so.
Listening to my feet on the earth.
Taking the time to sip hot tea while watching the sunrise.
Spend a day (or a week) by a lake just to watch, read and write.
I still have a very long way to go.
And I’m still learning how to walk, how to enjoy it when it’s either scorching hot or overpoweringly cold. I have pushed hard, sometimes walking up to 45 kilometers (27 miles) in a day. There are times when it’s vital to do so, like if I’m running low on water or food and there’s a village ahead.
Sometimes it’s because I have a desire to finish.
As if I can see my old cottage just a few feet ahead of me.
Or I can smell the coffee brewing in Crows Feet Commons, feel the warmth of cuddling my Godson while watching Thomas the Train, or chanting with my friend Jenni Peskin.
But I know that all my greatest wishes, dreams, prayers….are here in the presence of my footsteps and the landscape that cocoons me. Even with many miles and years ahead of me, I am beginning to understand the importance of moving slowly. And it took getting sick in the jungle for me to listen even deeper to my heart, which is the true compass on my walk.
I wrote a shorty story about where I am and what lead to the transition from Vietnam to the wide-open steppes.
The reason I'm linking you to my friends website to find out where I am is because I support the vision of community building and story-telling that Pema has created. And through Soul growth Radio, the quarterly themes help me focus on how to share my journey with you through writing. I am new at telling my story through words on paper and SGR has supported me since the beginning. It feels good to support SGR too.
So, if you have a a few more minutes, HERE is my story of why I am in a snowstorm.
Lots of appreciation,