The weeks of travel I had first planned have now turned into years. Friends and strangers often ask me if I get tired from all the traveling. I don’t know if I get tired, but there are times when I feel one part of my life has been neglected at the expense of another. A life of continuous travel, constantly surround by new friends and new places, makes balance a rarely achieved ideal. As a result I’ve found my mind hungering for stimulation and challenge, something more satisfying than the small plaques that adorn displays in museums, more involved than the writing of a one-page post.
To find the time for this concentration and reflection I sought out a place to settle for a while. Of course homelessness makes this something of a challenge, but certain friends were kind enough to make an apartment in Venice available to me and it is from this apartment that I’m writing this entry. Here I’ve found mornings to indulge long stretches of uninterrupted reading, afternoons to focus on long neglected photos and evenings for long walks that have no purpose, other than to wander the unique streets of this strange city.
And what a city it is. Even in summer when the high tide of tourists seems more dangerous than the high waters that threaten the city, those who break away from the herd and venture beyond the main square can find stone bridges and dark canals resting unadmired. Perhaps no other place on Earth is such a wanderer’s paradise. No cars, no bicycles, even the narrow streets and stone walls do their part by blocking out unwanted noise. Late at night the flock of visitors retires to more conventional locations on the mainland and the streets expand, the only sound comes from your footsteps echoing off the stones or the waters trying to escape their confinement.
All this stillness makes Venice a perfect place for reflection. It is so easy to become distracted by life, to ignore the more probing and even troubling questions of purpose. Whether it’s from the daily need of work or family, or even the unorthodox demands of a life spent traveling the world, it is so easy to lose sight of the why to ones actions. Routine is so much simpler. It’s difficult, often painful, to look at life to closely and with so much world left to see (or for most people so much work left to do) it can wait. Of course I don’t believe that. I started living this was because I hoped to find something more meaningful than my cubicle prison. If introspection still hurts, well then at least I’m lucky enough to be doing it someplace as magical as Venice.