It’s been well over three years now since I last had a regular job. I’ve largely forgotten the special excitement of a Friday and the glum dread of a Monday. Perhaps in a country like Switzerland or Nepal where they strictly observe the six-day work week Sunday still has some special significance, although even then it’s not usually until I’m at a closed shop door that I realize what day of the week it is.
Many people imagine I get bored, especially during stretches of time like the one I had this past month, where I haven’t been busy trekking through some novel countryside or hopping across Mediterranean islands. The truth is quite otherwise. Even when sitting still my days are filled with travel, only this travel is taken through books or film. One could argue this lacks the advantages of real travel, real experience and of course, to a certain extent, it’s true. Yet it is also true that only through books and film are the normal restrictions of time and place stripped away.
In fact, for me reading is an indispensable compliment to travel. What else could turn a simple pile of decaying stone into a great imperial forum or an empty field into the sight of some terrible battle? Not only history but culture, language, art, music, all these wonderful compliments to travel have become more accessible to me through the knowledge I gained not wandering the streets of some strange city, but in the quiet hours spent with a book.
No the greatest problem for my months of stillness aren’t with boredom, but rather with blogging. Note that I say blogging not writing. I have plenty to write, but as a photographer who captures images from the world and not a painter who captures images from his mind, I limited in what I can blog. Sure I could write long sprawling entries sharing my thoughts and ideas, but in modern times the real reader has become increasingly rare. Like stamp collectors or numismatics the reader is now someone apart.
Of course if you ask the average person why they don’t read more they’d simply say they don’t have the time. We accept that answer so readily because after all who isn’t busy? Strange that in a world where technology now allows one person to do the work of twenty we have less and less time, but that’s a topic for another day.
No need to fear though. I can see spring unfolding outside my window and with it I hear the first calls of the road. Soon I will be swept away on a new adventure and I hope these last months of preparation will have made me better prepared for the adventure.