There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,A race that can’t stay still;So they break the hearts of kith and kin,And they roam the world at will.They range the field and they rove the flood,And they climb the mountain’s crest;Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,And they don’t know how to rest.
The road called me when I was just a boy. Only 12, I took my savings and bought a ticket away. Before I’d even made 100 miles, I was taken off the bus and spent a night in a cell. It was three more years before I could finally make my escape.
I traveled free then, for the first five years hitchhiking. I developed a philosophy of travel within the first year. It had four main components.
The first was to count my blessings. I learned to be thankful even when I had nothing and sang a chant every day, “Thank you for this day”.
Next, I learned to see myself at my destinations. Although I wandered aimlessly, I knew where I was going and placed myself there. There was no hurry to arrive but I rarely waited more than five or ten minutes for a ride.
The third tenet was to be indifferent. It didn’t matter to me that people drove by. I told myself, “If they don’t stop, they’re not my ride.” I also didn’t ask for food or money but every day encountered deep generosity.
And finally, I took care of myself. I had food and bedding. I took my shelter where I could find it. I always had enough for each day, year after year.
Five years of hitching then five years of traveling in an assortment of vehicles on a road that led me to a mountain homestead. There I met the mother of my two children.
It’s 25 years later now and the kids are almost grown. In only a few more months, I’ll be able to take to the road again. I’ll be traveling by bicycle with my rat terrier Pippy. My route is through the upper Midwest to Quebec for the summer then South. From Niagara Falls to Igauzu Falls.
This blog is the diary of that journey.