I was recently taunted by a great friend of mine, “Find something beautiful outside of Utah, you son of a bitch.” In addition to Axel’s barrage of motivational comments I’ve also been reading a fair number of outdoor odysseys were more often than not protagonist die in pursuit of an ideal nature, an ideal man, an ideal world. In the case of Chris McCandless whose tale is told by Jon Krakauer’s, “Into the Wild” 1996, or the story of Everett Ruess, both these young explorers and adventures went in search of something much larger than themselves in the natural world. Both of them were well read and overall well educated by my standards. These to vagabonds if you will, also seemingly had a knack for people, however at the same time there seemed to broud in them a deep disgust for the majority of people who walk the earth. The two men mentioned above specifically travel to some of the, at the time, wildest places in America, where ultimately they die, and tragically usually with having made a realization that what they want to be happy is companionship, people.
I’m sitting in the public library in Moab, Utah typing this collage of thoughts, knowing full well that perhaps the single most important thing to me is human interaction. However, I’m on my present adventure in search of isolation. To be removed from the comforts of other people. I’ve spent several weeks with my dad and my younger brother and sister. A few more weeks were spent with my older sister in Mancos, Colorado. I’ve reconnected with my family in a way I did not think possible six months ago. Which is interesting considering the pretense for the trip. I’ve now also spent about five days road tripping with a few friends and have arranged to meet more friends here in Moab for random fun for the next few days. While looking to get away, I find myself desperately seeking out human interaction.
But this idea of human interaction has been embodied for me in several different ways, I’m reading more now than I ever have. I’m soaking up everything thing I come into contact with. Currently I’m listening to Keith Richards memoir. Even though I may never know, speak, or even see with my own eyes Keith Richards, the connection I find myself developing to such a legend is strange. But it’s this connection that then pushes me to continue to explore my own musical goals. There is almost a dialogue between the experiences of someone who came before and the pursuits of my life. It is in this pho dialogue that solitude goes from hard to deal with, to being equally as pleasurable as working a crowded bar or having dinner with my family.
In America today it is rare to say the least to find true wilderness. Which as a young man in search of wilderness is slightly discouraging. There are very few places left unexplored, there are very few sites left unseen. However, I’m not seeking something that has never been seen, I’m not looking to climb the routes that no one has climbed, I’m not in search of anything really beside to better understand myself. Of course I’m looking for adventure! Of course I want to discover something incredible, but ambition has many forms.
We all learn who we are through different channels. Often times it is through our dedication to one specific pursuit that allows us to finally grasp at the many intricacies of who we really are. In the words of professional snowboarder Travis Rice,
“Experiencing the world through second hand information isn’t enough. If we want authenticity we have to initiate it. We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. It’s this self-discovery that inevitably takes us to the wildest places on earth.”
And sometimes the wildest places are often times just wild to us. Go find your wild, find yourself. Currently I’m finding me.
Until next time!
One thought on “Desert of Wilderness.”
Wonderful James! It’s a true realisation to know that “wherever I go – there I am!” Knowing thyself is a life long journey and you are way ahead of most! Well done that you have created this experience for yourself! Bravo and love from Aunt Kim (traveller, gypsy and adventurer at heart!)