"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey
Saturday, January 5, 2013
To My Heckler:
I received this comment on a recent post: "Having your mommy and daddy and friends give you money is not the same as saving money. Running from things as soon as they get hard is not the same as being brave or adventurous." - Anonymous As a reflex, I deleted it instead of allowing it to be published publicly on the blog. Then I re-thought my decision. The Quakers say that there is that of god in everyone, so we should listen to all perspectives with an open mind, even the ones that aren't initially pleasant to our ears. Anonymous, are you reading, beloved? This one's for you, dear. I genuinely welcome your perspective. There is room for you in my world. I ask that you openly share your identity, and that before you respond, you read and consider the below clarifications. Let's be sure we're dealing with factual information first. Money Yes, saving earnings and receiving gifts are two different ways of acquiring money. You are correct about that. Do you have a story that one is better than the other? As for me on this trip (which is what I assume you're referring to), I got from Maryland to California over three months entirely on my own savings. I did not go into debt even one cent. I feel pretty good about that. I have also had many welcoming, free places to stay through couch surfing, and many meals cooked for me, without which, I could not have made it so far. To all my angels along the way, I am humbled and grateful. It is my assessment that I have done no wrong in accepting those kindnesses. I hope that if you travel, the same would be extended to you. When I arrived in Santa Cruz, I got two jobs and saved a couple more thousand dollars on my "own" (but really, nothing is done on our own). I also received two unrequested gifts of cash from friends, and a small Christmas gift of cash from my 87 year-old grandmother and my parents. I suppose to be completely authentic, I could give those gifts of cash back. Is that what you are suggesting I do, Anonymous? Is that what you do with gifts you receive? "Mommy and Daddy" My father is a dedicated, blue-collar worker who has put in a minimum of 40 hours a week my entire life at the same job, at times taking on second and third jobs at Walmart or the local bowling alley to make ends meet for our family. He still, at age 63, is working overtime and cannot afford to retire, despite the arthritis that is creeping quickly into his hands and making his job quite painful. My mother is disabled and hasn't worked for my whole life. I began working at age 14. I put myself through college and graduate school. I don't ask my parents for money because I know they can't give it. They give me a warm, loving place to come home to and gifts much more valuable than money. So this trip is certainly not being funded by mommy and daddy. Courage As for running from things when they get hard, that's a great question - no sarcasm. It is an accusation that many folks who choose to live in one place make against many folks who choose to be nomadic. Every traveler I've met has been accused of the same thing at some point. I've asked myself numerous times along my various journeys if I am, in fact, running from something rather than to greater possibility. I don't think I ever come up with a good answer. More accurately, I think the answer changes by the day. I suppose I'm doing the best I can with the situations that present themselves to me. If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that I don't always do it "right." I want to be courageous, but sometimes I'm scared. I want to commit to things, but sometimes I run. But then sometimes, I DO do it "right." Sometimes I see both the easy way out and the hard way through and I stare my fear right in the face and jump in. I suppose everyone has times of each. I assume you do as well, Anonymous, since you're wrapped in the same human skin as me. Would you like to share a story with us of a time when you felt courageous? My readers and I would welcome the chance to applaud you. Courage comes in many forms. More Thoughts? Most importantly, what is your name, Anonymous? Where can we find your blog? What wisdom to you have to share with my readers and I about saving money and being brave? Readers, do you have additional thoughts for our anonymous commenter?
"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."