It’s a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Well there it is folks, the journey is complete. I returned to the Gap Creek Ranch on foot, walking through the front gate last Friday night, December 22nd. I’ve circumnavigated Planet Earth by land and sea without getting on an airplane. In the process I’ve crossed 22 countries, 2 and a half oceans, and 4 continents while traveling some 40,000 miles by foot, hitchhiking, sailboat, train, ferry boat, bus, subway, container ship, Uber, and rent car, in just over 34 weeks.
Way back in April, which feels like a decade ago, at my going away party Bob Lynch first asked the question that I’ve since heard many times along this road, “Mac, why do you want to do this?” I didn’t have a plausible answer then, and I guess I still don’t. Even now I find it’s easier to explain how I undertook this journey, than why. To explain why is to assign meaning.
Now that it’s done, whether it has meant much at all is doubtful, and whether I’ll ever understand what it did mean is more doubtful still. But I’ve decided that’s how life is, at least for me. My life’s meaning isn’t all figured out, and my purpose is not prearranged. I’m pretty much just winging it here, and I’ll assign meaning as it suits me.
Never-the-less, the effort has seemed worthwhile. “Life by the drop”, as the poet has said, is worth living. And for now, I’m satisfied in knowing that this was not so much a journey of self-discovery as it was a gesture of defiance. If I’ve achieved anything, its been to reclaim something that I’ve long felt in my bones, and that I still need to be true: “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
This world is wild and wooley place, full of wonder and awe, amazingly diverse, sometimes dangerous, always engaging. Some folks take comfort in that.
Lost indeed. Don’t talk to me about finding yourself. For it is only as you are lost that there is any hope for you. Sterling Hayden