the searched

tumbleweeds

was that it?

I’ve been travelling a lot lately

Travelling on the bike, carrying very little

By the afternoon, I’ve usually stopped at some place to buy grub to cook over fire, a bottle of wine to relax with

As the afternoon slips into evening I start to think about finding a place to pull over and camp

I’m familiar enough with most places I’ve travelled, having been a weekend adventurer ever since I first got wheels 22 years ago

Most places within 1-2 days ride I have a vague idea of where I can rough it for the night

I pull into a spot, check to see if its vacant, if there are people I’ll move on preferring to be alone

Sometimes there isn’t a choice as the light can quickly fade, especially on the east side of a mountain or in a valley

Along a river or a lake is ideal and picturesque, but I’ll happily take a dry arid camp spot any day, the wood is usually well seasoned and a camp fire is easier to light than in a damp forest

 

I prioritise my duties, I’m logical, as uncool as that is

Fire wood collection while there is still light

Tent, I can set up with my eyes closed in the dark

 

Unless I’m ridiculously cold from riding in below 10C weather, I tend to keep my camp fire pretty small. 

You don’t need much

A small fire will keep you warm and provides enough entertainment and company

 

I cook simple food when I’m on the bike, I don’t have much space to carry a lot

A small camp pot with a lid, a tiny bottle of olive oil, hot sauce, some cloves of garlic and salt

It can improve a lot of basic food

I tend to pop into a local butcher, grab a few handmade sausages, local eggs and good quality sourdough if I can get it

A pot, olive oil, garlic, torn up sausages, sealed, splash of wine, pop the lid on over warm coals for a spell and you have a nice meal

Eggs and bread for breakfast never had me complaining

 

I roll out an old Mexican blanket, rough fabric, hard wearing, pretty as hell

Laying down next to my fire, a tin mug full of good wine and a feed on my belly

Content

 

I stare at the fire, pull my jacket collar up and lay sideways resting on my arm

It’s a treat if there’s a park bench or a log to sit on

Luxury

 

A stick I’ve picked up from the ground becomes a really useful tool for the evening, poking the fire, allowing air to get under the fire and burn brighter

Eventually as I tire, I make the call, the once important stick goes into the fire as fuel for the last burn

With a final swig of wine, I say good night to myself and go lay in my tent

 

I love these evenings

Resting my head on a pillow of motorbike jackets, dirty black riding jeans and my Mexican blanket

I close my eyes and make an effort to listen to every sound around me

No cars, no traffic, no human conversation

Just the night and noises I’m not always familiar with

Birds I can’t identify, frog calls I’ve never heard, I lay wondering what’s around me

The sound of a splashing river, flowing in the darkness regardless of light

Wind in the leaves above me, the creak of branches under strain, swaying in the breeze

Space to think

 

Thought without the clutter of human built environment

No societal expectations

No unwritten rules

No judgement

Out here I’m not offending anyone

 

It's so detached from my weekday routine

Which right now, laying in my tent seems like a very weird existence

How did we get to this place where we work most of our time in meaningless jobs

Leaving such a small window to do real living

Going to an office every day to stare at a screen, moving little digital objects around 

Designing things that are sometimes only ever be viewed on a screen, never real

Viewed by people I will never meet

No interaction 

I get paid money for this

 

The very concept of money and wealth challenge my inadequate brain

Why do we find it so alluring?

Is it because we think with lots of money we will be free from the shackles of work?

Or is it a pleasant thought to be better off than our fellow humans?

 

What are we doing in this cycle?

What am I doing?

Am I doing enough?

 

I know I’m not a regular person 

I have enough contact with regular people to understand that

I’ve never really felt like I slot comfortably into anything easily

Always an outsider

I’m comfortable out there, it’s freeing

 

The conservative comfortable, safe, ‘normal’ life people fall into, the standard, the ideal lifestyle of a safe modern house, good car, modern conveniences, golf getaways, book clubs, the newest thing to wear, cook, consume, watch, download, the best quote on car insurance, the comparison of wealth and the FOMO we create with our international travel and ‘genuine’ experiences 

 

I’m miles from that right now

Not safe

Just miles from the craziness 

The fast pace is not here

The constant need to work, to produce, to create, to organise

To fill in our time doing something ‘important’

It’s not here right now

 

Do we get to the end of our lives, consider all the things we bought and consumed

All the things we did and didn’t do based on the judgement and opinions of others

And ask ourselves, was that it?

Was that life?

 

The owl calling in the night has only a few priorities

Finding food and not becoming food

 

I can embrace that sort of simplicity

Not that I have any natural predators in my hood

But I want that simple life

That little cabin

Tiny, simple, easy 

Something that allows me to free my head

Allow me to think, to observe the nature around me, to appreciate it, to value it

 

When I wake up, it’s always with mixed feelings

A new day waking in a tent is beautiful

The sunlight through the thin fabric a metaphor 

Delicately separating me from the world I want to live is paper thin, human constructed poly-fibre

It’s construct is non-permanent

Just like my stay here

I pack up my temporary home

I travel back to my reality

 

In a day's time, I always find myself back at the desk

Privacy removed

Avoiding office small talk

Dreading an office social event or birthday cake

The awkwardness of people that don’t really care about each other is unbearable

It’s phoney and fake

Like most people are, unwilling to break free of conservative or populism ideology, judgement, and really go live

To be vulnerable, to make dumb choices, to experience

To lust, to touch, to feel, to taste

 

I look at my screen, I design assets for clients wondering where they end up

Feeling no value in what I’m doing

No purpose

Wishing I was out there

Building that small cabin

Building that hen house 

Building that garden

Cooking, growing, hunting, fishing and walking among the animals I am a part of

But I’m not

I’m designing reports

For clients

Worlds away

The great irony is, without the job there is no cabin 

There is no escape

 

Until the next weekend adventure

Where for a moment

I get to taste a world I feel most comfortable in

A world that one day I hope to be back in 

But not in a tent

I will find my small home

A house I've built

Modest

Comfortable

Simple

Functional

Pretty as hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rohan Anderson4 Comments