One time, we were all nomadic…
Every human living on earth has descended from successful nomadic people, who explored the planet and thrived on it, whether they were the Teutonic peoples of the Germanic North, the Vikings, the Sami, the Gauchos of South America, the Mongolian Kazakhs, the San Bushmen, the Native Americans, the Pan Eurasian cattle herders. Some followed animals, the megafauna prey, or tied to their own domestic breeds, by camel, dog, horse, others went with the seasononal ebb and flow and traced river veins through vast grasslands, or trekked in deserts, and over mountain scapes, while moving from climate pressure, waring tribal tension, the search for resources and indeed a great lure for the unknown and adventure.
At the age of 22, the wild and ancient instinct descended upon me for the need for ultimate mobility and freedom, the wanderlust of travel, enculturation, and raising my being to the highest branches of our species tree of growth. For those who have read this blog since the beginning, or are late joiners to my story, you have vicariously come to know where I’ve been, along with portions and parcels from this expedition through the world as a contemporary nomad. I experience life as an experiment in ontology and a building of a personal mythology, it is a deep and revelatory learning practice, and becomes a spiritual practice when the precious minutes of the hour are embraced. Travel is also a great medicine, as you walk over the earth, and collect the bones, talons and teeth of things that once lived, crawled, slithered, and flew, where you now walk, you come to know the ancient age of being and how it is connected in coexistence.
In the magic of the Northern woods of Canada I learned to yoke the primal awareness of Self with the essence of nonSelf, things like trees, cascades, avifauna, the flux of weather, but also more subtle essences like the tracks of animals, my own sweat, the way a well built shelter feels to the psyche, the feeling of being outside of time. I saw, physically, and metaphysically that there was more to LIFE, a lot more than I became accustomed to understanding, here there was gnosis, and a kind of expansion that even felt overwhelming to the spirit. So much openness, country, culture, and experience that I had not been espoused to. Nature was my bride, and a kind of youthful naivete couple with an organic lust for self-evolution and personal fulfillment drove me onwards, and stretched the sinews of my soul into portions of existence almost too great for the eye of the man. At least, it was the man I was, before seeing the wildness inside the reflected eyes in my skull, and a limited time to be able to explore this ancient push. Thus began four years of continuous travel.
To speak to purpose, and intentionally live, with a mission and a mind fit for new change, one goes into the fray with spiritual armor against anything that may harm his progress. It is important to remember that it is sane, and natural to dream, and long for something better. Our species has been doing this since the dawn of mankind, and our global cousins are not far removed from this archetypal calling of the world upon our imaginations. We are all native to earth, but as a species, we are technically invasive upon every other country outside Africa, in our human timelines, our bodies have changed little, only aesthetically, and we are still the creatures which roamed hundreds of miles through grasslands for woolly mammoths, or following herds of bison and reindeer by estuaries. We have crossed land bridges that took weeks to traverse, and sailed the open oceans in skin and tree bark boats to see what else was out there. We have ascended the highest mountains of Kilimanjaro and Everest to get a new perspective of the lay of the land, and let migratory birds decide our way through immense jungles and swampland. We have used allies to become nomadic, when our feet were too tired, or it was more efficient for us to do so. I have always seen the great wandering beasts as a source for traveling inspiration, the stallions, the bison and elk, the reindeer, kangaroos and the less herdlike fauna that go solo over terrestrial distance, coyote, auroch, mountain line. They all embody the kind of tuned in dynamic with the land and mobile territory that I am coming to intake from my own movements through my natural habitat.
Eventually, people started to ‘settle down’ into specific bioregions, the ways animals adopt a niche environment for the duration of their existence where they can thrive, and engage with their environment. The human ecology is unique in the sense that we have and will continue to live just about everywhere, from the arctic icefields, sandy dunes, humid jungles, and coastal paradises, to other planets and cosmic bodies. We are not a far way from Mars or other planetary moons, that represent the inclination of our kind and our ego to colonize. I don’t aim to say that there is a linear evolution that improves as we stop to claim space, and leave behind a nomadic lifeway as inferior, for surely the damage we do to nature, air, waters, etc. to build cities and box stores, and mine for the metals to run our technologies to keep us comfortable all year round is not an efficient example of a sedentary, ‘settled in’ lifestyle. At this point in my life I am experimenting with having a home base, and after four years of travel began to feel the ancient longing of belonging somewhere, setting roots, and being able to get to know one place really really well.
I didn’t know how long I would travel when I left Montreal in the spring of ’13, it seemed like the best thing to do at the time, and I had my heart set on a rural homesteading life in England, which of course only happened in part, and I discovered how much I liked the times in between places. The movements and liminal times before and after a temporary dwelling spot. As I commenced a journey much larger than myself, transiting between farms in the southern English isles, Roman villas, and Northern Viking territory, I came to my first winter, and took it upon myself to keep going, to see the other side, rather than get ‘normal’ work, or rent myself into a modified living environment while trying to salvage happiness from a domestic existence. I moved three times in my first winter and came out of it with a broad vision of my capability to transcend my own sights of what was possible in travel. For the next three and some years I kept this lunar like nomadism, and would be in a new location or country with each moon cycle, why I did this, I don’t know, but there was an intuitive feeling that guided me, while I dug in to my new setting over a one month time period, took time to explore and open energetically, and hone my being with new perspectives. Some zen masters say it takes 3 weeks to engrain a new practice, and I always experienced this fluctuating timeline to be the amount of time I needed to at minimum become exposed to a place, adapt a routine, and get my bearings, then I started to experience a transition from the virgin, new, vulnerable, and foreign energy of the land into a more grounded, fluid, dynamic relationship with where I was in space and time.
This kind of organic personal growth eventually led me to spend my days involved with people and cultures closer to home, and more like my own. The pan-Scandinavian lifestyles, rural Canadian farm societies, and a North American brand of radical politic, a form of hearkening back to an atavistic way of living. It feels normal to move in this way, in order to uncover more of the deep self in the process. I opted once to go more slowly, and seek land and tribe on the south shores of Nova Scotia, but experienced a kind of transitory limbo, where I knew that big change was imminent but one I was not yet fully matured to adapt to, nor ready to enjoy, it was a kind of dis-ease and I started to feel restless without a road to follow. At this time of my life, I still had not collected enough money from meager work prospects and fill in jobs on seasonal farms to make anything of my wealth, and thus had to keep moving and jump back on the train so to speak. It was too early yet, and I took yet more circuits through the Northern regions of Europe, and south into Central America to feed my lust for travel, it started to became a kind of vice because I could not sustain it, and thus I struggled like any other animal to get by, went into survival mode, and became more humble than I have ever been in my life.
Love kept me alive, and kept me going through the days, and I tried to inject every moment with meaning, while remaining open to awe, novelty, and beauty. It wasn’t until I had lost just about everything, that I was free to do anything, at least, I could start over, if I tried. In Guatemala this happened, and I turned to the one I loved the most at the time, my lover, to seek my wyrd, or a kind of fate. I had almost nothing left to lose besides physical items, and my health was degrading. I shed my ego and asked for guidance from Gaia, love, and the divine feminine which nourished me with soul food, and a reforged will. I returned to my homeland, where I came to manifest a revived life energy and a rerouted path towards where I find myself today. I met my anima in dreamtime, the woman who would then cross my path soon after, my consciousness was instilled with a sense of gnosis, of the deep metaphysical background behind this tremendous re-birthing. It was a much more mystical and beautiful than I could imagine or even expect once the fire had been lit, the way a bond forms between two wolves.
Love again, brought me through the threshes of a nomadic life of four years, into a more refined, focused and slowed down version of the day to day living. From where I write now, I am living and thriving on seventy five acres of wildland, with minimal cultivation, in a bio-region known as the Carolinian forest, marked by deciduous trees, riparian zones, balmy heat, and wet tropical like weather during spring and summer. It is similar to that of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire, and is ideal for the growth of crops, flowering bushes, berries, fruit and perennial vegetables of all kinds. It is a domecile, a beautiful nest, and therefore ‘domestic’, but one that is off grid, and out of sight from the urban chaos, the industrial pollution, and the altered landscapes of the city. It is a place I see myself staying for awhile now, at least a few years to sink into its gifts, and learn its teachings. There is so much abundance from the land, and potentials for exploration within its boundaries. I have chosen now to maintain a home base, and see the benefits of life in one place. While my former nomadic path is part of every muscle, fibre and sinew of my body, I am now moving my energies wholeheartedly towards the safe tending of this particular place, so that it may serve both my partner and I in ways that life in constant mobility can not. It preserves the ability for me to travel away at anytime and yet return to somewhere where I can feel as king, in my own domain with familiar sights, smells, and sounds. To me there is nothing more beautiful than that, and it is ironic to me to have encountered it at this time of my life, when I least thought I could end up in such a paradise found.