happy travels

I'm staying in Lethbridge for a few days with some friends of mine. I left Winnipeg last Saturday morning for something like 10 days, although nothing is set in stone. I drove to Lethbridge my first day out, a long and lonely drive, but I didn't feel the isolation of it. I felt the quickening of travel, the movement of my soul, and it is not a lonely prospect; it is just alone. On Thursday morning I leave for Portland. I'll spend a few days there and meet new people and become acquainted with a new place. I've been told I will like Portland and I certainly hope so. I've driven through it several times before but never stopped there. I'm going to do a day hike that is connected with Imago Dei Community in Portland called "Great Books in the Great Outdoors" (click if you're interested to hear more about it).

And planning this trip has been so simple and inspiring. But at the same time, faced with this big adventure to move on and race the open road, I miss Winnipeg already. I guess I'll be back before I know it and I'm very pleased to be traveling once again, but each time I leave, I feel more and more uprooted. There is something, the friends and family I have, the community which I am a part of, and the history of the place... it all draws me back. It's all very beautiful, really.

So, a few quotes about travel...

First, on traveling alone, which is a mostly unpopular prospect:
"The man who goes out alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready." -Henry David Thoreau

On being conflicted about leaving home to travel:
"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it." -George Moore
"I should like to spend the whole of my life in traveling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home." -William Hazlitt

On the philosophy of traveling:
"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive." -Robert Louis Stevenson
"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." -John Steinbeck

On traveling as a lifestyle:
"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." -Gilbert K. Chesterton
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page." -Saint Augustine

And finally, on the endless traveller:
"Everywhere is nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends." -Seneca

This last is a very funny quote. Everywhere as nowhere seems to imply that everywhere is anywhere. Well, if everywhere is nowhere, and everywhere is anywhere, then anywhere is nowhere; and the person who stays in one place may also simply have many acquaintances without any real friends. The problem is presence; paying attention to this moment and this person and on and on... If you miss the simple and obvious things, if you ignore the world for want of entertainment, then you will always have mere acquaintances, regardless of travel or immobility.

But for the traveller who holds that everywhere is nowhere, it's interesting to look at how St. Augustine described the nature of God: as a circle whose centre was everywhere, and its circumference nowhere. In other words, the traveler has no better companion than God Himself, who resides everywhere, in all places and in all things, and never has an end. Then everywhere suddenly becomes somewhere, a familiar place, presence is all about you. Suddenly, traveling or staying, everywhere is somewhere holy (or at least potentially so); and this moment is for me as much as you.


at work today

music rises like water
in the penthouse above
dripping down to the street below
flowing for all to hear

and then there's sulphuric acid
in that creepy staircase, love-
making, heart-breaking hate,
brewing potato beer

waking up to streets paved with brown carpet
squishing like worms between my toes
and nobody knows

oh why, curses, oh! fie!
why oh why the hell is there acid in the closet?


-written by Rachel Reimer, Brock Tyler, Kami Pennicook, and Chris Campbell to commemorate the 3rd day of August in the year 2006

**note: this blog entry is also a commemoration of my first collaborative blog entry