Old adventures, new adventures


It's springtime—maybe—time to wake from hibernation, to leave the little shell I've built, to seize the day and embrace the season. Time for adventure.

Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz, California.

I'm off to a good start, just yesterday returning from a lovely week in California with good company: climbing through Joshua Tree, celebrating nuptials, following the great Pacific from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Once again eager, and excited, for travel.

But first, I have a house to finish. I have no true hopes of burying my hammer by the end of the month, but I am pleased with the progress this March has brought, thanks to Dave and thanks to Tony: new furniture—real furniture—a place to sit, a place for food and a place for wine, a place to hang my coat and my gear. And, oh, a bathroom, a fully working bathroom with a hot shower and a simple toilet, a bathroom with a door and lights and mirror, and with the very world plastered on its walls. There's little left to do—finishing touches, really—one more couch and some cushions and a little paint here and there, then some solar for the roof ... the end, it most certainly seems, is very much in sight.

Yet sooner than I think, I'll be off again—flights booked and rail pass in hand. On May 9, I'll depart for Madrid; on August 9, I'll return from Dublin. How I'll spend the ninety days in between is beautifully unplanned, spare a small excursion to Cairo and Istanbul, a few weeks accompanied by a wonderful friend, and a June 9 show in Amsterdam by one of the loveliest musicians to ever grace the face of a vinyl. I've packed my bag, over and over, reducing and lightening my load, aiming, in the immortal words of Thoreau:
... to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
Bottomless rail pass in hand.
And yet, I fear I crave more than a jaunty backpacking trip around Europe, no matter how small the pack. I have a new expedition brewing—this, my ultimate adventure in simplicity.

Next winter, I shall find myself a little island: tiny, uninhabited, undeveloped. I shall row to it, kayak or boat perhaps, and with me I will bring nothing but literature, a knife, first aid supplies, and—if the island won't provide it—drinking water. And there, I'll spend thirty days with nothing but the sea and the forest and my thoughts and my books, thirty days of reducing life to its lowest terms and, if it proves to be mean, then getting the whole and genuine meanness of it, or if it be sublime, then to come to know it by experience.

I'm terribly excited, more excited than I've been for any adventure of late. But weary, too. It's a strange thing to be exhausted by the mere prospect of more travel, but here I am, planning for four months of minimalist nomadism within the next ten, and a sliver of my self begs for something more grounded.

Candidate 4 (highlighted) for home, 2015.
And this brings me to my final adventure—not my final ever, just the end of my visible horizon—a simple one, or so I think: the birth of a cafĂ©. Though the last thing this city, my city, any city needs is another place selling coffee, what my surroundings severely lack, at least in any acceptable number, is a gathering place, one with open seats and open doors, a place for community and conversation and, yes, hot beverages for garnish.

I do not want to be a business owner; I do not wish to start a business. For profit, money, expansion: these are the very enemies of simplicity and community. And so Walden Pond—for what else would it be called?—will be a non-profit, donation-based establishment, serving simple teas and simple foods, serving the community, an aspirational model of fair, responsible, ethical development.

More to come—on all of it, always, more to come.


  1. Sounds good. If you want to talk/know anything about Cairo, Cristine and I just got back from 16 days in Egypt. If we don't catch up, safe travels!

    1. Thanks—I would love some recommendations. Oh, and happy birthday!


Adventures in Simplicity All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger