Where the wild things are


"I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

The year draws to a close; and with it, another chapter. It has been a quiet year—a year of reflection, of stillness, of planning. A softened edge, a yearning for the familiar, a reprieve from the monumental adventures of years past. Oh, there's been no shortage of beauty and escape; indeed, I melted the summer away with sweet sojourns to lovely, familiar places. Off to the great lands west and north of here, by my count nearly five weeks of it.

The east, too, earlier this winter: another six weeks spent seeing and sensing and surviving India and Nepal. Oh, and moves abound: a great upheaval of my little house not once, not twice, but three times, a move not just off the old lot but off the old grid altogether, a move from a life shackled by power lines and electric cords to one free of it all, a life dependent on the sun and the rain for sustenance, power, water, heat—the way it should be.

Despite the changes, restlessness. I feel ready for another adventure—great heaps of them, really, but one will do for right now—and so again we're off, me and Lauren and a little engine that could: off to the mountains to learn the news, off to the desert to hear the silence, off to the deepest corners of nature to find where the wild things are.

Namibia. Courtesy of the internet.

We leave for South Africa on the 20th. We'll land in Cape Town and pick up a truck and—just as soon as I learn how to drive a manual 4x4 behemoth on the opposite side of the road and in the opposite seat in the car—we'll venture north to Namibia, north to the world's oldest desert, its darkest skies, its most remote vistas. We'll spend three weeks just wandering in this, our tiniest of houses—just a stove, a tent, a water jug, and a trusty pair of axles—chancing upon whatever canyons, whatever elephants, whatever beauty nature will afford us. Oh, and then back to Cape Town for our last few nights south of the Sahara. Open roads, fenceless fields, a nation twice the size of California with a quarter the population of New York City—this is Namibia; this is freedom.

Namibia. Courtesy of the internet.

But freedom lives many lives, and this is not the last. I write this post with fingers still greasy from this morning's work: a few final twists and turns in the nuts and bolts of my shiny new touring bicycle. Months behind schedule, it's finally here and ready to ride, and when I return from the Kalahari Desert forty days and nights from now, it has some ideas on where to go next ...

Namibia. Courtesy of the internet.
... as always, more to come (but with more regularity this time around).


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