André, Heart of Adventure, Lúnasa Days

Thank you and an update

Photo by Matt Derrick

This week I want to thank everyone who has believed in me.

I continue to believe that a journey is among the most profound life practices. Even though I’ve faced incredible challenges lately, many of those challenges have to do with the wonderful places and people in my life. I never would have found any of them if I hadn’t set off to leave home.

And although the road ahead looks hard, I’m in a better place for it than I’ve ever been. I did a 20-mile test ride of the newly configured Giant this week, fully loaded with gear, and it was a joy. The nights will be chilly now, but the days will also be cooler and easier to handle. This adventurer will survive.

My career is also changing. I’m speaking at the Hero Round Table in November, presenting my words for the first time to serious professionals in a variety of fields who want to understand and promote heroism. The discussion of heroism today almost never considers the hero’s journey as a real, traveling journey, and I think I have something novel and important to offer. A journey is a practice that can change many lives, and we should make journeying accessible as part of fostering heroism.

On a personal note, my journey has indeed taught me my purpose in life, or at least my art. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I’m not bad at it, but only during my journey did I realize that it is my medium. And that my goals with that medium are far more than just making a living on the road: I am a philosopher at heart, and I want my writing to contribute something meaningful and lasting to the world.

So I’m working on a new book about the philosophy of adventure. Many of you have been asking me for two years to write a book about adventure, but I always shied away. A “how to” with a list of gear to take just seems too commercial, too basic. But now that I’ve lived it, and am going through the pain of leaving all over again, I know what needs to be said.

Heart of Adventure was originally written as a collection of pithy aphorisms, painting a picture of what it means to adventure through hints and metaphors. This spoke to the adventurers who read it, but not to the non-adventurers. I’m currently revising it to use an unusual format: each pithy aphorism is paired with one short essay, giving a clear picture of exactly what it means to undertake adventure as a practice.

I’m hoping that I will have copies available in time for the Hero Round Table, but that’s unlikely. Making sure my talk is good is the top priority—if need be, the book can wait.

This is in addition to Lúnasa Days, which finally has an ISBN number after many struggles, and continues to trip its way through the formatting and publishing process.

Through all of this, Rogue Priest has been my life line to the world. Not just a place to test my ideas, but also a place where I know somebody, somewhere, cares. Almost all of you reading this are strangers to me, but I don’t think you know just exactly how much it means that hundreds of people a day come and read about my journey and my ridiculous ideas for following the great heroes.

Thank you, everyone, for caring.

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11 thoughts on “Thank you and an update

  1. Beth says:

    As someone who is not a stranger, I’ve seen a lot of growth and change in your thinking even in just the past few months. Good work on being open to that.

    Glad the Giant is ready; hope the ear infection calms down soon!

  2. I have often thought (not my original idea,) that religion and spirituality are practices that we create NOW. Not something that THEY did. Not something blindly followed. I think Thoreau has a great quote on this subject which I will try to find. Blessings. Chris

    • I partly agree, but I also see the value of learning from those who came before us. Some religious practices may be stagnant, used over and over as cookie cutters because “that’s what we do.” But many others represent techniques that have been developed through practice and error. Most of the meditation techniques beloved by the “spiritual but not religous” crowd would not work so incredibly well if they hadn’t been repeated and honed by the lifelong work of intensely religious individuals.

      I guess I really value the overall set of ready-to-use tools that my several religions offer me, and I tend to start from that foundation and adapt only where and when I see a real need to do so. Hopefully, I will end up contributing to the ongoing development of those religions’ practices, and continue to give back to the systems that help so many people.

  3. Here’s the quote I was thinking of and it’s attributed to Walt Whitman. We consider bibles and religions divine–I do not say they are not divine, I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still, It is not they who give the life, it is you who give the life, Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from the earth, than they are shed out of you.” ~”A Song for Occupations”

  4. YAY! I’m glad you’re writing the book, but I am especially glad that you’ve gotten the experience to be able to write it. It means so much more when written from the immediate reality of what it truly means to do it. I’ve been sharing the thoughts of having a journeying network within permaculture and if there is enough interest that may be an option for adventuring heroes some day – especially if they want to learn valuable life skills along the way. WWOOFers already do something similar to that on a global scale. Many continue adventuring in the nations they arrived in when WWOOFering. Might be worth looking into for those interested in starting their own adventures who don’t have a predetermined destination.

    • Yes, I’ve long belived that WWOOFing is a great option for people looking to set out on a journey.

      For those who don’t know, WWOOF is a network of organic/sustainable farms that offer free (or cheap?) lodging to anyone interested coming to work and learn about sustainable agriculture.

  5. I can truly relate to that, Jim. That describes day 3 and 4 of this leg of bicycling really well.

    I wonder, though. If the object is to pursue our own happiness, is it really better for us to reject what society wants us to do, and strike out on our own? Or would we be happier simply taking the compromise of an ordinary life? Less poignant joys, but less arduous hardships as well.

    I don’t have an answer to that question. It’s something I ponder as I continue to live the life of my own creation.

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