Rogue Château stands empty.
In one room, a simple bed; nothing more.
In another, a place to sit, a guest bed, a shrine.
The kitchen has its plates, the bathroom its towels. An uneven compromise between simplicity and discomfort.
I’d enjoy a few more things. A table in the kitchen, an armchair, end tables and side tables, a little décor. But the project of appointing and furnishing a home looms like a September storm cloud. I do not want this.
If you gave up everything to cross the world maybe you’d feel differently. I don’t hate well-appointed homes. I bless them, glad that people nest and create cozy, adorable, settled and stable homes. They’re often my refuge.
I just don’t want to run one.
I gave away my things—became “minimalist”—to make travel easier. It had no spiritual meaning. The more I gave away or sold off (furniture, clothes, electronics, books, old notes) the happier I felt. When I moved into a monastery it was just to save on rent for a summer. But that decision nourished me.
Since July, I’ve lived with radically less. It’s hard to edge back. Buying more “stuff” hits me like a cannonblast.
In India, renunciation is spiritual. Ascetics take vows and give up comforts. There’s a term for reversing that and starting to indulge again. It translates: “eating your own vomit.”
I always thought that was needlessly harsh, a way of shaming vow-breakers. But to someone who has done without, who feels light and free and clear-minded, the stomach twitches.
I don’t want to go back.
I do like comfort. Perhaps I should have rented a furnished corporate condo. This lesson I’ve learned: in all my further travels I need a furnished place to stay. For a six-month sabbatical, home goods shopping is just a distraction.
The gods laugh, I guess, not like hyenas but like an older brother. Here I am, a priest of sensual faith, a priest of this world with its dust and dew and lipstick-red apples. Here is my gospel: running in the sun, sex on a soft couch, the smell of incense on a rainy day.
I don’t promote asceticism, yet I have found some of its beauty.
What else will I give up on this journey?