Adventure, New Orleans, Travel

What More Can the Soul Surrender?

Photo by Dirk Dallas

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.

My Things

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?



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