Adventure, Spotlight, Travel

Friend, you are talking about yourself

This is an excerpt from a piece from Vodou Priest/blogger Gary Howell at Knitta Please.

Chapo m tonbe nan la Mer.

I have, for most of my life, enjoyed change. In whatever fashion Saturn reared His bearded head, I greeted him with a smile. “Burn the field,” I’d always say, “to make room for the seed.”

…As we sat over a tasty rose, I started to talk, and the more I talked, the more I sounded logical, sane, and strong; not traits that I think I carry on a day to day basis. Was it the wine? Was it the air of gotten stronger from not getting killed by the troubles that have been plaguing me the past months? I can’t honestly say, and I never want to find out.

But, as I was doling out my soothsaying, I more than realized that half of what was coming out of my mouth was meant for me. “Get up!” “Understand that you don’t need to go a long way, to find out you are something!”

Along my journey, many people take on themselves to deliver to me this sagely wisdom: you don’t have to travel to find what you’re looking for. I’ve learned to turn a stony eye to the arrogance of it: invariably, the words spill out of someone who has done little traveling, who lives a completely settled life. They sure feel confident in their evaluation of travel as a practice.

It might carry more weight if Gilgamesh said it.

But more than that, it’s just inaccurate: the journey has changed me. I am not the same person today that I was July 3, 2012—and the changes are an immediate result of how I have pushed my boundaries, far away from home and friends; and the continuous psychological challenge of being the only one to keep me going, toward a dream, toward a horizon I can never reach.

It’s a beautiful heartbreaking practice. It’s what defines me.

Out of all the people who have said “you don’t have to travel” Gary is the first person who then added that what was coming out of his mouth was meant for himself. And as soon as I saw those words, I understood every person who tells me the same advice: they mean it for themselves.


So, if you think I’m going to go 8,000 miles only to discover that I had what I needed the whole time, well, maybe you are right or maybe you are wrong, but certainly—definitely—you are talking about yourself.

Or, as Gary says:

“You know who you are, not all the time, but most of the time, so FUCK everyone else!”

I hope you’ll read the rest of his piece and share it widely.


7 thoughts on “Friend, you are talking about yourself

  1. Beth says:

    You know, this is an excellent point. It is easy for a conversation about this kind of topic to involve references to what the speaker feels they need, what the speaker thinks the other person needs and/or what the speaker thinks society at large needs, but often those transitions happen without any clear demarcation that the subject has shifted. You have stumbled upon a really interesting point that you can now use to extend conversations even while defending your own choice…and that’s just cool.

  2. nickiofcourse says:

    This is true for just about any conversation that comes up when I think of it, don’t you think? People immediately feel like they need to defend what they can’t/won’t/don’t even want to do what you/me/us/each of us are doing. “I would LOVE to be a surrogate, but…(insert reason for not doing it here).” “You’re just going to QUIT your job? In *this* economy? I have a family to provide for…” “A kidney? God gave me two for a reason.” “I could never shave my head. I wouldn’t be pretty anymore.” It’s all blah blah blah. The only thing that has ever mattered is how YOU FEEL and what you do with it. ANY OTHER NOISE IS JUST STATIC. Unless, of course, you hear or read a golden nugget. And you do well keeping those. :)
    Don’t forget my darling friend, there are many, many paths to the same “place”. Not everyone wants to find your nirvana, or your gods, or your peace, your love, your dream. Hearing yours will make them want to defend their choices, which is a silly unneeded defense mechanism. And although those of us who are unconventional (each in our own ways) often feel alone and have to shake our heads at the people around us who keep insisting that sitting behind a desk while their non-souls whither away until a “mid life crisis” grabs hold is The Way To Go, we are never alone. You have a whole host of the best people here, and sometimes I come read just to remember I’m not alone. Thanks for being a great magnet!

    Thanks for what you do, and what you share too. SHINE ON!

    • It’s very true, Nicki. My journey isn’t for Gary, and it would be just as silly for me to convince him it should be – I would be talking about myself.

      Every time we speak, we are committing either marketing or therapy.

  3. nickiofcourse says:

    Totally agree. I learn the very, very most when I shut up, and shut up my head, and just listen openly. It’s a quick way to merging with another non soul and finding magic there. Their magic. Anyway, thanks for you!!!

  4. The whole speaking to yourself bit is quite insightful. Glad you decided to share that, now I’ve got to wonder what I may have been trying to tell myself :D

  5. I got a lot of the “you can find what you’re looking for at home” too when I was first starting to expatriate myself. Often I wanted to just stare – the problem I was “running away from” was primarily lack of economic opportunity. Back in Minneapolis, I was poor and didn’t see any good way out of that. Teaching English in Moscow, I’m middle class, can travel a bit – I’ve been to Greece, Italy, and San Marino this spring – I have health care, and my husband are finally in a place we can responsibly plan for children. I don’t love Russia, but being here means being so much better off that I’m always amazed when people ask me how soon I’m moving home.

    • Absolutely. I have succeeded in going independent, but I struggle here in the States. I look forward to crossing the border for many reasons, but better health care and more disposable income are high among them.

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