Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Comfort, cow hugging, and what's all this for?

Quitting my job, packing up my cozy apartment, saying goodbye to multiple folks, and otherwise ripping the rug from underneath my feet creates an alarming clash of loss and freedom for me.  It is strange to realize the extent to which the chosen, comfortable life is one that is enclosed by structures that obstruct the open choice of alternatives.   Nice, fulfilled constructs such as "home," "work," and "my social circle" all give me a comfortable place to rest and operate in.  Tearing away these can feel a little bit like tearing away that comfortable construct "ground" as you jump out of an airplane.  You are then fully unshackled, but you are also groping for anything solid to hang on to as you fall, so freely.

(I realize though, real worldly freedom is loss of structure + ability to have choice = money....)

That's where Temple Grandin's cow hugging machine comes in.  Imagine, you are on the way to be slaughtered, but then you follow the cow in front of you into this hugging machine that restricts your movements and holds you close (super structure, right?), until... sigh... you fill at ease again.  Think that will work for me?  I am all ready to wrap myself up in some pillows and heavy blankets, at least until I have to say goodbye to my pillows and blankets to go to slaughter <ahem> the airport for 48 hours.  

In the end it'll all be worth it though.  This is only the temporary discomfort of leaving the familiar behind.  I usually have a bit of anxiety about leaving, but when I arrive, I find I could travel endlessly.

 I'll leave you with a quote that sums up some of motivations for all this, and for traveling the Silk Road specifically:

" A hundred reasons clamour for your going.  You go to touch on human identities, to people an empty map.  You have a notion that this is the world's heart.  You go to encounter protean shapes of faith.  You go because you are young and crave excitement, the crunch of your boots inthe dust; you go because you are old and need to understand something before it's too late. You go to see what will happen.  Yet to follow the Silk Road is to follow a ghost.  It flows through the heart of Asia, but it has officially vanished, leaving behind it the pattern of its restlessness: counterfeit borders, unmapped peoples.  The road forks and wanders wherever you are.  It is not a single way, but many: a web of choices.  Mine stretches more than 7000 miles, and is occasionally dangerous."  -Colin Thubron
Shadow of the Silk Road

1 comment:

  1. Good luck Robin! Safe travels, and a great start to your adventure.