Behind the concrete, seeing what’s really there. Part 2 of how to be a traveler.

Signs, are usually not very helpful at all, and often quite misleading.

The next step, after losing yourself in finding the land and the road, is finding out where you are. Not in terms of how the space is defined, like a gas station, a shopping mall, or a park, but what the land is. Is it a swamp? A mountain? A wide plain or a riverbed? Is the soil deep and moist or is it dry and hard? Even in places that look wild, in the sense that they have no houses on them, they have often been modified by human intervention. Mostly by agriculture or by nearby buildings or roads.

This is an exercise mostly for the placed that have been built on or altered, which are most places right now, so they should be easy to find. You don’t even need to get lost for this, it can be done anywhere, including inside your current house, but it’s easier to look properly at a place you haven’t been before.

The true land is today made invisible most places by the illusion of civilization.  Therefore, in order to find out where you are, and what path to take next, you need to look beyond what you’re accustomed to look at. If you have managed to get yourself out into wild nature, congratulations, you have found a rare treasure. Here, it will be much easier to see what the land is. The easiest thing to do then, is to look for water. Water is not only your first need for survival, but it leads the way. Even under ground will it form a path between places. But since I’m not a huge expert and this is only a short blogpost, and not a long course, we can start with just looking for any river or open body of water on the surface. If you follow a river, you will end up somewhere. This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to walk in circles, yet water never does on the surface. But this is not a wilderness survival guide (yet), and most of us will not find ourselves lost in wild nature (ever), but in some kind of meddled landscape. And this is a post to help you find out where you really are. It’s pretty easy really:

Look for what’s out of place.

The things that seem out of place, are the things that are really there, all else are temporary distractions. This can be a bug, and in knowing a bit about bugs, you can get an idea of what kind of biotope you’re in. It can be moss growing on concrete, or a dandelion, or other plants that are regarded as weeds and nuisances. Mostly, these are the things regarded as ‘dirty’ or ‘gross’, or as a sign of ‘decay’. Paying attention to these small things will slowly give you an understanding of where you really are.

In the nomadic mindset, you don’t try to impose a fantasy on the land of what you think it should be like, you try to see it for what it is. If you do build something, set camp, or change something, you keep it small and to an absolute minimum, you do not force your will or dreams on the land, you open to the dreams the land is already dreaming.

Some may say that the cities and the human buildings placed on the land it its reality now, but as long as it s not a living ecosystem of life and death, and completely dependent on constantly being fed from the surrounding areas, its not a living thing. And as long as there is a continued fight against the invaders of reality, such as moss and insects, it has no claim to an integral reality of its own, it exists in a pseudo-reality, constantly pushing aside or exploiting the reality beneath without being able to ever give anything back. Being perceptible by humans does not in itself make a thing real, but being digestible by something does.

It takes years of practice to connect beyond the concrete, but starting to look widens your world considerably. Just get used to look for the things out of place, and then slowly turn the perspective. 

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