We are into our second month of what we call ‘exploring the lateral’ and/or seeing what we can see. We usually sleep in the forest, without a tent; actually with no shelter at all save our sleeping bags. Before we set out a couple of months ago, we either threw away or gave away all our possessions save what fits in our backpacks, a few boxes of papers, and some photos (the boxes and photos are in storage). Some say we are intentionally homeless, but we consider the Earth our home. When we set out we had no plans, we didn’t know where we were going or what we were going to do, we just started walking. And walk we did, almost 600 miles so far! It was quite difficult at first what with the freezing weather and rain, but in only a couple weeks, our bodies adjusted. Actually, our bodies have changed drastically. We were both in excellent physical shape before we left. We usually hiked 50-60 miles a week and lifted weights, but those activities cannot compare to carrying 75 and 45 pound backpacks 20 miles a day. Our bodies are more muscular and lean than any other period in our lives. Our senses are much more acute, as is our mental clarity. For the first time in our lives, we feel truly alive. We usually awaken at sunrise to the sound of hundreds of birds singing, and at night, the deer walk within three feet of us. The bucks are highly protective of the does and when they come near us they snort and stomp their feet. We have lost the ability to keep track of time; the days are no longer segmented and all run together. We really have no need for clocks or calendars anymore; we are usually in the moment. We have no plans or goals. Winning, losing, failing and succeeding do not apply. We don’t know what’s going to happen to us or around us, every day is a complete unknown. We live mostly in the right now, and as far as we can tell, it is the only thing that allows us to be sane. We are both former long-term State Hospital patients. Both of us are diagnosed schizoaffective disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, but when we are in the forest surrounded by trees, birds and animals all the symptoms just fade away. When we enter a city, however, all the symptoms come rushing back. The smells, sounds etc. of a city cause us to become psychotic, as do the absurdity of bureaucracies, governments and various other social constructions. We are not really anti-civilization, though, we simply cannot live in it. Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy are three of our favorite subjects that we discuss at length daily and every night before we drift off to sleep; these subjects are usually researched and studied at institutions of higher learning, and institutions of higher learning are found primarily in civilization, so we are not anti-civilization, we just cannot exist in civilization. Although, walking through small towns doesn’t seem to bring on states of psychosis like the city.
We have spent the last several years avoiding people. We only went to appointments, hiking in the woods and grocery shopping but we have talked to more people the past two months than the last 10 years. We have met many kinds of people on our journey: some wonderful, generous, cheerful, and happy people. But we have also met a few obstreperous individuals, who feel trapped in jobs and situations that they hate. Even though they make us angry and can even cause us to become psychotic when they lie or attempt to harm us, once we come to our senses we feel sorry for them and hope they too can find peace.
We are doing this blog so we can share our experiences with others that they too can see what we see.