So many people live out of a suitcase these days that it’s hardly a unique or sought after lifestyle. In fact, those practised at this behaviour will likely attest that it’s certainly not the glamorous, nomadic affair some people dream about.
Quite frankly it’s a pain in the arse lugging your entire life from one side of the globe to another. These fleeting nomads who jet set on a whim should be fancy free with nothing but a shoulder bag or lightweight backpack. In my case I find myself trudging through the airport laden with at least one oversized suitcase, a backpack, a handbag, and sometimes even a standard shopping bag which I try to disguise as something newly purchased duty free.
Packing for an undetermined period of time with multiple layovers, seasons and all possibility of activity is downright annoying. Two months ago I was staring at exactly the same collection of clothing and bags as I am now, and 5 months before that, and 7 months before that, and, and, and. It’s the one thing I never improve at no matter how many times I do it. I actually think I’m getting worse, or the hoarding spirit within me is starting to run rampant in my old age; or perhaps I’ve just been off trail too long.
Simplistic living in nature out of a backpack has grown frighteningly foreign to me. I pulled my sleeping bag out of my backpack today and genuinely hugged it like an old friend I hadn’t seen in months. I’ve gone beyond the itchy feet into somewhere unknown, where sleeping under the stars and falling asleep to the sound of a running stream and frogs croaking seems like something out of a fairy tale.
What does this tell me? I need to get back into the game. Baby steps though it may be, I need to venture back into the wilderness and rediscover that fearless human being who made a trail their home and felt more comfortable in the company of dirt and chipmunks, than any lavish home comforts could ever provide.
Since my last adventure in Spain I’ve lived a completely opposite existence to the previous three months of my life. I was about to rid myself of all belongings, give my money to charity, and dedicate my life to the service of others. Instead I went to the other extreme, made money while living a rather decadent lifestyle in one of the richest countries in the world.
What I learned from this is the importance of balance. There was something fundamental missing from this lifestyle as there may have been heading in the other direction. Balance. That humble little word that seems so obvious yet is so easily forgotten. It’s something a lifestyle such as mine doesn’t often account for. When I’m working I’m pushing 15-hour days while slipping into some kind of parallel universe in which I find myself unable to communicate with the outside world. When I’m not working I find myself doing the exact same at the other end of the spectrum.
I spoke to a friend in Canada a few days ago who has recently moved there for work with her husband. I asked if she found herself in some kind of bubble and her answer was straightforward and direct; ‘no, I still manage to communicate like a regular person.’ I guess it shocked me. Perhaps that’s what balance is, taking on new responsibilities without neglecting the old. Or is it solely about work and play, give and take, yin and yang or healthy living?
The last time I rented an apartment was in 2012 while living in London, and this year one of the things I’m most looking forward to is having my own funded space. I thought the ultimate freedom was living fancy free without a postcode or a place to call home; but after almost 3 years of moving from one place to another, dragging my life on wheels through airports, onto trains and into the spare rooms of friends and family between jobs, it’s time to find a place I call home.
I’m not going drastic here, I’m talking 5 months and then let’s reevaluate. I’ve decided to move back to a city I once called home, that has exquisite nature on its doorstep, people I love, and is close to one of the elements in my life that has left a lasting impression on my being and soul. The Trail. I’m not about to grab my pack and head down to the Southern Terminus, but knowing it’s there, somewhat within reach, motivates me to get out and explore other trails. Sure, hiking 30 miles with a pack these days would leave me for dead, but perhaps I can find balance in the outdoors; a day hike or an overnight jaunt before allowing my tendency for extremes to take over again.
14 thoughts on “Life in a constant state of transit”
So Muk Muk might be back on the (or a) trail soon? Find that balance and keep us updated!
I was just telling my husband yesterday how much I missed your posts and following your writing! Lo and behold, here you are! I believe I know where you are headed and am happy for you. We are getting out of the rat race ourselves and moving a little closer to the place you may be calling home for a while. Looking forward to hopefully seeing your adventures again! Maybe we will even cross paths one day!
So good to hear from you. Sounds like life has been a slow rollercoster of opposites. How nice! Waiting for the next round.
Welcome back Muk Muk! Your last few years have come thru to me in a few months as I have just recently experienced your incredible journey on the PCT through your blogs/videos. Your post above shows you have changed/grown so much from the Muk of the Wilderness. Never worry that your wilderness is lost it will be within you always. You earned it with blood and sweat, fear and cold, and above all joy! My PCT is still a few years off, but I am at an insane level of readiness (not to be confused with preparedness) now. I can’t imagine sustaining this level for that long, but it is a bright light ahead of me. BTW…picture above is reminiscent of your old description of a “pack explosion”. Good luck with balance…not I’ve ever found that place.
I go 2016. Good luck with all. You were an inspiration, but now
I must HMOH. ciao
Oh Rozanne, what a wonderful surprise to find a post! So great to hear from you!
Balance is one thing I really struggle with, in so many parts of my life. Working vs. social life, social life vs. me-time, healthy eating vs. enjoying chocolate and other not-so-healthy stuff, giving to others vs. taking care of myself… But then again, I once read “Balance is perfectionism’s new disguise”, and this is true in my case sometimes. I then have this feeling that if I could just find the right balance, everything would be okay and I would be so much happier, so in the end I am getting stressed out by trying to be more balanced (and failing). For me it is important to keep trying, but not to expect too much from myself. I like to think of balance as a kind of pendulum swinging back and forth, and as long as it keeps changing directions everything is fine. Not perfect, but fine. My aim is not to try to find the perfect spot for it to hang still, but rather decrease the oscillation width throughout my life a bit in order to make the extremes a bit less extreme. (If that makes any sense.)
Anyway, I do think you are living an amazing life, taking the time to experience so many different things, getting to know so many different people, cities, countries and lifestyles, and recognizing when it is time for a change! I am happy for you that there is another change ahead (Canada? Vancouver?), and I wish you many happy moments, on the trail or off!
Wise words as always Fine! I like your pendulum theory. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us!
HI THERE! Good to hear from you! Wondered when you would pop up on the radar. SO, is it Vancouver or ? Be sure to call if you are close. Would love to see you for a shot on April 15th if not sooner. LOL!
So good to see your post! Lynn and I just came back late last night from 8 day hike Walker Pass to Hiker Town. I didn’t mind being without wine 9 days but man did I miss a good cup of coffee! We’re now caught up to horseshoe Meadow.
We thought of you a few times, especially your ” 10 x 10″ goal. We’re slower so for us it was 8 x 10 😊 And waking the aqueduct certainly brought back many fond heartfelt thoughts about the glow hike.
Each time we go out it seems I learn something. Interestingly this time I felt a true sense of balance, one that I was lacking the last two years. I can’t adequately describe it but I felt so much more connected to life and myself.
Don’t know what town you’re going to but if it’s anywhere near San Diego, let us know.
I’m so impressed that you guys are still chipping away at the trail and edging your way towards completion. It’s great that you guys got to relive the memories of the glow hike out of Hiker Town. Did you hike out at night or during the day? Is the book on the market? Please let us know where we can purchase a copy! With love, Muk
I was hopeful we could get there at nightfall but it was during the day. But we turned our glow sticks on anyway😀
Thanks for asking about the book. if you want it electronically, it’s available as kindle and nook and all kinds of other ways I’ve never heard of. If you wanted a print version, Amazon has that. I have no control over price on that and quite frankly, the quality of the book isn’t as great as we had hoped it would be, graphic and feel wise. The best printed version would be from us, if you wanted print that is. Laminated cover, pic are nicer and well even sign it. $20 for book plus $5 to ship.
As always Muk, love hearing from you. You are a very inspirational person and we feel fortunate to have made a connection with you.
I would love a printed copy from you guys!! Please reply to this comment with the name of the book and the Amazon link so others reading can order a copy too if they wish! I will send you an email for details on payment and to send you my postal address! Happy hiking!! X
Thanks a bunch!! We really appreciate it.
Hiking Cancer by Patti McCarthy and Lynn Shapiro
Barnes and Noble:
Hey Muk Muk.
I section-hiked a fair bit of the PCT last year, and your blog was a big inspiration in the run-up to flying off 5000 miles to do the trail.
And I well recognise your post-trail malaise…I have not entirely recovered, myself, even now. But am I right in thinking you passed your motorbike test some time ago? Because that’s my redemption at the moment. If I want to go and look at the ocean then I can. Just sling a leg across the bike and off I go, woo hoo, cheerio London at least for a while..
A bit of vroom is not a bad thing. Good for the soul and worth a go. Every journey an adventure!