Monday, July 05, 2004

Roads Not Traveled

George Carlin has a comedy routine called "A Place for My Stuff" which alludes to the concept that a house is simply a place to keep all of your stuff. In fact, Carlin goes further by suggesting that if you have too much stuff, you can get a bigger house, and more comical, if you didn't have any stuff, you conceivably wouldn't even need a house at all! Carlin is poking fun at the attachments we make to our material possessions, a problem I myself have been and still am guilty of. The sermon I heard at church this past Sunday reminded me of how I've allowed myself to be weighed down by material possessions and resistance/reluctance/fear to/of change. Though I know it is selfish of me, I actually found some measure of comfort in knowing that I wasn't alone, mine however is the only story I have to tell.

Back in college I had a classmate who told of his wonderful summer where he traveled through Europe with everything he owned in a large duffel bag. I had a friend who spent one entire year of his life traveling across the US on a motorcycle just going from city to city and taking odd jobs when he ran out of cash. There is in fact a book (actually two books) by a man name Peter Jenkins called "A Walk Across America" and "The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2" which, chronicle the author's six year journey across the country. I myself have dreamed of hitting the road but have always backed down to the logistical dilemma of finding a place for all of my stuff while I'm away. Forever a victim of my possessions, or rather, my possessiveness, I remain burdened with questions unanswered, roads not traveled, and dreams unfulfilled (I wonder if this is all why I've grown so attracted to the travel writing genre in more recent years).

At this point in my life, it is clear that this journey of life requires me to carry some load. I also accept that the load I must carry is not only comprised of material goods, but spiritual wealth and responsibilities as well. I know that there is excess weight to the load I carry comprised of physical possessions and reluctance to change. Additionally, I understand that the weight of my load will determine how fast and perhaps how far on my journey I can travel. What I do not yet know, is that if knowing all I know will make a difference.

* * * * * * * * * *

Having earlier mentioned my love of travel writing, here is a short list of outstanding books (other than the two previously mentioned books by Peter Jenkins that are linked above) in this genre. All links will take you to where you can learn a bit more about the book and purchase it as well.

1. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
2. Investment Biker by Jim Rogers
3. Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers
4. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
5. Blue Highways : A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon

Until next time, May God Bless You All!


Joy said...

Thanks for this post. It's something I've been contemplating for quite a while myself. I've read Peter Jenkins's books and heard him speak at a conference several years ago. Also read Travels with Charley ages ago and still remember so much of it. I suspect I like these books and thoughts for most of the same reasons you do. I'm on the verge of purging as much of my stuff as possible because I really don't need a larger house. :-)

Michael said...

"A house is a machine for living in." - Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier was a famed Swiss architect and planner, and he's famous for much more than the above phrase. Nonetheless, I find that quote a little bit frightening. It brings home the essential functionality of a 'home', stripping the concept down to its bare bones.

These material things, it's amazing how important they become, how much of a spiritual anchor and a barrier to growth they can be. I've been trying, over a period of years, to own less, to rid my life of all these useless...things. It's a little scary just how difficult such a simple idea can be in practice.