Friday, August 26, 2005

Update from Billings

Now I'm at the public library, and my 44 hour bus ride was supposed to be over a little while ago. But here I am, just 140 miles shy of my destination, Bozeman.

That smooth running bus ride turned into a parody of professional service (or uppity up decision making, it wasn't the drivers' faults at all). The good news is: we got to detour from a mundane course via Gilette to take the much more scenic route through the Wind River Canyon and up the Big Horn Basin, into Billings from the backdoor, as it were. But an hour and a half late, too. So my 44 hour bus journey will become a... 55 hour trial.

But I'm actually rather happily camped out at the Billings library with a/c, time to kill and high speed web access. I'm in that dalai mode thing, remember it's all easier than traveling by bullboat, as Lewis and Clarke did, or by covered wagon as some of our relatives did. We don't even have to go out and kill our own dinners, and I probably won't get caught up in some mysterious and foul pandemic during this petty little delay.

As a tour guide, I'm always a little taken aback when participants go on and on about this and that little hardship, most likely at the airport or in their accommodations. Baggage was delayed, or the bed was too soft. I think of sleeping for a solid season in the rain, with mold growing inside my cranium, eating nothing but grisly, salt-cured meat for weeks on end. Now that was... living, since it was centuries of that that got us to this - our newfangled ways to breeze across continents and oceans and space. Too bad one nasty side-effect is that so many so easily become spoiled and pissy and petty about any slight discomfort. People are still afraid to travel, really, more territorial and homebound than they realize. I think they often take a trip to remind themselves how good it is to be home - and how being bored there is usually more comfortable than trying out strange foods and cloudy water and funky mattresses.

Me, I really do travel to go, as Robert Louis Stevenson suggested. It is the movement of the thing, to go. And Misters Whitman and Kerouac understand that as well, to wander out into the world for real, to see it for ourselves, for the deepest parts of ourselves, and thus to wander out into our inner selves at the same time, in the same exercise, the same Buddhist "be here now" mode, dalai acceptance and awareness mode.

I go because I love it, love being gone, a little lost and more found.

And I am never ever homesick.

Not for a minute.



At 8/26/2005 7:21 PM, Anonymous rfruth said...

Big Sky Country sounds nice, $ 79, 1800 miles & Greyhound works for me ! Take some photo's if you get a chance cause that may be as close as I get (:().

At 8/27/2005 8:51 AM, Blogger John Curry copyright 2005 said...

Is there another bed up there. I am incredibley jealous. I have been landlocked by fuel prices ,but I definitely am into the journey. Best of Luck. Hike a few miles for me. jcc

At 11/21/2005 11:58 PM, Blogger Blog World said...

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams- Posters.


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