For Three Months Into the Unknown

In his Travels with Charley in Search of America, John Steinbeck writes:

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to the practical bum is not difficult. He has a built-in garden of reasons to choose from.


Sitting in the comfort of the General Mercantile the afternoon before my flight away on a three month journey, it’s easy to see the garden of reasons not to go: the good friends and comfortable places I’ll leave behind, the pleasures of home life, and the sure knowledge that each day will be much like the one before. There’s nothing wrong with craving those things, and the part of me that feels like a hobbit will certainly miss those comforts.


But Steinbeck is right to describe the restlessness that takes root when we don’t move often enough. All the comforts of home pale in comparison to the restless feeling of insomnia and excitement that hits the night before a trip. The knowledge that, for the next 80 days or so, almost none will be like the one immediately before or immediately after, offers a promise staying put just can’t match.


As delightful as the comforts of Helena will be upon my return, it’s time to give that restlessness a bit of room to move.


See you all in November.