"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else
was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity
would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the
remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was
assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I
am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has
worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair
on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an
engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on
pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and
vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up
under the rib cage. In other words, I don’t improve; in further
words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is
incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to
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.
Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a
direction and a destination. And last he must implement the
journey. How to go, what to take, how long to stay. This part
of the process is invariable and immortal. I set it down only so
that newcomers to bumdom, like teen-agers in new-hatched
sin, will not think they invented it.
Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a
new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an
exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has
personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey
is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards,
policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of
struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour
masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable,
dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip.
Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the-glass bum
relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall
away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be
wrong is to think you control it. I feel better now, having said
this, although only those who have experienced it will
understand it" . John Steinbeck "Travels With Charley"
I first read this as a young man . With the passing years many things seemingly more important have fallen from my memory , these words that have endured the years. The word journey has taken on many meanings over time and it's relevance to my life has been bizarre yet in a strange way gratifying . So it's with these words that I choose to start another journey and I hope that you can come along .