The Allure of Epic Super-Trips

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Contemplating my next move, in Jordan, 2005. (Photo: J. Ehresman)
"After jetting around the world as a foreign correspondent, after flying into stories, after driving into them, helicoptering in, even, I thought about what it would be like to walk between stories. Not just to see the stories we were missing by flying over them, but to understand the connective tissue of all the major stories of our day."
Even today, long after the days of Ibn Battuta, Some people take epic super-trips. Like this guy, Paul Salopek, quoted above. Today he set out on an Ethiopia-to-Chile-by-foot odyssey that he expects will take seven years to complete! (He'll be blogging here). Or this guy, who has already been going since 1998 yet is still only halfway to his destination. Unfathomable.

Sometimes I wish I would do the same. But could I finish? Or would I be just as bad at trekking onward for years on end as I am at maintaining focus on basic tasks in my daily existence as a cubicle dweller? Would the itinerant life lend me focus, fortitude, purpose? Or would it break me? Would it matter if I didn't finish? What would I give up in going? I pose these questions of myself mostly for perspective, but I would be lying if I said a part of me does not want to try it.