Nov 2, 2005

Extended Excursion Elucidates Existential Enigmas


One thing long term budget travelling offers is time to think. Gobs of it. Hour after long pondering hour sitting on a bus from one place to another. And, as those geographically astute folks may have noticed we are going to have a lot more of that particular cramped "time to think" now that we made it to South America. Tyler took a look at a map the other day and noted that with a little twisting you could fit the entire length of Central America comfortably inside Colombia. We need to cross what took us four months in a matter of weeks. And this is just the first country!

Fortunately, we have a great views rolling by: in addition to the rippled mountains I once saw a completely nude man strolling on the side of the busy road several miles from any sign of civilization in either direction. And another time as we crested a high steep mountain I saw this crazy dude zipping down the same steep road precariously riding a cart full of firewood.


Truth be told, all this time to think might indeed be one the most precious things this trip has given me. I left home with my head spinning with a lot of different questions and the desperate hope that somewhere along the way I will find some answers. And answers have been coming, but I started out reluctant to write about them.

"Who else would care," I thought, "about the existential angst of a dorky backpacker visitng a dozen types of paradise?"

As it turns out a surprisingly large amount of people care. I get far more responses in email and comments when I write about what my life could or should mean and what I should do with the rest of it. I have heard from a secretary, a lawyer, a researcher, a cop, students...etc, even an optician! Friends from home, fellow travelers, and even random websurfers. Apparently, there are quite a few of us with these sorts of questions all stuck in a similar quarter-life crisis. The world has opened up and offered some of us nearly limitless possibilities, but as its tempered with a healthy dose of realistic cynicism its almost impossible to find out what is truly valuable. Suddenly the end of the path of what one "should" do ends and its hard to know what we want to do.

And so, it seems, once the questions have been asked there are a lot of folks out there curious what this travel bum with so much pondering time on his hands is figuring out. And I do have some answers, but I am also really reluctant to start laying out what I have for fear of sounding so confident that you all will stop sharing with me what you have discovered in your lifes journey.

So, I would like to open up the questions to you too. I promise I will start writing about the pieces I uncover but I am desperate for your insights too. And, I suspect, a lot of us would be curious what you have found so we could share the answers with the others. If you would like to join this virtual dialogue drop me an email or leave a comment on this post.

Not to be too ambitious or anything, but

What is the meaning of your life?


  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    What is the meaning of my life?

    Work, play, love, justice, seeking the truth, hoping my ripple effects play happily on the lives of others, dancing, being joyous, seeking goodness, seeking to uplift the oppressed in all of us.

  2. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Life is the sun or something like it.
    We can’t look directly at it because it will burn our eyes out
    and then we can see nothing.
    We have to be content to look through the kaleidoscope of life.
    It is almost always beautiful but sometimes it just looks like little bits of glass.
    Sometimes it seems to come together in the most perfect way.
    We can’t wait to share it with everyone we meet.
    It will have meaning then, it will be fixed in time and space.
    Inevitably though, those we share it with will take a look and say
    “ All I see is little bits of glass” and return it to us.
    We can’t help and look again and sure enough the image has moved
    Maybe it is even more perfect
    Maybe it is just little bits of glass

  3. Anonymous12:05 AM

    No creo que mi vida tenga un significado especial, solo sé que quiero ser una buena persona, intento comprender y tener paciencia a los demás. Sé que nunca seré 100% tolerante, pero creo que los momentos de paciencia y amistad que brinde a los demás harán un poco más dulce al mundo, para los demás y para mí también.