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My Godfather’s Pack

March 18, 2012
“The Wanderlust has lured me to the seven lonely seas,
Has dumped me on the tailing-piles of dearth;
The Wanderlust has haled me from the morris chairs of ease,
Has hurled me to the ends of all the earth.
How bitterly I’ve cursed it, oh, the Painted Desert knows,
The wraithlike heights that hug the pallid plain,
The all-but-fluid silence, — yet the longing grows and grows,
And I’ve got to glut the Wanderlust again.”
 
A good choice, except for the possibility of "catastrophic hip-belt failure."  Say what?

The Pack in Question

I wear my godfather’s pack.  It is a medium male Gregory Palisade 80 backpack; it is a front loader and a top loader, and has multiple pockets and a water bottle holder.  It holds up to 90lbs.  It is padded, yet worn.  Comfortable.  When first held it, I found an old ground tarp at the bottom, and a water covering, stuffed in its own little bag.  I didn’t find any receipts, dirt, old gum wrappers or train tickets.  My godfather was that type of traveler: meticulous.

The pack’s frame is large for me; it is meant for a six foot three man.  His sleeping bag is large, and its for me too, but I don’t need it on this journey.  Just the backpack.  And his traveling knife.  I take that too.

Today, I leave the States for six months.  I have plans born of quiet fear of inertia and ineptitude.  I strive away even as I make a semblance of striving towards.  I travel both because I can, but also because I must.  Traveling bodies gather no moss; a thing in motion tends to stay in motion.  I hope to react as simply as a Newtonian physics equation.  Ambivalence is acceptable, as long as it is acknowledged.  My only baggage is my pack, and my pack is light.

He would have approved of this journey, my godfather.  He approved of exploration of self and world, of striving to “do good” in the little ways one could. And he would have been proud to lend me his pack.

As Robert William Service wrote:

“And I’m hitting the trail in the morning, boys,
And you won’t see my heels for dust;
For it’s “all day” with you
When you answer the cue
Of the Wan-der-lust.

The Wanderlust has got me . . . by the belly-aching fire,
By the fever and the freezing and the pain;
By the darkness that just drowns you, by the wail of home desire,
I’ve tried to break the spell of it — in vain.
Life might have been a feast for me, now there are only crumbs;
In rags and tatters, beggar-wise I sit;
Yet there’s no rest or peace for me, imperious it drums,
The Wanderlust, and I must follow it.”

See you on the other side of the world.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Esther permalink
    March 29, 2012 3:23 PM

    I love this!!!!! Let me know how I can help, I have friends all over the world if you need them

  2. December 11, 2012 5:01 PM

    I read your other post about JT Cow. He was lucky to have you, too.

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