We're back with another installment for the series--a fabulous post from Briana Strickland, a traveling nomad I met last August in Burnsville, NC. I'm so excited to have her share her story and her gorgeous photos of her travels.
The path less traveled has always been appealing to me. It seems to be the constant reminder from all things I have drawn inspiration from. There are many roads that I have personally experienced thousands of times over. Some more rare, and many a new road I find myself on.
A man could traverse the same route everyday of his life and still not have experienced it fully. With that being said, the path less traveled doesn't have to be unmarked territory or completely foreign to you in the literal sense. It may just be a new perspective or method.
Ultimately, I realized my life was no longer fulfilling and seemed unbalanced. My well being had nearly taken a back burner to the needs of everything else in my life. The best solution seemed an "easy" one; leave it all behind. Start over. Get back in touch with my inner child. Realign my values and beliefs. The notion to follow the "blueprint" for material wealth and happiness brought me nothing but stress. My nomadic way of living now certainly still contains stress, but it's not the same. Following your dreams takes time and patience like all other things in life.
This new freedom allowed my creative soul to burgeon again and I was reminded I could no longer do anything for merely a means to an end. I want a truly organic experience. My head rests in many newer places and is less stationary as it had been before, but I am pursuing the quest for my soul's truth. I am fed up with the state of the world. Fed up with wanting to do more and making excuses. As Jim Rohn had said, reaching that level of being fed up is where the real magic and change transpires. Or as Milton Glaser is quoted saying,"when you do something that is guaranteed to succeed, you close the door to the possibility of discovery..." Ask yourself if you are doing what you are passionate about. If you are making excuses or afraid for whatever reason.
I want to be self sufficient. I want to know more about growing my food. I want to know more about building practices. Cleaner solutions, more renewable resources. I want to be unabashedly my creative self. I want to take responsibility for my impact wholly. I enjoy helping others, and want to continually learn and inspire. Not just others though, I want to inspire myself. These beliefs have been present my whole life. From the countless school clubs, papers, awards, competitions, songs and books that have been my life. So, I have left behind the way I used to call things "mine." Over the last 2 years I have sold or given away most all of my belongings with the exception of clothes (which I somehow have too many of!) and my car. Now "my" space is shared, but I am more involved in my community, activist groups and volunteering. I chose to inspect my life choices more closely and honestly. I no longer wanted to just read about things that ignited my soul's flame, I wanted to make sense of it with my own mind. The open world calls out to me louder and louder to stay true to my Life's purpose.
Organizations such as, W.W.O.O.F., have allowed me the opportunity to meet so many life changing people, places and practices. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, it is an acronym that stands for World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms and is an organization that allows you to contact farms across the world to volunteer with. In exchange for your help they offer you room and board, meals usually and a wealth of knowledge and skills. Currently, I have volunteered on farms along the Southeast here in the United States. Spending time in NC, SC, GA, MS, LA, FL and AL. Each farm specializing in areas ranging from medicinal and culinary herbs, permaculture, traditional food crops, beekeeping, livestock of all kinds, urban gardening in a food desert, composting, bio fuels, landscaping, orchards, floral, and vermiculture to name a few. Small to large. From homestead to big commercial organic farms, artist communities to religious communities. Ages, races, gender, religious beliefs, social classes all washed away.
My travels have brought me back to NC unexpectedly for a few reasons, but I am excited for the lessons I am meant to learn for the few months I'll be here. It has already brought me new insights to incorporate a little more discipline and structure to my routine. Upon heading back out of here in the next few months, the latter half of my personal transcendental path will be me walking the United States. Setting out on foot for the transcontinental Part II of my odyssey. East Coast to West Coast 3,040 miles without taking a ride and attempting to do it without the use of money. Volunteering my time in trade for a space to lie down and maybe a meal. Camping and dumpster diving, whatever the scenario calls for.
People have walked and wandered for many reasons and movement has been used metaphorically in our common speech more often than we realize with phrases such as, "it starts with the first step" or "set the pace". Some may walk for awareness, for peace, for pleasure, for romance, for health, or for a spiritual pursuit. It has been speculated by philosophers, scientists, anthropologists, religion, poets- people of all types. I am finishing an astonishing book by Rebecca Solnit called, "Wandering: A History of Walking" and she touches on all of this. Gracefully capturing and putting into perspective the so called act of walking. It's an incredibly profound stroll through the pages. She's given me an exciting new frame of mind to look at my journey with.
Our modern world seems to be barraged with an alarming amount of distractions as well as the seemingly constant need to quantify our worth. Don't be afraid to take a pause. Instead of worrying about impressing others, I have found so much reassurance in realizing my own potential and capabilities that are limitless. Some days are easier than others. On other days I feel like I am going crazy, but it feels right. I'll keep on reaching out and connecting to the label-less faces, places and things on this excursion. Connecting the dots and sharing the invaluable wealth of doing what you love. Create your own masterpiece that fills you with life. There's no turning back for me!
Thanks Briana for sharing your journey and your perspective! It's empowering to know that there are many paths to explore in this life and many ways to open the heart and feed the soul. Safe travels!