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Not All Who Wander Are Lost

The following excerpt is from an article concerning Wilderness Walkabouts, which I’ll be participating in in a couple weeks.

I once heard Tom Brown Jr. proclaim that, “If you don’t have any place to be or a time to be there you will never be lost.” This is the essence of the art of a Walkabout. You are searching, but not necessarily for anything in particular. You are following your heart and the mysteries that the world leaves for you, be they elk tracks, the top of an unknown peak or a “blank” spot on the map. Your goal is to discover beauty and blend into the landscape. Along the way you sample the wild edible plants, gather your water from the creek or spring, shelter yourself under an ancient tree. When it rains you get wet and when the sun beats down you are hot. Whether it’s one day or a week, by yourself or in a small group, on a good wilderness walkabout you are constantly faced with the unknown, both in the world around you and within. Where does this canyon go? Where will I sleep tonight? How will it be to not see anyone else for an entire day? What sort of tracks are these? Will I be able to start a fire in the pouring rain? You have left behind the known comforts of family, school, home, work, four walls and electricity in exchange for a chance to interact with Mystery for a time. The world around you becomes a metaphor for your internal landscape as you face your fear of a dark starless night and the unknown future that waits for you when you return.

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