Some go to the wilderness for the escape in order to live free.
This Dare To Escape topic addresses why escape is so necessary for the pioneer wannabe who wants to live free, undergo personal transformation, experience quiet solitude, and possibly become a hermit. This person wants to live life in the country, immerse completely in the wilderness life, as told in the story of Walden by Thoreau. This someone is also so “diy” conscious, they can’t bear the thought of staying in civilization another day.
I believe I have read Walden probably a dozen times by now. Most English teachers I know cannot stand Thoreau or his works. I am not sure why that is. Perhaps it is the 1412 lexical reading level. Possibly they dislike Thoreau because of his cynicism of mankind or civilization to be able to solve a single significant problem. In whatever case, I suppose I side with Thoreau. I guess there just are not that many English teachers that I like myself.
With that said, we are back to the question of “why?” WHY go to the wilderness and drop off the edge of the earth, as civilization would coin the phrase? I cannot answer for you. I can only answer for myself, but see if any of what I write rings a bell with you. I will just bet it does. My favorite reason, boiled down into one word is “escape.” Yes, I want to be a pioneer because I long for days of old. I have read the old wagons west stories about people who took off with their entire families in a Conestoga wagon to raise chickens in a home-made coop and become the pioneer I bet you dream about becoming yourself. Most of us want to live free, but we have no idea what that may really mean. Some of us think there is a transformation down the leaf-strewn trail. We believe we will have a vision, hear music, but to be honest, probably none of those particular things will happen. If they do, just count it as the gravy and appreciate it for what it is.
Yet, I think “escape” says it all. We crave the solitude. We want to be by ourselves. We want a life in the country. We want the wilderness. We have no idea how we are going to do it. We may not know where we are going to do it. But we feel, deeply, way down inside, that we are going to do it. That somehow, this is our destiny.
What is your destiny? What is mine? Are these really questions that we can answer for each other, or even for ourselves? You may want escape. You may even be the pioneer type. But deep down inside of you, there is a reason for wanting to do all this. In this day and age, let’s face it, feeling this way isn’t normal. Most people are perfectly happy chained to an 8 to 5 job, a 30 year mortgage, two 6 year car payments, and a life of debt. When you say live free, you may mean deliverance from all these things. Or you may simply mean to be shed of all these psychic encumbrances. Whatever your reasons, you should have some good ones before undertaking this endeavor of leaving civilization. To be able to live free is truly liberating in the sense that you no longer have the same reports you did before, but you will still need to eat, drink, shelter, clothe, and otherwise be merry. If you feel your destiny lies here, then welcome, we are on the same road.
And what a road it is!
Some go to the wilderness for the transformation they perceive will happen from living a life in the country.
When you are sitting behind that boring desk, in that boring cubicle, listening to a supervisory dullard endlessly pontificate on the most useless of subjects, it is easy to imagine how that escape to the country can be a miracle, an epiphany, a vision of bliss and cloyingly sweet butterflies. “Ah!,” you think, “What pioneer ever had to put up with this stupidity?” And so, your thought life is off again. Suddenly you have moved out of the room and into the pasture to live free. You feel that transformation is only around the corner. You understand that a simpler life, a life of solitude and simplicity await you out there in those woods, or on that mountain, or on that rocky crag overlooking the sea. Maybe you see yourself changed by becoming a hermit, living a pastoral life in the country, surrounded by the wilderness.
Hey, that is the vision I have. And think of it what you will, it is how I cope with the shackles of the accoutrements of civilization. I believe a transformation does exist in making the move. Most people would scoff. Those are the same people whose lives are mortgaged for the foreseeable future. But you and I are different. Our drummer doesn’t play in the same marching band that everyone else is attuned to. Our drummer is radically different, and we listen to that beat. It is the beat that frees us, liberates us, and places us in the placidity of quiet and love. The place to which we are headed is a place that will finally allow us to be ourselves, and not have to be who everyone else dictates we must be.
I think fear is the opposite of transformation. Therefore, it stands to reason that the cause of most of our frustrations is fear. We know we can escape the meaningless minutiae. But it scares us. We do not live like a pioneer. Our idea of being able to live free involves getting a chicken sandwich from the drive through menu at our favorite fast food restaurant. Our idea of transformation is surviving to the weekend so that we can (hopefully) enjoy two days of solitude. We curl into a fetal ball like a hermit and do whatever we have to do to grog into work on Monday morning in a reasonably functional fashion. We do not undergo transformation to our blissful life in the country, the wilderness, because we are afraid.
Most people are afraid to leave what society has taught us is “security.” But, if you will look around you, all those lies are starting to crumble. There is no such thing as an automatic “security” within the confines of a conformist society. As I write this, 1 out of 10 Americans are out of work. We have a 4 TRILLION dollar national debt. And, there is no end in sight.
Faith is all fine and good, and I know I am all for having faith, but I also know that nothing is going to happen until I put my back into it. The thing that separates Dream from Reality is that little thing called muscle. My transformation will come when I plunge through the fear and do that “crazy” thing that society mocks me for. My transformation will finally be realized when I find myself trekking through the wilderness to live free, escape the insanity, and breathe deeply of the air that 25 people before me have not breathed.
In the end, we all get what we worked for the most. That rubs some of us the wrong way. It even rubs me the wrong way, and I wrote it. I must say, I think I was waiting for a miracle. I kept waiting for the “right time.” I figured I would “get around to it someday.” Sound familiar?
If I want transformation in order to live free in the wilderness, no angel is going to come down from Heaven, wave a magic wand, and grant it to me. Like everything else I have ever accomplished, it will take a detailed plan of sequential tasks and necessary resources. That is what we are here to do. It really does help to write it all out. Writing is a hard enough task that you will find that you only write what you truly are passionate about. Every successful person on earth and in history was a list writer. So that is how we begin our transformation to realize our dream. We begin with pen and ink.
Some go to the wilderness because they have a pioneer spirit, crave solitude, or want to live like a hermit.
I think the key to The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It lies in educating ourselves. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. The summit you and I attempt to reach has been reached thousands of times before. So, we all should, like Galileo, stand upon the shoulders of giants. Let us learn from those who have gone before.
While escape and living the pioneer life is our objective, I believe we must clearly identify not only what we do not want, but what we want. We are all able to identify that which we hate easily, but have a bit of a wrinkled brow when it comes to identifying that which we love. We say we want to live free, undergo transformation, have solitude, and be a hermit, with a life in the country. But what does that look like?
Do you feel as if you were born 200 years too late? Join the club. I feel that way. Most of you reading this feel that way. Certainly we are creatures of modern marvels and born into a comparative lap of luxury as opposed with how our forefathers lived, but we feel something itching and boiling in the marrow of our bones.
This is not to say that people of 200 years ago did not live in cities. Many of them did. It is just that our populations were far more dispersed than they are now. Those who wanted the convenience (and expense) of city life lived within the city while those who were more of the diy type of person lived out in the country.
They probably did not mean to be so, but most of them lived a life of what you and I would call a hermit. They were the veritable pioneer. They lived a life of solitude in a wilderness where the animals had not yet admitted to themselves that man was Master. They grew their own food. They had animals, they milked cows, they woke up at 5:30am, and went to bed when the sun went down.
There is a section of our population that would read this article and say “Oh my, this is crazy. WHO would want to live this way?”
There is another section of our population that reads this article and they get a dreamy and glazed look in their eyes. You can almost hear the Green Acres theme music play throughout their daydream. This is the daydream that Henry David Thoreau wrote about in Walden, and then he turned it into reality.
Maybe you want to trade in your 5 bedroom estate for a thatched roof hut that has solar cells mounted outside.
Maybe you want to get away from the constant noise that accounts for how most of us live in urban subdivisions these days.
Maybe you want to become a hermit, but society has taught you how shameful that word is. Society is largely a collection of clueless, interdependent idiots who have no idea of what they stand for anymore. Do you want to become a hermit?
Shamelessly, I do.
It is the wilderness, the idea of how to live free, the solitude, and the transformation that drives people to go live like a pioneer.
I suppose I have rambled a bit. But the life I seek is a bit of a rambling life.
We have seen the city and we have seen the country. The country is better. We escape the shackles of the grind and seek how to live free. We seek solitude. Even now, though we think we still seek it, the transformation has already begun.
We have quit saying those meaningless phrases that pass for small talk at the office anymore. Some of us have quit talking at the office at all. Most of us know that there is an imaginary EXIT sign up ahead, and we are headed for it.
When you go to some of the online public domain libraries like Project Gutenberg and read about the life of the pioneer, you will see that in almost every single case, that is who that person was. He or she paid no attention to the “expectations” of society, and marched to the melody of that different drummer.
We are drawn to it like the moth to the light. In this dream we delight. We go together, hand in hand, singing the song of being able to live free. We may not be off to see the Wizard, but we are off to see the new country. We are off to see the country that you cannot taste at 55 mph, but rather that which is savored at a leisurely saunter.