It’s been a constant in my life that things tend to come full circle. Many reading this have likely noticed a similar pattern in theirs. Literally, figuratively, and all the like. No matter the context, there comes a time where we return to a point. To a point we consider home. The stage of grounding and rejuvenation, where all we learned along the journey is meditated upon.
I found myself in such a spot. Mere days ago on my way into my usual sacred spot in the nearby valley. I found myself sitting in my little grove between the two tall hills, surrounded by Oak and Aspen. The creek, albeit lower than usual, was trickling. I heard the sounds of the crows and the distant shrieking of the coyotes. I sat beside a warm, crackling fire, enjoying a simple feast of meat and cheese with a bottle of Polish beer nestled in the grass beside me.
There I felt that familiar warmth. It had been many months since I last sat on this spot. I pondered the previous months that preceded it. The two weeks amidst the Ontario cedars once again. The six weeks I spent on the other side of the equator. Weeks of time cultivating my relationship further in the South of Brazil. The nightmare of a trip back, complication after complication, and ultimately the return. The reflection and comfort around the fire.
I thought back over all the new experiences I gained, all the knowledge I recieved, and what these new mental assets could do for my growth and well being. As I speared a piece of meat on my knife to eat, I realized I had completed a cycle. I had returned to the sanctum of recovery and meditation.
The Inn in the woods, the shelter in the storm, The Wanderer’s Hearth.
I’m a man who is thoroughly discontented with stagnation. I actively and openly seek out new paths, new experiences, treacherous as they may be. I hunger for the new and the unfamiliar, within most aspects of life. This could be setting out on a new endeavour in my professional or creative life. It could also be something as simple as defying the status quo and deciding to head 8000km south to the bottom half of the planet.
Whether the journey is in the realm of the physical, or within that of mind or printed word, the idea remains the same. Maybe the winds of change are blowing, or maybe just an urge to board Raidho’s chariot for a spell. The wiser of us would do well not to ignore these messages. The journey becomes a cycle in which the points along the way mark our progress. Waypoints along the road, fragments inching you further along.
You will be tested. Any time you throw yourself out of your comfort zone, things won’t go exactly as planned. You’re going to be uncomfortable. You may have to shift your way of thinking to orient yourself in the proper direction.
You travel, and drink in all the road has to offer you until you arrive back at that crackling hearth.
So what is the Wanderer’s Hearth? Is it the fires of your home turf, or that which burns in new lands? Lands you’ve now made your home turf.
It is both, because it is a concept. A state of mind. The Wanderer’s Hearth is the comfortable end of the questline. It’s where you can sit back and reap the spoils of the journey. Where you can recollect on everything you’ve learned.
There comes an inherent thrill in beginning a new chapter somewhere you have yet to tread. That same thrill can come from returning to the familiar. After spending time away from it, you view it in a different lens. What you previously took for granted, you now have a greater appreciation for.
Perhaps you’re like me, you’ve just returned to what’s familiar after a long stint in the unknown. Perhaps you have just finished a long quest to permanently settle somewhere else. Maybe after months, or years of planning and sacrifice, the doors to your new business are opening next week. Whatever it is, my congratulations to you!
It’s a feeling many miss out on. I pity those people. To feel the warmth of this comfort it requires sacrifice. You don’t just end up here without a reason. The life of the placid modern man expects something from nothing. To get to warm yourself around the fire with no toil of your own.
It doesn’t work that way, mate. How can you share tales of the trodden path when you have none? Constant, frivolous imbibement, attempts to replicate this feeling without making a move will just end in disappointment. The mead tastes so much sweeter when you’ve actually earned it.
I’ve had conversations with several people in my life who in current times have said they feel trapped within themselves, and to me that is truly tragic. That is cancer of the adventurous nature. The spirit has eroded into a state where they accept the banal day to day with no effort to change. A quiet, miserable acceptance.
It’s not too late to break that cycle. Even the darkest depth can be illuminated. Take a chance on something that will throw you out of that paradoxical comfort you’ve cemented yourself into.
I can’t tell you what that choice is, or where it’ll take you. That’s up to you, my friend.
However I will tell you this. It doesn’t matter what trip I’ve embarked upon or what I’ve attempted to do. Whether it was breaking a years-long habit of self destruction, or something as simple as getting home. Working through the hassle of being stranded in São Paulo.
No matter what it was, that warm fireplace and feeling of success within myself made every tribulation along the way worth the while. I sat near my fire in the valley as the sun disappeared below the horizon with this thought in mind. I sipped my beer, threw some more maple on the blaze and smiled.
There is much to see, friends. Much to do, much to experience. Get to it. When the time comes to reflect, enjoy it.
I hope to see you around the fire someday.