Sunday, January 16, 2011

Procrastination and Wanderlust

I should be working on a work project but instead I've spent most of the day reading and writing. I had the evening to myself last night so I poured myself the hottest bath I could stand and settled in with a book and a glass of wine. Apparently my book choice was good because the moment I opened my eyes this morning I started reading again. And didn't put it down until it was done.

I have wanted to read Desert Places by Robyn Davidson for a long time now. I'm a big travelogue fan but this one had a further irresistible draw. It was about nomads and the desert, two things that have drawn me since I was a tiny child. Ever since I was young I've been fascinated by the desert, those hard inhospitable places where you need your wits and a bit of luck to survive. I have devoured stories about Egypt and the Sahara but I was always the most interested with the nomad people who traveled the trade routes. Like the gypsies of Europe, the Berber people have filled me with a strange feeling of longing and wanderlust. I want to be a nomad. I want to travel and move. To constantly shift scenery. We've been living in our current house for five years now and I'm dying to move. Since college, I've never lived anywhere for longer than 5 years. I'm not a huge fan of setting down roots, at least not yet.

Davidson's book follows the Raika or Rabari people of India, a camel/sheep herding nomad group who are facing challenges to their way of life. Like nomads worldwide, land is become scarce and herders tends to be driven out by the farmers and agriculturalists. Davidson decides to document the people by traveling with a family on their migration. She goes to India to find a group and instead finds a number of false starts. It requires greasing the right palms and plenty of timing to find a family willing to take her. She discusses buying her own camels, living communally, the devastating poverty of India, and the beauty of the nomad people she spends time with. It was an honest and fascinating book. And after finishing it, I'm filled with wanderlust. I want to be like Robyn and set off to explore the world. I want to see more of the planet than my tiny corner. And I want to be an adventurer.

I've become caught up in work and earning money. I've become more sedentary and afraid. I've become complacent. All that disappeared today. I want to wander and explore and see what there is to see. The book brought out the nomad in me. And while I won't be changing home anytime soon, I will be venturing further afield from home and seeing more of the world. It was a great day for procrastinating. Tomorrow will be a day for adventuring.


Anonymous said...

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Cat B said...

Thank you.