The “Why” of Planetstomping.
By Noel “Dang” Adams
How does one quantify this idea or ideal? The best way to begin may be with a quote from someone who appears to think the same as us, Benedict Allen. To paraphrase:
I am not here to break any records or make my mark but it is how my experiences mark me. In our younger days we had come to feel like a couple of soldiers, albeit our soldiering was on the road, walking thousands of miles and living in scores of towns and cities, surviving with nought but what we carried on our backs, our weapons being charm and good luck. The adventures and hardship coming like bomb blasts, a constant eking of comforts in unfamiliar territory, was a hard life to be sure. And having amassed a collection of stories and experiences like the medals of a veteran, we returned to stationary, domestic life. A soldier returning from the trenches can only remember chaos, and through the miasma of his traumatic experience, he may have lost a sense of beauty with the world. So he ruminates, confused and isolated by his past. But the brother and I, though confused and isolated by thinking over our experiences, have been able to retain not only a sense of beauty with the world, but we have also held onto a couple of young hearts and minds, regardless of problems from getting older.
With newly inspired curiosity and a knowledge that has come out of these past years of ruminating, the brother and I want to take back what we once had. Though we have had the occasional short holiday, the time scale between each has only resulted in leaving us with a deep yearning for more like we had done in the 1980s and 1990s. Comfort and stability has its enticements, but we wonder if it is fair to ourselves spending the rest of our lives in soft armchairs.
If travelling is the purest form of being, then the two of us just want to put every energy and action towards that goal. We want to pay and live our respect for the travellers and explorers of the past by making our own physical contribution by gathering knowledge in a world that is changing more and more, with technology leaving spirituality with a new lesser worldliness because it seems like nobody is interested in that, that which had existed for the likes of Ernest Hemmingway, Mark Twain, Hermann Hesse, and others. Although I’m one to talk because I get a real buzz out of working on my lap top, I wouldn’t be able to go back to work fully rested if some of my time had not been spend busying myself on this new technology. Let’s face it, I’m a bit of a techno junkie too but it is true that technology is crowding our lives. An example of this was just the other day, not that I would like to cut nature down for technology but our Sky Plus Box is not working because of the weather and a tree, that has taken around seven years to bloom so large and start flopping around in front of the signal, and we do love our foreign movies and Science fiction shows. As well, the new so called home hub/modem isn’t working either, and all this when there was nothing wrong with the old one. So Steve spent four hours on the phone trying to sort these problems out, while we were both in a heightened state of frustration over this technological break down.
All these problems with our technology were proving more frustrating, as spirituality in the past had meant no television, and newspapers were more often than not for toilet emergencies, not no news exactly but we were usually acquainted with local news, all that and we had grown up in a time in Northern Ireland with the troubles when television was the biggest form of escapism. It took us a long time to realise the freedom that was our new life, just around the so called camp fire with friends. The news to-day is whose on Big Brother, what Band is doing well in the charts, in our earlier travels these kinds of things seemed less important and our world was a better place for that.
What does spirituality mean to me? Spirituality is more than the news it is beyond, technology, news and popular culture. For me spirituality is in a long walk, and in a striving to complete a task. When we were out travelling, it was in the different cultures we would meet, that one day we knew nothing and a month or so later we might be laughing at a joke somebody told us in French. Also for the Brother and me, I think of course we have been luckier than most, it has had its weird moments on the road so to speak, being that spirituality is that feeling too. And that those moments make you feel more connected to the world. We don’t want to say that because it was us that were out travelling and that what was weird was happening to us could only be meant for us but it did feel like that sometimes. For example in the middle of the night tucked up in our sleeping bags, to roll over in the complete darkness and find some money which our hand fell on, a guide towards the start to our next day, that we were being pointed towards a little meditation in the morning before the day got started, as in money for coffee. Whilst out there travelling these events did make us feel more special, like we were still kids back in Ireland playing games. After all is said spirituality seems to be that indefinable thing but all of the above says it for us. A connectedness with the world, the universe, and those we share it with. Seeking this out is the why of The PlanetStompers.