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Perpetual Motion Standing Still

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What happens when a traveler tries to stop the onward spinning of their perpetually roving feet?

I may soon find out.

I am not use to staying in one place long enough to ever have any real sense of spatial possession over it. I usually live in public places — hotels, dorm beds, the homes of other people — for a temporary amount of time and then move on.

My home is my boots, and only one man can stand in them comfortably.

But this comfortable solace has ended with my entry into Bangor, Maine.

I live in an apartment with Chaya. Her parents allow us to stay her for free — they live upstairs. There is a big porch, multiple sets of dishes, a washer and a dryer, and too much space for me to know what to do with.

Pedestrians walk by on a sidewalk that is 10 feet outside of my windows, and I feel uncomfortable. I get paranoid that they are looking in at me. People often watch me smoking my pipe on the front porch — I imagine that I must look something like the people that I all so often stare at all over the world as I travel through their towns: I imagine that I must look like some sort of local fixture in the landscape . . .

The tables have now been turned: I am no longer the voyeur, but the voyeured upon.

Waiting in Maine for Number Three, so that we all can get back on the simple Road once again . . .

My first couple of nights here in the apartment in Maine I kept thinking that people were breaking into the house at night. I have strangely become immediately possessive of this odd place that is now called “home.” I feel like an old lady.

If this is the natural defensive reaction that stems from having a place to call your own, then I think I may rather remain homeless.

The shear amount of space in the apartment is also blowing my mind. I am use to having less than one room to bother with, what am I going to do with five?

Do I really need to clean this whole place myself? What? I can’t just travel on and leave my mess for someone else to take care of?

A large portion of these initial days in Maine have been spent searching for my meager supply of possessions in this maze of rooms. My desk, where I write these words, is across the apartment from my backpack, which I still use to keep my possessions in, and everything seems to be getting misplaced in transit between these two locales. I am perpetually losing the few things that I own all over this vagabond’s mansion.

I am almost ready to tape shut half of the rooms and lay down my sleeping bag in a corner of the living room, and call it home sweet home.

My introduction to Maine has been wrought with the intense desire to return to the simplicity of one room, one bed, one backpack, one man.

These are the hassles of a traveler trying vainly to stay put.

I do not know how long this can last.

I am realizing very quickly that the traveling life is the easy life — standing still is hard.

But soon Chaya and I will have the cabin in the woods in a livable condition, and then I will be able to take advantage of my temporary bout sendentarism to begin a project that I have long been wanting to do: create a little homestead and live far out in a forest.

I will find the little joys in this vacation from the usual onward roll of perpetual motion.

Though I am already anxious to be moving again, I will take advantage of my time “standing still” and live out my days to the fullest in the great Maine woods . . .

The “joys” of sedentarism

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Filed under: Maine, North America, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3136 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Zhushan Village, Kinmen, TaiwanMap