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They Call them the Disappeared

Me llaman el desaparecido | Cuando llega ya se ha ido . . .”

J is gone. He gave the farm the slip in the dark of night.

“J ha desaparecido,” I joked with El Salvadoreno, who, himself, is leaving the day after tomorrow.

It gives me a funny feeling to watch people move through my life, and then leave me behind. This is what I do. It is an odd moment when you realize that observing the actions of another is akin to watching yourself.

I leave people behind. I am the traveler. It is normal for me to be the fellow waving goodbye as I walk away down the Road to anywhere-but-here. It is not usual for people to bide me farewell, as I stand still watching them go.

Or, in J’s instance, give me the slip.

J is gone. El Salvadoreno is going tomorrow — back to El Salvador, a “voluntary” deportation.

I will miss my friends. I see myself standing in front of the old farm house with my hand gyrating in the air. I am waving goodbye. I am staying put.

. . . for now.

This sedentarization period in Maine has scrambled my kaleidoscope of living. I can only hope that when all of the little color jewels set themselves back into place, I will still be gazing upon a similar design.

Or perhaps a more intricate arrangement.

. . . if not, I will just keep spinning the cylinder.

Paths get rocky, sloped, curved, and go errant, but I know that it is myself that decides the heading on the compass . . . I decide to stay now, so that I can go later, with much more than the wind as my only companion.

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Filed under: Current Events, Travel Philosophy

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 3169 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Puketi Forest, New ZealandMap