Beyond Road Burn Out
Collection of Stories related to "Beyond Road Burn Out"
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Related: Aimless trajectory
Dante - Oct 2009
I try to face my fears, and today my fear is related to going back on the road...
I feel like sharing it here on the nomadbase list, as I feel that it is part of what motivates my intention to support nomad bases,.
I imagine we all have our personal histories... And that perhaps some parts of our histories might have elements in common.
I am interested in understanding what your wishes may be, and perhaps how you feel they relate to your feelings and experiences.
By the way, for those of you that did not meet me , a quick introduction of myself on
I realize that it takes a little time to shift my mind and body in going back on the road, as it reminds me of states of accumulated exhaustion of years of isolated traveling , "hitch hiking burn-out's" , especially after my second year on the road : a form of traveling that I was not choosing anymore.
Traveling is a condition I want to choose to use towards an objective or intention, enabling creation of inter-dependence , discovery of self and the other.
But when there is constant repetition of change in a space feeling void of potential for inter-dependence and sharing, staying stuck in a constant non-choice of nothingness and no-where-ness , it may loose meaning, despite nothingness potentially being an interesting spiritual experience that can be used to overcome insecurity in every moment, and become aware of our layers of illusions.
At some point of nothingness, I feel a choice can be made to create inter-dependence, to feel inter-dependence, to reclaim inter-dependence, and to develop a sense of meaning through creation and shared presence.
I was planning to hitch hike to London yesterday, meeting a friend there, while going on my way to Manchester for a conference ( http://www.espach.salford.ac.uk/sssi/p2p/ ) related to various inter-connected networks / media ecologies such as the p2pfoundation or open manufacturing , revolving around ideas of openness.
I did not leave Brussels yet, but I will, after writing this message.
I try to set my mind to going back on the road, although it may be only for a few days.
History and experiences leading to
layers of context
I have been back in Brussels, the town where I grew up, for one year.
After being on the road for 5 years, hitch hiking something like 300 000 km or more ( stopped counting ), I started developing some kind of hitch hiking overdose.
I do not think the overdose is related to hitch hiking alone, but to the context around it, a context that evolved through time.
I ll try to detail it in this message.
At first, I was traveling without hitch hiking, attending seminars funded mostly by EU money, as a "young" delegate of ecologist organizations.
Hitch hiking evolved from there... as an approach to empower meetings beyond dependency on organizational power structures and funding mechanisms,
and to inspire others in developing such self empowered net-roots approach.
Hitch hiking, at first, was tiring, but exciting at the same time, opening up new opportunities for keeping faith in building some alternatives through meeting new people, while discovering new places and facing myself through new experiences.
My body started to adapt to long distance hitch hiking trips, and my personal network of contacts grew progressively.
I did not have a stable source of personal income.
In average I lived with 100 euros a month in the first three years, ( through donations of people close to me ) and in the last two years on the road, with in average 200 euros a month, thanks to friends, especially Cornelia.
Some months I lived with more, some others with less, or no money.
I was trying to find other sources of income, as there was no guarantee at all that money would be donated to me. No guaranteed allowance. And only few potential sources of monetary support on which I did not like to feel dependent, as many of my friends are in a similar situation as me ( without, or with very little money ).
I learned to live, as many of us on this list, with very little, yet realize that reducing my monetary costs was also supported through moving every few days.
I could not expect from my hosts to feed me, and being a guest usually lasted the time of what I call "a cup of tea" ( a few - 2 to 4 - days ? ), the time for many of the hosts I met to satisfy their curiosity.
There was, I feel, also another reason why generally hosting did not last more then a few days : hosts often have their own imperatives in their realities, and my presence often re-questioned the sets of relations, activities and obligations, if not the world view in which often they felt they had to comply to , except for perhaps a few of them that truly could feel they made a choice in living their lifestyle ( or that where considering making a choice soon ), and that could feel that by supporting me they where supporting their own intentions.
I ended up making some very good friends, across europe, some of them being in a similar situation as me, living a nomadic lifestyle, and even when they where sedentary, or "semi-nomadic" , often living with very little, if no money at all.
I am aware that it is possible to live with very little money, and experienced it myself, but when it is not in a "nomadic" mode - or "strategy" - , I feel that the forms of "inter-dependency" enabled through a "dependency" on money, needs to be replaces by other forms of inter-dependence and organization, such as "where can I find markets to dumpster dive", "where can I cook", where can I sleep, etc ( sites such as http://trashwiki.org , or hospitality networks to a certain extent, especially in nomad mode , can provide certain answers )
But it is very tiring to be isolated, even when using such tools such as hospitality networks, as most of the time is spent in uncertainty and in a wandering mode.
Hence the importance for me of networks of friends. People that can get to know each other, and build relations between each other. And the importance for places which can support such self organized forms of organization.
Certain existing squats may be such places. Ecovillages too.
Yet for reasons we may discuss more in detail at a later stage, it did not fully satisfy my deeper intentions.
For example, I do not want to live in illegality ( what concerns squats, even if I support the idea of reclaiming space - but not with violence ), and I do not want to live all the time in remote places ( even though I enjoy it during certain periods ) or in communities which in many cases close themselves on themselves and that in some cases develop collectivist cultures ( what concerns, for example, certain ecovillages ).
I did not want to be in an environment with power structures emerging, and ego's fighting with each other... I try to find ways for inter-dependence through cooperative individualism... enabling the emergence of a distributed approach and participation into creative small scale open production infrastructures" ...
Infrastructures which can be ( but need not be ) temporary, can be reproduced, re-mixed, and need not be proprietary.
A "commons" enabling inter-dependence between cooperative individualists.
For the moment, my main experience of such kind of physical commons seems to be the streets... I try to be receptive to the people that pass by, and learned to connect with individuals with whom I feel some kind of resonance, this enabling me to create new friendships ...
But I still lack the feeling of "a home", or more precisely,
places where I know I can come back to
, unconditionally, and where I know friends are waiting for me.
I realized that often
access to inter-dependency
, including access to money, is dependent on "recognition" that is given to us.
By moving constantly such recognition giving access to increased inter-dependence can be difficult to build up.
What I did have access to was a form of inter-dependency empowered by curiosity I could satisfy in the first days, or inter-dependency from intentional networks of friends that I try to build up.
After 5 years, I was tired of moving all the time, and felt I could try to come back to Brussels, despite not having the support of my family ( not having a family home to come back to )
Coming back to Brussels in my mind was part of an approach of trying to re-build a stronger local network of friends, through which shared synergies of inter-dependency could be built, and hopefully, through time, facilitated through increased recognition, potentially also leading to building up prototype infrastructures enabling greater autonomy in reclaiming inter-dependency, at a systemic level.
So anyway, I tried to come back to Brussels earlier, but without success, as I could not find enough people to host me on a long period of time.
My second attempt, last summer, worked better, especially thanks to a new friend Jean-Francois, who hosted me for 3 months at hes place in St Gilles / Brussels, enough time to try to rebuild some new network of friends in Brussels, which could host me.
I have been living such a local nomadic life for one year now, with more stability, and at some point, with a little more money, as I could apply for support from social services, getting some 480 euros a month for 5 or 6 months, till they cut it as they did not believe I was "sans domicile fixe".
My relation with my mother improved over the last year. It was hard for my mother to accept that I lived such a life. Hard for her to understand why I choose such a life, instead of going into the labor market.
I guess this is another discussion - personally I know that I can become depressed if I do not do what is meaningful for me.
It is still challenging, for any close relation I make, to keep my presence when I feel their expectations and ego's are reacting to an alternative approach, as it leads them to re-question their own actions, lifestyle, and perception of inter-dependency, especially when they feel I may be dependent on them.
I know I bring a lot to the friends I make, and to the ones that have been offering me some shelter, but such value is often difficult to recognize, as it is in most cases non material.
I also know I can together with others create much more through building up new forms of "more autonomous" inter-dependency, and thats what I continue, year after year, in keeping faith in.
This process, which includes writing this email to this list, and connecting with the great work and intentions many of you here pursue, helps me a lot towards keeping faith in life.
I know that nomadbases can be one piece of the puzzle in enabling such faith in reclaiming our inter-dependency and offering prototypes which can be reproduced by many more people, without using violence, further
developing a ahimsa approach
, by Satyagraha ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyagraha - in german : http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyagraha ) , and the self organization of our time and space ( http://p2pfoundation.net/Festivalism )