To be alone in a sea of strange faces is not only natural, not only not dreadful,

it’s heavenly, relying on the basic goodness of mankind, unlearning the violence inherent from our fathers’ mistakes. Still the best part of travel is coming home to the nest, complete with mother and son, and shitting in it. Sometimes I don’t need to travel; I just need to BE without direction or schedule, an extra in the movie with no lines to read. I need no extra lines on my face to show my age, like a giant redwood lying shattered on the forest floor cut full girth across the grain of resistance, with no quarter-sawed comfy little beds and all their fibers lying smoothly between their teeth. Fibers one and all had their lives cut short, perpendicularly open-ended ready for anything, large or small, objets d’art or mansions in the sky. I need contrast, the constant zigzag between poles, both north and south. The World’s Oldest Backpacker (WOB) hit 50 (countries, years old, states of mind) with no regrets and unrepentant. Someone asked, “How long you been travelling?” Thirty years and counting…. Turning fifty was just like old times, alone and lonely, abandoned by my friends, walking the streets of London without an umbrella or a prayer. The rain hovers around me like weak soup, reminding me of why my ancestors left so long ago. I find solace in a pasty pie and a pint, and I’m glad for it. All that’s behind me now, older but wiser.

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