I cannot help but notice that there are many travellers like me. As I reflect on the idea of having roots and a sense of place, I have to wonder why I haven’t persued this idea. Wendell Berry, Thoreau and others write convincingly about sense of place. They say that it’s important to stay in one place. To build something good there. To connect to the ecosystem and the society in one place.
So why, then, have I do I travel so much if I am so inspired by these writers? What is it with us? We who travel, and may be tired of it in many ways yet continue. Do we share a common identity? Will we become an archetype, like the Flower Children of the ‘60’s? The Drifters of the New Millennium?
I imagine that we are the baseless ones. We are the internationally homeless. We drift through the world looking for a home that we will probably never find. Tramps that drifts between countries, being kicked out from one, then another. Bumped along like a bum being run out of town again and again. Without legal status. Without the “right” to work. For every new destination there is a time limit. We are told, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”. The only reason I'm even allowed into countries at all is because I am given protection from The Canadian Club that, in my heart, I don't even recognize.
For people from North America, we come from a race of invaders. Where I come from was stolen from others generations ago. Awakened to a sense of justice, what place then can I legitimately call my home? Northern Turtle Island is my original place. But I know that it was stolen from someone else. I know that the race of people that I come from were allowed to stay on conditions that they have since violated.
I can’t convince myself that just because time has passed since the theft, that the issue is moot. I can see that the people who allowed Europeans to stay are not happy with their presence. The struggle continues.
I am not welcome back to Europe except for a visit. Even if I was, I do not belong there. I am not familiar with the space. I have no family there, no history that I know anything about. I have never been to England, Scotland, Estonia or Ireland.
Perhaps I could seek a real invitation from the indigenous groups of Turtle Island. Ask if they could make an exception for me, so that I can stay, even though the race of people I came from have broken all agreements of their stay. That could be one way to find a legitimate home. But I am embarassed. How can I ask after hearing the story of Looking Glass? How can you ask to stay in someone's house when your relations have killed their sons and daughters?
This is my lot in life. These are the cards I was dealt. To be without a legitimate home. As they say in Nepal, Ke Garne? What to do? What to do if I have no home?
Look for one, I guess. Or not.