Gone Walkabout

I read somewhere, here on the internet, that one of the most difficult decisions is whether to try harder or to walk away. It makes sense and is true. But if you do walk away it can be emotive both for you and that which you walk away from. I don’t think it is quite as acceptable to go walkabout if you are in a profession, maybe a sabbatical is OK or “gardening leave” if you have been a bad boy. To go walkabout is to pretty much break from tradition, from the work and career success ethic. If you go bush, then you can’t go back to city and suit or blackboard and chalk.

I spent three years of my childhood in Australia, in a town in the bush. One day my neighbour’s father disappeared. I asked where he had gone. “He gone walkabout”. There were anecdotally provisions in the mine to allow people to go walkabout and then resume their jobs many months later.

Here in the UK there is a TV programme “Ben Fogle, New Lives in the Wild” where people jack it all in and start afresh in the desert, in the jungles of Guatemala or in Alaska. As a part of the programme he always tries to latch on to some peculiarity, some explanation as to why everything just isn’t dandy for them. He searches for the eponymous loose screw. He raises education of children, fears of old age and the like. It is as if to say, “it is partially OK for you but not for the sensible civilised beings like us…”  It is a bit formulaic. One could say it is a type of “get away from it all” porn.

The human mind likes to latch on to some explanation or other. This loose screw explanation is amongst the most favoured. “Him crazy person!” Then we can get back to the sensible, secure, day to day, even if we hate it. Let the prodigals be prodigals, we shall look after our wealth and our cabbage patches. And when we are ready, we shall secure a place in a nice care home.

The thing is that even should you go walkabout you have a travelling companion, your mind, you. If your motivation is escape rather than exploration, you can’t. But through the medium of walkabout some exploration, both of the outer world and the inner world, is inevitable. New challenges start to effect change. And once that change has started it can be a chain reaction. If you leave the sardine tin, it is difficult to fit back in. Should your mind expand, and your consciousness grow, it no longer finds traction in sardine-world.

But when deep in your heart you know, you have tried as hard you can, then the only option left is to walk away, to go walkabout. Once you have walked away or renounced something, it becomes easier the second time. And once you have become truly prodigal, despite stories to the contrary, do not expect anyone {in the material world} to proffer you the fatted calf. It doesn’t work like that.

This is a part of the price of freedom, of liberation. You cannot re-insert yourself into the Matrix.

The most difficult decision is whether to try harder or to walk away….