Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ways of acting...

No image today.

My bag is packed for my Walk East (described in the previous post). I'm very excited, but there's an odd feeling as well. I don't want to overdramatize, but it's a different sensation to any kind of trip I've done before, for a couple reasons:

1) I have no idea where I'll be going. Literally five minutes into the walk I'll already be somewhere I didn't expect. The earlier variations will make the most difference as well. I keep looking at maps, guessing where I'll sleep tonight - zoomed out on google maps looking for the green oases of parks with enough trees to hide myself. Which takes me to the second reason:

2) I am aware that I will be encountering the city, suburbs, towns and rural areas in a different way. I've been reading an anthropologist named Tim Ingold lately, and paraphrased one of his ideas and added it to my desktop background:

"Ways of acting in the environment are ways of perceiving it."

I think this is a part of what got me interested in doing a random walk like this. I'll be acting differently in areas I know very well, and I expect that it will lead to a different perception of my environment. I'm already anticipating a number of realizations:

- Parks may be oases of privacy, and areas to sleep in.

- Fresh running water to bathe in may be nonexistent. It will be difficult to find a place to hole up for a while to wash and dry clothes as well. I'm fine with washing shirts in gas station sinks (as long as my shirt doesn't touch the sink - gross!), but then where do I hang out and dry it off?

- Large suburban and rural areas may be like deserts - no privacy, no gas stations for water.

- The above problems will be reduced when I get to wilderness areas, but lack of food source will then be a problem.

The last point is another part of the reason why I wanted to do this project. In the past, I think I've had a romantic notion of being able to 'rough it' in the bush for extended periods of time, but the truth is that it's almost impossible for one person to do such a thing alone. We count on technology and tools and each other to sustain ourselves.

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