Asking the Right Questions

I’ve had a minor breakthrough today in my efforts to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I don’t have answers yet. But I may have removed (or reduced to rubble) an obstacle in my thought process. I’m cautiously optimistic that with a few more days of contemplation, I might finally have some answers. Even though I can’t be certain that this epiphany will help me, I’m going to share it. It’s important to memorialize processes in this effort. And I think the lesson – asking the right questions – is an important one to share.

The Paradox

I’ve been lamenting for a long time the trouble with reconciling my desires as a haunter with my desires as a nomad. The tools, materials, and work space I need to do my craft seems at odds with freedom and mobility.

I’ve been pining for a large space to build a proper workshop. I want to get started on a laundry list of serious haunt projects I’ve dreamed up over the past year. But I don’t want the responsibility of home ownership or an apartment lease. Ordinary walls feel like a prison, so I’ve been fixated on alternative housing or becoming homeless again.

The False Dichotomy

Questions

Minimalism is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I’ve been saying that for months. But I haven’t been taking my own advice.

Because it’s a tool, minimalism is not contradictory to anything. At worst, it can only be ineffective. I can be a haunter with a robust craft and still be a minimalist. In this context, I buy the tools and materials of my trade deliberately and with purpose. I would not waste money or space on tools and materials I will never use. In fact, minimalism helps my craft because I can save the money I would spend on useless junk and spend it instead on tools and materials that are useful to my craft.

The problem is – I’ve been lumping travel and nomadism with minimalism and anti-consumerism. Let me explain why that was a mistake.

I cannot deny that minimalism is an excellent tool for me as a traveler. If not for minimalism, I wouldn’t be able to afford to travel as much as I do. If not for minimalism, I couldn’t take spontaneous, last-minute trips with friends to Tennessee. But no matter how important minimalism is to me as a traveler, minimalism is a tool, and travel is a goal. Therefore, these are two separate and distinct things that must be considered separately. And in fact, minimalism shouldn’t be considered in planning my goals at all.

What I Need To Do

Even though there are still a lot of question marks over how I intend to proceed as a haunter, I’ve got a pretty good idea of the direction. I have a lot of experience as a haunter, and I’m intimately aware of my passion for this craft.

I can’t say the same thing about nomadism. I have experience as a nomad, and I do enjoy it. But my goals are much fuzzier and ill-defined. What do I really mean when I say I want to be nomadic? Do I really want to spend my life hopping around the globe with no fixed residence? Or do I just want the freedom to travel? Do I want to be homeless? Or do I just want a home that doesn’t feel so cut-off from nature?

I think I already know the answers to these questions.

Being a haunter is not contradictory to being a traveler, nor is it contradictory to being connected to nature. Being the type of haunter I want to be is probably contradictory to life on the road. But I don’t think that’s what I want to get out of my nomadism.

I need to put minimalism out of my mind for a few days. I’ve got to focus on travel and nomadism in isolation. I need to revisit my experiences over the past two years and decide which elements are important to me and  worthy of incorporating into my new life. Once I do that, I suspect I won’t have to choose between being a haunter and being a traveler.

Then I can bring minimalism back into the equation and decide how that tool can help me achieve my goals.

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