I’ve written on this theme so many times before that most of you are probably saying to yourselves: “What? Not again.” But when I started this blog, some four years ago, I wanted to (felt compelled to) document the many upcoming changes I foresaw in my life. The theme is: Simplicity.
I’ve always been a bit of an anglophile (a love of all things English). I especially love their writers: Greene, Doyle, Maugham, Kipling and the like. And, considering myself a 19th-Century kind of man, I enjoy reading about British colonialism and exploration. The British Empire reached the pinnacle of its power in the 19th-Century, and up through the early 20th-Century (pre World War I). Along with its demise came the collapse of the British aristocracy, and all that it entailed.
The British always had the feeling that they were superior to any indigenous people they colonized, and went to great pains to maintain their “White Man’s” way of life amongst the savages and coolies. Most often ludicrous and inefficient, to do anything less was to “Go Native.” A Brit who went native was shunned and ostracized by both kith & kin, and British society at large. That the colonials were likewise shunned and ostracized by the “at home” British upper-crust was conveniently overlooked.
Thus, my romantic wanderings took place in locations like: India, Ceylon, Burma and Malaya. The spies, the soldiers and the intrigue. It was the time of the “Great Game.” And to go native, and to rebel against the status quo, was the best fantasy of all. Mysterious languages, different cultures, exotic cuisine and brown women were the magnets that attracted my thoughts. They still are.
But now I am living those fantasies—and going native as the Brits would say. It began in earnest four years ago, with the past three years playing out “on the road.” Slowly the trappings of American pop culture, the chains of corporate constraint and the shallow accumulation of “stuff” has been falling away. Complicated relationships, social expectations and dubious responsibilities have also fallen by the wayside. And with this falling away a lessening of guilt.
To live one’s life fully and completely is not a reason for guilt. Guilt arises from a wasted life, a life of trying to appease others. Guilt is having fought an unjust war in a far off land called Vietnam, my Indochine. Guilt is working for “The Man” and being sucked into his ever-increasing lust for power and riches. Guilt is trying to love a woman when there is no more love left in your heart. Guilt is in living a sham life, a pretend life, a life that lacks authenticity. Authenticity abides in simplicity.
Living off the grid fosters simplicity. Life today is much simpler. More authentic. Less clutter. Less guilt. Living for protracted lengths of time in the jungles of Nicaragua, and now in the very tiny village of Matapalo, Costa Rica, I have a new appreciation for life and the time that I have left. I regret the wasted years, having “drunk the cool-aide” as it were, having endured toxic personal and professional relationships—having bought into the American Dream, because the dream was a pipe-dream at best, and a bloody nightmare at worst.
The further removed from “civilization” I am, the happier I become. Trust me, we are not superior to the indigenous peoples of the world. Only the internet holds me back in a tenuous way, and even that is losing its addictive power. World news is unchanging and repetitive, politics is Man’s truest folly and his biggest lie and Facebook—well, what can one say about Facebook? Maybe going native is a form of madness, as the Brit’s believed, but if it is it’s a madness full of joy and countless reward.
I awake with the sun and the howler monkeys, I walk barefoot on the beach in my shorts and revel in my natural surroundings. Everyday I go deeper within myself, and begin to fully understand that just living my life, moment to moment, is enough. It’s more than enough, it is EVERYTHING. Pretensions, petty dramas, toxic relationships and the follies of Man no longer have meaning in my life. Yes, I’ve gone native I suppose—I’ve gone mad. Or have I, at long last, finally found the sanity I’ve so yearned for?
You can decide (if it’s that important to you). For now, I am much too busy just living my life. Pura vida.