Anti-Nation

There are a wandering people of this world trudging with heavy footfalls beneath the burdens of backpacks.  They have sunburned skin, twinkling eyes, growling stomachs and honest smiles.   Like pilgrims of yesteryear, they leave their lives behind and take to the road.  They are searching for some truth hidden in the confines of a ruinous cathedral, the secluded cloister of a forested path or the comforts of a warm meal and a conversation.  They are seeking beauty and knowledge, the eternal spark that unites all humanity or to examine the ugliness that continually divides us.  They are philanthropic observers and devout practitioners of some unnamed faith—restless people of every age, creed and culture who are unhappy with la vie médiocre.

I am a proud citizen of this anti-nation.  Although we converse in many languages, our shared language is most commonly English.  We also recall the pleasantries, greetings and fragmented sentiments of every tongue we come to use throughout our travels.  All of us are fluent in the exaggerated gestures of body language and the universals of humour.  We see the value in self-deprecation and daily embarrassments.  We are also sharp to human kindness wherever it appears.   We weigh others’ value in the wealth of their experiences and the wisdom in their recollections, not the possessions they carry or conceal.  We rejoice in life and try to grow into the people we want to be with each new step we take.  We don’t accept that life needs to be as formulaic as it’s been advertised to us;

Birth+

Education+

Debt+

Employment+

Home-ownership+

Marriage+

Mortgage-payments+

Children+

Divorce+

Retirement+

=Death.

There are many of my anti-statesmen exploring the Balkans right now.  This appears to be our Mecca.  We perform our evening prayers with beers and bottles of wine while recalling moments of beauty or absolutely absurdity from our past or the aspirations of travels to come.   I’m happy to introduce my people and I’m eager to welcome you to immigrate to the anti-nation.  There’s no green card or visa needed for this state of mind.  All you need is a backpack and a sense of wonder.

More stories to come next time…