An acquaintance of mine has created quite the venture for himself. He is on a trek which he hopes will weave a heightened sense of knowledge, laced within the unconscious. A fan of Jungian theory, Barefoot Beirdo, has begun a process of linking and journaling his dreams along with a 9 month run/hitch hiking/traveling spree, across the U.S.
He has given himself this name Beirdo as he can often be seen sporting a mean salt and pepper beard of varying lengths. Barefoot, is meant to describe a favored style of running. Truly barefoot or in a barefoot running shoe.
He's had several start-stops along the way, while navigating the sly and frustrating trickery of technology. He uses a computer pad to launch his posts and it hasn't always been easy.
With a foot injury interrupting his original plan, he has moved forward by hitch hiking and Grey Hounding it. Friends of his throughout the country have connected him to certain folks who could offer him a couch to lay on.
Although his original plan has been modified, he has the understanding that adventures rarely pan out as planned. With a goal comes learning and hopefully acceptance and an eventual embrace of the fact that there are different ways to transcend.
His first encounter with hospitable travelers was with two young men and their dog. They have their own blog called Advanduras. In true (and almost comically stereotypical) hippie style, he boarded a funky looking short bus with two dudes drinking kombucha tea and taking LSD.
Recently BB asked his facebook friends to decide his next pathway. Various people suggested areas where he should explore. The most votes won. BB is a fellow Californian and thus far has made his way through Washington and Oregon. He is currently in Austin, Texas and due to his request that others play with his life, he will soon make his way to New Orleans.
I've always believed that story telling is an art form and he is executing his talents just fine.
As much as I am enjoying his stories, I can't erase the one thing that hovers over. Even when it's not directly in my face it circles somewhere. Patriarchy.
No doubt, BB's journey is an unsafe one and he must keep his wits about him in order to avoid danger. But imagine if you will, a woman embarking on the same journey, making the same decisions. The risk is immediately heightened.
So yes, even this grand adventure is an example of male privilege. This is not to say that BB should not take advantage of the wonder that this trip has granted him. I hope he relishes every bit of it. It seems that he is doing just that.
Since he began traveling I have been reminded intermittently of a time when the same issues of danger and travel were first brought to my attention. During my Junior (and Senior) year of college, I roomed with a young woman (and 3 others) who came to envy her boyfriend who would hitchhike from her city of Poulsbo, WA, to our Olympia dorm at The Evergreen State College.
She'd listen to the wonderful experiences of human connection, which it seemed a man was allowed to experience, but not a woman. She'd listen attentively as he spoke of laughter and lessons learned from the long or short durations of a car ride. A story of note was when he hitched a ride with an elderly woman who divulged her story of cancer. A woman whom he ended up holding in his arms while she cried.
This friend of mine felt that she couldn't take it anymore and finally decided to stick out her own thumb by the side of a gravely road. She was picked up by a man about five years older than she. When I met him, I remember him telling me, "I'm just glad it was me and not some dangerous guy, picking her up." A statement that exemplifies the very real truth of male privilege.
BB's most recent stories involve a free hug and Patty Griffin. Awesome via sheer randomness, no? An uncle of his asked that he find the folk artist, whom I myself favor and pass along a message. His uncle is harmless, don't worry. On his semi and half sincere mission, he has run into other interesting halts.
He was house sitting for someone in Austin but had no phone. He used facebook to ask a friend or family member to call long distance and order a pizza for him. The next day he met a fellow traveler whom he chatted with for a short time. BB describes the encounter this way: