Grasping at Straws

(Baubles hanging on fishing line over the road and between buildings in the Gay Village in Montréal, Canada)

The more I think about it, the more I admire fishing line.

It is strong and versatile and mostly invisible, except when viewed at just the right angle. People use it all the time from many different things. For fishing, obviously, but also to hang things – to support them – like the baubles suspended in the air in the picture above. It’s almost magical, really.

I have been homeless, living out of a backpack, for 45 days. (See for more information.) I have lived in 6 places since then – in 3 states and 2 countries. As you can imagine, all semblance of my former concept of normalcy is gone.

Some people are naturally spontaneous. Some people fly by the seat of their pants and love it. Some people dislike structure and work best as a fluid, disorganized, free spirit.

I am not one of those people.

I am one of those people that clings to structure and looks for routine. I am one of those people that goes to the same places at the same times every week. I am one of those people that color codes and alphabetizes their ducks before putting them in a row.

This is how I work, so you may be asking what I am doing as a nomadic backpacker. Well, I love travel, I have a strong sense of adventure, and despite my tendencies I like to try new things.

The question isn’t ‘What am I doing?’ but ‘How will I do it?’
Herein lies my fascination with fishing line.

At a glance, items supported by fishing line seem to be floating, though they are quite secure. Similarly, at a glance my life has no structure. However, it is entirely possible – and necessary – for me to have adequate support, normalcy, consistency, and structure. I am slowly finding my own fishing line: the things that allow me to free-float and still be the best (most sane) version of myself.

It’s interesting, because without this major life change I probably would never have been able to clearly define the things that make me healthy, the things that make me myself, the things I need to function normally and without stress. In normal day-to-day life in the United States, there would be little reason or even means to completely discover these aspects of myself. But when stripped of the everyday trappings of life, the distractions of possessions, and the false busyness, I am able to see what really makes me tick in a way I have never seen before.

This is extremely important when it comes to creating art.

I firmly believe that every experience I have, every new thing I try, every new person they meet, adds fuel and diversity to my writing. This lifestyle is absolutely perfect for becoming a better writer – if only I can manage my life and self well enough to sustain our travel, learn and grow myself, and still create art.

I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. At least, I don’t feel like I’m grasping at straws. I am moving forward in every area and seeing solid progress. These systems will probably change several more times, my fishing line becoming more refined with practice.
But for now I am happy.

What do you need to be the best, healthiest, most sane version of yourself? Is it something simple, or a whole list?

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