Yes and No

I just finished reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, about his experience hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail (AT). It was an enjoyable read, but one passage in particular really resonated with me, and I even went back to read it a few more times after I finished the book. It reminds me of how I felt when I finished my round-the-world trip, and how I still feel sometimes, torn between wanting to travel forever and never leave home again, wherever/whatever “home” is.

When Bryson is asked if he feels bad about leaving the trail before finishing, he writes:

I had come to realize that I didn’t have any feelings towards the AT that weren’t confused and contradictory. I was weary of the trail, but still strangely in its thrall; found the endless slog tedious but irresistible; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts. I wanted to quit and to do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again. All of this all at once, every moment, on the trail or off. “I don’t know,” I said. “Yes and no, I guess.”

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2 Responses to “Yes and No”

  1. Leigh Says:

    So interesting to read this Amy. I, too, struggle between constantly wanting to be somewhere else and holing up with books, friends, and wine at home. :) This reminds me of Don Blanding’s poem ‘The Double Life’.

  2. Amy Says:

    Yes, I remember when you posted that poem! I think many, many people can relate to these ideas.

    For anyone else who’s interested, you can find it here: http://www.freshnewlife.com/2008/12/08/the-double-life
    or at http://www.don-blanding.com/poetry.htm

    Here are the first few lines:

    How very simple life would be
    If only there were two of me
    A Restless Me to drift and roam
    A Quiet Me to stay at home.

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