I leave for my first solo Random Walkabout next Wednesday - two weeks in southwest New Mexico. Here's the first post I did about this concept.
I’d like to take a wee mental side trip here and rant about the notion of covering ground. In business, we cover topics in a staff meeting. In training, we cover techniques. When we take a traditional vacation, we cover ground. Guidebook open, we cover the bolded places and numbered dots on the map. I don’t want to cover a thing; not a place; not a dot; not a bold. Covering a place is disrespectful and downright rude. We cannot come to know or understand or appreciate a place that we cover in two bells or document with a photo taken from the car window at a rolling stop. The nature and people deserve better. They are deep and complex and their charms and beauty only fully shine when closely examined and explored.
Take the high desert of New Mexico, for example. Many have told me that they find the place boring, empty, and void of life and color. This conclusion often comes from those whizzing through on a Route 66 cross country car trip, train passengers, or those who are trying to check off all the attractions listed in the latest Fodor’s. Oh, my goodness, I don’t even know where to begin my response to these comments. Have you seen Sandia Mountain turn watermelon red at sunset (“Sandia” means watermelon in Spanish)? Have you smelled the sagebrush after a summer rain? Have you seen the real life chase of the coyote and roadrunner? Have you tasted local the red and green chile peppers and felt their heat ooze into your veins and warm you from the middle outward? Have you touched artwork molded and shaped by masters? Have you peered down the Rio Grande Gorge? Have you gazed across the sparkling gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument?
You get the point. One cannot and should not cover places. The Random Walkabout is the antithesis of covering. This mode of exploration is both highly flexible and changing while running an inch wide and mile deep. Spend a hour marveling at the water’s movement in a babbling brook. Spend three meals in a row savoring the blue corn posole of a local unsung hero of a cook. What’s that flavor? How does she make the kernels so nutty and comforting? How can I take this masterful culinary artist home with me!?
My Random Walkabout will be fluid and deep and will not cover a thing.