1 On Planning and Other Great Jokes | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

On Planning and Other Great Jokes


Montana Buddha - Colleen Friesen

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Matsuo Basho

In Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage, he tells a story about Joseph’s Campbell 1972 lecture in Chicago. After his talk, Campbell was besieged by people with questions. A woman in her early forties approached him, speaking rapidly and with great emotion, she outlined her pending trip to Greece to “find the spirit of the goddess that you spoke of tonight.” She showed him precise calculations and an incredibly detailed itinerary for the precise times to visit every major cultural attraction.

Finally, with great urgency she asked, “Do you think this is sufficient? Do you think I’ll find the spirit of the goddess?”

He took her one free hand, and with kindness and solemnity said, “Dear lady, I sincerely hope that all does not go as planned.”

For this story, and so many other fabulous observations, The Art of Pilgrimage is one of my favourite books. I’ve read it many times, but I also like to use it in that ol’ Bible-Bingo style…randomly opening it up and seeing what pops up.

Last night, after another fruitless hunt for a Vancouver apartment…I found the little story I’ve shared above; the exact story I needed to hear.

A reminder that detailed planning isn’t the only approach. Thank goodness for that. Because quite obviously…we didn’t make a plan at all.

The whole point of this shedding-ourselves-of-our-homes-and-stuff-process was to try flying by the seat of our pants. We are practising the art of remaining open and curious to what might happen next. This might, or might not(!) be our best idea yet.

I’m banking on that lovely old quote by John Burroughs, “Leap and the net will appear.”

Here’s hoping…


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8 Responses
  1. sarah stonich says:

    Oh, dear, mayhaps the perfect place will come for your birthday (happy, by the way) Have you tried Sabbatical homes?…

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks for the b-day salutations:) That’s a great idea. We’re looking to buy but are open to all sorts of options. I’d forgotten about that one.

  3. Claude Boisvert says:

    Bonne fete mon amie. June 19, 2013
    I wish you smooth sailing in your extensive travels
    searching for the ‘light’. ps. there is no tunnel……

  4. ruth says:

    … or “The way is made by walking.”
    A.P. Boers who walked the five-hundred-mile Camino de Santiago). Best wishes as you walk.

  5. Colleen Friesen says:

    Yes Ruth…the way is made by taking one step and then another and another…I think the trick is to just keep moving!

  6. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks Mr. Claude. Smooth sailing would be a good thing, right now the seas definitely feel a little murky and churned up! Keeping focused on the light in all of its many definitions.

  7. Mandy says:

    You are sounding a bit tentative my dear. You have more faith in the All than you know, and it will sustain you. It may be scary, that flying from one trapeze to another, but OH, the view from there!

  8. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Mandy. You’re quite right, I was definitely feeling tentative but I’m gaining steam now. Just finished shredding a whack of papers, filled a bag with some stuff for a friend and gave away our nightstands. I just needed to start the process. I still feel like I’m flying somewhere in the middle of the two trapezes but kinda liking the wind in my hair:)

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