Siren Song Calling

January 12, 2009

I find myself drawn to people who embark on solitary adventures far from the helter-skelter of cities. Contemplating them is an escape from the mundane and predictable. Seriously imagining myself in their roles induces tinges of exhilaration — and panic.

In August last year, I wrote about and began following the blog of teenager Zac Sunderland, who continues his quest to sail around the world. Now I’m also following John Wells, who moved from New York to the Texas desert where he’s “living off the grid.” John blogs daily about experiences. And not just about the overwhelming challenge of building a self-sufficient enclave in the middle of nowhere.

Recently he wrote of a trek through the austere setting: “Sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m walking on some distant planet or just lost in the desert. Can’t help spotting lots of little treasures that have been on this landscape for ages.”

Hell, I like city life, especially in Portland. Don’t I? Or is that because it’s all I’ve ever known? Hard to picture myself, much less my family, as survivalists. But the siren song of something missing — out there — calls out, louder.

Maybe its a post-midlife crisis. Or I feel what this new study shows: living in the city can make you stupid.

UPDATE: This new job opening could be the answer: a $150,000, six-month blogging assignment as island caretaker on a Great Barrier Reef outpost. Isolation never looked so good.