I sat in the back. Window seat. Melancholic, flying over the indescribable beauty of Central Otago as I peered out of window and surveyed old worn trails and weathered landscapes.
My decision to ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff took me two years with six weeks of that in the saddle. In the past I have tried to articulate my reason for riding. The simple answer is no more complex than ‘because I could’.
So as I cut north, I repeated to myself that continuous inner question… “is that all there is?” And it isn’t. There is always more. Lost Pilgrims are good like that. They keep wandering in search of meaning, because they can.
I slumped back from the window, the seat swallowing my skeletal honey toasted frame as I reimagined wandering. Trails not paths – there is a difference, as Robert Moor eloquently states.
A path is predetermined, civilised, extending forward in time, linked to a destination. Whereas a trail extends backwards, an endless string of signals, aimless and mythical that need interpretation and sure footing.
You may think there is a danger in trails, but that’s a matter of faith and interpretation… ‘what would you rather be doing, laying in the path of an elephant or in its trail?’
And Horse got that. As soon as he made Wellington he was back in the saddle, heading north to round out his tour. I didn’t see him for another three weeks. He was on his own personal journey, vicariously accompanied by me.
Well done Horse, there is nothing better than to ride together alone.
So let’s raise a glass to solitary pilgrims, aimless trails and the warmth that comes from greeting strangers as soon to be old friends.
It’s time to reimagine wandering.