On travel, routines and bases

Allow me to join this discussion two years too late.

Don’t write off routines. The word routine, meaning “usual course of action”, comes from route — “a traveled way”, “a means of access” or “a line of travel”, according to Webster. In other words, a road.

“But that’s a metaphorical road!” you might say.

True, although “hitting the road” — i.e. travel — is a metaphor itself. It’s not easy to drive from New York to Bangkok. And even for the classic Interstate road trip, being on the road connotes both pavement underfoot and personal development, advancement or achievement — the Kerouac-style Journey of Self-Discovery.

However, a JoSDy doesn’t require an actual, physical journey. Not everyone is down with the barbarian lifestyle. Instead, people choose to have a home base because it helps them pursue long-term relationships and goals. It facilitates sedentary accumulation. (English translation: It helps them hoard stuff). Their base upholds the sculpture of their life. No big deal. More room to stretch out on the Bangalore to Calcutta train for everyone else. (And yes, Calcutta has so much more musty heft than Kolkata, at least for English speakers. The mushy brass doorknob and whatnot.)

A military base supports a field of operations, and some people like this strategy. Again, it’s not always the best. The base itself is not the end, not the goal. It’s the foundation — from the Latin fundus, or bottom — that allows the buildup of funds, or capital: Financial, physical (tangible assets), social (relationships), human (education), or however else you might define it. Robbers stage hold ups for funds because funds uphold existence.

And even nomads have a base: Tight stitching around the bottom of the backpack.

2 thoughts on “On travel, routines and bases

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