Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Coddiwompling. Even the definition sounds wonderful. Coddiwompling means to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.
Doesn’t that sound like me and my desire to walk the Pacific Crest Trail? (Or any long distance trail, actually. I just want to take a very, very, very long walk.) I don’t really have a need to walk one place or another, just to walk purposefully toward some vague destination. Though, if I ever get to the point of actually going on a backpacking trip, that destination will probably not be vague — I will, of course, need to know where the trail is going and have an approximate idea of how long it will take me to get there.
So maybe coddiwompling isn’t the right word for my aspirations, though my true destination is more spiritual, and that certainly is vague. How does one know what sort of spiritual destination one is heading toward, or what one will gain from a vision quest? That part, for sure, is about traveling purposefully toward a vague destination.
And this whole impetus to saunter the world, for all its purposeful preparation, is vague. I will be doing a solo backpacking trip while in Washington State this May, probably just for a few days, to dip my toes into the backpacking pool (figuratively speaking, of course — I truly do not like crossing water on foot, not even creeks or rivulets, and I truly do not like hiking in wet socks and shoes! So not fun). Then, a longer backpacking trail in the fall.
And then? Who knows. Either I will have had my fill of adventure, or I will be so addicted that I continue to coddiwomple.
I once read an article that claimed it is the pain we are willing to sustain, the pain we want in our life that determines our happiness. I don’t like pain of any kind, but so far, whatever pain has come from coddiwompling in the desert, is pain I am willing to embrace for my greater good. Luckily, many of the rewards of walking come from effort and dedication and concentration rather than sustained pain. (Though carrying a twenty-two-pound pack for five miles last weekend certainly brought its share of soreness!)
It seems weird to still be talking about aspirations, about things I am going to do rather than what I have already done, and yet, what I have already done is . . . done. It’s the traveling purposefully toward a vague and unknown destination that I find so compelling.
So, coddiwomple on!
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.