The blue bus relaxes in the shade of tall trees on a small back street in a quiet suburb. A thick electrical cord winds its way to a 30-amp socket, meaning the generator (aka the old man under the bus) can take a rest. A wide tube exits from the innards of the bus and trails into a septic tank, meaning the waste can be emptied at any time. This little spot under the trees is a comfortable place.
At night we turn on three small fans. One pulls cool air in through the only window that opens. The second one, situated in the hall, pushes the cool air up to Cade’s bunk. Lucy hoards the third fan in the top bunk, where the air is warmest. When the lights blink off, the sound of the three fans creates a trio of white noise, lullabies of refreshing air that sing us all to sleep. We wake up in the morning cold, wrapped in blankets we didn’t think we’d ever need again.
This is the most comfortable spot we’ve been in during our entire trip. No need to drive anywhere. No diesel required. Palm trees on the other side of the street wave their fronds up and down, up and down, moving in a rhythm not unlike the sweeping movement of a hypnotist’s locket and chain. The leaning trees whisper to us:
“You are feeling very sleepy. You’re eyelids are growing heavy. Now count slowly backwards from ten to one. Repeat after me: this is a comfortable place. This is a comfortable place. I do not want to leave this place.”
Palm trees can be very convincing.
* * * * *
Comfort is a funny thing. We aim for it. We strive for it. We work hard to attain it. So much of what we do in life is centered around becoming comfortable. I eat because I don’t like the discomfort of feeling hungry. I sleep to ward off weariness. I work to make money so that I can have nice things that make my life easier or more fun.
And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
But comfort brings new problems. Comfort attained often inhibits growth. It distracts us from setting or reaching new goals. Having grown comfortable, we stop learning about ourselves. In the end, comfort makes us rigid and inflexible in our thinking.
* * * * *
Here we are. We have become very comfortable in Pinecraft, Florida, with our bus hooked up to electric and a septic tank, no need for diesel, and a place to do laundry. These small comforts make it difficult to think about leaving. But today we leave. We head north. We begin the second quarter of our journey. 8500 miles to go.
The refusal to relinquish existing comforts derails dreams and places us on paths with other unsavory travelers: Boredom and Ineffective Living.
It would be silly to live the rest of our lives on a bus parked on a small street in Pinecraft just because we don’t want to give up these comforts. Think of all the sights we’d miss out on! Think of all the people we’d never meet! Think of all the annoying adventures we wouldn’t have!
Don’t let comfort keep you from living. Don’t let the fear of discomfort keep you camped on a back street of life. Don’t be scared to disconnect, batten down the hatches, and hit the road, if that’s where your journey leads you.
6 Replies to “Palm Trees Can Be Very Convincing (Or the Problem With Comfort)”
I do think I have the best parking space in Pinecraft. I look forward to your posts as you continue on your journey.
These words are wonderful: “But comfort brings new problems. Comfort attained often inhibits growth. It distracts us from setting or reaching new goals. Having grown comfortable, we stop learning about ourselves. In the end, comfort makes us rigid and inflexible in our thinking.”
Growth doesn’t occur when we’re comfortable with what we have. Growth only occurs when we’re stretching or branching out into new or sometimes uncharted territory.
Shawn, you make me want to travel again. I love these posts.
But I’m all growed up now, don’t make me cry.
(thanks anyhow) snuffle-snuffle.
I changed my mind… go ahead, continue making me cry – shame on me!
Oh MY GOD; please help us!
Best post so far! “The refusal to relinquish existing comforts derails dreams and places us on paths with other unsavory travelers: Boredom and Ineffective Living.” That phrase really hit me today.
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