Friday, December 01, 2006

Immersion Travel at Home

Can an artist participating in the “Immersion Travel” art movement stop traveling to new unfamiliar regions for a period of years, then begin again, without a perceived interruption to the philosophy?

I believe such a dichotomy can occur if the traveler, while remaining home, becomes immersed into previously unexplored societies or groups within the region. For example:

Alyah is a Hebrew term that refers to the honored act of “going up” to the Torah to read; it is also used to describe a return to Israel (not as a visit put as a return home). Despite a youth spent in the rolling Missouri Ozark hills, for the most basic reasons that many may not understand, I consider my only actual home to be located in a small town in north central Montana, near Glacier National Park. If I were to return there one day for a “temporary break from the traveling life”, then I would most likely attempt to embed myself, for a handful of years, into one of the region’s local Hutterite colonies in order to better understand and appreciate their unique communal lives. Perhaps my realization of Santa Fe’s California-style-Zen, has led me to question if the true northern Anabaptist communes (that are completely unfamiliar with the teachings of Lao Tzu, Mencius and Buddha) may have a firmer grasp on embracing fleeting existence.

That is not to say that the Hutterites are the only option for a wandering artist and moonlight-anthropologist. Possibly someone else would take the same region and prefer to explore the neighboring Blackfeet Nation in order to present a more accurate reflection of Native Americans in the 21st Century.

I admit that I have no immediate plans for a temporary sabbatical from my present travel itinerary; but that’s the funny thing about a home – although its very nature produces a sense of comfort, that same place can continuously maintain the mystery of return. I haven’t seen my little English cottage on the prairie in over a year. It has been even longer since I bird-hunted with my young friend while his black Lab, Mandy, scared pheasant from the northern Montana field bottoms. I can still hear his yell, “Hunt’em-up, Mandy!” For a brief moment, last week, when it came time to carve the Thanksgiving turkey; it was where my heart most longed to exist. – DN


Nicholas Wineman said...

Wow, you at a hutterite colony sounds absolutely entertaining, yet at the same time so fitting.

As for your rez statement, I have trouble accepting they are all like ours. I am probably naive, but I want to believe there are better areas for people to enjoy Indian traditions.

Well, North, I'm sure Cut Bank would take you back at any time. I'm sure Dan wouldn't mind seeing you again. I do know what you mean by missing this place. I am surrounded by kids here who are completely obsessed with leaving this town. I'll admit I was one of them, but I wonder that even at college, I question if anyplace will feel so much like home as Cut Bank does. Your cottage is left the same way it was when you left. the administration has drastically changed in the school. We have a spectacular principal and a horrid superintendent, but I still think it's better than before. the kids you taught here still consider themselves YOUR students (Val, Seglem, etc.) no matter who teaches them now, so I'm sure they'll be happy to see you again. Tim and I still consider it the North house, no matter who enhabits it.

In fact, maybe you should come down for Christmas. Just a thought :) said...

I am considering the occasional return every few years, which is why I still own the house, currently just renting it out to coverage the mortgage. Montana recharges my batteries unlike any other place. My kids even still talk about it and ask when we can return. Occasionally, my longing for home interrupts my travel dreams.

Anonymous said...

Well Daniel, I think that I do understand you, even if I'd stayed on ly 2 weeks and a half in Montana, (but around 40 years dreaming of it), I realy feel homesick tonight. We gonna come next spring via Calgary this time coz I would like to visit your place aswell. Can't wait!!