Life is an Adventure. There are as many ways to experience that adventure as there are (have been, and will be) people. In the interest of creating a readable post I will now slay my own pet peeve and propose this fictional dichotomy.
Imagine for a moment a world so simple that it has only two types of people. Wanderers and Planters. Each of these types are dedicated to spending their lives learning, spreading happiness, building community, making the world more beautiful, and ultimately defining their own meaning for it all. Each of them has their own distinct modality, but is one better suited to achieving the goals than the other?
The Wanderers are compelled to strike out into the world. They feel the need to see everything first hand, to delve headlong into the world’s mysteries, and to stare physical danger in the maw. A Wanderer slowly pieces together their community from the people they meet in their travels; makes the world more beautiful by collecting, sharing, and trading as they go; learns from the rich diversity of the world’s populations, geography, culture, history etc; finds meaning in the stories, spirituality, and experiences they collect along the way. The Wanderer views the Universe through a telescope.
The Planters view the world through a microscope. They gather to themselves all of the richness and diversity of the world through books, contemplation, conversation, and tale swapping. They build strong foundations and their gardens are populated with the friends, traditions, and experiences of a localvite. Their beauty is of permanence, of creation, and sustenance and patience.
I was young when I first conceptualized this fantasy world. I suspect I was thinking about my mom at the time. She is the daughter of Wanderers but is herself more of a Planter. A very good, long time, friend of mine is a Planter, and early on I began to look to her as a control case to my Wanderer nature. I wondered briefly if there was anything inherently better about living one way vs the other before concluding that there wasn’t.
I’m not sure why this theme has stuck with me but now, years later, I still take note of people who reenforce my belief that life can be just as fully experienced from sitting in a field for all of your days, as it can by walking across all of the fields of the world.
So now I will return you to the real world of complexity and nuance and beg you to forgive my flight of simplemindedness. But if you should ever meet or think of someone who fits neatly into one of these categories, I wonder if you might let me know about them. How do they make they world more beautiful. What wisdom have they gleaned from their way of living.