Hiatus: Vagabonds and Attachment (hint: they don’t really have much of that)

by Ashe Vagabond of the Vagabond Express

I’m standing there, about to get off the train. She looks at me and asks how long I’ll be living in this city. “Not long,” I tell her, hoping she’ll understand the hint.

The hint is that I don’t want to carry this string with me forever. At all. Don’t ask me to be your friend. No, we shouldn’t hang out later. Sometimes, goodbye is okay. I’m a vagabond, and I don’t collect people. I meet too many people. Too many. With these meetings, we exchange experiences, sometimes great ones. Sometimes life-changing ones. And then we walk away without looking back.

It’s not cold. It’s just a different way of living your life.

In order to be constantly moving, one must be pretty lightly loaded. Strings tie down a winged creature. 

goodbyeWithout Saying Goodbye by Peter Jukes

I’m not saying that a vagabond has absolutely no ties or attachments. Often, they do have ties, sometimes ties stronger than non-vagabonds. But these ties are almost definitely few and carefully chosen. In terms of human ties, we can usually count them on just one hand, and of those ties, probably only 1 or 2 of them are nurtured by us. When it comes to “things” then the number drops  even more. There might be ONE thing that a vagabond bothers taking with him or her on all adventures. For me, it was a lock of my sister’s hair. She died when I was 15. I carried a lock of her hair with me for over 13 years, to 4 different continents. Even when I gave away everything I owned and rode a bike up to Canada from California, I had her hair with me. (tragically, I lost this item to the sociopath I was recently involved in).

This is my sister, Christen Dawn Smith. She died on October 8th, 1999. She was 10.


But back on topic.

Vagabonds can say GOODBYE better than any other person. I fondly recall some of the most amazing memories with people that I have never seen nor spoken to ever again.

I remember going dancing in Bremen, Germany with a girl from Latvia that I met in the city square earlier that day. I remember she had long black hair and was tottering along in designer high heels that hurt her feet so badly that by the end of the night, she took them off and we walked through the streets back to her apartment in just our bare feet at 4am. I don’t remember her name and I never saw her again. But she is the first woman who ever spontaneously kissed me. She changed my life, because she planted the first seed of doubt in my mind about my own sexuality.

It scared the crap out of me at first, but changed my life.

5134426219_90f1a407be Angela Bettis and Anna Faris

I remember a guy I met in Istanbul, Turkey, who told me to meet him in front of Starbucks at midnight. We’d just run into each other at Starbucks earlier that day. You’d have to be extremely naive to actually meet a random Turkish man at midnight in Istanbul, and I was exactly that naive. He drove me all over the city, took me to get Turkish ice cream, and told me all about the book he was writing with an ugly but smart female protagonist. I never saw him again and I don’t even remember his name, but I remember him telling me that he’s always wanted to know what it would feel like to kill someone. Shocked, sitting in the passenger seat of this stranger’s car, I realized that I was not completely naive. I was running on pure intuition. Every shred of logic in my head could have told me to never do a single bit of this, but my gut told me I was safe. And I was. He said, “There are much deeper things than philosophy.”

Then there’s the guy I ran into in a shopping mall in California who told me all about his family problems. He was so skinny.

There was also a man once who let me stay in his home, in his bed, and he slept on the couch. He cooked me breakfast every morning and drove me around Seattle to help me figure out the immigration issue I was having with the stupid Canadian border police. We read poetry together and he showed me his model airplane creations.

There was the homeless man that I bought food for and then took home to let him wash his clothes and take a shower at my house.

I spent a couple of days with some rich German guys who 392035_286468191387747_237871249580775_971932_1685219576_nwere taking a road trip all over America. I just sat in the back seat of their car, listening to them ramble in German. We went to the mall and they ran all over the place yelling, “CONSTIPATION,” into stores. They’d walk up to someone, tap them on the shoulder, and then whisper, “Constipation…” I should never have told them the meaning of that word when they asked me.


No, “I’ll Facebook you.” No, “Give me your number/email address/myspace.” Just goodbye.

Why am I even talking about this?

Because the beauty of these experiences lies in the heart and spirit of the vagabond. It is due to his or her readiness to completely let go that he or she is able to live 100% and fully in the moment, savoring every second. Listening with the heart. Speaking with a full mind. Seeing with eyes so open that they can barely filter a single stimulus until it’s all just washing in, pouring in, piling in. And then: Goodbye.

I’m so religious about this that I don’t even take photos.

This post is a shout out to people I’ll never see again. It was nice to meet you! Thank you for the some of the most amazing experiences of my life!

I’ll never be the same because of you.


goodbye (1)


9 Comments to “Hiatus: Vagabonds and Attachment (hint: they don’t really have much of that)”

  1. you are amazing!!!

    very talented and that is just an understatement….a natural born writer…i expect to see your novels and poetry in bookstores very soon.:)

    everything is fine dear



    • Philip, my dear, so nice to hear from you! I have to get through a novel without a computer virus destroying it first! I was 5 chapters into it when I got a virus. Started it again, got to chapter 3, and psycho ex boyfriend broke the computer. 😦

      I’m now back….at chapter two. I’m sending myself the chapters in emails so that no matter what happens to my computer, I will still have the writing! It’s just hard getting over the loss emotionally and then getting up the motivation to start ALL OVER AGAIN.

      Anyways, so glad you’re doing well, my fellow vagabond buddy! You gotta tell me what’s new with you!

  2. Good thought for food ~

    In experiencing my path, I have found that relationships have proved less of a binder than have responsibilities – not the essential, mind you, but the optional. Being one whose productivity is optimal within pressurized structure, I tend to overcommit myself.

    The biggest drawback of this is that I am not free to enjoy the sort of encounters you describe when I am constantly scheduled and busy.

    When I am able to strike a balance between my essential responsibilities, while allowing for whatever chance/serendipitous/synchronistic happenings the Universe might afford me – such encounters seem to happen with inevitable frequency.

    Thanks for the indirect reminder and suggestion to value that which is most important: one’s dearest relationships and that which expands and challenges (the likes of which generally defy scripting or imagination).

    May your vagabond travels and travails all lead to growth, joy and satisfaction.

    • Silas, I totally know what you mean. Initially, when I was just a vagababy (that’s my term for new vagabonds) I had to plan to not plan. What I mean is that I worked two jobs to save up mass cash, then planned to take 3 months of NOTHING to just vagabond it. That was the only compromise, because I am like you. I like to take on a full load because otherwise I feel lazy and unproductive! BUT my passion lies, ironically, in inertia and counter-productive activities, such as letting the knots come undone and watching plans unravel.

      I have more to say to you later. I have a class in 6 minutes. Your comment is thought provoking, and so is your own blog post about New Year’s (more on that to come. I’ll be commenting on your bloggie soon).

  3. Great post.
    I know people that need to be with people every day and are uncomfortable alone, even for a short time. I tend to think more like you do, although I value close ties as well. I neglect my friends shamefully, and sometimes family too, but when we get back together, it is as if I never left. I appreciate these relationships and don’t think of them as ties, more as safety nets.
    I consider myself a vagabond and I love to travel, often alone, I have accepted lodging from a stranger but I have never helped a homeless man the way you did. That was brilliant.
    Thanks for the thought provoking blog.

  4. Another nice post…….thanks for sharing.

  5. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me. Great job.

  6. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

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