photo credit: Edson Lopez

a rolling stone gathers no moss

1. proverb
a person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth, status, responsibilities, or commitments.


The conventional translation of this ancient proverb is “someone who does not settle in one place rarely prospers.” It attributes the undesirable qualities of being unreliable and unproductive to a person who is unwilling to settle for long in one place.

Bob Dylan seemingly acknowledged the original intent in his song, “Like a Rolling Stone,” with the lyrics:

How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone

And while the original intent of the proverb views the growth of moss as desirable, that was never my take on it. To me, moss represented a cumbersome growth that stagnates the stone.

The weekend before I left to begin my travels, I had been thinking about that proverb ¬†for days. A friend and I decided to go on a hike, and while walking along the trail I began noticing moss-covered stones. I’m not sure I have ever once in my life stopped to look at a moss-covered stone, but there they were. LOTS of them! I had brought along my camera because I wanted to at least try to learn how to use it somewhat. I handed it over to my friend because I’d seen photos he posted on Instagram and he’s got a good eye. He took the photo above, as well as many others. And I must admit, moss-covered stones are quite beautiful. As for me, I’d still rather be a plain old rock that gets to see the world, because that’s how I roll. (See what I did there?)

And so it begins. Selling all my worldly belongings, (well, what was left of them anyway), I set out on October 27, 2016, to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling the world.

“How can you afford to travel the world for a year?” is the most-asked question I get. Well, the truth is I can’t afford it. This is a 100% leap of faith that the work will come as I need it. I know I’m just getting started, but so far, so good. I’ve had modest but steady freelance work since I began traveling. If I waited till I could afford it I would never do it. It’s like having kids. If most people knew the total cost of raising a child, they’d never have children.

“What will you do when you get back?” is the second most-asked question I get. I’ll start over. I’ve started over many times in my life and I’ll do it again. I may not accumulate any “moss” by living in hotels, homestays and housesitting all over the globe, but I’ll have a lot of great memories. One thing I’ve learned about myself is I’d rather collect moments more than things. Things are nice, but there are many ways to lose them. Moments can never be taken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *