1007 – Hostel in Broome, HammockBackpackers are as diverse a community as any. Some are hyperactive nomads, others are apathetic slackers. Homogenizing them into one group is probably a mistake, for backpackers have in common only the place they're staying at at the moment.
Some of them are travelers, others are fed up with their sedentary life, others are lost souls craving for a purpose. Among them, I would be the momentary participant observer. Included in the community only as a self-conscious member whose temporary presence must be as inconsequential as possible.
Thinking about ways of life is my job as a scholar of the humanities. It places me in a peculiar position, where my reflection becomes completely enmeshed with my life.
I'm thinking about the process of artistic imagination. It is an interesting concept and state of mind. I find it easy to narrate when I'm embedded in a buzzing environment, drawing from my surroundings to give rise to a narrative voice.
But when it comes to talking about my feelings as a person, poetry is my favoured medium, and this process necessitates quietness and tranquility, not a buzzing environment.
This separation between narrative voice and poetic voice is far from rigid and hermetic. It's just my impression that I can't write poetry when other people are around. I have done so already, but in the Kimberley, in the backpackers' community, I need to reassert my position of narrator, it seems.
Perhaps this is so because this environment makes me think and want to debrief a lot. In that case, the free flow of consciousness is better able to account for my need for expressing my opinion and my comments. The poem-form is too demanding, and would impede my flow of thoughts.
To go back to the backpackers, I'm glad I'm not a definite member of their group. I couldn't do this for more than a week. The traveling, yes; the slacking around, no. I need a motivation, a project. I'm like that, and I like that. I can't idle around for more than a week, for then I've got the feeling I'm wasting my time. I'm not saying others are wasting their time, but simply that I need a purpose.