Seeking Nothing in the Middle of Nowhere

The Spot

The Spot

I had a very rough day yesterday.

It was so rough, that early in the morning I finally just threw down my office phone, walked five miles home (Mrs. LanceAround had the car) and laid on my bed and cried.

After a few hours, I asked Number One Son if he could go out with me.  “Where?,” he asked.  “Don’t care,” I replied, “I just want to go on a walkabout.  You can take us wherever you want.”

Turns out Number One son has been reading about “geohashing.”

Geohashing was invented by Randall Monroe who writes a webcomic called xkcd.  Using a complex algorithm randomly based on the opening value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it creates a set of coordinates for each one degree by one degree graticule in the world.  (Wow, our Grammy didn’t understand any of those words at all!)

So, let me translate for Grammy:  Randall’s system gives you the geographic coordinates (longitude and latitude) for a single point somewhere within 50 square miles of where you live.  There are thousands of these specific points throughout the entire world.  So everyone is within 50 miles of a point.  This point changes every business day, based on the stock market opening.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to physically go to that geographical point within the graticule (50 square mile area) where you live.

What are you looking for?  Nothing.

Where are you going?  Often, to the middle of nowhere!

Using his trusted Tom Tom GPS, Number One Son drove us to a dirt road 30 miles from home and approximately one and a half miles from the location of the coordinates within our 50 Sq. mile graticule.  There, we encountered a locked gate.

Ignoring the geohashing’s guideline to not trespass, we climbed the gate and walked down the dirt road until the reference point was about three quarters of a mile due west through the wild.

We had to ford a stream, jump several barb wire fences, orienteer through cow pastures, through several wooded areas and past a lot of undergrowth.

Finally, the marker on the Tom Tom indicated that we had reached our coordinates.  We opened the bottles of water we brought along and toasted our success.  We had managed to get to nowhere and found nothing.  I was tired, hungry, sore and felt as though I was going to faint.

But I also felt better than I have in a long, long time.  Number One Son and I just smiled and laughed as we gazed around at the open pastures, woods and cow herds.

On the way back, we found truck tracks that made it easy to navigate to our van.  The adventure took so long that the sun was setting, sending pale streaks of vivid tangerine across the horizon and revealing the bright planet Venus in the southwestern sky.  We also encountered a roving skunk and heard the increasingly loud cow calls from the neighboring fields.

My business is to help people have the vacation of a lifetime.  But how do I vacation?

Usually, I don’t.  But thanks to Randall Monroe and Number One Son, I discovered a wonderful, quick and no cost vacation by seeking nothing in the middle of nowhere.

It was just what I needed.

2 Responses to “Seeking Nothing in the Middle of Nowhere”

  1. steve Says:

    A kind of zen holiday? To seek nothing, and actually get it. But after an almost unbearable amount of effort.

  2. LanceAround Says:

    Hi Steve:

    I never thought of it like that! It puts it in a new perspective for me. Did I tell you that when Brandon and I celebrated we did so by clapping with one hand and listening to the sound? 🙂

    If you ever come back to Florida maybe you could write a few guest posts for me. I love your writing and would be interested to add your voice to my blog


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