Are you a Wayfarer?
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
Discover what it means to truly walk on your own two feet
Who is a Wayfarer?
A Wayfarer is a person who travels on foot and it's a term that was in regular use until about 100 years ago, a time when exploration and expeditions were led to discover unknown territories. The Wayfarers we refer to are those who choose to lead themselves on an exploration of their inner territories, to take the road less travelled within themselves, so that they might train to be wiser and more effective in choosing the Nobler Path in any given circumstance. Wayfarers are pulled by an earnest desire to contribute more or in different ways than before, and to know what it means to stand fully on our own two feet, trusting in ourself and taking full responsibility for setting the tone and direction in our life. We also know that the only way we can do so is by leaning in to others and walking together with them - it's not a journey we can take alone.
“There is the journey you make through the world - the one that aches and sings. We come together with others to make our way and survive its trials. But we are, all of us, also wayfarers on a greater journey, this one without end, each of us searching for the answers to the unspoken questions of our hearts.” - Alexandra Bracken, Wayfarer
Wayfarers are those willing and committed to travelling on foot, metaphorically, to slow down and become deliberate and intentional in their way of being and doing. Wayfarers are those who sign up with us knowing that they’ll get blisters, callouses and tired feet, they’ll stumble, get dusty and bloody-kneed as they journey into themselves. Wayfarers also know deep down that they’ll find freedom, adventure, joy, aliveness, togetherness, intimacy and an internally aligned self, making all the struggle worth it. It’s a hard walk with beautiful resting places, dark valleys and stunning peaks. Wayfarers learn to manage their energy and attention to navigate the most challenging parts of the way. They also learn to drink deeply of the present moment and be good to themselves, resting, recuperating, enjoying life and all it has to offer.
Wayfarers value Nature deeply and love being out among the elements, so it’s apt that the Wayfarer is also a roadside plant, otherwise known as the Hoarwithy (great, these ancient names!). Hoar means “grey-haired” and withy means “pliant stem”. In a nutshell, that’s the way of the Wayfarer, the inner journey to wisdom and agility, flexibility, creativity, and ongoing growth.
Wayfarers have a peculiar capacity to extract value, insight, learning and little epiphanies from virtually everything in the world around them. They are profoundly receptive to what the world offers and has to say - fellow human beings, animals, nature, art, music, literature, science, wisdom traditions, philosophy, food. There is something of the Renaissance love for a multi-disciplinary approach, the interconnected flow of art and science, the experimental and reverential nature of life.
Pilgrim, nomad, vagabond, trekker are all sfumature or nuances within the same genus. A Wayfarer seeking out the Nobler Path revels in sfumature – a fabulous Italian word that comes from fumo, smoke, that smokey smudginess when things blend in and out of each other. Wayfarers stay with the nuances and the Questions until the last moment before striking out on a chosen path.
Wayfarers are pilgrims not preachers, they quietly go about the business of applying what they learn and know, and they continuously and earnestly walk their own journey to keep learning, discovering, exploring, experimenting.
"We want to be poets of our life first of all in the smallest most everyday matters" - Friedrich Nietzsche
The Way of the Wayfarer
Wayfarers share some common principles, which may also be aspirational for now, but with the earnest willingness to train oneself and live by them:
Love and respect for all living beings and nature
A concern for honouring Dignity - one's own and others'
A concern for our shared Humanity and Vulnerability
A commitment to always speak Eye-to-eye and Heart-to-heart on equal terms
Reciprocity and mutual support - willingness to lean in
An appreciation for individual freedom
Love of learning and curiousity
A capacity for Presence
A high tolerance for reality, uncertainty and paradox
Love of life and living courageously, whole-heartedly
What counts is what we are, and the way we deepen our relationship with the world and with others, a relationship that can be both of love for all that exists and of desire for its transformation - Italo Calvino
Wayfarers who walk part of their journey together with us and each other are a Band or Sept - these collective terms are loose, spacious, speak to the usually temporally-defined nature of a group of people who share a part of the road together. They honour at the same time the individual spirit of each Wayfarer as well as the sense of togetherness and mutual support. Wayfarers may band together for a certain period of time and then go their separate ways, or they may gravitate back to join another band for another part of the road. Sept is an old English word that refers to a subgroup of an Irish or Scottish clan. It's an intimate gathering of people who closely support each other and also give each other ample space - there's a sense of loose yet lively and engaged kinship.
Not ready yet? Or looking for something else right now? No worries, take a look at our Resources page for some inspiration on possible alternative paths for you.