The Four Travelers: Who Will You Be in the New Year?


Happy New Year!

Congratulations to all of us for everything we did right in 2012 and everything we’ll do better in 2013.

But instead of a list of things we’re going to do or stop doing this year, I’m wondering if it might be more effective to think about how we’ll do or not do those things.

Please note: I just made this up (on the heels of the emotional hangover that is Christmas), and so it might be ridiculously off-point. (Although probably no more so than the Spotify playlist my daughter and I named “Emus and Hamsters” because her younger friend confused “Emo” boys with “Emu”, like the bird; and my grandmother thought we were saying “hamster” when we were talking about the “hipsters”, but I digress… Anyway, this playlist is full of tracts from bands like Air and Bon Iver and it’s what I’m listening to as I write this.)

Ok. So.

Here are four ways to explore your universe in 2013 – or any other year, for that matter.

First, think of yourself as a European in the 15th or 16th century. You’re trying to convince the Queen of Spain, the King of England or whatnot that you should be given lots of money to find fame and fortune on the other side of the globe. During your journey – and a long, long journey it is – you may assume four different roles, perhaps all of them at once!


The Searcher: Otherwise known as The Seeker, The Asker, or The Instigator, you are the person studying maps and stars night after night before anyone ever even dreams of sailing to another continent or discovering a fountain of youth. You are the person asking why and what. WHY leave home? WHAT unnamed treasures could possibly be over there that aren’t over here? You attract passionate people with adventurous souls.

You repel people who need tangible answers to easily articulated questions. The queen, the king… Those people either give you money and a crew because they’re in love with you, or because they want you to go away.


The Charter. Also known as The Striver, The Creator or The Navigator, you are the person most quickly sought by The Searcher to help her find answers to her endless questions. You are not content to let the waters take you where waters take boats on their own will. You chart a course of YOUR will. Not only do you reach goals, you set them.

Other people trust you to get things done. Some are annoyed with how aggressive you are in your pursuits.


The Soaker. Known, too, as The Contented. Ok, ditch the Explorer fantasy for a little bit and pretend you’re canoeing and drinking beer on the Harpeth. You know how when the river reaches a still spot, and some people want to keep going and others want to dock and eat lunch, but some people want to just get out of the boat and soak in the water in the sunshine and enjoy that sweet moment?

If you’re The Soaker, you’re this guy. You, more than any of us, know how to live in the moment. You may have been eaten alive trying to discover a new world in the 1500s. But you give The Charter pause – in a good way. You help her enjoy the fruits of her labor.

You’re a preacher, a poet, an emu hamster.


The Drifter. Aka The Waiter or The Coaster. You know you aren’t in the right place, but you don’t know where the right place is. The Charter is padding up shit creek. The Searcher is asking the wrong questions. The Soaker is happy wherever he is. You? You may be the wisest of all. You know when it’s best to not fight the current. Let it take you where it will. Eventually you’ll be back on course.


I wager to say all of us take a turn in each of these roles. I know I have. Most naturally a Searcher, I’ve been a Charter and a Drifter on occasion. I sure as hell wish I could enjoy the moment with less difficulty. And that is why in 2013 – whatever good I do or bad I undo – I resolve to soak in it.

And you, dear traveler?


11 thoughts on “The Four Travelers: Who Will You Be in the New Year?

  1. As I “soaked” up your metaphors of life, I “drifted” contentedly and “charted” your “searching” ways since age 16. What discoveries you have made! Great read.

  2. I am the epitome of a charter. Which is ironic, because the name reminds me of the Navy. And the Navy charted my path for so many years. Now I don’t have to follow that path, but I can’t seem to stop. Help me be a soaker in the New Year, mkay?

    • I don’t know. I know a lot of charter types who would be well served to chill for a moment and enjoy where they are. And several others who try too damn hard to do what the current will naturally do on its own, often getting lost in the process.

      • I do find it interesting that no one wants to be the Drifter. Maybe if I named it something different… I think these people are the most in touch with the universe, the closest to God – if that’s how you look at things. It’s VERY hard to be that person, though, when our culture defines leadership as being the one in the front with the machete.

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