Many, content within their cozy cells

Of soft and safe familiarity,

Will scorn or fear the daring that compels

The youth to chase horizons, make them flee

Until the understanding spans the whole

Continuum of all humanity.

To tread the planet’s breadth from pole to pole,

To slumber under foreign stars, and share

Warmth with strangers through bonds of common soul

Spawns enlightenment critical and rare.

The epic journey jointly undertaken

Toughens the sinews of a brotherhood;

Experience’s dawn shall broadly waken

A latent sympathetic hardihood.

The road’s confusion and discovery,

Its joy and danger, thrill and dullness should

Ever embrace, like lovers’ ecstasy,

To make the vistas and the grandeur sweet,

All the mobile conviviality

Richer in slogging through the cold and heat.

For who – but few! – have bathed in every ocean,

Or breathed the air of half the biosphere’s

Teeming diversities through global motion,

Or plunged into the reservoir of tears

And sweat and blood exuded by the most

Of Adam’s race, which evermore coheres

Into a sea that never laps a coast?

The restless, brave, and curious alone

Make trek to tangiate the fragile ghost

Of solidarity’s prevailing groan.

Oh, what prodigious treasure of fulfillment

Accumulated in the greed for road,

When sandaled feet have pressed for full distillment

The liquor to the traveler bestowed!

Oh, one like me remains ashamed to die

(Too lazy to exceed my own abode)

And longs, one day, with fortitude to try

Some great adventure and romantic test

Of worth in journey, and as boldly fly

As Thomas stepped the Earth in ardent quest.

This poem is based on the book: Thumbs Up: A Hitchhiking Irishman and 25,000 Kilometres from Patagonia to the Arctic