Who am I?
A beatific vagabond and queer mystic roaming the dark and dirty corners of the world. Hailing from the Great Plains, living in the Balsas River basin of Mexico, and wandering much farther afield.
What is Beat?
Beat was a concept and a movement cultivated in the 1940s and 50s by the so-called Beat Generation, a closely knit group of friends and writers that included Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, among others.
Allen Ginsberg explains Beat this way:
Everybody [is] lost in a dream world of their own making…The idea of transience of phenomenon – the poignant Kewpie-doll dearness of personages vanishing in time. Not a morbid interest in death but a realization of the mortal turn.
Jack Kerouac elaborates:
“The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had…in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way–a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word ‘beat’ spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America–beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction–We’d even heard old 1910 Daddy Hipsters of the streets speak the word that way, with a melancholy sneer–It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn’t gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization–the subterranean heroes who’d finally turned from the ‘freedom’ machine of the West and were taking drugs, digging bop, having flashes of insight, experiencing the ‘derangement of the senses,’ talking strange, being poor and glad, prophesying a new style for American culture, a new style (we thought), a new incantation.”
The Beats were free-thinkers, rebels, and mystics, who traveled far and wide in search of alternative forms of beauty and truth, outside the straight-and-narrow world.
The Beats weren’t the first or the last beatific vagabonds.
Their ideas were shaped my thinkers and writers like Ezra Pound, Arthur Rimbaud, Thomas Wolfe, and Marcel Proust, to name just a few. In turn, the Beat’s ideas have influenced musicians, writers, and generations of youth ever since, including the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Sven Birkerts and Thomas Pynchon. Furthermore, close observers can detect the kernel of “Beat” ideas in works of writers and artists not directly preceding or following the Beat Generation, including 17th century poet Matsuo Bashō, absurdist philosopher Albert Camus, or even Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The Beat Generation is the main inspiration for this blog, alongside all freethinkers, mystics, and vagabonds throughout history.
What is The Vagabond Beat?
In this blog you’ll find alternative travel tales in the spirit of the Beat Generation, as well as myriad freethinkers, mystics, and vagabonds throughout history. Through it, I hope thoughtful, independent travelers will be inspired to explore the road less traveled. Join me on this never-ending journey, turn your back on the “freedom machine,” and seek out a Beat adventure of your own.