- October 2016
Why Escapism Matters
Escapism isn’t one thing. It can take the form of months spent roaming the road. It can be the moment the world melts when elevated through unfaltering focus. Getting lost in a song. A story. A weekend away, a campfire. Escape is subjective, mysterious, a mindset.
But escapism isn’t where we begin. Initially, we don’t have a name for it. Chasing surf, hiking trails, seeking destinations. These things promise satisfaction through challenges met, goals sought. We master and refine the technique of our chosen craft. And whether it’s the allure of living simply on the road or the exhilaration of wild surf, we improve. We seek bigger waves, steeper trails, more remote adventures, greater challenges.
Soon, the world around these activities comes into focus. The places we go to chase these experiences become safe haven. An alternate realm unknowable to most, indescribable. An escape. Places to unplug and recharge; to get off grid and reconnect. We create a binary, a border between the routine and the wild, the urban and nature, work and freedom. We move back and forth with effort from one space to another, seeking that mysterious state of escape.
But over time things change. Escapism takes shape. The world around our activity or craft expands. Where once we escaped to chase the rush of a wave or to let the complications of our lives melt away, rituals and routines develop. We begin to recognise and long for the emptiness of dawn-soaked Saturday roads to somewhere. We bask in the warmth of good company around driftwood fires spitting firefly embers into crystal night skies. The simple pleasure of having everything in its right place in the vans and tents we call home become a source of great comfort. We forge deep connections with like-minded people. We embrace journeys more than destinations. The worlds we escape to become richer.
That world expands until it meets the world we once escaped from. The lessons learned from the road, the wild, and every escape become an extension of ourselves. The border between the city and the wild, between work and freedom become blurred. The realms we escape to grow and expand to meet the world of our routines and commitments. Escapism becomes delightfully common, a part of us. We find ourselves momentarily lost in secret pockets of nature. We escape through photographs, songs, stories, memories.
Escapism becomes a state of mind. A constant desire to get off grid, wander, travel and to connect with people and the world around us for brief moments or extended excursions. We look to escape to better handle the screens and obligations of our jobs, the harsh chill of winter, the weight of routines, the noise of packed places.
But escapism is not a negative. It does not reflect a deep dissatisfaction with our existences. Instead, it’s the knowledge that escape betters us. Regardless of the scale or magnitude, we seek escape to make sense of an overwhelmingly complicated world. To make the unsimple simple. To be where we want to be.
Escapism is why Passenger exists. For us, escapism is hitting the road, following the threads of curiosity and wonder that lead us to oceans, mountains, and wild places. We feel the urge to wander. We constantly contend with a desire to roam. And when we can’t do so, we uncover momentary escapes through stories, songs, and photography. We constantly seek to move off grid – through campfires, photography, weekends away, extended road trips. We embrace what the practice of the escape has taught us, and let it influence the way we think and exist. But that's just us.
The elegance of escapism lies in its slipperiness. It’s not a science. It’s not something that can be bought. But it’s out there. Ready to be seen when you know how to see it. Waiting to be discovered in waves, cities, forests, mountains, music, roads, bike lanes, parks, stories. However you seek it, wherever it takes you.
Embrace the journey.