I really appreciate a good dichotomy. I am not the kind of person who claims the world is too complicated to reduce to simple opposites. In fact, I think the world needs more…each new dichotomy provides yet another dimension on which to measure our human-ness.
Readers of my earlier post (“Are You a Difference Seer or a Similarity Seer?”) learned about my most favorite dichotomy. Here is my second most favorite, “favorite” basically meaning “most useful in dealing with people other than myself”: Homesteaders vs. Explorers.
If you have ever been camping with a group of friends, you may have noticed that some number of the group will, as soon as they have settled on a camp site, dump their backpacks on the ground and head off into the woods to see what is on the other side of that ridge just over there. Others will start gathering firewood, putting up tents, digging a latrine, and generally making the site ready for human occupancy. Members of the first group are, without question, Explorers. Those in the latter group are the Homesteaders.
I am a Homesteader. I have often wondered if the Explorers would ever get around to putting up their tents or building a cooking fire.
I have learned that Explorers are a grateful species; genuinely thankful that someone has made a comfortable campsite out of pure wilderness. And they often bring back interesting photographs of wonders that I shall never witness firsthand. And for that, I am grateful for their presence.
Of course, this dichotomy is not limited to camping. I have experienced it at home as well. As I confessed above, I am a Homesteader. It turns out that I have been married to an Explorer for the last 35 years. Were it not for Katie’s restless urges, I would never have become a world traveler, much less tried a new (to us) restaurant or ways to prepare Brussels sprouts or asparagus so they are edible (no such luck for okra).
Left on my own, I would spend most of my day at my desk, or puttering in my workshop (but only in good weather, since the shop is unheated). Katie, on the other hand, is looking for the next great adventure. In truth, I never know what new place or thing is in my future. But past experience has taught me that I will be better off for going along for the ride.
And in between adventures, we have a very nice “campsite,” which Katie enjoys very much.