At Whitt’s End: Profound wisdom of Led Zeppelin


Joe Whitt, Columnist

In a little over a week’s time, many of our fellow ‘Cats will graduate and embark on their next adventure in life. For them especially, but also for everyone reading, I have a little piece of advice: ramble on.

Defined as a walk for pleasure, typically without a definite route, rambling appeals to the explorer. It’s a practice that has been captured in countless songs and stories throughout history—notions of the open road, wanderlust and freedom.

What I want to suggest to you in this column is that you ought to embrace your inner rambler spirit.

There are many people in your life that are going to tell you otherwise, though. They will likely blabber, ad nauseum, about the dangers waiting to prey upon you out there in the world: your lack of money, the need to get a real job and becoming an adult, the waste of time, etc. For all of these naysayers, I feel obliged to be at least one voice of reason urging you to seize this unique moment in your life.

Take the money and run.

For those worried about the danger, put your worries at ease. If you’re looking for trouble, trouble will find you. On the other hand, if you are an open courteous and mindful person, that is exactly what will find you. The world is full of amazing people, and you owe it to yourself to meet them and learn from them. Forget about what you heard on the news and the stereotypes. I remain confident that humanity has more good-hearted folk than bad, regardless of the region or locale. Don’t buy into the xenophobics and fearmongers.

For those worried about the money, keep in mind that you can always make more of it once you exhaust your funds. Plus, you can’t put a money value on the moments you’ll be getting. The views, the relationships, the epiphones and insights, the novel experiences. Trust that every penny spent will be well worth it. The memories last a lifetime—who can say that about the material goods you would have spent your money on otherwise?

For those eager to get a full-time job, find a spouse and start a family, I have four words: pump the breaks, kid. If you don’t take your chance to ramble now, you may never get another. As a young adult, you have very little holding you down right now. That changes quickly once you become sedentary.

Although rambling may seem like a waste of time on the surface, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The knowledge you acquire on your walkabout is the sort that will make you grow as an individual. Not only will you become more understanding of other members of society, but you will become more understanding of yourself.

You’ll inevitably be faced with various challenges along the path, and in facing them, you’ll learn lessons that cannot be read in a textbook or taught in a class. Think of your rambling as experiential learning. You will be better prepared for the rest of life after you have put yourself through it.

For me, the rambler’s lifestyle has always been therapeutic, and I want others to get in on the action, too. I’ve been attracted to the invigorating nature of adventure. I thrive in uncertain terrain. I’ve always been curious and eager to explore. After all, “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

There’s a lot of meaning to be found out there, and I encourage everyone to find some and share. I’ve willingly gotten lost out there and, in my wandering, happened upon some pretty groovy people and places.

Now, it’s your time, ‘Cats. Just as the great philosopher Robert Plant once said, “Got no time for spreading roots, the time has come to be gone. It’s time to ramble on.”

In this spirit, go forth and experience a liberated lifestyle, traveling the world with nothing but the clothes on your back and a rucksack full of spare undies. It’s worth it.