The Bardo State

June 23, 2019

In Buddhist philosophy there is a liminal space in “time” called the Bardo State.  In the most basic, literal sense it is the gap of time between the death of one life and the incarnation of another.  In general terms it is what happens during any transitional state when something is still in between two different worlds.  Bridging this gap is not known to be an easy process, for one must live in the space of ambiguity, uncertainty and vulnerability often when the stakes are high.  We must trust.  We must be comfortable sitting in the discomfort.  We must find our humility and become humble in the face of the unknown.  Then, we must find, gather and exercise the courage and strength in the most fragile of places.  Like being stuck in rush hour traffic, where obligations and desires wage war; where meaning is pondered, and purpose is questioned; and where we fight with and make friends with our demons (or just listen to podcasts), we must engage in a present manner lest our worlds fall apart, we go road rage and we cut off our nose to spite our face.

If we applied this concept to our lives we could probably identify at least one area in our lives where this feels present.  It felt present for us when we were traveling from Panama to Columbia  – where we weren’t sure when we would get our home on wheels, nor what condition it would be in when we did.  And, after receiving our rig in the same condition we had dropped it off, we still needed to address several mechanical issues in South America that later stood the chance of compromising the rest of our journey: exploring South America and driving to “the end of the world.”  Not surprisingly, we also felt the liminality of the Bardo leading up to our initial departure on this adventure, when there was no certainty what world we would be entering or re-entering, for whatever world it was rested on the timing and completion of our rig, which proved to be a consistently moving target.

As we approached the mid-point in our journey we felt that liminal state again while shipping our rig and preparing to bridge the gap between Panama and Columbia.  Mechanical issues with our truck and the cumbersome process of shipping our rig created a gap in time and flow, which felt akin to the centrifugal force of accelerating and decelerating (or riding with a driver that has spent too much time fighting traffic).  Leading up to our initial departure 7-months ago we had a lurking suspicion and fear that the camper company that was building our camper would go bankrupt with all of our money tied up in it and no camper, no trip.  Luckily this didn’t happen to us – but it did happen to the others in cue after us (with the exception of 2 that were completed after ours).  The company did go bankrupt, leaving several people out of a large investment of time, energy, money, hopes, desires and dreams.  We learned about the news the same time we were dealing with the mechanical issues of our truck.

Luckily we were were in the right places at the right times, and the right people miraculously appeared when we needed them, but least expected them.  Fortunately there is a strong community of generous and helpful overlanders with a plethora of knowledge who are willing to lend a helping hand and make this thing called overloading a little less Wild West.  And gratefully, we (Karl, Oz and I included) have each other to lean on and we can navigate the gaps together.  We give thanks for all of this and much, much more.  After the shipping process of our rig from Panama to Columbia and fixing a multitude of major and minor mechanical issues on our truck, we worked with and bridged gaps on many levels.  Now, we are crossing our fingers to complete what we started – our journey to bridge the gap between home and end of the world!


I am a non-practicing psychotherapist with a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I will be working towards licensure after our travels. During our journey through Mexico and Central and South America I’m exploring other cultural and community value systems and environmental and relational dynamics that influence mental health and happiness. I am also writing a book about anger. The book includes research collected throughout my clinical and academic studies in psychology, as well as personal thoughts and life experiences as a heavy metal musician, and other’s thoughts on and/or experiences with anger.


  1. Comment by Christine, Bernard & Myco

    Christine, Bernard & Myco June 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Hola Amigos! You adopt a good life philosophy and by trusting, without seing, you just allow that all is possible. xxx

  2. Comment by Dad

    Dad June 23, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Good luck as you again set off…Dad

    • Comment by Guided by Wolves

      Guided by Wolves June 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Muchas Gracias!

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