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“Attachment is the great fabricator
of illusions;
reality can be attained
only by someone who is detached.”
Simone Weil

And so the decision came to leave Grand Rapids as there was soon going to be little concept of home left for me there, with the exception of my immediate family. After my grandmother’s death, my father decided to move in with my grandfather. This decision meant that he would be leaving the apartment he had been living in for nearly 8 years, the one I lived in my last year of high school and most of my college career and still had most of my things at.

The life I had been leading the last few months, bouncing between Grand Rapids and Marquette, an 8 hour drive each way, had become routine. However, it was also a grand experiment in being unbound. I had no responsibilities anywhere I went except for myself and the people I was with. And there was something good about that.

It’s an interesting experience, the act of purging. To go through each item you own, ponder why you have it in the first place and then decide on the spot whether or not it’s worth the space or effort to keep.

After over a week of doing this and getting rid of nearly 75% of what I owned, I ended up with 5 boxes. Two contain clothes. Two contain books. And the last is random items that I likely have no need for but still didn’t want to part with. They now sit waiting in a corner in my mother’s basement in a suburb of Grand Rapids for whenever or whyever I may choose to retrieve them.


The backpack in its original fullness. It would be reduced later on.

Now left with a big blue backpack and whatever I could comfortably fit into it (which in itself was a formula I would find myself reworking several times) there was a sense of liberty in the detachment from things.

And more and more it seemed like a reset into all the things I had ever wanted to do. I went to school for anthropology, the science of cultural exploration. I went to school for writing, the portrayal of cultural exploration. And much to my home city’s credit, there are grander things than Grand Rapids in this world to be explored.

The anticipation, the need to leave home was already there. I just needed the opportunity for something brand new, which would soon come after over a month of email swapping.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

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