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rachelr's picture

In hopes that they help guide you on your Wanderings:


Urban Dictionary: Vacilando is a Spanish term for the act of wandering when the experience of travel is more important than reaching the specific destination.

John Steinbeck (in Travels With Charley: In Search of America, 1962) wrote:

“ In Spanish there is a word for which I can't find a counterword in English. It is the verb vacilar, present participle vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but does not greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction."

*this is the only accurate definition I could find in English


OED: a. Existence together or in conjunction. b. With special reference to peaceful existence side by side of states professing different ideologies.

Online Etymology Dictionary: mid-15c., "joint existence;" see co- + existence. As "peaceful relations between states of different ideologies," 1954, a Cold War term.

Merriam-Webster: 1. to exist together or at the same time. 2. to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy.


OED: The print or impression left by the foot; spec. in Geol. a fossilized one.

The Free Dictionary: 1. An outline or indentation left by a foot on a surface. Also called footmark, footstep. 2. The surface space occupied by a structure or device: the footprint of a building; a microcomputer with a space-saving footprint. 3. An area within which a spacecraft is supposed to land. 4. A designated area affected or covered by a device or phenomenon: the footprint of a communications satellite. 1. a mark left by the shod or unshod foot,  as in earth or sand. 2. an impression of the sole of a person's foot,  especially one taken for purposes of identification.



hirakismail's picture

Vacilando Definition

Wow, I really liked that you used a Spanish word. I understand how hard it is to try to translate the exact meaning of a word from one language to another. And the image you used combined your three words together pretty well: footprint, vacilar, and coexistence. It pictures those three elements happening at the same time. @rachelr

et502's picture

making the connection

thanks for helping make that connection between the image and the three words - It's going to stick in my memory a lot longer. 

Srucara's picture

Health, Life, and Gaia


From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Health (n.) "O.E. haelb, wholeness, a being whole, sound or well, O.E. halig, holy, sacred." In middle English, also "prosperity, happiness, welfare; preservation, safety."

Oxford English Dictionary

"Healing, cure"

"1555 R. Eden tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria Decades of Newe Worldeii. vi. f. 74v, The diseased woman obteyned healthe of the fluxe of her bludde."

"Spiritual, moral, or mental soundness or well-being; salvation."

1887 ‘E. Lyall’ Knight-Errant xxiii. 224 As you value the health of your own souls

soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.
Origin: before 1000; Middle English helthe, Old English hǣlth


Online Etymology Dictionary:

O.E. life (dat. lif) "existence, lifetime, way of life, condition of being a living thing, opposite of death," Meaning "property which distinguishes living from non-living matter" is from 1560s. Sense of "vitality, energy" is from 1580s. Extended 1703 to "term of duration (of inanimate objects)."

Oxford English Dictionary:

The condition, quality, or fact of being a living person or animal; human or animal existence.

a1638 J. Mede Wks. (1672) 401 The fire is known by its burning; the life of the body is known by its moving.

1880 L. Morris Ode of Life 138 Life! what is life, that it ceases with ceasing of breath?

the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally*.

(* A city?)


Online Etymology Dictionary:

"personification of gaia "earth," as opposed to heaven, "land," as opposed to sea

Oxford English Dictionary:

The global ecosystem, understood to function in the manner of a vast self-regulating organism, in the context of which all living things collectively define and maintain the conditions conducive to life on earth.

1989 S. H. Schneider Global Warming (1990) iv. 74 When Gaia was first introduced, it was what one might term ecofreaks.

"the goddess of the earth, who bore Uranus and by him Oceanus, Cronus, and the Titans"

hirakismail's picture


Love how different each of the definitions of this word were. A goddess, the condition of the earth in comparison to heaven and the sea. Very fascinating!

Nan's picture

Ways of Wandering

I really like the way the words you chose resonate with one another.  We cannot help but leave footprints, but the effect of our footprints may be different depending on how we are vacilando, how we coexist with what is already on this planet.

In one of the remote villages in Bali where we sought out some music that was never permitted to be recorded, the villagers would play it for visitors on large metallic keyed instruments if we could find our way there.  Then when it would be time to depart, someone would walk behind us sweeping away our footprints in the dirt with a broom.

In "Women Who Run with the Wolves" the Jungian psychologist and storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estés speaks about the wanderer in a story called "The Handless Maiden" where there is an entire descent and transformation of the self that she compares to the three stages of alchemy:  "the nigredo, the black or the dark dissolving stage; the rubedo, the red or the sacrificial stage; and the albedo, the white or the resurgent stage."  It is a cyclical process, though she observes that there can be psychic movement through this ongoing repetition: "Now the old self is gone, and the deep self, the naked self, is the powerful wanderer."