The other day, when starting to reread Pico Iyer's The Lady and the Monk. Four Seasons in Kyoto, I came across this. "... the vision I had always cherished of living simply and alone, in some foreign land, unknown. A life alone was the closest thing to faith I knew, and a life of Thoreauvian quiet seemed most practicable abroad."
"The readiness is all", says Horatio in Hamlet. Readiness for the spiritual life, it seems to me, is only possible once the capitalist options (to have, to possess – including books, ideas as well as knowledge) are exhausted or have become irrelevant. When to simply be sounds attractive.
When the actor Billy Murray was asked: "You're rich, you're famous, what do you still want from life?", he replied (I quote from memory): "To be more consistently here, or differently put: to be also mentally where I am physically."