Published August 16, 2007
24 to go. Or that’s what I’ve been thinking lately, anyway. I was wearing Peace Pilgrim’s tunic for quite a while, and it does say, very clearly, “25,000 miles on foot for peace.”
I’m not sure how I will complete those 24,000 miles. They may be metaphorical miles or literal miles. I doubt I’ll ever be a peace pilgrim again, but you never know.
While I was walking, I had so many people express a desire to get our military out of Iraq. I had several members of our military thank me for what I was doing, including one who had just returned from Iraq. I think about what they’ve sacrificed, and I know that it would be unconscionable and beyond selfish for me to stop working for peace now.
I’m going to spend some time thinking about how to best continue the spirit of my walk. Maybe you’ll hear from me again publicly someday, maybe not. But, in the words of Peace Pilgrim, I will keep at it, “until mankind has learned the way of peace.”
Published August 8, 2007
Several people have spoken to me about the possibility of walking their own pilgrimage, and I expect that others with similar thoughts will find their way to this blog eventually. I’d like to leave some small bits of advice here for anyone who may want to walk.
1) Read Peace Pilgrim’s book. It is full of logistical information if you are looking for it.
2) Be prepared to have many friends and family, even supportive friends and family, who do not understand what you are doing.
3) The more you indulge in fear, comfort-seeking, looking for praise or avoiding negative responses, the harder it’s gonna be.
4) You may find that the beginning of the pilgrimage is the hardest part. This is when you will have to decide whether you’re serious about what you’ve set out to do.
5) You don’t have to do it, but shaving your head makes everything easier. I would have been much smellier if I hadn’t!
6) Don’t pop blisters.
7) Avoid long grass when you’re in the Northeast. It can be full of ticks carrying lyme disease (I learned this the hard way–one day in New Jersey I pulled about 20 ticks off of my clothes and body). If you have to sleep outside, sleep off of the ground.
8) Don’t wear cotton.
Finally, I do believe an action like this can have many positive effects on the world that are measurable and practical, but if you have no motivation beyond the political, you simply will not be able to handle the challenges.
Published August 8, 2007
For all of the kind and generous people who offered me places to stay: I would love to see any and all of you again. If you would ever like to visit New York City, my door is always open. I would be honored to host you!
Published August 7, 2007
The walking is done! I can’t write much at the moment because in about ten minutes I’m headed into a college philosophy class to talk about my experiences. When I get home in a few days I’ll be sure to post more.
Many thanks to everyone for all of your support!
Published August 5, 2007
Only 2 days to go! Some of my most interesting experiences have been happening these last few days of the walk. For the first weeks of the walk, it seemed that most of the people I met were women, and every woman I spoke to had a story of surviving violence. As the walk winds down, it’s men I’ve been running into. I’ve been having some wonderful conversations with them about the pressures they’ve felt to act “tough” and dominate. One man described the damage this pressure has done to his spiritual and emotional growth, and his ability to be the kind of partner he’d like to be. Another told me that he believes he would never have ended up in prison had it not been for that same pressure. And the war memorials I see in every town I pass through tell the story of the thousands of men I won’t have a chance to speak to. The toll this takes on everyone is so tremendous.
Unfortunately, most people I talk to defer their responsibility for addressing these issues to individual parents and their choices in childrearing. I think this is a dangerous response to a problem that is obviously collective, and requires a range of institutional changes extending far beyond the behavior of individual families. The good news though is that most people I speak to, male and female, do want the situation to change.
Published July 31, 2007
Tonight I’m staying with some people who traveled with The Equality Ride, a group that travels around the U.S. speaking to students and meeting with administrators at Christian colleges and universities with policies that discriminate against LGBTQ people “to encourage compassion, inclusion and loving acceptance, values upon which Christianity is founded.”
It looks like I have about a week left to go… I’ll have more time then to post lots of final thoughts!
Published July 27, 2007
Pennsylvania is so beautiful! And the people here have a little bit of the Southern friendliness, so I’m having lots of good conversations while I walk. Today I had three people stop me to tell me that there would always be evil in the world. I wonder who they were trying to convince–me or themselves… Apathy would be more justifiable if our actions couldn’t make a difference. Anyhow, I don’t think it matters too much whether there will always be ‘evil.’ The answer to that philosophical question has no bearing on our responsibility to do what we feel is right. We don’t decide not to lead good lives just because we can’t be ‘perfect,’ so why should we avoid social action because we can’t create a world with no tragedy?