January 7th, 2018
I bought a train ticket. One way. Milwaukee to Seattle. That means forty-four hours of window time. Most of that period will be spent admiring the scenic beauty of North Dakota and eastern Montana in February. It will be a long, snowy journey. So, why am I going?
I mean…I have a reason for travelling to Seattle. However, that reason simply brings up a new question. The plan is for me to participate in a peace walk with some Native American groups. The walk is called the “Longest Walk 5.3”, and it actually starts in Blaine, WA. Blaine is northwest of Seattle. If you go north of Blaine, you are in Canada, and if you west of Blaine, you are in the Pacific Ocean. The walk ends in Washington, DC. It begins on February 16th and ends, God willing, on July 14th.
The walk is supposed to promote awareness of domestic violence and drug abuse. I don’t know the route we will be taking. I don’t know where we will be staying each night, or who will be feeding us. All I know is that I will be gathering together with a large number of strangers in a strange town to walk to places I have never seen before. The idea is appealing to me. Why?
I told Karin a few months ago that I wanted to go on another peace walk. I have been on a walk that went for 165 miles. This exercise is exponentially longer than that walk. Karin is okay with me going on this jaunt. She has grown accustomed to my adventures. She smiled and told me, “I’ll be okay.”
I replied, “I know that. I wouldn’t have even considered doing this if I didn’t know that you would be all right.”
So, is this a pilgrimage? Yes, it could qualify as that. Why do people go on a pilgrimage? To find God? To find themselves? To get away from the blandness of a regular routine? Why am I going?
I don’t know if I will complete the entire walk. I somehow doubt it. The guy organizing the event, Bobby, knows that I write and he is visualizing me as the walk’s writer, media guru, and PR guy. I think he is vastly overestimating my abilities. There will have to be a lot of on-the-job training.
I am supposed to learn something from this walk. What am I supposed to learn?