Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Texas Time-Out and the NAPF Workshop In Santa Barbara, Part I

Once I returned to New Braunfels from visiting with my friends in San Antonio, I began planning my bicycle ride from there to San Marcos and then Austin, thinking I would be continuing from there to started to rain again. :p

Seems the rains that had pestered me through Louisianna and the early days of my travels through Texas, were still hanging around, and given the challenges I had faced already, I was feeling pretty spent. It became clearer and clearer to me that I was not going to be able to get to Weatherford in time by bicycle, so I called my aunt and uncle and they graciously drove down to New Braunfels to pick me up and drive me back to Weatheford instead. I spent a few more days relaxing with them. My friend, Alisa, in Jacksonville, FL sent me the extra clothes I needed to attend the workshop (Thanks, again, Alisa!). Then my aunt and uncle drove me to the Dallas area where I stayed with another couple of friends until it was time for me to fly to Santa Barbara, early, early on Sunday, July 22nd.

On the plane, I was fortunate enough to sit with a pleasant young man named, Joel. We conversed the whole way to the plane's one stop in Albequerqe, NM where Joel departed, but not before I had him signed-up as another NAPF member! : ) For the remainder of the flight, I tried to rest a bit, as well as continue my re-reading of Paul Chappell's book "Peaceful Revolution" (part of our "home work" for the upcoming workshop).

Once I arrived at LAX, I caught the Santa Barbara bus shuttle to Goleta. During the bus ride I had a chance to speak with a couple of other riders including one who was at his five month mark being sober. He appreciated the encouragement I had to share with respect to Changing the Pattern-Patterning and the Really Long-Term Effects that might have for him, and even other people he knew. (And if you have not read it already, you can find out more about that in my "Why Bother?" blog below).

I also spoke with another passenger, who, interestingly enough, had the unusual experience of sharing the company of Israelis, Iraquis, Iranians, and Arabs in their mutual love and appreciation of Arabian Horses! I know there is a more broadly accepted recognition for the way music and dance can bring people from all walks of life together, but this was my first exposure to the idea that Love for Arabian Horses could do that as well, especially in a region as contentious as the Middle East. I was grateful that he was able to share from his very positive experiences, and also appreciative that he felt generous enough to offer me a cash donation before we "went our separate ways". (Thanks again, Jay!)

Arriving in Goleta, I was chauffeured by one of the NAPF interns to the beautiful and inherently peaceful La Casa De Maria. There I saw Paul again briefly, before he was off to pick-up more workshop attendees from the Santa Barbara airport. Well ahead of my check-in time, I wandered the grounds for a while with other early arrivals, Mary and Cori, and later found myself drawn to a refreshing nap in the Sadako Peace Garden.

Most of the rest of the workshop attendees gathered by evening for the first of many wonderful meals served by the La Casa de Maria staff. As the facilities have served as a spiritual retreat center for decades, there were gardens and orchards that continue to provide fresh produce for all who come to visit. Following our meal, we all gathered in the room that would be our workshop space for the remainder of the week. There Paul "Set the Stage" for what we would be learning and sharing during our time together.

Even during this first evening, I was struck with a profound feeling that this workshop was going to be a "seminal" event. That this "small committed group" of people were going to, eventually, help "change the world", and I have continued to have this feeling ever since.

Granted, it may be many years or even decades, before any of us will know if I am "right" in that intuition, but I'm not afraid to confess it here and now, "for the record". : ))

No matter what, we are living in a particularly unique time. Not only are we Participants in "history", our own "history" as well as the "history" of the world. Via the internet, we are also Observing, Documenting, and Sharing that "history" every step of the way. Did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have the same sense of what his impact on the world might be? Did Gandhi? Did Elizabeth Cady Stanton? Did Frederick Douglass? Can you imagine all or any of them as "bloggers"? : ))

As I would find, there was much more to experience ahead, and much more to learn, and therefore much more to share with you here...some of which I will be covering in "Part II" of this series.

So...stay tuned!... : )

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