Throughout my bicycling adventure, I have always had this basic policy of "listening" to The Universe: When I have money and a clear destination established (appropriate contacts made to Couch Surf, etc.) then I know it is time to head out. If the resources are lacking, or I don't have a clear destination then I stay put until that changes.
In the last three weeks since the end of the NAPF Peace Leadership Workshop, I have been trying to raise money to return to Texas and to re-start my bicycle trip. I stayed for approximately two weeks with one couple, Gilbert and Joy, and now I am staying with another couple, Laurie and Bill. In spite of my efforts, I have not been able to raise enough money to leave the area, although I have received enough donations to get by with my basic needs for food, toilettries, and public transportation (as needed, and from my current location I can walk to and from the NAPF offices).
Just recently, I was having a conversation with my current host, Laurie, and she asked me the following question: Is riding my bicycle the most effective way for me to work for Peace?
As much as "I" would like to finish what "I've" started (and, who knows, I may Still do that at some point in the future), I have to take her question to heart. For now, at least, that seems to mean figuring out a way to continue that work here in Santa Barbara.
Through all of this period of uncertainty, I have been able to build on my working relationship with Paul Chappell and the other NAPF staff members, including the President, David Krieger, and Program Director Rick Wayman. After putting more thought into what I might be able to do by staying, I discussed those options with Paul first, and then extended that dialogue to include David and Rick. Although Paul could appreciate the direction I was going, David and Rick were more hesitant, and wanted time to think about it. More than anything else, they were concerned about my lack of stability here with my financial and especially my living circumstances.
Unfortunately, the problem for the NAPF is the same as it is for so many non-profit groups these days: Funding. But, given we are invested in a Really Uphill Struggle, against many Very Powerful Forces and many decades of "War Propaganda", that lack of funding is not surprising. The irony is that there are not a lot of resources left in this country in part because, according to a recent estimate in the New York Times, our response to the attacks of 9/11 are going to add up to over $3.3 Trillion dollars in expenses.
So...you see...it's kind of a vicious cycle. : (
But the way I'm looking at it right now...we either find a way to Wage Peace, and that means we find a way to move that struggle forward financially and practically on many fronts, or...we will keep having our resources taken from us in endless, unfounded wars ... and Really Have Nothing to Show for it when it is all said and done.
At least, if we intentionally Invest in Peace, in whatever way we can, we will have something to show for it at the end of the day, and something meaningful to pass down to the generations ahead (and even, possibly, to ourselves in future lifetimes...).
As for me, I am putting my resume's together and filling out applications for bike shops in the area, and I am going to see if I can find enough work to survive, without it taking ALL of my energy and attention. Because, if I cannot continue with the work I have already begun in terms of helping to bring Peace to the World, then I really don't see any point in being here. I know this is what I am Most Qualified to do in this Life, period. It is the most Meaningful Work I have ever done, and now that I know what that feels like, I am loathe to give it up easily.
So I will do whatever I possibly can to keep going with this, and if you want to help me, even in a small way, then I welcome your support.
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.