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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I Guess Florida Will Have to Wait....

First of all, Thanks! to Everyone who made donations to help me get back to Florida! Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal, and so it looks like I will have to make things work a little longer here in Santa Barbara.

However, a recent new contact and living situation has also been arranged. I am now staying with a woman and her seven-year-old daughter, and I am going to help with their "Home Make-over", yard-sale, etc., as well as provide help with child care as needed. This weekend I will also be giving a talk at the First Congregational Church in Santa Barbara, and then another presentation for my new Global Community Dinner/MeetUp Group the first week of November...assuming I'll still be here! : )

The current "Couch Surfing" arrangement may very well evolve into a more permanent situation (with an actual room to myself), or at least a kind of "home base" that I can work from as I continue to offer my "in house" services to others who would like to have me stay with them while I help them get rid of some of their "stuff" - through listing on Craig's List, E-bay, yard-sales, etc. In addition, through another contact here in Santa Barbara, I have a "loaner bike" to ride for the duration of my stay, and I'm commuting now about 8-10 miles a day.

The bottom line is...things are continuing to "work out" for me here. I still have food, I still have shelter, and now, I even have my favorite form of transportation! Not to mention all the Great New Friends I am making here through networking and sometimes just meeting people randomly on the street.

I am looking a little further into the future though...for instance, air fares are going to start going up as the holidays approach, so traveling that way is going to become more expensive. In addition, I kind of have to be looking towards the NEXT Peace Leadership Workshop that will be taking place in July of 2013. Paul Chappell and I have been discussing some changes that will be made, developing some new content, etc. and I plan to be there to act as a facilitator while he continues to provide the bulk of the training.

Consequently, if I cannot get back to Florida pretty soon, because I will need to get there and then get back here in time to prepare for the workshop, then I will probably see if I can make-it here to the end of the workshop, and try to get back after that. That way I will have more time to take care of the rest of my stuff, maybe even sew some things in time for Christmas Sales, and then get back here just after the holidays.

In the mean time, I have an ongoing expense of a little over $60/month for the storage unit rent, and now about $25/month for phone service (still pay per use). Depending how things evolve in my current living situation, I might need to be thinking about rent as well, $300-$600/month...but we'll see about that. (A couple of things to note about my new location: It's called "Nomad Village" and I'm in Space# 108! : )) Other than that, I have the usual food and toiletry expenses, but with the new bicycle, I can probably continue to avoid paying for bus fares anymore.

There is an interesting point here I'd like to make to everyone with regards to the financial learning I am going through as a consequence of my choices over the last year or so. For one thing, having to live on CASH ONLY has really changed my spending habits. Not knowing where the next donation will come from, or when I will make a sale, means I am much more careful with whatever money I do have "in hand".

Having been In Debt since I was 21 years old, I've always thought that there was something "wrong" with me. That I just didn't know how to handle my money responsibly. But, the truth is, I wasn't handling "money" per se, I was handling "credit"...often "easy" credit, and I am figuring out that is a whole different ball-game. Turns out, when I have to live on cash, then I've got all kinds of capacity for self-control and ability to sort out my "needs" and my "wants" and stick to Only What is Needed as necessary. In fact, that exercise of self-control has come rather naturally, and it makes me think that when that is really how we have to operate (and I see that becoming the case in the future), then many if not most of us might be surprised just how easy it actually is.

Furthermore, I think there are All Kinds of ways we can reorganize our product and service exchange mechanisms in this society, and what we may come to will ultimately be superior and more Equitable and Just than what has evolved to date.

Granted, we still have to work with the system we have, and that means, for now, I still have to get some of those Federal Reserve Notes to purchase my food and a few other "necessities"...but, if I have the capacity to adapt as I have, I suspect many, many other people do, too, they just haven't Had To Do It yet. Speaking from my own experience...there's nothing to be Afraid Of. We will figure out how to get by in the weeks and months and years ahead, and...we might even Enjoy what we learn about our own ability to adapt!'s getting late here outside the NAPF offices and that means it's time for me to head back to "Nomad Village".

Peace Out! And Have A Great Weekend!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Better Yet...Let's Head Back to Florida! : )

It is so funny sometimes...what happens...and how that leads to other changes in emotion, psychology, motivation...and then a whole new realm of possibilities opens up before you! : )

In considering my trip to Missoula, MT I realized I was ready to start selling off the rest of my personal belongings - the things I left back in Florida before I headed out on my bicycle trip, including some of the more expensive items, like my Bernina Serger and my Vitamix.

In an e-mail to Paul Chappell I wrote "At the very least, I would really like you to meet my friends Jody and Roy who live in Missoula and were like a second set of adoptive parents while I lived there." And, as much as I would also like to see them myself, in writing that message I became "okay" with accepting the "very least" of that range of possibilities; i.e. Paul getting to meet them, even if I cannot make the trip. As I imagined using $500 for that, I realized there really are other things I need to be focusing on for whatever funds I can raise right now.

Finally, although I thought I had another couch-surfing host lined-up with more need for my help in selling their stuff as well, they decided it was not quite the right time in their life to do that. Nevertheless, with a little more planning and marketing on my part, I think I can turn that into a business/service by the time I get back here.

And, that leads to my next point: One thing has become perfectly clear to me while being here in Santa Barbara: This is definitely where I WANT TO BE! It's got its challenges, the cost of living being one of those, but it has a lot of opportunities as well. Furthermore, I wholeheartedly want to be able to continue working with Paul and eventually writing my own book(s?). For now though, there are some loose ends to tie up, so I need to be figuring out how I am going to go about doing that.

To start, I need to finish reducing down everything else I have in my storage unit in Florida. My goal is to be able to fit everything left into a vehicle that I can then drive across the country. I can approach that adventure much the same way I approached my bicycle trip, except this time, I can plan to line-up more speaking engagements along the way, hopefully to larger groups. Since I will be driving, that can make it much easier and safer for me to get from one location to another.

Of course, I'll be "Couch Surfing" again, maybe in different parts of the country this time. I have other friends and family through the middle states, so might be a good time to visit all of them.

As with the bicycle trip, it will be hard to tell exactly how the dates are going to work out, the storage unit in Florida has to be dealt with first and foremost, for all kinds of practical reasons. But I do know there is another NAPF Peace Leadership Workshop to come in the summer of 2013 and I Plan to Be There...again, this time also working as a facilitator.

"So, Universe...How's that sound? Am I on the right track here? : ) You know how to let me know! : ))"

I can feel myself getting all excited again! : ))

If this sounds like a good plan to YOU, then I welcome your support. I am still going to need a little money to live on here, but a plane ticket from LAX to JAX on Southwest, including the bus to LA is going to run around $290-$300. Once I get back to Jacksonville, I can start selling off whatever I have left...but a big part of that will be to raise money for a drivable vehicle, and my first few weeks of expenses.

So, any help you can offer now, would be greatly appreciated! We'll see if we can get this show back on the road! : )

Yours for Peace!

September 21, 2012 - Update

Southwest has a sale going on right now and I can get a ticket to fly out within the next month or so for $175. That plus the bus ride to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara is a total of $225, but I have to act within the next week and I have to purchase the ticket via PayPal as I do not have an active credit/debit card or bank account anymore. I have raised $90 towards that goal, so still need to raise $135.

Thanks for your support! : )

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fundraising for Trip to Missoula, MT

Just a short message to everyone reading this blog. I am trying to raise $500 to make a quick trip to Missoula, MT for a talk Paul Chappell will be giving on September, 29th.

As I used to live in Missoula many years ago (1997), it will be my first opportunity to go back there in a very long time. I've already contacted friends there, so I will have a place to stay. The funds I am trying to raise will be for travel only.

While in Missoula, and while attending the talk, I will be able to share from my personal experiences regarding my bicycle trip and what I have learned from Paul through reading his books (including having the privilege of proof reading his upcoming book "The Art of Waging Peace") and attending the Peace Leadership Workshop.

In general I am finding that the more I am able to actively communicate about peace and actually assume the disposition of peace in the company of others, the greater the impact of the message.

I would be very grateful to reconnect with this community where I lived for over seven years, especially having so much to share from the wealth of life experiences I have had since leaving the area.

If you would like to help support me for attending this special event, please consider making a donation via PayPal by using the "Donate" button at the right or selecting "Gift" directly from your PayPall account and using llbell_100 at for the e-mail address.