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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Update from Santa Barbara

I know it's been a while...Hope Everyone is Enjoying a Very Happy New Year!

I am currently working a full-time temp job with Jordano's one of the largest food and beverage distribution companies on the west coast.  The family run operation has roots in the Santa Barbara community going back over 100 years, and has a well established reputation for excellence in customer service and for taking good care of their employees, many of whom have already worked there for 20+ years.  I actually feel quite privileged to be working for them, even in what is currently a temporary capacity as a front-desk switch-board operator. (And thanks to "Kevin Trudeau's Mega Memory Program" - I had the 100+ extensions of the two main consoles memorized in about three days!)

This full-time income means I may be able to finally get enough money together for that ticket back to Florida, where I can then take care of all of the rest of my household goods and - hopefully, by no later than some time in April, re-start my bicycle trip from Texas, probably Luling as that was my last "official" pit-stop before the trailer break-down on the way to New Braunfels.  I may actually ride down from Weatherford, TX, just depends on where I can stop along the way.  My goal though is to possibly pick-up cross-country walker, George Throop's path through Southern Texas - including contacts, as I am figuring if he could walk it, I should be able to bike it!

I will offer that one of the benefits of this whole life journey has certainly been to make me much more conscious of what I "need" to live day to day, or week to week. Simple things really, like, yes I need a blender if I am going to continue to make my green smoothies, but maybe it doesn't Have to Be a "Vitamix". Yes, I need a certain quantity and style of "business clothes" to get me through the work week, and I really like having a drying rack to hang those (sometimes slightly sweaty) clothes on after riding my bicycle home on a warm day. While being here in Santa Barbara, and having been generously loaned a bicycle to ride while I've been here, I now know that I can actually get around most of this area by bicycle without too much difficulty.  That was never really an option while I was living in Maryland.  I've also learned to sleep on a couch, regularly or as necessary, in all kinds of different settings, and being the particularly light sleeper that I tend to be, I'm gaining a little more confidence in my ability to "sleep anywhere", and to accommodate lights and noise as necessary.

I've also developed more confidence in my ability to adapt fairly quickly to a new community.  In this case, Santa Barbara has a great focus on community anyway, so finding a way to become a part of that was not that difficult.  Between the NAPF, Veterans for Peace, MeetUp groups, connections made through the SOLFood Festival (especially the Santa Barbara Time-Bank), the "Conscious Evolution Network", the bicycle shops - "Bici Centro" and Bicycle Bob's, and even by applying for various jobs in the area and concentrating first on temp-work, so I could get to know even more about the community through working for the various businesses here, I've readily made personal connections that have sustained and supported me - and kept me motivated to arrange things so that I could eventually settle here permanently.

Though challenging at times, both personally and practically, it has been a really great experience.  Of course the highlight has been volunteering for the NAPF, getting to know Paul Chappell better and having the opportunity to internalize a great deal for the benefit of my own writing by observing him through the last few stages of the writing process of his upcoming new book, The Art of Waging Peace (due out in July).

It has been quite a "ride" so far and I am looking forward to seeing How the Rest of My  Ride (and Life) Turns Out!