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, October 13, 2015

Taking a Few Moments - Before Things Get Hectic Again

In my last post I discussed the possibility of going to work for the Alda Center for Communicating Science. Well... the job posted this past week and after reading it I realized I was not really as qualified for it as they needed me to be. If I worked at it, I might have been able to stretch my skills and experience to fit, but it would have been just that - a stretch.

During the few days that followed the job posting, as I further considered the possibility of moving to New York, settling into another more "conventional" job, etc., I realized that I'm not ready to give up the "job" I feel I have now, i.e. "Pedaling for Peace". In addition, I've been working progressively over the past four years to reduce my worldly possessions to a minimum, and the thought of having to re-accumulate all over again to set-up a more conventional living situation really doesn't appeal to me.

Consequently, I'm going "back to the drawing board" so to speak, as well as moving to my dad's house in Campbellsville, KY for a while. The plan is to continue with the reduction process I've started here in Columbus, GA and probably build another multi-purpose trailer for my bicycle. I've learned a lot over the past four years and I am looking forward to putting some of that experience to further use. There is much of the U.S. I have not seen yet and many new people I have not met. In spite of the challenges of this "job," there have been some really great rewards as well, and that is what is keeping me motivated to continue, and maybe to continue for as long as I am physically able to do so. I can't say that this was ever what I thought I'd be doing as my "retirement plan," but, so far, it's not so bad!

Looking back I can see that, just so I could handle the physicality of what I'm doing, I had to get an early jump on this particular "retirement strategy," otherwise, there would not have been enough bodily strength to "train into it." I've still got a few issues to deal with - definitely need to get some dental work done, but everything else is continuing to work pretty well!

For instance, over the past several weeks, I've been revisiting my marathon training program from eight years ago, running and walking in intervals of three minutes and two minutes respectively as I have slowly increased my distance from three miles to six miles using the trail around the lake in the local park. Having reached my six mile goal, I will now start progressively increasing the run time and reducing the walk time until it's all (or nearly all) run time. As I learned from my trainers, you need a day to recover for every mile you run, so if I run six miles one day/week then I have six days to recover in between. In addition, this form of relatively slow-paced exercise actually burns fat more effectively than bicycling and I can do it in a more protected area, rather than having to negotiate with traffic so much.

So that's one way that I have continued to "train" while here in Columbus, although, I really had to wait for things to cool down a bit. The heat and humidity of the summer here was pretty intense, more than I have had to deal with anywhere else so far! As my dad's house sits on the banks of Green River Lake, I expect to map out a similar six mile route fairly easily and will continue this routine for the foreseeable future. I'm also doing the three "end of course" exercise routines from my favorite yoga program, Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan

Over the next week I will be getting ready for yet another "yard sale," and then focusing the rest of my time on packing to move to Kentucky. My friend and host here in Columbus has been generous in offering to support my transition financially and my dad is welcoming me "home" with open arms. I'm looking foward to reconnecting with my family and even plan to stop in Dalton, GA to visit with my mother, with whom I have not had face to face contact in about 30 years! (If you have seen my TEDx talk, then you know more of the history there.)

In addition, the cousin I spent time with in Santa Ana, CA during "Stage III" is helping me find a home "in the family" for a treadle sewing machine that I have been keeping track of/storing, etc., also for about 30 years. It's the one item that could not be packed or shipped easily under any circumstance, and even now, in the last days of my being responsible for it, it is proving to be a challenge! Nevertheless, I intend to persevere and see to its finding a new home with some of my other relatives in Tennessee.

To the extent that I have already freed-up a lot of energy from letting go of many of my other worldly possessions and living conventions, I feel I am in the "final round" of that process. I am getting to live more freely than most people in the world today, even in this country, and I do not take that for granted. However, I also feel I have a powerful message to share and I know that there are many who are following my journey who also gain, if only vicariously, from all of my experiences.

I want to say, "Thanks, Again!" to all of my friends and associates who have supported my efforts in the past and continue to do so. For my part, I am going to continue to do what I can to persevere on this journey and to keep you updated along the way.

Yours in Peace...