Posts Tagged With: california

How Walking Can Change the World

531479_324356400989521_2074277816_nIt seems such a simple act one can most naturally do – walking. So how can simply going for a walk make a difference in someone else’s life or truly do anything more than help us burn a few calories?

Long Distance Walking For A Cause

It isn’t everyday that a person walks much farther than their own mailbox these days. Cars and other modes of transportation have made getting to where we need to go faster and easier than throughout human history. So when a person makes a commitment to do something out of the ordinary, such as walking a long distance, it brings with it a capacity to raise attention for a cause we may be passionate about.

Personally, clean water is the physical need which I aim to help provide to the nearly 1 billion people on earth who currently lack life’s most vital resource. By doing something out of the ordinary, such as the ordinary act of walking (ironic, huh?), I hope to bring attention to the issue and hopefully raise funds for some specific projects solving the problem we face in our human world.

Meeting People You Would Have Driven Past

When we walk we have opportunities that only this 3 mile-per-hour mode of transportation could offer – meeting people. Nearly every person I walk beside or in opposing directions stops say hello which often leads to conversations and friendship. It isn’t always easy going deeper than the generic “how’s it going?” question and then continuing on without another thought. But most of the time by asking a simple question about the town or for a suggestion on a good place to eat, the door is opened to greater discussion and the opportunity is presented to encourage others and discuss the cause for which I am walking. In 2012 as I walking through Venice Beach, I would estimate that I had genuine conversations with at least 50 people in a day, which was a great audience with whom to deliver a message.

Walking is something that most of us are completely equipped with the two essential tools to do (a left and right leg). Many will cite the health benefits of walking, which are certainly evident, but I walk for the incredible people, for the beautiful sights, and for the cause.

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The Beautiful Land that is Northern California (PHOTOS)

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Santa Cruz, California (PHOTOS)

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Walking from LAX: Beginning the journey.

I booked a late flight on June 19 so as to give me a late enough arrival at the LAX airport to collect my thoughts and wait out the night before hitting the streets of LA at sunrise. I found an out of the way spot and attempted, unsuccessfully, to get a few hours of sleep underneath some chairs in the terminal of Los Angeles International Airport. If the three radio songs on continuous repeat weren’t enough, it was quite cold in the airport making sleep something quite improbable. Once about 4:30 am came I decided to go outside and begin my quest to Los Angeles. I took my first steps outside of the airport and waited on a direction. The wind was blowing from the south, so I followed the winds advice and started walking north.

My first desire was to see the Pacific Ocean, my old friend I hadn’t seen in about two years. It seemed I had hiked for hours before I could catch a glimpse of the ocean, which the airport was within a mile to the east. I walked on a very long sidewalk from the airport when I noticed a few joggers beginning their day with a run, cars driving by on the busy street, and a few places where some beautiful plant life was growing along the road I had not remembered seeing before. These sights began to bring with them a feeling that I had truly arrived.

viewfromloyalaI continued walking north, clueless as to where I was actually going and what lay ahead, until I happened to find a coffee shop called The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf where I stopped to utilize their free wifi and learn a little more about where I was going and what was ahead. I continued walking and happened upon Loyola Marymount University, where I stopped for a few moments to snap a picture of the houses below its hilltop location. I met a man and woman who were waiting for the bus and had some excellent conversation. They inquired about what I was doing and I informed them of my exploration and recent arrival in LA. They wished me the best of luck and welcomed me to their city!

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Preparing for Los Angeles

I am beginning to write about the two months I spent on the west coast during the summer of 2012. Along  the journey, hiking the west coast of the United States from Los Angeles to the Oregon-Washington border and back. I made many notes, snapped some photos, and will write from the best recollection of memories, stories of people I met, and the adventure of traveling into the unknown (to me) without a plan, without much money, but with a wealth of friendships and inspiring experiences I would discover along the journey.

flyingtolaovercloudsSince the age of 19 I knew my dream in life was to travel the world with the simple goal of building relationships. Extending friendship to those on earth who are all-too-often overlooked and ignored by the majority of society. I dreamed of living a life that many wish for, but too few dare to experience. A brilliant adventure with the wind as our steering wheel, giving direction for each passing moment by moment. In the wind is where I find peace. Living from a place where I know nothing about what each day may hold, who I might meet, and what road I may follow – that’s the road for me.

I suppose that civilization itself, requires us to live in a very different world than what I have described above. A world which thinks very little of living with the wind; rather, living to harness or conquer the wind’s force for civilization’s own purposes. A world which relies on schedules, routines, and earnings of income to provide for mankind’s desire to accumulate and pillage natural resources. One man thinks of how to grow life in the earth, which produces benefits for all of life on the earth. Another thinks only of how to utilize life to gain individual power, personal pleasure, and personal security. A man who pursues power for himself creates slavery. A man who pursues pleasure only for himself, denies enjoyment to others. A man who pursues personal security, by any means other than the security that is stored within a human heart, will never truly be secure, and his insecurity will spread to whomever accepts it. I look upon the civilized world as a world much harsher than what one finds in the wild. Civilization is certainly enticing with its comforts, and I am certainly not opposed to enjoying the quality aspects of goods in this world. But when it is the necessity of society to possess items, we become enslaved to that need.

Anyways, back to my story…

I had spent ten months back in my hometown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I had previously spent one year living in Olympia, Washington (which is a book in itself), before having the wind blow me back to Oklahoma for awhile. In that ten months I found a rejuvenated sense of purpose and connection to the dreams I had held for as long as I could remember. I began to receive invitations to come work with nonprofits throughout the world. From orphanages in Africa, ministries in Pakistan, Haiti, Dominican Republic, DR Congo, Wales, and more! For the first time my dream seemed tangible. As if it were right in front of my eyes and ready for me to walk.

In June of 2012, Los Angeles began to be a thought in the back of my mind. I had no reason for this, no person living there whom I knew; it was a fleeting thought. One day, June 15, I acted on one of those fleeting thoughts and checked airline ticket prices to LA. In four days, June 19, there was one ticket for $178 – one way. I checked every single other day through the end of July, and every ticket was priced for $300 – $400. I found this quite astounding, gave it a couple of thoughts, and chose that if it the ticket were still that price tomorrow, I would pull the trigger and go. I believe I am on earth for one reason which is to go into all of the world to love people exactly for who they are. I’ am not here to spread any one  religion, nor convert anyone to anything but what we already are.  I believe true friendship is seeing each person as equally valuable, equally loved, and equally blessed with the full measure of love and compassion.

The next morning I awoke to find (to my amazement) the ticket was still priced at $178. I purchased the ticket and now I had a couple of days to wait before going one-way to Los Angeles (this was the extent of my plan).

Stay tuned for my next post about arriving in Los Angeles, walking to Venice Beach, and a glimpse into what it’s like staying one night at a hostel and the next night at an IHOP.

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