Wednesday, August 22, 2007

postal scrotum: Nathan the idea man!

Nathan writes in with a ton of ideas:

Hi Kevin!

I have to say, your version of Dick and Jane cracked me up laughing!

I read your post in response to Charles, and thought I would offer you a few thoughts.

I would like to help you plan your trip in terms of the overall logistics of it. I think that the overall direction is up to you, of course. I also think that if the trip is being planned while you're walking, the actual planning and emailing and reserving of locations, as it were, might best be done by a couple of loyal emailers, because you will be busy walking. I will volunteer to be one such loyal emailer. Here's what I've been thinking so far:

--prelude in Vancouver, if desired
--start somewhere on the West Coast (or the East!)--I will volunteer to google, research, and contact people in different religious traditions in the initial phase (I can't promise my involvement from Coast to Coast), telling them of your walk, and asking them to be a part of it. Hopefully, of course, we can get the first weeks, at least, out of the way before you land. Simultaneously, we must also contact the local religious newspapers, magazines, and maybe things like "Christianity Today" and what-not. We should not leave out radio & local TV.
-"we" would be the team of loyal emailers, emailing from an address associated with your domain name; I suggest anywhere from five to a dozen such folks.
-I suggest that we contact people in the major urban centres first, making sure you have a place to stay in the cities. The churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and what-not in the urban centres will be asked for contacts for the suburban areas. This would all be done in advance of your walk in any given area. This might reduce the spontenaity of it, but I think that it still leaves flexibility.
-As we find places of worship for you to visit, we could chart our progress on a map on a website ("Austin, Texas: claimed by the First Presbyterian Church on 4th Ave!").
-Later, when you actually start walking, we could chart that on a map, too.
-On the website there should be a paypal button to an account you can access with an ATM card. Could you also create a non-profit organization or something so that monetary gifts could be tax deductible? If not, create the button anyway. Some people will want to help you.

One thing I don't know anything about is American roads. In Canada, you could actually walk along most of the Trans-Canada highway. I doubt you could walk along any of the interstates without being fined and handcuffed, but I don't know. I'm sure someone would know which highways you could walk along, though. This is an important step, but one with which I couldn't help you because I don't know the roads in the US.

I strongly suggest that you have people walking with you. It could be a few hours for them (10 miles for peace between religions!), and thus you would not be responsible for placing them in beds at night.

By the way, three disabled Canadians, all from my local area, have done trans-continental feats like this. The first, Terry Fox, intended to run across Canada, dying of cancer half-way in the early 80s. He was born and raised in my home town of Port Coquitlam; some of my teachers had met him, and my high school was his. The second, Steve Fonyo, was an acquaintance of Fox, I think, and was from another Vancouver suburb. He ran across Canada, but ran into problems with the law on several occasions after that. The third, Rick Hansen, an acquaintance of both, if I'm not mistaken, and also from the Vancouver area, wheeled around the whole world in a wheel-chair. Today he continues to lead a happy and very productive life in as a public speaker, consultant, sports coach, and lobbyist at the provincial government level.

Best wishes,

I'm touched, man. I know you're busy with job and family, yet you're willing to do something like this.

Regarding companions: I was also thinking that, if people from Site X wanted to walk one leg of the journey to Site X+1 with me, they could do so. In order to avoid the problem of lodging them, I was thinking it might be cool to have people from Site X+1 drive those walkers back to Site X, taking some time to get to know each other along the way. Once back at Site X, there could be a barbecue or, if certain foods are off the menu, then some sort of potluck meal-- some way for these groups to engage in a bit of fellowship and perhaps lay the groundwork for something meaningful in the future (e.g., working together to help the homeless or clean a park or something).


I just had one thought: we maybe shouldn't plan too far ahead--say a pastor in Tennessee volunteers his church, and then by the time you get there (many months, two years later?) his board of deacons has run him out of town--he can't help you. I think that the overall ideas about planning still work, though.

All the best,

That's possible, though I'm betting it won't be that much of an issue. Church polities generally retain "institutional memory" even if there's a change in leadership. Ongoing projects remain ongoing, and in the case of many churches, the pastor won't take personal charge of certain events/activities; instead, he or she will delegate matters to a group or council (as happens in my denomination; we're a meeting-happy church).

Still, I agree that things might suddenly change along the way. Given Murphy's Law, this is likely to be the rule rather than the exception.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that yes, American freeways are a problem. It's not legal to walk along them, which means I'm obliged to use smaller roads. That's not a big issue for me; I'd rather take the scenic route, anyway. Freeways all have a certain dull sameness about them.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Legal issues aside, freeways really are designed for cars, not for walkers. It would likely be more of a pain in the neck to walk all the way to a freeway and then all the way back from a freeway to your next destination. County and even state roads, on the other hand, will probably be much more direct and have far more places where you can stop to rest along the way.

(And of course, as you mentioned, they are more scenic. My favorite parts of our drive around the country were the parts where we took the "back roads." Freeways get tedious real quick.)