Hey there. Long time no see. I’ll give you a quick (and anticlimactic) update in a second, but first and foremost I wanted to let you know about a project I’m supporting. My friend Amanda is organizing a hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro to benefit Vision for the Poor. I’ll be frank: They’re raising money and they need yours, and mine. I’ll be honest: More often than I’d like to admit, I pass on the opportunity to contribute to projects like this. Not because they’re don’t deserve it, but because there are so many of them. There has never been a better time in history to fundraise – the streamlined platforms, the direct access – and that’s great, but it also comes with a certain sense of paralysis. There are so many worthy causes, so many deserving projects. “I should really just give all my money away, it’d be so easy,” I find myself thinking. So instead, I give nothing.
That’s not true. I do give sometimes, especially when a good friend is involved and when the project really resonates. So, I’m throwing my lot in with Amanda and her team. It’s a fantastic mission. I mean, they’re curing blindness for cryin’ out loud. Check out the links and do what you can.
Now, to more boring matters of far less importance: little old me, here. Yeah, nothing new, really. Well, I did finish a first draft of the book, which is cause for some quiet celebration. I’m on track to finish by the February 1st deadline, so the book will be published and available sometime in 2016, I believe. Huzzah! Any title ideas? “Walking to Listen” is an obvious option, but I’m not sure yet. One friend (Gus Sermas, a whip-cracking former landscaping client of mine…turned friend) suggested a line from a Tennyson poem: “I Am a Part of All That I Have Met.” I’m open to ideas.
I’ve spent the past year or so writing in a smattering of pseudo-hermitages, various backwoods boonies. It’s been productive, but it’s also starved me of humanity. So, I’ll be in Brooklyn for the summer. Yes to the river of millions! Holler at me if you’re in the area and you wanna talk, walk, whatevah. Cheers, y’all!
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Howdy! If you’re interested in listening to some of the thoughtstreams I’ve been surfing these past several months, take 15 minutes and listen to this TEDx talk I gave at Furman University in March (they just put it up). Thanks to Furman for the invitation!
Hope all’s well with you.
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A month or two ago, I had a great conversation with Alastair Humphreys, a long-distance walker, around-the-world cyclist, trans-Atlantic rower, and general “nutter” (as it says on his website). Al has made adventure his life’s work, and he’s doing a series now called Adventure1000 to encourage folks to get out and go for it. Check out the interview here if you’re interested.
In other news: well, there’s not much news, really. Still writing, etc. I will say that it’s super cool to see this book becoming itself. I’m appreciating the walk in a new way, understanding it better. The writing really is just like the walking: it’s transformational, it’s challenging, it’s kind of like surfing this giant rogue wave. Of course, there’s much less sweat involved in the writing, much less thigh-chaffing and filth and freaking out about where I’m going to spend the night. But very similar otherwise. It’ll be quite the culmination to share it.
Hoping all’s well with you, whoever you may be. Happy spring!
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It was brought to my attention by a good friend that I haven’t posted anything here in like three years. Actually, she was able to name the exact date of my last entry, December 11, and that made me feel especially bad. So, hey there, Holly! Here I am!
But what to say? The writing continues. The book is becoming. There are the days when I’m utterly convinced this project is hope and beauty and the potential for something transformational, and then there are the days when I feel very, very lost. But even in the most uninspired thicket, I’m normally able to machete my way out into a clearing where I can see the sky again, and there’s a plane flying by overhead, and a cloud catching the sunset, and I hear someone saying “Thank you” and I realize it’s my voice.
I’ll keep my eyes and ears open and come back with something more to chew on soon. In the meantime, be well, all.
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PRX, an online marketplace and forum for public radio, included “Walking Across America: Advice for a Young Man” in their 2013 Staff Favorites! Check it out, and give some of the other stories a listen, too. After a year of interviewing people on the road and months of work with Jay Allison on the piece, I’m a devout radio convert. It’s a powerful medium for storytelling. Explore it! The PRX Staff Favorites list is a good place to start. So is Transom.org. Choose a story, close your eyes, and enjoy the sonic dream.
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What a great idea. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
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I’m giving a talk at Columbia College this Wednesday November 13th at 5:30. Stories from the road, lessons learned, audio clips and photos. More information here. Hope to see you there!
In other news: the book’s coming along well, slow and sure. I’m kinda balking on posting anything before it’s all shipshape and polished up. You know, has to be just right. So it’s nose to the grindstone (screen) for now, clicking away at the keys and doodling this thing into life. It’ll come eventually. One step at a time, as they say. Until then, I’ll keep up the very occasional updates.
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