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... more Questions and Answers about the Walk


An assortment of questions asked about this WALK AROUND THE WORLD:

Also see:
"You Asked" (answers to some of the questions I receive via email)


questionHow many pairs of boots have you worn out on your walk?

Answer: Six pairs of both Nike and New Balance for the Fifty- State walk.  For the World Walk (eight pairs) of Gore-Tex  hiking boots {Scarpa.}  The most important piece of equipment I own our my Hiking Boots.

If you are going to hike for any considerable distance on a day by day basis; a good hiking boot is essential along with a good fit. And if you are going to carry a substantial amount of weight in your backpack. You need a boot that will give you the proper support for your ankles and your arches.

And should you decide to walk through all the Seasons. In all types of weather, it would not be a bad idea to have a pair of boots that are waterproofed. There is nothing more miserable than to be splattering around in wet soggy boots.

questionWhat is your favorite country?

Answer: At this point you become a diplomat. "I have'nt been there yet". But really one cannot equate countries. It is unfair to compare one Country over an against another Country. There are to many variables.

Along with above question, comes a similar question: Where is the most beautiful place in the world?

Answer: Usually, I ask the group that I am speaking to: "How would you answer that question?" The saying is true, that 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder'. What strikes a responsive chord in one person, may or may not appeal to someone else, exactly in the same way. As one cynic retorted: "There is no excuse for some peoples' taste".

Don't you ever get lonely?

Answer: Sure I do. especially in those times as I watch people; being with their families, seeing lovers, hand in hand, watching children play or observing many of the other noticeable relationships. Then we have all the holidays that cause the memories to flood the mind. There are so many things that can trigger the mind to remind us of both the good and the bad times. But in truth; loneliness is a state of mind. If one learns the art of being alone one need not be lonely. Loneliness in most instances is the out come of dependence. I am aware that I cannot afford to allow reminiscent moments to mushroom into a full blown soliloquy of "lonely me", or "woe is me". Neither of these are conducive or productive for the completion of "The Walk". Which will be finished  unless my time is cut short due to lack of oxygen or some other malfunction.  question

Do you ever get bored?

Answer:

I am not a person who gets bored easily. It is not in my nature, I have to many interests and I thoroughly, honestly love living. I am too active, competitive and curious. And secondly, on a walk such as this how could anyone get tired of seeing and hearing the multiplicity of sights and sounds that the World offers up each breathing and waking second. When I awaken each morning I haven't the foggiest idea as to what the day might bring; who I might meet, what I might encounter down the road around the corner or over the hill. Maybe a man, a child, a woman or even a beast. Or a sight that would stagger the imagination, or make an artists' palette blush. Leaving one speechless.

The serendipity of this walk is beyond all logic, all sequential linear thought , all words and certainly beyond the pale of any and all expectation. How privileged am I amid all these surprises and happenings. For all this and more is out there, just waiting for us to say; "yes" to life and enter its' flow and its' calling; "the waters fine, jump in"

Are you not afraid of the animals attacking you?

Answer:

I usually say to groups, "I promise not to bite the animals if they will not bite me". Animals are in most cases more scared of you than you should be of them. But I would quickly add that animals in their own territory are not stuffed toys. You need to respect all animals and take care when you are on their turf.

There are certain things one needs to do when you are in and around where animals might be. Do not go near their offspring. All female animals are protectors of their young, so stay a good distance from them. Do not go near an animal while they are eating, they may change their menu. Or while they are stalking especially if you happen to be the stalk-ee. Do not make any sudden moves or gestures and do not run. Even though your pounding heart says "run for your life." The predators can match every move you can make. And they can out-run you. If you have no line of defense, I suggest you pray that the earth will just open up and swallow you.

But seriously, the chances of you being eaten by a lion or a tiger are unlikely. What is more likely is being run over by a car.

I carry with me a twelve foot long bullwhip which I have used on three hyenas who got to close for comfort. But the most effective thing I carry to use against animals are firecrackers and a good dependable lighter. It has done the trick on more than one occasion.

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Have you ever been robbed or attacked by someone?

Answer:

There have been attempts to rob me. And yes, I have been attacked. I have had eight physical encounters. And out of the eiight I have been down once. Ending up with one very large headache. I was blindsided with a hefty staff while fending off two others in front of me. Luckly, as they say; "the cavalry came just in time". Actually, it was a group of soldiers that fired shots in the air.

From an encounter in Algeria, I have a souvenir, a knife wound on my right forearm. But I must add quickly, that eight attacks stretched over a 20 year period of being exposed in 70 countries plus is, minimal. And as far as I am concerned this speaks highly of the human race. We are not "going to Hell in a handbasket", as the soothsayers of doom and gloom would have us to believe.

Of course one of the problems; good news does not sell nor does it increase your ratings. But the "bad and the ugly" does increase circulation and ratings. Now that we are able to cover the Globe with instant communication. We are bombarded day and night with the worst of scenarios and the worst side of human nature. What a shame that equal time is not given to the other side of; who we are. Oh, I forgot it doesn't sell.

Tell me, how many out of the 7 billion plus people we have on this spinning globe will do all the things we see or read about daily? Would you guess, a 100 million or 500 million or how about a billion? This still leaves 6  billion persons that are reasonably sane, norwithstanding those with a few bolts and nuts missing.

Can or do things happen because of a minority, a very small group of misguided individuals. Yes! But that leaves 99.9% okay! in a manner of speaking.

Why are we so pessimistic, so cynical and negative. Is it because so many of the critics don't like themselves so we have a little transference going on; Yes?

What do you eat?

Answer:

 First off, I eat to live, I do not live to eat. My diet on this walk is fairly Spartan. After a days' walking I find a suitable place to put up my tent for the night and then go about preparing something for supper. I carry a seven day supply of food, which can be stretched if the need arises. My staples are: flour, cooking oil, sugar, salt and pepper, oatmeal, peanut butter, rice and pasta. I try not to carry canned foods because of the weight factor. Although I will pick up some canned meat or tuna if I am going to use it that night. I also pick up some fresh veggies and fruit along the way.

Having been in 70 countries, I have tried most of the ethnic dishes of those countries at least once. That does not mean that I always finish them, but I make the attempt. I have eaten so many things most of which I can't even pronounce their names. Nor do I always know what I am eating which is probably better than knowing.

When I am walking in between countries my personal weight is around 170 to 180 llb. When inertia sets in even for a short time, I can put on ten or fifteen pounds in a wink. In the towns and the cities I make up for my one pot cooking in the bush.

I have said many times to the groups I am speaking too; that when this walk is finished and I return back to the States, I will probably pull a rickshaw and sing opera because of all the rice and pasta I have eaten.

How do you finance your walk?

Answer: This World Walk is financed through two sources; one is a Social Security benefit which every working American pays into while he is employed until he or she retires. After which upon reaching 65 years of age, he or she can start collecting a percentage of the monies that have been paid in.

And the second source of money comes from a World War II disability benefit. My total allotment from both sources is $900.00 per month. The only possessions I have in this World I carry in my backpack. I am indeed free but more than that I have accumulated an inner wealth over the last 80 years that no amount money can ever buy.

I have been asked if I work along the way.  No, I have never had too. Although I have been instrumental in helping new businesses get started; New Hostels, Restaurants and the founding of "English Corners" (conversational English) all over the World.  In the restaurants if the employees do not speak English, especially the waiters and the Chef where they are serving Western Food. I offer to teach them English, my services our free. It's a lot of fun.

 

Someone, after a speaking engagement to a Business group of professionals, came up and said "What will the words which you have spoken? Get you on the open market?"

My reply was: I see you are suffering from gout. Am I right? And also your eyes are growing dim. What would you give of that which you possess to get rid of your dis-ease and be well in your eyes again. And also in your spirit? What would you give?

After a pause, "most of it, I guess" was his reply.

You believe I have nothing. Where I believe I have been given all the gifts and graces of "all and everything". For, I am aware of all the breathings and aliveness that surrounds me. The very breath which I have been given; this Creative Breath of Life is part of everything above and below. "All and Everything" is connected by this Thread of Breath.

Yours and my existence hangs by this very thread. And if this thread should break for one of us as we speak. Tell me what would you give if yours was to break? To have it mended, reconnected. Most or all of that which you own? What would you give?

What would you give if you could not see a sunrise again or the smiles of the ones you love? Or see the Seasons change or the birth of your next child? What would you give if you could not hear the sounds of Life around you? The song of the birds, the wind and the rain or a word of love. What would you give? Tell me!

He said nothing, but as he was walking away, he stopped, turned and smiled.

I received my honorarium, in that smile.

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What do you do if illness strikes? Or you have an accident?

Answer:

This trek has been relatively free of both illnesses and accidents. Within this walk, give or take a pain here and there. I don't spend time worrying about becoming ill.

In fact I have been blessed throughout my life with good health. Going years without any thing of a serious nature. My weakness has always been in the respiratory area. As was predicted when I was born at seven months. The physician in charge thought possibly in later life I would be troubled with upper respiratory problems. And he was right, double pneumonia four times. Once when I was very young and three times in the service.

Then came 1959, a bout with tuberculosis. That had a miraculous recovery. Moved from a positive culture with three open cavities to a negative culture in seven days. With the cavities closing over a two month period. I was put on a new drug therapy upon entering St.Joseph's hospitial in Houston, Texas; that had just been approved by the FDA ( PAS and a couple of other new drugs) I had none of the usual tubercular symptoms; weight loss, low grade fever, a hacking cough or the sputum. I felt "on top of the heap" all the time while they were trying to tell me I was sick. I was in the V.A. Hospital for eight months. Since that period until now I have been home free.

But recently, I found out in Capetown after a P.S.A. test and a biopsy I have a little "c". At the present he, she or it and I are at a "Mexican standoff". I have been told that I will probably not die of cancer at my age. I'll die of something else maybe "ichthyosaurs" because of my early Catholic fish fridays. To operate at this time could cause it to spread faster. Once again, I have no other symptoms besides a dribble here and a dribble there, a start here and a stop there. Old Mac Donald had a farm. eei, eei, oooo. And on his farm, he had.... You know the song. The prostate is just a glich!

The irony lies in the fact that at my birth there was a struggle between life and death. Now it seems I have come full circle. Life and death have me in the middle once again. But as has been my disposition in life, I accept the challenge. We will make it a race to the finish line. The finish line in this scenario being the border between Mexico and Texas. In the year 2010, or thereabouts. Don' t you just love a challenge. Let the race begin.

As the song goes; " Into each life some rain must fall." While another song says; "That's Life " But as I was taught early in life " this too, shall pass." We cannot control many of the unforeseen circumstances that befall us. But what we can control is how we pro-act, not re-act to the particular circumstance at hand. Our frame of mind, our posturing, our attitude. all these are important and vital for our recovery. Out of whatever it might be. These we can control!

Such words as; "can't, impossible, or no hope" violates the human spirit. And since we know so little about the mind, body and spirit flow chart and the existing potentially of these three inter-related entities, we should never underestimate the "Will and the Power" that lies within.

I need to remind myself daily by affirming to myself that I am not my thoughts, I am more than my thoughts. And this holds true for my emotions, my feelings and my physical functions.

I have been "Imaged and Imprinted" out of THE WILL and the POWER of said WILL. Which is seminal for " All and Everything ." And out of this seed I have the possibility to consciously choose and act. To decide and do that which is the more excellent. To choose those affirmations which allows one to be what they were created to become and be. And always have been.

"We have been given everything we need. We but need to experience everything we have been given".

Choose your semantics or your preferences then become and be them, if you see that you are in balance and in harmony with " all and everything". "You have chosen well, grasshopper". If this be not the case. No problem; just reprogram, reprogram. You have been given all the tools, the gifts and graces to become and be what you need to become and be, what you can be. So go for "the gold". Just do it.

{Update 2006}

Health Report:

My PSI has dropped from a {4.2} to a {3.2} level. Why? no one seems to know. My Prostate trouble seems to be 'runing in place". I am guessing that the prognosis was an error.

In the Year 2005 between Christmas and New Years', I was bed-ridden, I could not walk. I shuffled in and out of bed at the appropiate times. I mumbled and groaned like a wounded bear. I have no illusions that I am possibly the Worlds' worst patient when it comes to being confined. This went on for about a month with interval visits to a ostepath at a Army Hospital [China}. Fortunately he had been trained at the Mayo Clinic in America. His final suggestion was that I needed a disk replacement between the fourth and fifth lumbar section of my spine. The disk had deteriorated causing the sciatic and other nerve problems. The bottom line I needed an operation. My reply was, "no way, Jose! "I asked if there were other alternatives? A different way to solve the problem? He suggested 'Physical Therapy' and a set of excercises for the back and the abdominals. He said; if I could estabish strong core muscles for my back and stomach the spine might be held in place. I said; "lets' do it". Through a body building program with specific emphasis on the back and the abdominals. I am walking again and playing tennis again.

The rain has left and the sun is shinning brightly. How sweet it is!

{Here, let me add a note}

There is no doubt that we of the human species have been given three of the greatest gifts of all time.  Miraculous gifts that allows us to travel through this time and space; to see and enjoy the thousands of other miracles that are offered up on a moment by moment basis. The  "Gifts"; Body, Mind and Spirit.

Since a large portion of this web-site already contains much about the gifts of the Mind/Spirit miracles. Allow a few words about the collection of the 10,000 trillion citzens{cells} that we travel with through time and space. That goes on day in and day out within the walls of our bodies allowing us to interact with "all and everything". Which should remind us that we are truly a walking, talking, breathing wonder of this "Kosmos" which we have inherited. 

Of course the question that needs to be ask; "how is it that the human race falls into such a malaise, a lethargic stupor that makes life so meaningless so "blah"? That just existing becomes a daily fare, an existence where there are no exit signs.

 Even though their bonds and chains are invisible, they are enslaved. Caught-up in a never ending; "same-o, same-o! Oblivious to the wonders and challenges of the flow of Life.

They are indeed the "Walking dead"

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