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YOU ASKED?


Do you always walk everywhere? Do you ever take any form of transportation?

Answer: The Australians use a term I have referred to many times. They have coupled two terms; the words "walk" and the word "about". And that is what I do, I do "walk about", here there and everywhere. But yes, there are times I use transportation.

Here I am reminded of the story of a Sufi Master who while traveling came to a wide river he wished to cross. Below the path he was traveling was a raft tied to a rope anchored on the other side of the riverbank. As he approached the ferry, the "ferry tender" recognized him as a Sufi Master. When the Master asked how much the fare was to cross to the other side. The ferry tender asked; "Why are you taking the raft, when it is known that you can walk on water? The Sufi Master replied; "It is foolish to walk on the water when there is a way to rest and save the "gift" for something far greater".

When it comes to crossing large bodies of water this pilgrim has no hesitation in using a plane, ship, ferry, raft or a dugout. In the last thirteen an a half years of walking America, I was in a plane, nine times. Three of those times were during the 50 state "walk" through America. I flew to Skagway, Alaska from British Columbia. Then after doing the Yukon {The Chilcoot Trail to Dawson}. I entered back into Alaska after a "walkabout" around Alaska, I walked down into the States via the "Alaskan Highway". My entry point was Maine. After reaching the West Coast I flew to Hawaii the Fiftieth State and eventually returned by plane. Completing the three an a half year walk of all 50 States.

 

"To start the "World Walk";

 

I flew from California to Dublin, Ireland to march in the St Patricks' Day Parade. From Ireland into Scotland, into England, into Belguim. I didn't get back into an airplane again until I reached Zimbabwee in 1992 ; from there I flew into Bombay, India,(sorry, Mumbai). From India I walked into Nepal. After trying for a couple of months to get permissiom from the "Republic Of China" to walk into Tibet. It was a no-go. They would not allow me to walk across the Border. So I flew to Hongkong walked from HongKong to Chengdu. From there I tried to get permission to walk the Tibetian Highway into Tibet. Again the Authorities refused. I continued on through Asia. Upon reachiing Bali; I flew from Bali to New Zealand, from New Zealand to Argentina. Since then no Planes

Sometimes while speaking to groups someone will asked; "do I walk up and down the aisle of the plane"? My reply; "no, I run in place". This journey and my choice to "walk" brings forth some strange responses. "Why don't you get a horse"? Or ride a bicycle or take a plane, train, bus or motorcycle? Why walk? Someone once said; probably Thoreau; "walking is unparallel freedom". When one walks in, through and beyond time and space they become during that moment, "part of" and it becomes "part of" them. It is this "in"and "of" that gives content to our "now's". Increasing our awareness levels of the moment.

I have established in my mind certain criteria about this walk. Such as upon entering a village, town or a small city, I walk the area. If the city is larger {million or more}, I walk the places of interest. But once I have walked an area, I do not walk it again. Should I choose to return to that specific area, I will in most cases seek transportation. It makes no sense to walk over the same terrain twice, unless I want the exercise. I have stated elsewhere that I feel I have a need to walk at least ten miles each day to stay in shape while I am in a city. Sometimes I choose hills to climb or many steps. This is a survival precaution. Someone has said; that if one would walk ten miles everyday for seven years. They will have circled this spinning Earth. So all the milkmen and ladies have probably walked enough to have circled the World.

I make it a point if I am going to speak before a group that I walk to the place of the meeting if I know how to get there. For invariably during the Question and Answer period some one will ask; " how did you arrive here"?

Within the options of the criteria I have set for this " walk". Should I become ill while walking I will take transportation to the nearest town or city. But should the nearest town or city not have the needed facility for my illness or accident. I will choose appropriately. Should the authorities for whatever reason refuse me to walk across the border or a bridge or to walk through a tunnel, or some other specific area. I will rely on transportation to solve the problem. If there are no Shoulders on each side of the Highway, I will take transportation to where there are shoulders,

If there is Civil strife in the area or a war breaks out while I am walking in the area. I will take the quickest way out.The same holds true when natural calamities take place; floods, typhoons, swollen rivers, snowstorms or an outbreak of disease.To do otherwise is to deny commonsense I am always conscious of the fact that the "Walk Of The Hawk" is about walking around the world not riding around the world. When this trek is finished in the next ten years or so, I have no doubt that the walking mileage of this "World Walk" will reflect a record as to the years spent and the distance covered as related to my age.

But this trip is not about records or answering the critics along the way who insist, this is not a "pure walk". I truly believe that many of the sarcastic and cynical remarks stem from a "hostile envy". To those who are critical I invite them to walk in my steps, travel the countries I have traveled and will travel in and out of. Carry the backpack that I carry and walk the miles I walk. Face the daily challenges of the unknown and the unexpected. Then and then only write their conclusions.

I remember after walking the fifty states there were the detractors, the doubters and those who were indifferent. But as always those who rain on other peoples' parades have always been around. I have little interest in their reasons of dissatisfaction. Doers do, complainers complain.

I hope I will not be the last to experience this privilege of "walking around the World". Others should consider the challenge and receive the merits and gifts, the challenge it offers. It is important that we extend the "edges of the envelope" an attempt to go beyond our self-imposed limitations so that we might realize our fullest potentialities and possibilities. No one should destine himself or herself to a life of mediocrity. Life is to be experienced to the fullest if we only allow ourselves to live in the "no risk zones' the "comfort zones". We are cheating ourselves and forsaking our "gifts". Mediocrity should not be acceptable to us. No more than we should accept that we are less than we are.

We only walk this way once. And we should make it worthwhile.

(China 5/2001)

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