Learning the Walkabout

For the last ten years I have desired to go on a walkabout. Ever since I saw a modern photo of the Great Wall of China with people on it, I have wanted to walk it — all 5,500 miles of it. Unfortunately, the wall itself is in sections and it would be nearly impossible for me to walk it. Plus the cost of airfare, amount of time needed, and the logistics seemed daunting.

Then I decided to walk from San Diego to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. It’s only 775 mile. But many people think it wouldn’t be safe for me to do it alone and I couldn’t find anyone to tag along. “Why don’t you hike the Pacific Crest Trail?” someone asked. “I don’t want to hike, I want to go on a walkabout,” was my response.

To me a walkabout is a destiny with a purpose. Just like the Australian Aborigines spiritual journeys that take up to 6 months for an adolescent to trace the paths of their ancestors. I want to take a journey that will allow my spirit to grow. One that will open my eyes to new things. One that will allow me to meet new people and have new experiences. I don’t want to walk a trail in the mountains alone. I want to form connections and grow to a higher level of conscientiousness.

Today, I walked two miles with Don Baack of the SW Trails in Portland. AARP Oregon organized this walk and 20 people joined in. Twenty people with different backgrounds. Twenty people with different life experiences. Twenty people who desired to learn something new and learn it together.

I don’t wander and meander through life like some people do. I want to walk with a purpose. It is my life goal to find my purpose, but until I do I will continue to walk with one.

Someday, I will do a pilgrimage called the El Camino de Santiago in Spain. I am not Catholic and will not be doing it as a dedication to my religion or for the signed certificate of the Church that will guarantee my admission to Heaven. I will do it because it has a beginning and an end. In the middle, I will meet new people and experience new things. It is said to be 500 miles, but there are groups who arrange the details and one group does a 100 mile journey in 10-days.

At the end of the journey, I imagine my feet will hurt pretty bad. But I will have succeeded at achieving a life’s goal and it will feel pretty good.


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