Walking East
California to Jerusalem

How do you keep life simple?

[This is the content and form of the original version of the page now called Why?) written in 2008 before we began walking east.]

We came to California in late 2007 searching the coast for a home. Paso Robles eventually felt right. We have offered our workshops, slide shows, and walking classes here. And Petra and I wrote Germany to Rome in 64 days: Our Pilgrimage, a book on our Rome pilgrimage.

Hardly are we at home with a way of living
And cozily settled in, than drowsiness threatens
And we are ready to leave,
Feeling like we are held by some paralyzing trap. ...
   - from Herman Hesse's, Stages (Stufen)

And now after less than a year here, we're homesick for the unknown again. It's apparent that it is time to move on from Paso Robles. We are ready to walk again. Before we left Europe, as we walked to Rome, we thought of continuing that pilgrimage on to Jerusalem. We thought of doing it before establishing a permanent residence here in the US. We didn't. Now it's clear that we had to come here to realize that we want to walk not only to Jerusalem but also across the U.S. So it is time to begin anew our pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

On or about January 15 we will head east from our front door after closing down our presence here in Paso Robles. And we invite you to walk a while with us, to join us on our pilgrimage. You can join us also by inviting us to set up a tent on your lawn or to put our sleeping bag on your porch for a night. And when you are just driving by, stop a while to visit--we have time for visits always.

Why walk? We like walking. We like the lure of the next horizon. We like living every day differently, in a new environment. We walk for simplicity. We walk for unity. We walk for the environment. We walk for Peace. We walk for both external and internal peace, but mostly for that internal peace that lets us walk in joy through our pilgrimage of life no matter the turmoil outside. We walk to meet all of you who are out there along our way. We also walk to experience the joys and adversities that make our lives stronger and more whole as we live through them. We walk to feel the warmth and strength of the sun, the gentle pushes and heavy blasts of the wind, the heat of mid-day and the cold of late night. We walk to live fully our pilgrimage of life day by day as we take each step into the East.

And on a deeper level yet, we are homesick not only for the unknown but also in a very true sense for the answer to the question, "What is this life about." We, like Socrates, are carrying our lamp looking for that "truth" of life. We choose to search with far less attachments than many have. Whether that is a truly efficient way to search or not, it is the way we choose to spend our next year and a half or so. [I suspect the answer is "life is about living" and that is what we will be doing as we walk--or don't walk.]

To return to more mundane level, our house is confining, it demands much of us. That's nothing new. Many others have similar feelings and do nothing. But we want to do something about it. We are going to leave it for now, end our lease, sell most things, store what's left, and literally walk away from the house here. We don't have to take care of it. We don't have to pay gas bills, water bills, garbage bills, rent, car insurance, electric bills, internet bills, phone bills, taxes. We don't want to buy gas for the car. We can spend our time better than sweeping the sidewalk, the kitchen floor, or the back patio or vacuuming the living room, our offices, and the bedroom. We cannot any longer believe it is reasonable to water grass in this semi-desert where we should be growing cacti instead.... We're ready to leave all of these goodies at the cost of having to find a new motel or camping spot each night, of having to set up a tent, of having to cook over an open fire or to eat in a restaurant, of walking every day.

We will find a new place where we will stop some day. But for now we head for Jerusalem on a year and a half odyssey, a year and a half pilgrimage in the Pilgrimage of our Lives. When the way says stop, we'll stop. But until then we walk to learn from the road, to meet and learn from new people, to see new lands, to cross horizon after horizon, to celebrate life in all its many forms. And we aim to live with what we have on our backs. Whatever else we "need" the road, the Universe, will provide. If it doesn't provide it, we don't need it. The answer is not in having many things, but in having only those small pieces you truly need.

Beyond all this, we have an additional goal. Though we know it is true intellectually, I want to demonstrate that one can walk from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere to Santiago de Compostela and then to Rome and Jerusalem and beyond. As we have given our slide shows and workshops in the U.S. we have been saying, "You can walk from your home to Santiago." It's time to do it ourselves.

Having said all this, the bottom line is that we walk because we like to walk, because we want to walk. Now the walk looks at us in the face. I am a little apprehensive. But for that very reason I'm excited to face it. We have conceived it. We have given it birth. Now we have to live with it to see where it takes us. We shall learn from our child as much as we fear it and look at it with awe.

What's here?

The following pages tell the details of our walk.

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Copyright © 2008 Mike Metras, www.WalkingWithAwareness.com