Friday, January 30, 2009

To all the guys who've walked before ....

... who've traveled in and out many doors. I dedicate this post.

One of the lessons I learned in writing a thesis my senior year at college was that first task of a research project is to see what similar research has been done in the past. So before putting pen to paper in studying "The Portrayal of White Characters in Black Sitcoms" I read and chronicled all the other studies that had been done on the same or similar topics. Shockingly, my exegesis of Will Smith did not bring me international acclaim, but it did leave me with the good habit of always checking to see what I could learn from those who have taken on similar challenges.

And so it is with my walk. Many people have walked long distances before. Hundreds (if not thousands) have probably completed a coast-to-coast walk, the most famous of course being Peter Jenkins who wrote a best selling book in the 1970s. But I went on the web today to find who has done it recently, or is in the process of doing it as we speak. Two guys surfaced. BJ Hill & Skip Potts. Each have blogs about their journeys:

BJ: http://www.walkamerica2008.com/
Skip: http://skippotts.blogspot.com

BJ has already finished his walk and I have emailed him asking if I could pick his brain for lessons learned and logistical tips to help prevent foreseeable disasters. As for Skip, I will follow his journey (he is in Louisiana now) and if he finishes before the end of the summer, I will try and contact him as well. I don't see how I could ever get TOO much advice on an undertaking this ambitious. These guys have lived what I am going to live for four months and I'm dying to hear what they have to say.

Lastly, I downloaded a Tim Keller sermon this afternoon on "Hospitality". That theme is the crux of why I am taking this journey - to experience the hospitality of friends and strangers and to be transformed by the bonds of friendship and love that are formed. I am very interested in the injunctions to hospitality that are at the core of each of the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I want to engage those faith groups in my journey and see how those teachings are put into practice in present day America, where popular culture is saturated with messages of why we should FEAR strangers. I'll write more on this in the coming days, but it has been banging around inside of my head so I wanted to tee up the topic for future discussion.

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