Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Journey's End (Jackson Square)

"Garth Comes Marching In"
Being serenaded by New Orleans brass band in Jackson Square

Me, Simon & Lucy Barnes in the in the French Quarter on Tuesday night

I arrived in the center of Jackson Square at 3pm on the dot, my legs still strong, my feet in decent shape, and my spirit buoyed by the satisfaction of completing a journey I at one time did not think possible. My friends Simon and Lucy Barnes were there to congratulate me. They draped finish line beads around my neck and a three man New Orleans brass band serenaded us with a rendition of when the Saints Come Marching In.

The eight miles I walked from the Mennonite Disaster Service Headquarters to the foot of Andrew Jackson's imposing statue flew by. Sometimes the last miles of a journey feel like the hardest. Not these. Truth is, there was nothing too hard about walking a few (or 20) miles a day when each night I got to refresh myself by the welcome of friends and strangers - to be fed, offered a warm shower and given a comfortable place to sleep. The challenge for me was keeping a steady, focused perseverance over 120 straight days in spite of the inevitable ebbs in energy level, frustrations with trying to find places to stay and mental fatigue. It gives me a great deal of inner satisfaction to have accomplished that.

This trip was about moving from belief to experience. Years ago I read some of Joseph Campbell's work and one quote particularly stood out. It said, "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls." That connected with something deep inside of me. I believed it to be true, but for a long, long time I was hesitant to give myself the experience because there was part of me that doubted. That doubt was routed in fear - fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of the financial insecurity of leaving a job and a home to set out on an uncharted journey with no promise that things will turn out as hoped.

Well, I finally did it. I listened to that inner voice which had for years been telling me that I wanted to walk across the country relying only on the willingness of people to welcome me into their homes each night to dine together and give me a place to rest. Sure enough, I found doors, not walls. One hundred and four doors to be exact, opened wide. As I sit here at the journey's end, I can attest that I have more joy, more friends, and more belief in myself than ever before. As for that fear of financial insecurity? Somehow, someway, I even have more money in the bank now than when I left on August 29th. Go figure.

I no longer have to say I believe it to be true. I can confidently state that it is my lived experience that when I follow my bliss the universe opens doors where there were only walls." My intention is to always live in that abundance.

Note to Readers: Thanks for being a part of this journey. There won't be any more updates on this site until I redesign it with images, a video and a number of essays based on my life which have been inspired by my journey. That will likely take a number of months. If you would like to be notified when the revamped website is ready, please send me your email address.


  1. Congratulations Garth you did it! Thank you for letting me and my family be a part of your incredible journey!

    Twanna, Nyla and Justyce

  2. Congratulations! I've enjoyed reading your journey since we met in Dalton.

  3. My email is mcclan5@bellsouth.net and "yes", I would like to be notified.

    I could not be prouder of you, if you were my son! (Although, I would have been a young, teenage mother if that were the case lol.)
    What an accomplishment and what a revelation to have been witness to!

    Congratulations on a journey well completed! I hate that the weather was so disagreable while in our area. Come back to Fort Deposit, Alabama, when it is summertime and we will show you what true humidity is! (smile)

    Take care and God bless!

    Laura McCann

  4. Congratulations Garth! You made it! JoAnn and I have been following your progress throughout your journey and we are impressed by your accomplishment. Good Luck in the future.
    Bruce & JoAnn Smith

  5. Congratulations Garth!!!!


  6. Keep us posted on the updated changes at keith-lois@juno.com. Congratulations!

  7. Congratulations on completing the walk, Garth! Do let me know about the updated website when it's ready, on 090475 at gmail dot com.