Saturday, January 19, 2008

intro and FAQ

[UPDATE, June 9, 2009: Ever since my mother was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an incurable type of brain tumor (the most famous GBM victim is Ted Kennedy), the walk has been cancelled. Feel free to browse the blog and read about the walk, my convalescence in Walla Walla and northern Virginia, my random thoughts on movies, TV, life, the universe, and everything, etc. But skip to the April 16, 2009 post titled "Mom in hospital" to learn more about our family's current struggle, or if you want a super-quick summary, read this post. My apologies if you had been hoping to read about a 3000-mile adventure. I did, however, cross 600 miles. Alas, 600 miles doesn't look all that big when plotted out on Google Maps.]


Welcome to Kevin's Walk! If you're peeping at this blog before May of 2008, you'll likely be disappointed, as the walk won't have started yet. Most of the pre-walk blogging will be devoted to general planning and self-improvement.

Of course, if this is your first visit, you'll be wanting to know what the heck this is all about, and that's the function of this "intro/FAQ" post. Without further ado, then, let's plunge right into it.


1. WHO IS THIS "KEVIN"?

[UPDATE, 9/12/08: If you've got a short attention span and don't want the details of my recent years, here's the 25-word summary of who I am: A dude interested in religious questions who has left a cushy job in Seoul and is walking across the US to see the religious landscape. Now skip everything that follows and move on to Question 2, realize you didn't learn very much from the above, and go back and read the lengthier write-up!]

Kevin is Your Humble Narrator, Kevin Kim. I'm 38 years old as of this writing, and have been living in Seoul, South Korea, for a total of about seven years. I'm very interested in questions of interreligious dialogue, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and so on, and have even put together a book of scattered thoughts on the subject titled Water from a Skull, an image that comes from Korean Buddhism. You can find the book here if you're interested.

I graduated from Georgetown University in 1991 with a BSLA in French and a minor in what was termed "theology," but was actually religious studies. I tend to think that people who study or "do" theology have a vested personal interest in the subject; it's hard to imagine an atheist approaching the field with any gusto. Religious studies, on the other hand, is a field of inquiry open to anyone of any metaphysical conviction, be that person atheist or agnostic or "spiritual, not religious" or a member of a specific tradition.

From 1991 to 1992, I was a substitute teacher in the Fairfax County Public Schools system, a job that rapidly wore on me as I realized just how little respect young teachers get from their students, and how little patience I had for said students. From 1992 to 1994, I taught French and English at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, and while I enjoyed certain aspects of teaching-- my colleagues, plus the better students-- I found that teaching teens simply didn't agree with me. So instead of torturing myself and my students any further, I took the cosmic hint and left the profession after two years in the game.

But teaching was something I liked doing, a fact I realized when I went to South Korea in the summer of 1994. I had simply been teaching the wrong age group; college students and adults, people who paid for their lessons and generally wanted to be there, turned out to be a much better crowd to teach to. I taught English conversation in Korea for two years (1994-1996) before returning to the States. While my time teaching Korean students had been more than pleasant (I also made some good friends while in Seoul), I did experience the ass-end of expat life in Korea. My first boss tried to stiff me for a month's pay, plus the so-called "retirement allowance" given to all foreign teachers at the end of their contract. I sued my boss; he counter-sued me; I ended up winning both suits. The experience, while bitter, was nevertheless instructive: I learned a lot about myself, and I learned a lot about human nature, almost as much as I had been learning from my daily teaching routine.

I came back to the States in 1996 and remained there until 2002. During that time, I worked at a pleasant job in Washington, DC (hello, APIC!), and attended grad school at Catholic University (DC) from 1999 to 2002. I began as a part-time student, which proved prohibitively expensive; I had been told that full scholarships were available only to those enrolling full-time, so that's what I did after one semester of financial torture. I had to compete for the scholarship, but I got it, which was a good thing. Unfortunately, I also accepted a mess of Sallie Mae student loans along with the scholarship, and used those loans to pay my rent while I was studying so as to give myself more time to study. The end result was an "A" average for my graduate career, but also a mountain of debt that I have been, ever so slowly, paying off (along with the remains of my Georgetown student loan debt). I mention this because it figures into the Walk, as you'll see later.

My Master's coursework at Catholic U (hereinafter "CUA") was under the rubric of "Religion and Culture," but my specific interests were in Asian philosophy and religion, interreligious dialogue, and philosophy of religion (my interest in philosophy of mind is a recent development). I took the required courses in Catholic theology and "method" as per the requirements of my program; they and all the other courses were taught by cheerful, competent profs, and I learned a lot from them and from my classmates.

I graduated with my MA in 2002, and had thought to continue on to a Ph.D, perhaps with Buddhist studies as my primary focus, along with secondary and tertiary concentrations in philosophy of religion and so on. With that in mind, I went back to Korea in September of 2002 for the purpose of learning more Korean, and perhaps picking up classical Chinese along the way.

This was not to be. Although I did do a semester of Korean at Korea University's excellent Hanguk-eo Gyoyuk Saen-t'eo (Korean Language Education Center), I found myself dealing with my crushing scholastic debt, so I once again fell into teaching English. From 2002 to 2004, this meant private tutoring, which is illegal. In 2004, I found a job teaching at a language institute in Kangnam, i.e., the south part of Seoul, and stayed at the job while hunting for university work. From 2005 to the present, I've been teaching at my mother's old college, Sookmyung Women's University. By the beginning of 2007, I had saved enough money to pay off both my credit card debt (I remain debt-free on that front) and a personal debt to a Korean relative. All that remains now is my enormous scholastic debt, which tips the scales at over $70,000. For anyone who thinks I'm looking to get rich quick, rest assured that prosperity isn't coming my way anytime soon.

My time at Sookmyung has been fantastic. What an amazing change from teaching at those hagwons (language institutes)! While life at Sookmyung is occasionally hagwonish in nature, it's a far cry from the oppressive ambience I experienced in the '90s. This has been, without a doubt, the best job I've ever had, and it's something of a shame to let it go. I do plan to return to Korea after the Walk, however, so I won't be saying goodbye forever. I might even return to Sookmyung itself, if they'll have me.


2. WHAT'S "KEVIN'S WALK"?

Kevin's Walk is an idea I've had, in some form or other, for a few years, but now seems like the best time to embark on it. I'm nearing 40, and some egomanical part of me would like to be able to tell people that, yeah, I did Something Big before I was 40: I walked across America.

The basic plan is to do a walk across the continental United States, from sea to shining sea, "connecting the dots" between and among various churches, mosques, cathedrals, synagogues, temples, ashrams, cloisters, hermitages, college campuses, and whatever else I can find along the way. I'm doing this in part to satisfy my curiosity regarding a number of pressing interreligious questions, partly to do Something Big before I become too old to do so, and partly to get back into the same shape I was in back in 1990, which was when I finished a year-long stay in Switzerland, a truly fantastic country to walk through. I had spent my year there as part of my French major, living with a very nice Swiss family (the Thalmanns, not the Robinsons), and had developed a habit of hiking around whenever and wherever I could. I came back from the experience a lot thinner than when I started, and as I now near the scary threshold of 300 pounds (that's 21.4 stone to you Brits), nearly 100 pounds above my 1990 weight, I feel myself wanting to pull back from the edge-- far, far back.


3. ARE YOU SERIOUSLY THINKING OF SLEEPING IN THESE HOUSES OF WORSHIP? YOU KNOW THAT'S NOT GONNA WORK, RIGHT?

Yes, I realize I probably won't be able to sleep on the grounds of these holy places; I'm more likely to end up sleeping at the residence of someone associated with the place-- a member of the laity, perhaps. Much depends on the welcome I receive from each place I visit.


4. WHAT DO YOU PLAN ON DOING AT EACH STOPOVER?

I'm doing this walk primarily to ask questions and to listen to answers. As will be obvious if/when you buy a copy of Water from a Skull, I have my own metaphysical convictions, but by no means am I embarking on this walk with the purpose of beating people over the head with my point of view.

My hope is to arrive at each appointed place sometime in the afternoon, to have a chance at a shower and a change of clothes, then to sit down with people from that religious community who might be willing to speak on interreligious issues. I'll have a list of questions with me to prompt discussion, but if the conversation unrolls naturally, I have no problem with setting those questions aside and simply going with the flow.

It seems silly to go through all this effort and not record the insights I receive, so I'm hoping to document each stage of the trip somehow. I haven't settled on a documentary method, though I suspect the ideal would be to have a small team go along with me, setting up A/V equipment at each stopover and/or recording part or all of the walk itself. Much of this would end up on this blog; it's also possible that an actual documentary film might be the end result. In any event, I do plan on writing a book about the experience, à la Peter Jenkins and his classic, A Walk Across America.

Finding a documentary team might not happen until the walk has picked up some momentum, though; the Rolling Stones might have been able to secure the likes of Martin Scorsese to film them, but I'm a nobody, which means that finding an eager film crew, one willing to endure months and months of hardship and poverty, might be a bit of a problem.

So: at each stopover, I hope to shower, change my clothes, talk for a few hours (with the talk being recorded somehow), eat some small dinner, sleep, get a wee breakfast, then continue on to the next site. If there's no dinner and no breakfast, that's perfectly OK; one major aspect of this Walk will be mendicancy--, i.e., begging. I plan to rely on the good graces of those who will have me. If Nothing is what's on offer, then Nothing it shall be.

NOTE: I also hope to alternate sites (church, followed by synagogue, followed by mosque, followed by temple, etc.), though I know this might not be possible, especially if I find myself in a heavily Christian area.

NOTE2: I also hereby express my willingness to do chores and/or manual labor if that's what it takes to earn a night's stay somewhere.


5. WHAT SORTS OF PEOPLE ARE YOU HOPING TO MEET?

I'm hoping to meet regular folks who are willing to talk about interreligious issues (some of which may be potentially uncomfortable, such as whether one would be willing to allow one's child to marry someone of a completely different religion). I want to get a feel for what "pluralism" might mean in American society, which is both huge and diverse. I want to know what people of a given tradition think of people of other traditions... and if they don't think about those other traditions, I'd like to know why they don't. Is it a taboo subject? Is it somehow dangerous to the larger community? Is it simply a matter of not caring? Above all, I'd like to see how all the information I hear can be put together into some sort of strategy for the peaceful coexistence of people of all traditions. Do Americans, who generally live peacefully together, often in religiously heterogeneous communities, have something to offer a world wracked by interreligious conflict?


6. WHEN IS THIS WALK HAPPENING?

I'm hoping to begin the walk in mid- to late May of this year, 2008. I don't know how long the walk might last because I don't know its exact route yet. In fact, that's something I want to talk about in subsequent posts: how, exactly, I should be plotting my route. Ideas and comments are welcome.

UPDATE: The date has been set for May 27, 2008.

UPDATE 2, 9/13/08: The walk started on 5/27/08, from White Rock, British Columbia, just across the border from Blaine, Washington.


7. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

There are at least three ways you can help me out on this walk, and I will be humbly grateful for whatever assistance you choose to provide.

a. Financial help

Despite the mendicancy theme, I don't like to beg. Who does, really? If you shell out money for me, then I hope to give you something in return for your contribution. Seems only fair, right? To this end, I will be creating products related to Kevin's Walk for purchase on my CafePress.com site-- mugs, tee shirts, and other items (all designed by me) whose purchase will help defray the expected and unexpected costs of the walk.

However, humility demands that I also put up a PayPal donation button on this blog; I have a PayPal account, and will be accepting donations from kind-hearted folks who think the Walk is for a worthy cause. There will be no minimum donation, so there's no pressure to donate more than a dollar if that's what you feel like contributing. I'm not the type to give people guilt trips; donate as much or as little as you like, or nothing at all.

I would also be willing to accept some sort of corporate sponsorship, though I'm aware that most corporations would rather avoid sponsoring something overtly religious in nature. I understand and accept this, but I also suspect that certain entities might be a bit more willing to look into supporting a religious project. If you know of any such organizations, please let me know.

b. Material help.

I will doubtless need things like food, changes of batteries for various pieces of equipment, replacement hiking/camping supplies, and so on. If you're willing to provide anything like this for free, I will gladly accept whatever you have to offer. As needs arise, I will likely blog about them.

I suppose the phrase "material help" might also include the notion of "shelter." I'm not planning on camping my way across the country, though I do need to be prepared to do some camping if the distance between destinations is too far for me to traverse in a single day.

UPDATE, 9/13/08: A chase car would also be helpful. I obviously can't expect a single person to serve as the chase car driver for the entire trek, but having a series of drivers, who would each drive for a short distance (maybe 1-3 days' hike) would be a real boon. WOuld you be interested in being a chase car driver? Catch up with my blog, see where I currently am, and contact me.

c. Spiritual help.

Constructive remarks, kind words, encouragement, advice, serious discussion of the issues-- these things all matter to me. Feel free to leave comments on this blog (comments here are moderated in order to weed out the uncivil) or to visit my Facebook page (you'll have to "friend" me to see it, of course) and engage in some discussion in the two "groups" I've created there, one devoted to religious diversity, and the other devoted explicitly to this walk of mine.


8. ABOUT HOW LONG DO YOU THINK THE WALK WILL TAKE?

I'm not sure. If the country is roughly 3,000-4,000 miles across, and if I walk 20-30 miles per day, what does that come out to? Assuming I hike an average of 20 miles per day without zigzagging, I might be done with the Walk in 150-200 days; this also assumes that I stay at each spot only for one night. It also assumes I walk seven days a week for every week of the Walk. No lingering.

This pace is conceivable, but is it realistic?

No. What I see happening is more like this: I may stay more than a single night in some places, and my route will almost certainly not be a relentlessly straight march from west to east. I suspect the Walk will take me substantially more than a year's time.

I would love to encounter a religious establishment at absolutely regular intervals-- say, once every 20 miles. But I doubt this will happen, especially as I leave the densely populated coast and head into the country's central regions. Reality is, by nature, clumped and uneven, so there's little reason to expect churches, temples, and so on to be evenly distributed throughout the land.

UPDATE, 9/13/08: After about 500 miles of walking, from White Rock, BC down through Seattle, over to Portland, then eastward along the Columbia RIver to Umatilla and back up into Walla Walla, Washington, I can say that (1) I don't walk every single day, (2) my walks have varied greatly in length from 2 to 35 miles, and (3) I do camp a lot, though I probably end up in hotels or residences more often. Because I currently have a bad knee (medial collateral ligament strain), walking is excruciating without painkillers; I'm resting in Walla Walla and wintering in Boise in order to give my poor knee a chance to heal.

I still believe, however, that I can make the 2-year maximum limit. I've given up on finishing the walk before I'm 40; my pace is simply too slow. Then again, upon leaving Walla Walla, I'll have a chase car (my father's the driver) until I reach Boise, and I hope to arrange chase cars for the walk out of Boise to Parts Unknown. Ideally, I'll use my wintering time in Boise (about four months) to plot the rest of the route and arrange chase cars. I might-- just might-- be able to hit the east coast before my 40th birthday on August 31, 2009. If not... oh, well.


9. WHERE IS YOUR WALK STARTING? WHERE IS IT ENDING?

With many thanks to my good friend Nathan Bauman, the Walk will actually begin near Vancouver, Canada, in what Nathan has cleverly styled a "prelude" to the US portion of Kevin's Walk. The official beginning of the Walk will be somewhere on the US west coast, right at the Pacific Ocean, probably in the state of Washington. The official end of the Walk will occur when I arrive at the Atlantic Ocean, probably that portion of the east coast occupied by Maryland or Virginia (my hometown is Alexandria, Virginia). The Walk's "epilogue" will likely include a stop by a particular Zen temple I'm fond of, as well as my own church.

And then I'll just walk on over to my folks' place, and it'll be time to chew over the experience with my family, then think about heading back to Korea to continue my life as a university English and French instructor.

[UPDATE, 9/13/08: I started the walk at White Rock, British Columbia, from the Pacific Inn. Nathan drove me there on May 26, 2008, after picking me up at Vancouver International Airport. After leaving the hotel the following morning, I passed by the Peace Arch while walking on Canadian Route 99; at the border, I stepped through the pedestrian gate of Passport Control and found myself in Blaine, Washington. It wasn't until I had walked down to Bellingham Bay, however, that I "officially" touched the Big Water. See my sidebar for the link to the YouTube video of the moment I touched the water!]


10. WHAT MATTERS ARE YOU DEALING WITH NOW?

I have quite a few unsettled questions:

a. obtaining sponsorship (corporate, religious, personal, etc.)
b. deciding on the proper method to plan out the route-- I'm currently leaning toward a "self-planning" route at the moment; further explanation of this will occur in subsequent blog posts
c. obtaining proper equipment for the walk
d. getting my financial house in order-- because of my scholastic debt, I need to be able to pay about $600 per month to stay afloat in the eyes of Sallie Mae
e. finding a possible documentary team for the walk and/or buying the appropriate A/V equipment for myself (digital video camera? Wi-Fi laptop or some other device that'll allow me to remote-blog the trip?)
f. finalizing certain rules of the road for the Walk-- e.g., whether I want travel companions (other than the hypothetical documentary team, and I might not want them, either)
g. training a bit so as to be in not-quite-sad shape when I do finally begin the walk
h. settling the matter of insurance: how will I be dealing with possible sickness and injury?
i. what else? there's always something else...





That's it for the FAQ so far. Congratulations if you've made it through the whole thing. I'll likely to be adding to and adjusting the FAQ as time goes on, and I'll almost certainly be tinkering with this blog's look over the next few months. If things get too busy for me, I might even hand these duties off to some trusted souls, like friends or family members.

Feel free to add your comments, but please keep in mind that I do expect all comments to be civil and constructive. People who can't help being assholes will not have their comments published (all comments are moderated). I've heard some folks cry "censorship!" when confronted with this attitude, but my take is that my blog is my cyber-house: it's open to guests, but just as I expect my real house guests to conduct themselves civilly, so I expect my virtual house guests to do likewise. Those who fail to demonstrate basic manners will be shown the door-- no questions, no arguments. Cleaning house is, ultimately, my responsibility. If you want to argue that this blog is a public forum and that I have no right to "censor" people, then you need to explain why I own this blog. A castle might house hundreds of guests, but this doesn't make it a public place. Besides, public places are usually policed. Do you want me to hire someone to police the comments here? Just keep things simple: civility brings with it no problems.

Come back soon and see what's new with Kevin's Walk!


_

18 comments:

Baekho said...

Holy. Crap.

That sounds intense!

Best of luck to you, and I look forward to hearing about your journey!

Charles said...

I am honored to be the first to comment (or maybe not, seeing as these are moderated) on what will likely be one of the most pivotal blogs of the millennium.

It's good to see this thing coming together. I'm excited for you (and a tad jealous as well). I don't know how much support I will be able to offer materially, but I will definitely be here for spiritual support, and we (that is, the missus and I) will chip in financially as well.

If there is anything else I can do from here, let me know.

Kevin said...

Charles and White Tiger,

Thanks very much. Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding more specifics and improving the currently nonexistent sidebar. Stay tuned.


Kevin

Anonymous said...

Do the San Shin, baby!

Joe in Korea said...

Kevin,
Be sure to stop by my office before you leave. I'll have a fat white envelope for you. If you find yourself going through the Boise area, I'll offer my brother's place as well (I'll tell him of course). How does he fit in with your walk? Well, our family is Catholic, and his wife is Spanish (and also Catholic as well, but a very different version). I'm sure they'll have some interesting answers to your questions.

Kevin said...

Joe,

I'm floored and humbled by your offer. Thank you.


Kevin

Justin said...

Kev,

If you walk to Northeastern Thailand, you're always welcome at our house.

One question regarding Eastward Ho: What kind of footwear are you planning to start with?

Kevin said...

Justin,

Thanks for the invitation. I do hope to see more of Asia than just Korea (unless we count several hours in Osaka as "seeing Japan"; if we do, then I've "been to" both Korea and Japan). The only thing that scares me is how hot and humid Thailand is.

As for footwear-- I'm probably going to be purchasing it when I'm in the States. Very likely some hiking boots (my old ones were recently repaired, but still a bit weak) and some heavy-duty walking shoes for when I'm walking on roads, not trails (which is likely to be most of the time).


Kevin

Alan said...

If you make it down to Texas, stop by.

Kevin said...

Alan,

Much obliged.


Kevin

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

I heard about your walk when an MVPC member called to see how my new knee was doing. Right total knee replacement, long story but not a fun one - be very careful of your knees on your walk. I'd even suggest you spend some time with a physical therapist to condition you for the start of your walk.

One idea we talked about is taking with you a small digital camera to record people, places and events that strike you as interesting. The collection of all the digital images would be great for your book of the walk, and great progress notes/images for those of us watching/reading about you. One of my fishing buddies has one that's about the size of a credit card that actually takes fairly high res images, is waterproof and lets him share his catch and release trophies.

Very best of luck in getting ready - we'll be praying for you.

Hal & Linda M., Alexandria, VA

Kevin said...

H&L,

Thanks for your advice! I do indeed plan to document the trip. I'm even considering the possibility of a documentary team recording part or all of the Walk. We'll see.

Continued good luck with recuperation!


Kevin

addofio said...

Since no one else has mentioned this, I have to bring up the geography of the American (and Canadian) west.

There is no way you are going to find towns, or in some places any kind of human habitation, every 20-30 miles or so across much of the West. And the weather in the summer across the desert can be deadly. Literally. You can avoid a lot of actual desert by taking the most northernmost route, but you'll still hit the plains, where people are few and far between. And the Northern route will maximize your odds of having a bear encounter. Which would be only wonderful if it's a merely close encounter--but if you have food on you, the risk of worse goes up considerably. (I've camped all over the west and only seen one bear, at a nice safe distance, but I've seen lots of bear sign, and since I was in a car, could just drive up the road until I didn't see any.)

I'm not sure what you'll want to do about any of this--but in the interest of your coming out of this experience alive, please do think about and plan for the environment. And maybe some at least general planning of your route across what used to be referred to as The Great American Desert would be a good idea. My own recommendation would be to relax your standards and accept rides across most of it. I was out there last summer (in an air-conditioned car), and daytime temperatures were in the hundreds pretty much across the West, Montana to Arizona and New Mexico. Those temperatures can kill an unsheltered person. "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" applies. In any case--you'd need to carry a lot of water. Which is heavy.

Of course, you could stick to the west coast for the summer, and head across the mountains and desert in the fall--but you'd need to time it carefully or you'd find yourself dealing with winter--which can be equally deadly. East or west. You'd probably be wise to figure on spending the winter down south.

I am NOT trying to bring you down, or discourage you from your project (which sounds exciting and life-transforming). And leaving the details of your route up to God or serendipity or whatever makes total sense to me; if you plan it all out in compulsive detail, within the first two weeks, you'll have departed from the plan anyway. BUT. Having, shall we say, some strategies for coping with the big stuff will up the odds on your staying alive (and of sticking with the project rather than aborting after a few months).

One possibility would be to walk the more populated areas, and some of the unpopulated natural areas, but to ride in one form of transportation or another across the worst of the desert. Given the purpose of the walk--to meet with as many religious communities (or individuals) as possible--I don't see that that would be seriously compromising your commitment.

Somewhere--you may know where--Jesus advises his disciples to be "innocent as doves, but wise as serpents" (or something like that). It's that last part I'm urging on you. Put yourself in God's hands, go where the wind blows you, go with the flow--absolutely. But be "wise as serpents" about it. Please get out an atlas, or use Google, and at least map out some possibilities.

If by any chance you do decide to come down the coast, and make it to California (and given the richness of the religious landscape in California, how could you not? Except of course it doesn't get you toward our final destination on the East coast), I have a spare bedroom, shower, and washer/dryer you'd be welcome to. Just say the word. There's a Zen monastery not far from here that accepts visitors in the summer.

As to recording equipment: I think a laptop would be too heavy. Something like an iPhone might cover a lot of bases (and a cell phone in any case would be a good safety precaution). Something that would allow you to upload files to a central storage place (perhaps your blog) so you don't have to carry them around, or buy a lot of cards or other storage media. A lot of people you'll be visiting will have recording equipment and Internet access, so you woldn't necessarily have to carry much along, but you'll want something for those in-between places.

As for other equipment--maybe wait until you get to Vancouver and shop there. A lot of people backpack in the Northwest, and you'll find a lot of useful and clever equipment that can make your life on the road a lot more pleasant. And safe.

As you can see, I'm getting a lot of vicarious pleasure from thinking about your trip and how to prepare for it. So, thanks! :-) And good luck.

Kevin said...

Addofio,

Thanks for the great comment. Question 8 of the FAQ does, in fact, briefly mention the problem of wide, empty spaces, but you're right to go into detail. I appreciate all the specifics, but no-- I won't be hitching any rides.

re: bears

A friend of mine from Montana had some creepy stories about bears. "They stalk you," he said-- some bears will apparently spend days figuring you out before they close in for the kill. I was unsettled, to say the least.

We have little black bears in Virginia (Shenandoah/Skyline Drive), and I've even had a small one cross "my" path ("my" in quotes because the notion of ownership is problematic when dealing with animals) about seventy or eighty yards down the trail from me. That was neat, though we did wonder where the mama bear was.

Again, thanks for the advice. I need to reread your comment and get cracking on some of the things you're talking about.


Kevin

addofio said...

Well, whatever you do DO NOT TRY TO WALK ACROSS DEATH VALLEY IN THE SUMMER. A decades or two ago, someone died trying that. Temperatures not infrequently go above 110º F, there and also out in the deserts of Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona. At those temperatures, the blacktop will melt rubber-soled shoes right off your feet.

I keep wanting to give you advice, but I'll restrain myself. There are better advisors than myself out there for such an undertaking, anyway. But d promise your Mom (if not me) that you will exercise basic good sense about things out there.

Anonymous said...

If you do stop by Joe's brother's house in Boise, you are more than welcome to make another stop at my house 30 miles west in Caldwell.

Kory

Anonymous said...

케빈~ 안녕? 저 다정이에요.
이제 내일이면 한국을 잠시 떠나겠네요. 케빈덕분에 여러가지를 알게 됐어요. 고마워요, 케빈.
당신의 멋진 계획을 통해 케빈은 더 근사한 사람이 되겠죠? 종종 이곳에 와서 케빈의 모습을 볼래요. 이런저런 재미있는 이야기들도 많이 들려주세요.
케빈, 몸 건강히, 즐거운 여행 하세요.

Becky said...

I'm kind of feeling my way around your blog, getting a feel for who you are and what you're doing. So I'm not sure where you are currently, but since you started in Washington, you may be near a very religious area: College Place and Walla Walla, Wash. If you're interested, stop on by. I would certainly be willing to help you make connections.