Greetings Rogue fans.
Some of you have been waiting 23 days on the edge of your seat, as the counter to the Big Announcement ticked down.
Others have been waiting much longer, since I first hinted that a big change was brewing.
And some of you have been asking yourselves all along, who is this guy? How can he talk about the heroic life if he’s not out living it? When does he do something big?
Today. It starts today.
As these words go live on the blog, an official announcement is being made at the museum where I work, telling my coworkers that I’m resigning.
No, I didn’t find a higher-paying job (it wouldn’t be worth it; my current job is awesome). No, I’m not going back to school. I don’t have a terminal illness, either, that I know of.
I’m going on an adventure. The purpose of this adventure is to meet the gods.
When I first started Rogue Priest, I wrote:
My goal is to travel the world, learn as much about myself as I can, and help people in any way I can… as I travel into third world countries, into areas that may be impoverished or politically unstable, my goal is to do more than just get by. To be more than a visitor or an NGO worker. I want to truly meet people along the way, to work beside them and live with them, to look into their eyes and meet the gods we carry with us.
So now I’m starting.
My thirtieth birthday is August 31, 2011. As my friends rock out at my birthday party, I will quietly bike out of Minneapolis. And begin to live my purpose in life.
That bike ride will be the beginning of a series of short trips, which will prepare me for my Great Adventure in 2012. What is the Great Adventure?
I will walk from Minneapolis, MN to Brazil, crossing two continents under my own power.
The Journey of a Lifetime
We studied South America in World History class when I was 12. I can still see the picture at the beginning of the chapter, a giant waterfall in the Amazon. The more I read the more fascinated I became. After that I always knew I would travel across South America someday.
In college I decided I would walk there, because that will let me travel slowly. I want to get to know people and communities—and the land. I want to live immersively, not as a tourist.
After college I put off my dream. I worked hard for good causes—my temple, a variety of nonprofits, and most recently an amazing art museum. I often felt fulfilled by these activities, but I also felt my dream slipping away.
When I started Rogue Priest I finally began to put down my thoughts on travel, adventure, and bravery. Thanks to the discussion from my readers I have the basic outline of the Heroic Life.
But that’s not the same thing as living gloriously, following the example of the great heroes, and traveling freely to change myself and the world. It’s time to do that now.
I believe that walking across the United States, Mexico, Central America and South America will provide me with plenty of opportunities to live that way. It’s my chance to live the Heroic Life, and see if I truly can make a difference in our world.
This adventure is the beta test. Does travel change the mind? Does adventure expand personal limits? Does living for high ideals, following your purpose, and doing amazing things lead to a life of bravery and joy?
I’m going to find out. I’m going to live it, 100%, so that no one can ever say it’s not possible.
And on the way, I plan to meet the gods.
Meet the Gods?
What does that mean? Is it even possible? Do they exist? Where do you find them?
I don’t know.
But I do know this. If there are gods out there, I’m going to meet them. I’ve been their priest for most of my life and I’m setting out to find the truth. As a philosopher, I remain undecided whether the gods are objectively real or if they’re in our minds. But I want to find out.
I’m going to do that by living as mythically as possible. In myth, the gods sometimes show themselves to mortals. I intend to live a life of myth until I get their attention.
I’ll also do that by talking to everyone I meet. I want to see the gods through the eyes of the many different cultures and individuals I’ll come across.
That’s how I will come to understand who and what the gods are. If they exist, I’ll meet them. If they don’t exist, second prize is the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on.
So Where To?
Remember, I’m not hitting the trail for the long walk just yet. When I leave on August 31, I will take a series of one- to three-month trips to prepare myself. Each of these trips serves a specific purpose. They include:
Three Months is Milwaukee. I’ll return to my hometown of Milwakee, WI where I hope to train intensively at Futen Dojo and really develop my self-defense skills. In addition, this will be an important test run in making my living through the internet or freelance work. I will need these business skills to have an income on the road.
One month in Detroit. I’d like to cultivate my photography skills. Detroit seems like a good place to go, especially since I love exploring abandoned buildings. (My Detroitian friend tells me it’s pretty cliché, but it still sounds like a good way to learn.)
Two months in Mexico City. I’ll be staying with Cintain, a friend and professional translator, with the aim of learning fluent Spanish. Speaking fluently with the locals is a key part of my strategy to live heroically and meet the gods. Spanish is the first of several languages I’ll need along the way.
Once these trips are done, sometime in spring 2012 I’ll start the Great Adventure itself.
How Does This Work?
To answer a few questions:
- I have intentionally not calculated the exact number of miles, but from an estimate it will take me at least 2 years to complete the walk, if I travel straight there.
- I will probably not travel straight there. I intend to go slowly, and I may stay in some communities for weeks or months.
- I am not strict about walking the whole way. I may bike parts of it. But I do hope to stick to my own strength rather than vehicles.
- Along the way, I will camp out or rely on the kindness of strangers for room and board.
- I will be blogging and in communication via internet the whole time.
- When I reach Brazil, I may end up settling there. Or I may come back to the US. Or, I may just keep on going. I haven’t decided yet, and likely won’t till I get there.
The Adventure Begins
So that’s the deal, rogues. August 31 I bike out of my birthday party and into the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. It’ll be me, a computer and a little bit of savings. First I head to Milwaukee to learn how to make a living without a job. And then next spring I put on my shoes and walk across the earth to meet the gods.
What are your thoughts, my friends? Will this trip be the death of me, or the adventure of a lifetime? What are the chances for one man on the road to manage to meet the gods? Is this a good way to test the Heroic Life, or is it over the top? Please share your thoughts, positive or critical, because your discussion always proves invaluable to shaping the ideas on Rogue Priest. Let me know what you think!