The Great Adventure

This is my beginning

So this is it.

Nearly a year ago I changed my life forever. I quit a happy job for the sake of a difficult dream. I left behind a promising and realistic future to seek something strange and rare. Something which may not exist.

Yesterday I packed. For the first time in all my travels I made ready days early, and I can enjoy my final day before departure. (Thank you Kira Hagen for the advice.)

Today, I help my dad with farm chores and then go to the pub with my mom. We’ll have rum and coke and she’ll try not to cry. I love you, Mom.

Tomorrow that same dauntless mother and I road trip for a final few hours together. I go from Wisconsin to Saint Paul, MN. Mom returns to Wisconsin without me.

The next day is July 4. A holiday here: Independence Day. The day a Great Adventure begins. Early that morning I load into a car with the beautiful Beth Varro and, likely, my last latte for some time. Away we go.

Beth will drive us to Duluth, MN where my inventor friend Ben will gift me a bicycle. Since he’s an inventor I fully expect it’ll be tricked out with gadgets. A boxing glove on a spring will surely be among them.

And finally, Ben will drop me and my bicycle off at Lake Itasca, MN—the source of the Mississippi River. There begins an 8,000 mile trek by foot, bike and paddle, with an uncertain goal of either meeting the gods or reaching Rio de Janeiro or, ideally, both.

I know that I will seek those gods wherever I go; I know I’ll try to learn a thing or two about heroism. Maybe I’ll even make a name for myself.

What I don’t know is everything else.

It will be a few days before I can check back in. The next time I look at Rogue Priest it will be somewhere along my travels. Maybe it will be all sunshine and rejoicing from now till then. But then again, maybe I’ll be amidst my first crisis or spending rainy nights huddled in a cold cocoon.

So let me beg a request.

Start the adventure with me. Take a moment to hit reply—even if you don’t normally comment. Please, share with me a few words. Maybe why you read this blog. Maybe what you hope I’ll find on my way. Or maybe a glimmer of your own hopes and big ideas, whether they’re traveling across continents or writing your first novel.

Spare a few words. I don’t know when I’ll see them or what condition I’ll be in, but I’m comforted to have you with me in spirit and I know it will give me the resolve to carry on.

Thank you, and welcome to the Great Adventure.


74 thoughts on “This is my beginning

  1. I’ll arrange for a latte to be waiting for you in Rio. ;-P

    Beautiful dandelion photo, too, by the way.

    Best of luck, my friend. I wish I could be there. Courage, surprises, and friendship be with you always.

  2. Trent Fowler says:

    I’ve watched this journey being born for about the last year or so, and I’m amazed that it’s finally happening for you. You’re an inspiration for all those of us out there who have big ambitions but don’t exactly know how to grab them by the throat.

    My own adventures is still in the nascent stages, I’m still pretty young. I haven’t even clearly identified my goals just yet. But I can feel myself changing subtly into the person who will one day, hopefully, make a big impact on the world. I suspect we’ll walk different paths, but who knows? In the years ahead I may finish my 10,000th mile on foot as I endeavor to walk across Asia. Or I may just be a kick-ass researcher and author.

    Either way, I know I’ll draw inspiration from your example and the examples of those like you. It takes courage to turn your back on comfort in order to become truly exceptional.

    Safe journeys out there, keep Rockin’ and Rougin’,


  3. I think you are insane. I wish you love, joy, luck, heath, wisdom, wealth and beauty. May you always find comfort, food, companionship and rest when you need it. May you meet your gods on your path. May you return safely to your loved ones.

  4. I love you, Drew! I’m beside myself with happy tears for you. I can’t sleep at the moment. My thoughts, prayers, and wishes go with you. I feel guilty for feeling the least bit sad because I could not visit you or talk with you one last time before you left. I do not know when next I will hear from you. Your blog is my only means of hearing how you are doing, so I anxiously await your word. It is torture to wait! So I pray to keep the sad away.

    Forgive me if I brag about you or sing your praises, pat your back from afar, and tell little legends about things we adventured together…

    As long as you are out there, somewhere, staying alive, taking care of yourself, and fulfilling your dreams, I can carry on with this happy-sorrow, this waiting for you between the silences and distances, because it is okay. You’re always with me. Right here. In my heart.

    The Gods are with You.

  5. Su says:

    In some small way that I don’t fully understand, you are doing this for me, too… Cheers, buddy! And may you find comfort when you need it–the feminine circling you up and cheering you on, pouring salve on your wounds, offering you warmth and light on a lonely night…

    Rainbow Heart

  6. Go well, Drew, be well. You are embarking upon an adventure not only for yourself but for all of us.

    Your adventure fuels my own adventure which is swimming in art, magick, the Netjeru, bodybuilding, and the mysteries of our human bodies and the soul parts we possess.

    May we both succeed!

  7. Living vicariously through you Drew, until I arrive at the season in my life when I can attempt something as adventurous as this for my own life! Thank you for sharing your dreams so openly. I am with you in spirit.

  8. DiannaMoon says:

    I am so moved by your journey. I love your enthusiasm and your thoughts. I am excited to hear about what the Gods are like and about the people that you will meet on your way.

    I send you many Blessings and White energy to sustain you…and a little snark packed away for when you need it.

    Blessed Be!

  9. Fortune, it is said, favors the bold. If so then fortune will certainly smile upon you. You are an inspiring fellow and I look forward to future posts. If you follow the Mississippi River down and pass through Memphis I extend a welcome to you.

  10. Lynn says:

    Oh my gosh, the time is here. I’ve been reading for nearly a year and now all I feel is this anxious anticipation. I respect your drive and your vision to dream this up and actually go through with this.

    I wish you all the best of luck. Oh and try to be safe and get back in one piece!

  11. D says:

    Drew, dear Drew. I heartily suspect that those gods you seek are with you all along, but the adventure will be well worth everything it throws your way.
    If alchemy school permits, I’ll meet up with you in New Orleans.

  12. Drew, I hope for you the unfolding of your path, which may sound overly obvious, but it comes out of my own life experiences. My path is constantly unfolding in front of me–both in the times when I’ve meticulously planned and times when I have been oblivious to the path. It is constant mystery and marvel even (maybe especially) when it rough. So, raising a glass to your path unfolding, to mystery and to marvel! (I’ll be looking forward to posts).

  13. Jason Hatter says:

    Good luck, Drew. Gods bless, and take care of yourself. I eagerly await your follow ups from the Road.

  14. A vey long time ago I went on my own journey. Although not as lengthy and dramatic as yours, I do know what it’s like to be in strange places not knowing what tomorrow will bring. There were thrilling times and scary times. But I would not trade any of it because it made me who I am. You will learn to recognize people you can trust. Hopefully you will also learn to be a better travel companion in life for all the people you meet. We are all on a journey , and yours is just more obvious at the moment. I hope you get to meet the gods you are looking for, more than likely they will sometime come in the guise of your fellow travellers. I send wishes and prayers for a safe journey. Now go be a hero.
    Peace and blessings,

  15. gwengreen says:

    With all my heart, my version of an old Irish blessing:

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon you
    And until we meet again,
    May the very Gods walk with you, my friend.

    Thank you for letting us be part of your Great Adventure.

  16. Drew, I wish you glorious adventures, wild challenges and peaceful, radiant moments on this journey. I’m beginning my journey to South America in September to experience the culture and people intimately and deeply for an indefinite time. I hope we’ll be able to connect on the road at some point. May the gods show themselves in the most unexpected ways.

  17. I’d thought to write the Irish blessing, but GwenGreen beat me to it! I fervently second her wishes for you, though!

    I am currently working towards my first degree initiation in my Trad. Trying to find a date that works for all that would be involved in the ritual. I’m doing lots of reading, well, when the whole freelance writing and family obligations aren’t in the way! I’m also attempting to get back to my long neglected blog

    I’ve done a lot this year towards working on my own fears of the unknown and taking risks. It’s worked out reasonably well for me. But at the same time, my life isn’t where I thought it would be due to my husband losing his job. Now instead of being the extra we needed, my freelance work isn’t nearly enough. What does it mean when you try, succeed, and still fail?

    Whatever may happen on your journey, you’ll have tried. Supposedly, this is better than not trying. You’ll have learned something. If/When you complete the journey, you’ll have most likely learned a lot of somethings. Win or lose: all knowledge is worth having.

  18. Good for you that you’re undertaking the call of the wild. I’m sitting here thinking of the last time I ventured out on a path similar to yours and it was years ago. Without knowing you personally, I can say I’m proud of you that you’re stepping off the beaten path. Sending you many blessings of wonder to be held, health and stamina and fortitude for those times when you need it most. And may the Gods always smile upon you.

  19. I wish you peace, power, purpose and joy all along the way. I’ll read every word and be with you in spirit.
    Ed Chasteen, the Pedalin’ Prof from William Jewell College
    (as named by Disney)

  20. Jenn C.J. says:

    Drew–May you find your adventure, stay safe, and be well. You’ve got this.
    I look forward to reading about your journey.

  21. May you find all that you seek and more on this journey! May your water be plentiful, your supplies steady, your equipment reliable and may you meet many new friends along the way. May those who would wish you harm or thievery have their meanness and cruelty turned back upon them.
    I’ll light a candle to Hermes to you on the 4th and seek his guidance and protection on your behalf. Hopefully Lugh wont mind. ;) Take care, my friend!

  22. Philip says:

    In that your transition towards journey has been such a public affair, it serves as an inspiration to others whose souls yearn to break free of the unnatural mold that society tries to cast all of her citizens to fit. I don’t know if you’ll meet the gods, but in those quiet moments of doubt – when you’re alone and uncomfortable and thinking the journey is either impossible or not worth the effort – may you remember the dreams of others’ that are travelling with you and may they serve as a light to rekindle the fires of your spirit.


  23. So glad you chose yourself and set out to make yourself happen. Not many people are willing to give up all it takes to do this.

    I told you to pack in advance and have the last day free? That must have been after the absinthe bender that was my last going away party. Gods, I hate packing while hung over. FYI, though I do consider that excellent advice I gave you, it’s firmly in the realm of “do as I say, not as I do”… I’m flying to the States tomorrow noonish, after 3 years away, and haven’t packed a thing yet. (Granted half of my stuff is still packed from my last trip and other than gifts, I’m not bringing much back.) Guess I should get packing! Hope to see you while you’re in Duluth.

  24. Arden says:

    Here you are on the edge of the world! I’m struck now by how far you’ve come to make this happen.

    I’m trying not to be too grandiose, but fuck it. Hemingway said that writers had to face eternity, or lack of it, every day. I think the same may be true of adventurers. If so, that’s a hell of a way to live. That’s worth not knowing what will happen– that’s worth giving up as much as you’ve given up.

    And what they say above is right, I think. You’re doing this for all of us who want that strange and rare thing you’re seeking and who will be watching and hoping for you. We can’t be with you at your loneliest, in that cold cocoon, but I think we’ll be good health to you nonetheless (and filter and fibre your blood). I hope you find everything you’re seeking, and more you couldn’t have thought to seek.

  25. Go with the strength of the gods in every bone, the grace of the goddesses in every sinew, and the love of the people you know in your heart. You’ll make it, and it’ll be something completely new and different.

    May the road rise up to meet you, the wind be at your back, and the sun upon your face. Safe journey.

  26. That’s a long walk. Here’s a wish that there are no short piers in your way. Here’s a blessing that a friend of mine with much better Irish than I have worked out with me (modified slightly to cover you instead of me!):

    A Dhéithe agus Andéithe, má s’ é bhur dtoil é, coisric Drew agus cuir é faoi bhur gcoimirce, inniú agus gach lá i gcónaí.

    (“O Gods and Un-Gods, please [lit. ‘if it is your will’] bless Drew and encircle him with your protection, today and every day forever.”)

  27. You will be walking for many of us, Drew, myself included. Your adventure has inspired me to start working towards my own, whatever form it eventually takes. Update often, and first and foremost be safe.

  28. Beth says:

    How do I put into words the things that I wish for you? Safety is obvious. So is joy, and adventure, and that you find everything that you are looking for.

    Drew, you have the brilliant intelligence, the strength, and the passion to do anything you want to do. In addition, I wish for you the vision to see what is in front of you, for the gifts you find may not always be the ones you set out looking for. I wish you the clarity and the courage to see the road ahead of you, and to turn away from your expected course if that is what you are called to do. And I hope that the lessons you learn and the people you meet will enrich your life the way you have enriched mine.

    I will be sending you light and life and peace every step of the way. Please remember that when things are difficult. You will never be alone.

    I love you.

  29. I know a few things about traveling, and I know a few things about fame. The gods are somewhat a mystery, but I still yearn to know, too. I know what you’re doing is amazing, and strange, and wonderous, and crazy. I know you only in text, Mr. Jacob, but I find your passion and persistence to be quite charming at times, and rather challenging at others.

    Engaging with you, both through your blog and in our correspondences, has made an impact on me. When you explained to me, and to the world, the importance of your self-identification, telling everyone just exactly what you are AND what you are not, I had to cock my head to the side. You create moments like that, I think — head cocking moments. You can be a spash of whisky in the milk, and then a calm, logical melody.

    You’re a complicated man.

    Be in service to the gods, and be in service to the part of you that’s connected to them; be that your feet, your hands, your heart, your eyes. Eat well when you can, drink sensibly, and fall in love with land.

    Send us all postcards now and then, ok?

  30. I have always loved the traditional Irish blessing below, and it is so appropriate for what is going on, at so many levels, that I want to give it to you (again, apparently — it matters not, it is awesome). Especially because you said you would like to come back and read this in difficult times.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May the Gods hold you in the palm of their hand.

    Awesome travels, my brother. May the Gods grant safe passage, fulfillment, and return.


  31. I have made various partings and beginnings to adventures in my life, and they are bittersweet. And after all the anticipation and preparation, there is nothing quite like the sweetness of actually *beginning*. Enjoy it!

    My great adventure at this time is an interior one, practicing being a friend to myself so I can be a friend to others.

    Know, as you go, and especially when you get lonely or tired, that you are loved by many and you are never alone.

    I wish you good health, curiosity, and presence of mind. Notice everything! Have fun, and talk to strangers!

    Looking forward to walking with you, even if only virtually!

  32. I have been reading your blog for some time via Google Reader (also bought Walk Like a God) and have never commented. I am very excited and hopeful for you as you begin this adventure. I am on the edge of my seat to learn your progress with each new post. I am also a bit inspired… graduating high school my dream was to walk across country but I could not wrap my head around actually doing it. You have me thinking about it again, and although life is different for me now, I am thinking a walk across my state might be reasonably achievable with adequate planning… still toying with that idea but I would not have thought about it at all without you. I love that there are still people out there like you; the world is better for it. You are one of my favorite bloggers just because of that.

  33. Good journey!

    When times get hard, stay on the path. Don’t give up. Aid will be given when needed. Remember the kindness of strangers and pay it forward whenever you can.

    You are never alone. The Gods are with you. The Spirits of the Land, Sea and Sky are with you. Your Ancestors are with you.

    Be safe. May the Gods bless you and keep you.

    I pray that you see and experience all that you are meant to on your journey. I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    Many blessings.

  34. Lythe says:

    You simply inspire me. Many blessings as you begin this journey. I’ll be waiting for your words from the road.

  35. Jill Meyer says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your grand adventure, Drew. I don’t even know what to expect.

  36. V says:

    I wish you strength, safety, and the wisdom you seek. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and I’ll be looking forward to knowing you’re ok and still adventuring for and inspiring us all!

    V (VioletThunk of Twitter)

  37. JC says:

    Whatever else happens on your journey, expect to be humbled deeply and regularly. You’ll probably be a very different person when you return.

  38. No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.

    Truly inspiring stuff, godspeed.

  39. I will not tell you to be safe. Instead, act with thought and intent.

    When things are great, enjoy every moment.
    When things are not so great, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    My you find what you seek, and be surprised by things you didn’t expect to find.

    I look forward to continuing to follow your blog and watch your adventure unfolds.

    Sláinte agus saol chugat!

  40. As a 35 year veteran of the open road, I welcome you to your Hero’s journey out here. Someone shared your manifesto with me—I was charmed and inspired—-now I’m a bit bolder myself in declaring my intentions to make a difference in the world. When you can–tell us how you feel–up and down. We will share your joy and comfort you in your pain. Randy

  41. Safe journey, dear friend. Do check in… let us know where you are… and what you need. Allow Rio to be your metaphor for the destination no matter where the actual place is. Good Luck. God’s speed. Congratulations on it all. You already have much in which to proud, and a memory bank of opulent wealth.

    And… if I may make one suggestion. I’m hoping that this is the first chapter of your book. I can’t wait to turn every page.

    /lots of love

  42. faelind says:

    Robert Frost (1874–1963). “Mountain Interval” [1920]

    The Road Not Taken

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    My dear Drew,
    priest, author, explorer, hero.
    You have already made a difference.

    May the Goddess keep you safe on her breast,


  43. Kate Jacob says:

    Life is so ironic, when I got home last night after taking you to Minneapolis, well, you won’t believe this, but the gods, all of them, were sitting on our porch drinking wine and waiting for you! So, you might as well come home. It was quite a crowd but if you think there are more, well then, carry on!
    I will miss you every day, pray for you and love you unconditionally.


  44. BreAnna says:

    Blessings be with you on your journey. I’ve just started reading, but I think I’ll stick around. Generally I’m too scared to do adventurous things, even if I want to, but perhaps I’ll find the courage through your writing. Thank you for sharing.


  45. May you live interesting times my friend.

    I hope to go to Prague, Budapest, Africa (too many places so i sum up) and since I couldn’t see you off, in Rio with my lovely wife along the way.

    I’m sure I’ll do it too. May you find cool places to sleep, companionship when you need it, solutitude and on a road between worlds.

    I’ll see you soon and as often as I can.

  46. Drew — may you find what you are looking for. May safety and the best of humans find you. Keep us in the loop as often as you can.

    Best wishes,


  47. Michael says:

    Best wishes on your journey. I hope that you find light, love and blessings at every turn. I am one who enjoys reading your weekly updates but rarely comments.
    Over a year ago I quit a very stressful job to begin my journey of peace and love. I take care of my the man I love and our home. I serve others as best I can through daily interaction, being secretary of Tampa Leather Club and being a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. My journey is one of self growth through serving others where I am at.
    I enjoy reading about your journey. Your light shines very brightly. I am curious to see where your journey will lead you and if inevitably, after much traveling, you will find that like myself, your goal is within you. I honestly see you ending this journey on your parents farm with a kindred spirit who shares your life and dreams and perhaps raise little souls of light and joy.

  48. Drew – I missed this last week as I was on vacation, but I’m excited that your journey has finally begun. I hope you find what you need in your travels.
    If you need anything while you are between Quincy, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri, please let me know. I’m not far from anywhere in between thosew cities, and with a day or two notice, I can help you out.

  49. Pingback: Introducing The Giant « Rogue Priest

  50. Jen Foley says:

    Congratulations on the beginning of your journey, Drew! I look forward to your posts and I hope the mosquitoes are taking it easy on you.

    I’m not entirely sure why I started reading your blog… Somehow your spirit drew me to it. I’m sure that some day, when I meet you, we’ll figure it out.

    Safe travels, and may the wind be often at your back! Cheers!

  51. I’m sorry it took me almost a week to comment here, but I wanted to make sure you had my words as well. Your journey has been a great inspiration for me. I may not be walking anywhere, but seeing someone else follow their dreams has been more than enough to keep encouraging me to follow mine.

  52. Rua Lupa says:

    I’m a bit late in getting in ;S Have a kick ass time Drew and YOLO it up! I’ll be up at Thunder Mt. this next week and I’ll be thinking of you while I add medicine to the sacred fire.

  53. Christine Greulich says:

    Blessings, bright and dark, on you and yours all along your ways.
    Have fun and know we hold you in our hearts.

  54. Pingback: Journey to the End, Day 1: Barbarians Take Showers |   Rogue Priest

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