Sunday, March 30, 2014

Out of character

My shy, introverted self did something totally out of character yesterday on her weekly trip to town. She pulled over on the side of the highway to talk to a complete stranger.

It was around 9:30 and I was half way to town. I saw something off in the distance on the shoulder of the road coming toward me. The something was orange, and as I got a bit closer, I could see it was a person walking. The person gave a big, friendly wave to the driver in front of me, then a big, friendly wave to me as I drove by. Going 70 mph, I wasn't able to read all the words on the person's clothing, but I thought I saw something about "coast to coast" and "walk." I didn't get a real good look at the person. It might have been a guy ... wearing an orange dress.

Self Number 1 says: "Don't judge. Whomever it is apparently is walking coast to coast, and all you've got on your mind these days is a great big walking adventure, so shut up and if you see him on the way home, you damn well better stop and talk to him because he's probably very interesting and you might learn something."

Self Number 2 says: "But I don't talk to strangers, let alone strike up conversations with men wearing dresses walking down the highway in the middle of nowhere."

Self Number 1 says: "Grow up."

So I go to town, do my errands, and head for home. It's about 11:30. I mentally calculate how far a person could walk in two hours – 5 or 6 miles? – and where I should start looking for said person along the highway on the off chance I muster the courage to stop and talk to him.

This great-big-walking-adventure idea won't let go, you see. I blame it on Hannah and Chico. My reading list is filled with walking memoirs, and I'm 1,414 miles through a blog written by a guy who walked across China. I figure if I read enough stories by people who have embarked on these grand adventures, I will be able to talk myself into or out of an adventure of my own by the time I retire and am ready to take one (that would be 2020, more or less).

Anyway, just over the railroad tracks and very near the spot where I once got run over by a cow, there he was. I slowed way down and rolled down my window; we exchanged a few pleasantries, then I asked if he had a few minutes to chat. I pulled over.

Self number 2: "You go, girl!"

Self number 1: "I've lost my mind."


I pestered him with all the questions he must get asked a hundred times a day.
Where are you headed? New Jersey.
Where did you start? Monterey, California.
When did you start? October, but I took off the month of December.
How far have you walked? 1,700 miles.

Then I shut up and listened to his story and got a sense of the kind and genuine and gentle soul that he is, whose faith allows him to put one foot in front of the other and walk across the country carrying maybe 10 pounds of stuff in a small backpack. I was sort of in awe and wishing I was taking notes so that I could develop some of that faith myself. Did I mention he is a Hindu monk? Somewhere in there he mentioned facebook and I mentioned blog and pictures were taken, and now I have another walker to follow on his grand adventure. 



This one will be all that more interesting because I will be reading the adventures of a friend.


22 comments:

  1. awesome story and you were brave.... and it worked out well

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  2. You and your adventures...I take my hat off to you for stopped, all those little voices would most likely had ME just keep on driving. I think it's GREAT that you stopped and like you said, you now have a friend and a very interesting one at that. Have a wonderful day and hugs to all.

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  3. Anne Boleyn3/30/14, 5:10 AM

    That is so cool on oh so many levels!

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  4. Very interesting post! I would have been like you ... should I stop/should I pass him by/a man in a dress/etc., but I probably would not have stopped. GOOD for you though ... sounds like an interesting man.

    Good picture of you too!

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  5. How cool. What great timing that put you in the same place at the same time. Good selfie too.

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  6. Wow. I respect his conviction. Awesome!

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  7. And that is why he is wearing an Orange Dress. The Hindu Monks pick this color and their
    head is always covered in an Orange Scarf. What a nice adventure. I'm so glad you stopped.
    BA SP

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  8. Thanks for posting this. It is always nice to stop and meet a person on a mission.I will be watching his journey as well on FB.

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  9. It is a great adventure for both you and him. Always good to met interesting people, and esp one on "a mission" for Peace. Good for him! I was told when in Thailand not to touch their monks, but no restriction on this one apparently! Thanks for the link, too.

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  10. thumbs up Linda, Yes these little steps are the ones that help us grow up! we are proud of you, keep going. Faith, yes, I am practicing
    on that everyday, very helpful for keeping on. As a walker, I discovered that it is my head that keeps me walking, not my feet, that was a
    ground-breaking experience!

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  11. The smiles in that last photo are contagious. Like you, I hesitate to talk with strangers and miss many opportunities to hear great stories and take interesting photos because of my hesitation. I'm so glad you stopped to speak to him.

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  12. Serendipity and compassion...2 words that bring the human race closer together, day by day, moment by moment. Bless you...bless the intentions of Swami Sankarananda.

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  13. I am so glad you stopped, and also glad that I jumped on your link and visited his FB page. What a wonderful part of your day that stop was! I assume you told Smooch, the herd, JCC and Wynonna all about it!

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  14. How lovely. Now we are following him too.......

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  15. I'm so glad that #2 took over and gave you an adventure of a lifetime. This is very cool. I'll follow him too because he is a friend of a friend. Oma Linda

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  16. so stinkin' cool, Carson! I am glad you stopped. I was going to guess Tibetan/Buddhist monk b/c of the orange; but I got the monk part right. You probably made his day, too. Thanks for sharing

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  17. Good for him, and good for you, too. I'm glad Self Number 2 took a back seat on this one.

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  18. i met him thru a friend too...they were near Mexico...followed him and invited him to Santa Fe for an out of circuit adventure...he was a pleasure to have as a houseguest...had a little potluck to meet some friends... please invite your friends to follow him so they can invite him for a night if he is walking thru their town....

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  19. An American in Tokyo3/30/14, 6:40 PM

    I'm glad that you took the chance to talk to a stranger!
    I'm the same as you, I don't normally talk to strangers. But recently I find that I am learning new things by talking to people I don't know, too!
    You go, girl!

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  20. Sometimes we are just compelled to do things out of the ordinary, and when that happens, it is a great experience! Plus it makes for good blog fodder! I will also be following his adventure!

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  21. Way to go but I'm not sure I would have stopped. Just knowing me. Great story.

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  22. Swami walked past our house on U. S. 6 in Sheffield Lake, Ohio late last week. (We live about 22 miles west of Cleveland.) He's in Pennsylvania now! I'm glad you had the guts to talk to him, I saw him go by out house but we were already hunkered down for the night as it was early evening.

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