"What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are."
— C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew
that Mr. Lewis has a point.
What we see, what we hear and what we notice can depend a great deal on where we are standing. How we take that information, what we think about it, the lens we see it through — that depends on the sort of people we are. I'm taking this walk to affect both my location and my viewpoint. I will be standing in a myriad of places over the 1200 miles from the Oregon-California border to the edge of coastal Mexico. I can only imagine that what I see and hear will change on a daily basis, and, I think, probably start to change the sort of person I am as well.
I am going into this journey with only three objectives:
1. Emerge with the stories and photographs to make a book.
2. Find a true, deep sense of perspective. I want to know what it feels like to live differently for a while.
3. Don't die.
As I’ve begun
to tell my friends what my plan is, rather understandably, some questions have arisen. As I imagine you may have a few questions yourself, here are some of them.
“You’re going to need some really good shoes.”
Yes. Yes I shall. (Shoe companies, feel free to send me shoes pls and thank-you.)
“Are you going by yourself?”
Yes. Although I’m very much hoping that friends will come and join me for however long they can along the way.
“So you’re walking down the PCT, then?”
No. I will be walking down the literal coastline most of the time, coming inland only when necessary.
"How long will it take?"
Approximately 4 months, if I can average 10-12 miles a day.
"Where will you sleep?"
A good question. I may stay in a few hotels and Airbnb's along the way, but most of the time I will be camping.
Which leads to
the question: what is the California coastline actually like? What kind of ground and sky and mountains (if any) will I encounter? Generally, I feel that, even amongst Californians, we have a pretty basic idea of the coastline which goes something like this:
The Biggest question
is, undeniably, why walking?
The answer, I guess, is that I want to go back to travel in its most basic, most essential form. The farthest reaches of the world are more accessible than ever before, but I wonder, as travel has become easier, do we put too much focus on the destination over the journey? Travel is more than getting to your destination—travel is about process. A tourist focuses on destination, a traveler focuses on direction. I want to travel as a way to slow down my life, not to speed up it up. A way to simplify, not complicate.
The simplest way to accomplish this is to walk.
I expect to do a lot of traveling and journeying in my life, and I suspect most of it will be done using some form of powered transportation: planes, helicopters, ships, trains, cars—even bicycles, will likely serve to move me from place to place on many of my excursions. And I’m very grateful for each of these forms of locomotion; they will allow me to see places that simply would be beyond my reach otherwise. But there remains something about walking—moving through your environment with no mechanical assistance—that draws me. There is no avoiding your environment when you walk, no insulation from your surroundings. You are forced to learn how to interact with that which you are in physical contact with. The ground underfoot, the sky above, the mountain ahead. I think that I shall get to know them all more intimately when I meet them with nothing between us.
your knowledge is more comprehensive than the above, I applaud you. You know more than I did when I decided to do this crazy walk.
Let me take you through what I've learned so far:
I’ll start at this place called Crissy Beach, where Oregon becomes California, and begin walking south over the sand. Rather quickly I'll be confronted with the largest un-dammed river in California, which I will have to find a ride across, or take a 13 mile detour to the nearest bridge. Then I walk for a couple of days until the cliffs start to rise above the ocean and the forest begins. By this point I will have already walked many times farther than I ever have before.
Several days more, and I come to a place called The Lost Coast, which is roughly 65 miles of some of the least inhabited coastline in the country. After that, I’m faced with the Sinkyone Wilderness, of which one 17 mile stretch is the equivalent of descending from the rim of the Grand Canyon down to the bottom, and then climbing back out. And this is all in the first quarter of the trip.
You begin to get an idea of things—It's a long walk.
I guess the question
Well. There are many reasons, but they really boil down to a single feeling:
I need to.
The pull on my heart to attempt that which is difficult, dangerous and uncommon has been in me for as long as I can remember. I need to heed it or kill it, and to kill it, I think, would be to kill one of the parts of myself that actually make me, me.
So I am following the call, and abandoning the comfortable for the compelling.
I suspect the smaller reasons, the particulars which settle themselves underneath the larger calling and support ideas with actions, will become more clear along the way. If you care to follow my journey, such as it is, I will share whatever I learn with you, both through Instagram and my emails, which you can sign up for below, and also the book.
Ah yes. The book. When I return, sometime in October, I think, I will be creating a book of photographs and words. It will be about 100 pages long, and will be a material documentation of a trip that, as far as I can find, has never been documented by a photographer ever before. It will be first a photo book, but also a book about travel, about seeing the world differently, and about my experience choosing to step out of the modern mold of living and live at a slower pace.
If you have made it this far
I thank you for taking your most valuable resource, which is your time, and spending a bit of it to hear about my adventure. If you'd like to hear more about the journey as I prepare, and then updates once I begin, please sign up to receive emails from me below, and don't forget to confirm from the link I'll send you after you sign up. 🤘
Cheers, my friends. This is only the beginning of the adventure.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say
— J.R.R. Tolkien