Thanks to several people who have asked about walkingtokaido and my progress. Many have traveled the path before me, and all of your prods and tips are welcome.
I have not really vanished, nor has my resolve to walk the old sea road vanished either. I have been sidetracked by lots of things (isn’t that just the way life works?). I’ve put up a couple of other blogs about trips across country (relocating my kids to different universities. My favorite is http://2002civic2universities2012.wordpress.com/ . More recently my daughter and I drove up to her next University–U.C. Davis–to get her acclimated before she starts grad school.
She would like to travel with me on the Old Tokaido, and she would make an amazing companion. We (rarely) right on trips, and she actually speaks some Japanese and has been to Japan before.
Work (gotta pay for things), jury duty, plumbing–life stuff–has kept me busy, and it may be that I won’t get on the road until Michelle is through with her studies. I will be that Sgt. Pepper’s song age by then, but I’m still walking (the Santa Monica beach is my usual trail; it faces Old Tokaido…thousands of miles across the Pacific).
There are still those serendipitous “things” that keep me energized. The latest is a novel by Rachel Joyce called The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Without giving too much away, Harold Fry, retired and in a dead marriage, receives a letter from a woman, Queenie, who had been his co-worker in a brewery decades earlier. She is dying of cancer, and she is just letting old acquaintances know, not expecting anything from the old acquaintances. Harold writes a wholly-inadequate reply, the briefest note, to Queenie, and he sets off to the corner postal box to mail it. Somehow he can’t bring himself to just drop it in the box, and he determines to walk to the next box, then the post office, and so on. Walking outside Kingsbridge, in the south of England, he just knows he has to walk to see Queenie in her hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed, in the north of England. Thus, a pilgrimage to save Queenie begins.
A reproduction of Hiroshige’s prints and Patrick Carey’s book hooked me on walking in the first place. Rachel Joyce’s fiction, Alan Booth’s non-fiction, and other works keep it alive.