This young man peeled off the “constructions” of passport and money and started walking



This story reminds me of Peace Pilgrim. Not that Ibby Okinyi is “walking for a cause,” but that they both leave themselves open to the universe, and as such, discover what is much more difficult to learn otherwise.

I can share one story here from my own life that in a tiny way, echoes what Okinyi is doing, though not by choice.

I had been visiting a fellow peace activist in Wheatland, Wyoming. I can’t remember why, but for some reason he suggested that I get my old Chevy Monza’s “wheels packed” (I think that’s what it’s called) before I left to go back home to my yurt in Kelly, Wyoming. So on Saturday I took it to a mechanic. The next day I took off, heading out on the seven hour return journey.

After about three hours, I heard the right front wheel start screeching. It got worse and worse. Finally, I pulled off the highway and got out of the car. I was in the desert, about ten miles from tiny Shoshoni. What to do? I had very little cash on me, no check book, hardly any money in the bank, and did not own a credit card.


I stuck out my thumb. Within five minutes, one car came along, an old one, slowly. It contained a very old couple. They stopped. Took me home. Fed me, gave me a bed to sleep, and the next day, Monday, took me to see their friend who was a mechanic. He and I drove to the junk yard, found the part needed, drove back, and I walked back to the old couple’s place to be fed and sheltered while he fixed it. The next day I left town, promising to pay him over time for his services. Told him I could send $50 per month. He said okay, that he trusted me.

And that’s what I did (for three months). And that’s what he did. And that’s what they did. Had I not been in such a “desperate” situation, had I not been stripped of the layers that protect us from each other and discourage the activation of our innate loving kindness, I would not treasure this potent memory that, ever since, has undergirded my relations with others.

Walking from Norway to Africa without Money or a Passport

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