Today is September 1st and I’m sooo excited!
Not because it’s the first day of September, although I must say that autumn is my favorite season and I’m very partial to this month.
Just a few moments ago, Matt Krause – writer, traveler, former expat and Heathen Pilgrim – took his first steps on his long trek across Turkey.
All 1,305 miles of it, give or take a bit.
This is no mad dash by bus or car. It’s what promises to be an eight-month journey walking the landscape, one foot in front of the other.
Each night he’ll either pitch his tent in the great Turkish outdoors or accept the kind offer of a place to stay from one of the many people he’ll meet along the way.
If you’re a fellow Adventurer, you’ll know how much I respect Matt’s writing. I truly adored his book A Tight Wide-Open Space about the years he spent living in Turkey.
I even read Soapbox, his collection of short stories, on my flight back to the US this summer.
Let’s just say that his story about saying goodbye to his dying grandfather had tears rolling down my face. There I was at 36,000 feet with Daughter staring at me simply aghast in mortified embarrassment and a flight attendant concerned that I’d lost it.
If you happen to be new to Adventures in ExpatLand or are just visiting, may I humbly suggest A Love Song for Turkey, Author Matt Krause on Writing and Matt Krause, Publishing Pilgrim to get you in the game.
By the time you read this, Matt will have already begun this epic voyage, leaving from the beach town of Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea, heading eastward to the border with Iran.
And no, in this case ‘epic voyage’ isn’t hype. His plan is truly impressive in both scale and detail (epic), and his campaign will take him far afield (voyage).
Why is Matt doing this?
In part to challenge himself and face his fears, and doing so in a very intimate way – under his own power, on foot:
‘It is me putting my life where my mouth is. It is me submitting to the world. When I walk, my speed is low, and my range is limited. I have little choice but to accept the world as it exists in front of me. Because I am less mobile than the people around me, I have little choice but to submit to their way of life, to learn how to exist in the world they have created. There is no hopping in the car and escaping a problem.’
It is also about gaining understanding, which in turn allows one to be receptive to ideas and the creative flow.
‘After all, if I am busy insisting I understand something I don’t, or trying to control something I can’t, it is awfully hard to be open to creativity and inspiration.’
In the end, it all boils down to this:
‘Walking makes this trip into a personal pilgrimage.’
Matt has plans for certain writing projects to come out of this, and I for one can’t wait.
I hope you’ll consider following along with Matt as he undertakes this journey. You can get updates from his Heathen Pilgrim blog, he’s on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/heathenpilgrim and on Twitter @mattkrause.
If you’re so inclined, you might consider being part of it all either by joining Matt along his walk or chipping in to offset costs via Kickstarter.com. Or both. The folks at Kickstarter have been creating some great videos and are including updates on his progress on their site, too.