Monday, March 23, 2009

the earth expedition

Monday mornings still come pretty quick. Torrie and I are scrambling around this morning, getting ready for the start of another week. Mondays are somewhat bittersweet for me personally. I enjoy the freshness and newness that they bring. There is a beautiful anticipation to a brand new week, much like fresh snow that no one has walked through yet. I guess that is why the older I get, the more I like mornings. Yet last week was such a blitz, and this week will be as well, that the mystery of Monday morning is much more mundane (2 points for alliteration!).

I come into this week, after spending most of last week in Georgia and Michigan. I saw a lot of road during the past six days. Which by the way, the only state with worse roads than Oklahoma is Michigan. Seriously, the roads there fall somewhere between the gravel driveway to my dad's old house and Mexico.

The roads in Georgia were in much better shape. Of course, I might have been a little distracted. MD and I were in northern Atlanta to film the end of the American leg of The Earth Expedition. Well, MD did the filming. I drove the truck. It was a pretty eventful day, one I was honored to be a part of.

To put it simply, the Earth Expedition began as a journey to raise awareness of the water shortage in Africa. Daren Wendell, believing that he had to do something, started walking... and decided that he shouldn't stop until he walked across the globe. I know that it sounds a little Gump-like but trust me that there is a method to it all. No shrimp boat captains either.

Daren began walking the Appalachian Trail last March, completed the 2,000 mile trek through the northeast sometime last fall, recruited a teammate, and walked... yes... walked... from San Diego to a small town north of Atlanta. All in all, their walk totaled over 4,000 miles, 370 days, and 2 pairs of Merrells each.

We followed their last day of the journey, 100 miles of leap frog walking/running from Rome, GA to Dahlonega, GA, where the trip began last March. Now Brian, the newest teammate, will take a few month off and get set to carry the Expedition across Europe.

Daren told me last month, that the tag line has always been to "walk so that others won't have to." According to Daren, these women in Africa walk 8-10 miles a day just for clean water. As simple as it sounds, the people with the Earth Expedition actually believe that walking could fix all of that.

At the end of the day, when Daren and Brian had taken their final step across the speed bump where it all began, we sat around and discussed the journey and talked about how good dinner was going to taste that evening. Some local supporters and friends gathered and recommended a local Italian place. While making arrangements to get there, Daren asked, without thinking I'm sure, if it was in walking distance. The dude just walked from California but we drove the 6 blocks.

Pizza might not have been in walking distance. But clean water just might be.

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