Feeding the Soul
“Don’t put off until tomorrow the things that you may find you are then unable to do.”
Over the years life has presented me with opportunities for “feeding the soul” by engaging in personal exploration. These explorations have extended beyond my professional life and have been physical, emotional, familial, and even spiritual. While these personal investigations are usually private, there are some that are more public. My journey now includes the adventure of retirement. Here are examples of some more notable pursuits that have “fed my soul”.
Piloting a “Narrowboat” on the Canals of the United Kingdom.
In the Spring of 2019, as a part of a 6-week journey in England, Wales, and the Channel Islands we rented a 61 foot long “Narrowboat”. For 3 weeks we piloted the vessel over 200 miles of the canals of the United Kingdom, navigating over 60 locks, 15 drawbridges, 6 long tunnels and 4 aqueducts. Most of these engineering marvels were created in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
In July of 1974 I read an article in an issue of the National Geographic Magazine. That article detailed the UK’s remarkable 2,000-mile system of canals. for 45 years I held on to the dream of one day navigating those canals. The experience was everything I had hoped for.
My day-by-day journal of this amazing experience can be read from the start through this link:
In the spring of 2023, we returned to ply different routes on the canals of England for another 3 weeks. This was after first hiking Hadrian’s Wall from near Carlisle on the West Coast of England to Newcastle on the East Coast, a trek of nearly 100 miles. Both were amazing experiences!
The “Grand Tour” of North America. Finding Neverland!
Beginning May of 2015, we embarked upon a journey that has covered 49 States, 9 Provinces in Canada, and the Yukon Territory. We staged our travels in 4-to-12-week segments. Our home away from home has been our 17-foot Casita camping trailer, “Rigel”, towed by our Toyota Highlander, “Second Star”. This journey is a continuing one that is chronicled in my “Thoughts” page.
When Peter Pan was asked how to find Neverland, he replied, “Second star to the right, straight on til morning.” This is the theme of our journey… to stay young at heart and seek Neverland. Over the coming years we hope to return with “Rigel” to many of the wonderful places that we have “discovered”.
The Camino de Santiago Compostela, a Medieval Pilgrimage.
In 2013 my wife and I hiked the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. This 820 km pilgrimage dates back over 1,000 years and is one of the 3 great pilgrimages in Christianity. This started out for me as a “bucket list” item, but it quickly developed into one of the richest personal experiences of my life.
In 2018 we hiked the 250 km Portuguese route of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This was part of a grand 35,000 km, 13 week “backpacking” journey that crossed the Atlantic by ship and then covered 16 countries.
In 2022 I returned to the Portuguese Camino, this time hiking the Atlantic coast into Spain and on to Santiago de Compostela. This was part of a grand journey to 4 continents, 9 countries, and covering over 30,000 km, which included a transit by ship across the Southern Atlantic Ocean.
Brain Surgery for Essential Tremors.
Since childhood I have suffered from an inherited neurological condition, Essential Tremors (“ET”). The tremors in my hands have become increasingly pronounced and now significantly impact my quality of life. In 2023 neurosurgeons at the University of Kansas Medical Center performed a series of operations, including the implanting of electrodes into my brain, in an effort to reduce or eliminate the shaking. There have been “speed bumps” in my recovery, and some “interesting” unanticipated results: An Update
My decision to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation (“DBS”) surgery did not come easily. It was revealed in in October of 2022 in an open letter to my wife which can be read through this link:
Approximately 1-in-50 people suffer from ET. I hope that updates on the process of my DBS surgery will provide insight into this treatment option. This link is to the first update:
Bicycling Across America.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day In 2010 I was privileged to be one of 12 bicyclists who rode 5,000 miles across the United States to raise awareness of the problem of poverty in America. This Catholic Charities sponsored initiative was known as “Cycling for Change”. Our efforts secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to support the work of chapters of Catholic Charities across the USA. Feeding the hungry also feeds the soul!
My journal from “The Ride” can be read from the start through this link:
Offshore Ocean Passages Aboard a 45′ Sailboat.
For many years my wife and I sailed the waters of Green Bay and north Lake Michigan in our 28′ Sea Sprite sailboat, “Rigel”. Between 2000 and 2010 I was privileged on 4 occasions to be one of 6 crew to sail with the Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship 1,500 miles from Norfolk, VA to the US Virgin Islands. Piloting a 45-foot sailboat, we ventured over 1,000 miles offshore and were out of sight of land for nearly 2 weeks. We utilized celestial navigation, persevered through weather conditions that included 25 foot seas and gale force winds, and honed skills that only a hands on experience can provide .