Fellow Travelers

Zach Bonner. Bob Votruba. The McCullough family (Carrick, Colin, Gareth and Jennifer). Al Whitney. Pranav Mehta and friends. Lorenzo Abundiz. So, who are these people? And how’d they get into my blog?

Pretty simple, really. All of them are on cross-country treks to raise awareness of issues about which they are passionate. Homelessness. Kindness. Renewable energy. Platelet donation. Climate change. Cancer. I came across their stories in my search for advice and inspiration for my own cross-country journey.

As I’ve read their blogs, perused their websites, checked their Facebook pages and photos, and watched their YouTube videos documenting what they’ve done, I’ve been inspired by the passion and commitment of each one of these people. I’ve been fascinated to learn what motivated them and how they got started. I’m in awe of their determination and energy. Whether they’re walking, pedaling, or driving, each one has a message to share, a “mission” to accomplish. And they’re doing it! Their websites and blogs and videos bear the evidence and extend the message. Hurrah! They’ve given me hope!

Yet, Zach, Lorenzo, Pranav, and the others don’t say much on their websites or blogs or videos about flat tires or deflated hopes, road blocks or stumbling blocks, wrong turns, detours and dead ends. Surely they’ve all encountered these and other challenges along the way. And I want to know: how did they handle it? What was their “Plan B”? How do they keep GETTING up when they feel like GIVING up? Have they ever doubted the importance or the necessity or even the sanity of what they’re doing?

Because I have. And I haven’t even hit the road yet. What keeps me up at night is the endless stream of “what if’s” (and I don’t mean the good kind, like “what if Oprah’s people call?”)

But of course I realize that doubts and disasters will all be part of this deal.

And maybe the simple fact that Bob and Al and Zach, Lorenzo and Pranav and the McCulloughs still HAVE websites, the fact that they continue to post blog entries and YouTube videos, heck, the fact that they still have any Facebook friends left – are all good signs. Very good signs.

Check them out and see what YOU think:

HOMELESSNESS: Zach Bonner, a 12 year-old boy walking across the US to raise awareness of homelessness among children. See his Little Red Wagon Foundation

KINDNESS: Bob Votruba, a man with a dog and a bus who’s on a ten-year mission to promote simple acts of kindness, encouraging each person he meets to strive for a goal of 1 million acts of kindness in their own lifetime (that’s 50 acts of kindness a day for 55 years)
One Million Acts of Kindness

(PS: Feb 8 – 14, 2010 is Votruba’s self-designated “One Million Acts Of Kindness Week” and February 15-21 is Random Acts of Kindness Week, started by the international Random Acts of Kindness Foundation – two straight weeks to get a head start on your Million Acts of Kindness!)

RENEWABLE ENERGY / SUSTAINABILITY: – The McCullough family is traveling cross-country in their vegetable oil-powered VW beetle “to inspire and empower kids to create a renewable and sustainable future.” See Our Renewable Nation

PLATELET DONATION: Al Whitney, a 71 year-old retired factory worker from Ohio who plans to visit each of the 50 states in a two-year period to donate platelets and raise awareness of the importance of platelet donation

CLIMATE CHANGE: The Indian Youth Climate Network sent a team across India on the Climate Solutions Road Tour, a five week, 3500 kilometer (almost 2175 miles) journey to raise awareness about climate change

CANCER: Lorenzo Abundiz, a retired firefighter on an 11 year cross-country mission to help firefighters diagnosed with cancer by starting Code 3 for a Cure


26 days until departure for the cross-country trip!


If you were going to travel to spread a message, what would YOUR message be? What would be your preferred mode of travel? What places would you want to include in your travels?

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: grace goes to prison book tour

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