Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 24, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

A walk around the world

 

“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser people than yourself”.

Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life (Max Ehrmann)

I so want to be Paul Salopek.

Who? Until a few days ago, I hadn’t heard his name so you’re forgiven if this name leaves you puzzled.

Rarely if ever, have I wanted to be someone else other than who I am. I have been luckier than most having been born in a special part of the world that is beautiful, safe and pollution free. I am in good health and am enjoying retirement immensely. So why this sudden pang of envy?

Paul Salopek is a writer. Paul is also a walker. He is a travel writer.

When (if!) I grow up, this is a profession that holds great appeal for me. I guess in some ways, I’m already living this dream having chronicled my six month volunteer stay in India. I also wrote a book about a couple of epic road trips through the United States with my son. Presently, I am working on book #5 about my recent walk across Spain, having completed the Camino on May 28th.

Salopek is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and fellow with National Geographic. He has been on an epic walking journey as the principal pilgrim of the Out of Eden walk, to trace the history of humans’ migration out of Africa and around the globe. He started his walk in Ethiopia in 2013. He has walked 17,000 kilometres so far and he has a long way to go before he finishes his trip at the southernmost tip of South America. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/anna-maria-tremonti-s-most-memorable-interviews-paul-salopek-the-pilgrim-1.5180139?fbclid=IwAR0r3I_RXbxNX5Gwp6yieRpiLWiQA2FGS_lCbtOTcxFhBUQ0EgOPtJtExWY

I was fascinated when I read the interview done by recently retired CBC radio journalist, Anna Maria Tremonti. She has interviewed Salopek a number of times and has found him to be a pretty inspiring guy. Salopek has seen a lot and has arrived at some conclusions that are disturbing but not surprising. “I think almost in every place I’ve been, women get the short end of the stick – economically, politically, in sense of family power, in sense of things like land ownership. Inequality between genders has emerged now, almost seven years in, as the most consistent form of human injustice along the trail.”

In a recent post, I spoke about Canada’s lofty position as a desirable place to live. I also mentioned that our country is grappling with some long standing issues around the treatment of First Nations people and immigrants. We’re making progress on these fronts albeit painfully slowly. I could have, and probably should have also added gender inequality to the list. On the surface, it appears that Canada is making some headway with gender inequality. More women are occupying senior management positions in industry, business and politics. Equal pay for work of equal value is finally being addressed in some sectors of the economy but there is still a long way to go.  If Canada really wants to be #1 in the world, all of its citizens need to be treated equally.

I think I’ll drop Mr. Salopek a note. If he gets tired, I’ll tell him that I would be happy to take over!

Speaking of writing and books, I have the first three chapters written for my Camino book. As much as I want it to be a serious examination of the Camino, I can’t help but filling the pages with humour. There were several notable quotes along my 713 kilometre walk but none more memorable than on day one. I was chatting it up with a quiet, introspective man from Finland. Being my first day, I was eager to start collecting “stories from the trail” so I was grilling him with questions. When we finally got to our hostel and sat down for a cold beer, he looked at me and said, “We are comfortable with silence in Finland.” Never have I been so politely told to shut up!

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars,

You have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Desiderata

Have a great week.

P.S. Some of you will remember that Desiderata was made into a song. Sorry if this gives you an earworm today!

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Comments

One Response to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Brenda Rose says:

    I love the quote from your Finnish acquaintance. It would probably sell a LOT of t-shirts.

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