Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To Walk The West Like Kwai Chang Caine

I got this e-mail from Chris the other day, and he said it would be ok to share it with fellow Dojo Rats:

Hello- I am a twenty seven year old native of western washington who happened upon your blog while searching for shaolin temples in the state after watching a PBS program. I am currently unemployed and have been contemplating walking from my current residence in the Auburn area of the south sound to the coast with no real destination in mind other than the desire to remove myself from the game of currency-based value manipulation. I've thus far seen no better way of furthering my growth as a human than leaving behind what I've known as daily routine in search of real life skills; perhaps in the form of contacting in person the natives of the olympic penninsula in order to learn life skills they've developed for three millenia. However, after reading some of the subjects covered in your blog and keeping in mind my lack of skills beyond throwing a football and varied construction experience, I wanted to contact you about earning my keep while learning something of the martial arts as self defense. Self defense has to be considered among the necessary life skills of all beings, and having read some of your views on simple living and martial arts in general (ie. lifestyle and functionality), I'm not sure that I would be better served by contacting casino owners than trying this route. Anyway, excuse the somewhat cynical idealism, but my desire is true...let me know if you have anything constructive to suggest, I'll try to check my email for the next few days. Take care and thanks for your time. Chris Tipton P.S. Needs: Air, Water, Food, Shelter, Companionship = Human
Hi Chris;
Sounds pretty cool, a real journey. Here's an idea: I think a great thing to do would be to intern at an organic farm. They always provide a place to stay, food to eat, and friends along the way.
You would be close to the earth and the seasons, and learning a valuable skill while hanging out with some cool people.
I would try contacting local farmer's market organizations in areas that interest you. Most organizations have a website or e-mail for their representitives. You could also just drop in at various farmers markets and talk to the farmers.
As for learning self-defense, it takes settleing down in one place with one instructor until you have a base to build on. The type of art is not as important as the quality of instruction. Once you have the basics, you can check out other arts.
Good luck, let me know what you decide to do!
Hi John:
Thanks for the quick response and solid idea. I checked out a couple of different organic farms out toward the penninsula online and found one called Nash's organic produce in Sequim that sounds like it might be right up my alley; I think I'll head in that direction when I get to going, probably in the next week or so. I may try to contact you again if I get into a situation where I could focus on some training for your input. Thanks again for the suggestion; an idea of a possible positive destination can't hurt while strolling outside of my previous experience. Take care.
Chris Tipton
Hi Chris:
Do you mind if I post our communications and we can follow your progress?
If you are up for it, I can let people in the area get a hold of you by e-mail--
--John at Dojo Rat
Oh, and I forgot;
Take something musical even if you can't play it yet...
Hi John:
No objections here...I'll keep checking the e-mail account until I head out and will give you a heads up before I'm out the door and away from a computer for a bit...thanks again for all the support and helpful info.
Chris Tipton

-- So we all wish luck and good fortune to our friend Chris, beginning a journey that will surely bring many great adventures.
Chris can be reached by e-mail at


Bob Patterson said...

How cool is that? And all because of a blog!

Hand2Hand said...

Way cool. Who hasn't thought about chucking it all and walking the Earth, a la Caine, Paladin or the Lone Ranger, like some modern Knight-errant or gunslinger?

However, speaking as a veteran of some couch surfing in my early 20's, life "On The Road" is not as easy or romantic as we've been led to believe by Jack Kerouac or the rest of popular culture.

Here's a link to a good book the letter writer might want to check out.

Hand2Hand said...

Okay, something happened to my link. Anyway, check out "Surviving on the Street: How to Go Down without Going Out," by Ace Backwords.

JoseFreitas said...

A friend of mine did about the same thing for over a year. Your reader should also check out ashrams and retreats, as many will welcome people willing to help and work for room and board. And generally will throw in some free yoga or meditation classes too.

Dojo Rat said...

All good suggestions.
I'm sure Chris is reading, and we may hear from him later.

And I repeat my thought: Chris, bring a small musical instrument of some type, even if you can't play it yet...