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Monday, May 31, 2004



To begin with, I am a divorced 45 year old male, with 2 children in custody of my ex. Originally from Arizona, I have lived in Utah and Nebraska, where for the past year I have been living with my brother and his wife. I have an irregular work history of unemployment and underemployment, an Associate's degreen, and more hours than I care to estimate in the library.
In an attempt to find a workable career path from a position of deep poverty, I have been working on a web site, Sapience Knowledge Base. However, progress is not satisfactory, either to myself or to others, and my long-suffering brother finally imposed a generous deadline of either finding employment or moving out.
The obvious response to this is to get a job. I can't explain in a few sentences why it is so much easier for others to give this advice than for me to follow it. Rather, I am moving out.

For a long time, I have felt a belief and a need that I need to be in the eastern part of the country. It's not entirely rational: I don't have either a family or a job there, or transportation. But I've also felt uncomfortabli in my current situation: causing stress on my brother's marriage, finances, and from others who suggest that he is enabling my dysfunctional lifestyle. To borrow a line from Aragorn, (The Two Towers), "My heart speaks clearly at last". It's time for me to go. On foot, if I must, carrying the minimum necessities.

I am not completely without resources or experience. I did a similar thing three years ago, hiking from Utah through Colorado. I'm a little bit smarter about what I will need, and I have a little bit more in the way of resources and preparation.

But I have another purpose. There are two views of America: One as a nation that is descending or has descended into a cesspool of self indulgence, evil, and corruption: that has an invisible "this" as the second word on the motto on our currency.
The other is that it is still, with all its flaws, the greatest nation on earth. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his work "Democracy in America" before the Civil War, reportedly claimed that "America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great".
So, is America still good? I mean to take a look, across the middle of the country, and report what I see, both bad and good: not from the comfort of an office or the pinnacles of prestige, but...

From the Ground.

I wish you the best of luck. Please write a lot about it.
Tocqueville didn't say that; see http://www.tocqueville.org/pitney.htm. But he did say: "What a happy land the New World is, where man's vices are almost as useful to society as his virtues!" (page 284; ISBN 0-385-08170-7)

Please keep us posted on your progress.
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