“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir
(I mentioned a few posts back that I had an exciting announcement that I’d be sharing in an upcoming post. I wanted to follow through with that, but needed just a little more time to piece everything together, in hopes of drawing as clear a picture as possible).
“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” ~Raymond Inmon
“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” ~Henry David Thoreau
This walk has turned out to be about change for me. It didn’t begin that way. It began, and continues to be, an effort to help others, and bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking.
But there is no way, I believe, to undertake an endeavor such as this (thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail), without there somehow being some kind of inward affect. I would think (or at least hope?) that any affect upon a person who spends extended periods of time out in nature would be positive and character building.
As excited as I was, and still am, to be hiking for such a great and urgent cause, I began to feel a bit hollow…ineffective, basically. Here I was, finally on the trail, hiking thousands of miles, with almost a whole year of planning and word-spreading about the hike…and I had not raised the support I had hoped to raise for the cause. Emotionally, this took a bit of a toll on me.
Eventually, I began to realize that even though I had not raised the financial amount I had hoped…I had raised the awareness of the situation of human trafficking. I acknowledged that I cut no corners in putting opportunities for people to donate, so what I end up raising was what i was supposed to have raised.
But I’m satisfied, and knew that after the hike was over, I wouldn’t be satisfied either. This is a cause I have come to care deeply about, and it’s one that I want to stay involved in, beyond this hike.
As I walked, I would have flashes, small images, tidbits of information, visions of things…and the farther I walked, the more I thought on the issues that were driving me, praying for wisdom & guidance…it started to slowly fall into place.
In a very brief nutshell, I’ll draw a basic picture of what I’ve been shown…and the direction I’ll be heading after my personal “Thru-Hike for Freedom” on the Pacific Crest Trail is finished.
One goal, many ways
After I get back, I’ll be starting a non-profit organization that will seek to raise financial support and awareness to help in the cause against human trafficking. I am already getting some of the groundwork laid. My personal preference has been to help those affected closest to the source of human trafficking; the people caught at ‘ground zero,’ if you will. Trying to help those trafficked instead of going after the traffickers…helping those in need of the most help. That is why I chose, for my thru-hike fundraiser, to support Bombay Teen Challenge. I’ve seen firsthand what they do and it’s amazing, quite honestly.
I will continue to support Bombay Teen Challenge, but also branch out to support other ministries and organizations who are fighting this war with integrity, big hearts, and wisdom. I have chosen one organization based in Sacramento, California, as well as looking at supporting an organization in Thailand. In the future, I’d like to add South America, Africa, and others.
My non-profit will be led by myself, as well as a board of directors who will provide accountability and help me lead with clear vision, integrity, creativity and wisdom. More people will be added as we go along. We will essentially work to secure funds primarily through donated giving and special events.
(if you’re not very familiar with what human trafficking is, I will post an article on it soon).
I feel led to follow my passions in the possible ways to raise funds, and I have many, so that’s a good thing!
One activity I love (surprise!) is hiking and the outdoors. Subsequently, “Thru-Hike for Freedom” will hike on, in a similar fashion, but with folks more capable than I manning the trails! Starting this coming year, I will be aiding in sponsorships of 5 hikers who will take up the Thru-Hike for Freedom flag. I will sponsor three thru-hikers of any of the 3 major long trails in the U.S. (The PCT, CDT, or AT), as well as two hikers who will have the opportunity to hike a shorter trail (such as the John Muir Trail, The Arizona Trail, or a section of the PCT, for example). They’ll raise funds as I did, and keep a blog to raise awareness before & during their hike, and in return they will be sponsored with essential items for their trip, such as backpacks, sleeping bags, tents/tarps, etc. They’ll have an opportunity to earn a trip to one of the programs we are helping fund, as well as other perks.
So, “Thru-Hike for Freedom” (THF2) will live on and be a very important piece of the whole non-profits’ pie. I will follow up this post with another, outlining some of the preliminary guidelines for how “Thru-Hike for Freedom” hikers can get involved & how i can help in that process.
Other events and opportunities will be forthcoming, but it looks to be an exciting next 12 months. I will continue my blog, but also be adding an official website home for the non-profit as soon as the name gels…apparently, a zillion other people had the same idea for a name as I did, so I have to be a little more creative!
If you have an idea for a name, shoot me a message here at the bottom, in the comments! Anything that strikes you the right way…I was leaning towards something that would include the word, “freedom.”
Also, if you or someone you know might be interested in taking part in this first class of “Thru-Hike for Freedom” hikers, please drop me a note. Part of my dream is to help enable people who never thought they’d be able to try a thru-hike, accomplish it…AND do it for a good cause. More details will be forthcoming, and they’re exciting! I will let everyone here know when the website will be up and running, until then this blog will be home base.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell…a verbose nutshell, but a nutshell all the same.
If you have any questions or comments please contact me. Thanks for following along, and supporting me with your prayers & thoughts. For those that have donated, THANK YOU, and as I’m still on the trail heading towards finishing this trail, there is still time to donate! Every little bit helps!