192 miles or bust!

  • Our blog: MigratoryPebbles.com
  • Our stated objective: to each safely transport a pebble from the Irish Sea to the North Sea
  • Our hidden agenda: to maintain our youth, heal our hearts, and justify our beer consumption
  • Our route: the Wainwright Walk from Saint Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Our timetable: kicking off 16 days of walking on the morning of June 6, 2015
  • Our RSS feed: http://MigratoryPebbles.com/feed/

Map by James F. Carter (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5]

Please allow me to introduce myself

I’m Benj, short for Benjamin. Family and friends who knew me before age 16 call me Ben, even though, and maybe sometimes because, they know I don’t like it. But they have earned that right. By virtue of the sheer longevity of our relationships, spanning three decades or more, they can call me Ben, or Bonus, or Lipsmack, or whatever they prefer. Decades count for something in my book. (And I know that extra J is a hardship. Believe me I know. I’m reminded constantly.)

Each summer I go for an outdoor adventure with my friend and former coworker, Maurice. We started with a 9-day hiking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire a few years ago. Next week we’ll canoe the Allagash River in Maine. I nearly convinced him to go to Saskatchewan with me. Nearly. I’m still warming him up to the idea… (Nobody’s perfect, but Maurice is real close.) Suffice it to say, I’d been looking to exceed my past adventures, and I knew I could count on Maurice to join me.

At one point when I told close friend and coworker, Seth, about my hiking from hut to hut along the Appalachian Trail, he told me I was doing it all wrong. Why hike all day, over the river and through the woods to the next hut, when instead you could hike all day, over the river and through the woods to the next pub… Right??? I like the way Seth thinks. That planted the seed years ago for what would become this June 2015 adventure. And Seth, unable to abide my drinking all that beer alone, insisted on joining my 192 mile pub crawl hike, too.

Where better to get ground intel on this operation than my dear friend Laura, who grew up with my mother in South Africa and now lives in England? Laura is an avid and accomplished walker herself, not to mention international marathoner. As I suspected, she has friends who have done the Wainwright Walk (many times), and quite literally know it backwards and forwards. After shaking down Laura for information and repeatedly exposing her to the contagious cloud of positive energy that surrounds this trek, I was not at all prepared for her proposed remedy: “Benj, may I join you?” This was in January before a single other hiker had signed on to my crew… I was ecstatic. My solo self-indulgent pipe dream of a walkabout suddenly became real. The serious planning commenced at once.

So back to me. I’m a left-leaning atheist pescatarian ΑΨΩ software engineering manager. I have a history of producing inspiring solo piano albums, authoring weighty non-fiction books, and siring reasonably well-behaved children with my reasonably well-behaved wife. Yet somehow I find myself surprised to be staring down the barrel of four decades. I’ll mark that solar milestone not with an exclamation point, but with a comma, or at least my trademark (overused) ellipsis. I will start the C2C walk on the morning of my 40th birthday, surrounded by an exotic mix of friends and family. Some will call me Benj, while some will still call me Ben. And I’m okay with that… Decades count for something in my book.