walking the talk

my friend aaron – all-round artist, geek, environmentalist, treeplanter, and last not least full-time human being – is at it again.

he’s walking for the cure from cars.photo by aaron veldstra

talk about walking the talk. and since this time he’s documenting his journeys so beautifully, we could say he’s also talking his walk.

so. the cure from cars. let’s see what aaron has to say about this:

cars have given much to the world’s population, specifically its north american population. with henry ford, cars became an intrinsic part the world’s economy, bringing great wealth to many coffers and jumpstarting an immigrant’s america. later, jack kerouac and neal cassady mythologized the car with their rambling drives through a mid-20th century america. …

today, it’s harder to differentiate cars from SARS … massive mechanical ants that suck out the resources. they pollute in exchange for a blind convenience. … no longer just a useful tool, the car menaces us, threatens our existence, and still we drive.

the walk for the cure for cars is not a fundraiser, though it borrows the idea that the simple act of walking is deliberate and effectual. this project is an investigation of north american car culture by foot. it’s a simple solution to a complex issue, but beauty lies in the simplicity. rather than ignoring the issue, or standing stunned in its headlights, the project takes literally the proverb that a journey begins with a single step.

the walk itself is a personal project. i spend a few months each year traversing a chosen route on foot. i started by walking from vancouver to calgary in 2004. a horribly underfunded event. then i spent the fall of 2005 crossing newfoundland in a trip entitled walk the rock. winter of 2007 will mark the beginning of my most ambitious trip to date – a walk up the west coast of the united states from san diego, ca as far north as i am financially able. …

during each journey, i produce a series of reflections and photographs that document the people and experiences i meet on the way. i often interact with the marginal in society, those off the main roads, living along the beaten paths of walking routes. in coming to understand the complexity of the lives that make up my route, and in speaking about my own motivations, a certain kind of community is built – a mutual understanding grows. …

i feel that there is not a singular cure for cars. there are many. carpooling, hybrid cars, better public transit, bicycling, 100 mile feasts, the list could go on and on. it is the responsibility of all concerned to work together to beat this deadly disease.

the motto of my practice is making lives better, making better lives. i like the idea of assisting people in their personal lives so that it gets easier for them to be a positive influence in the world.

now as far as i remember, aaron’s mental health is in excellent condition – i don’t think he needs help in that area right now. this health probably has something to do with the fact that he is one of the most congruent people i’ve ever met. he knows what his values and dreams are, and he fashions his life accordingly. plus, doing all that walking can only be good for you!

so this is how i support aaron today – by telling his story. if i’d have to say it in six words, it might be

he observes. he thinks. he walks.

8 thoughts on “walking the talk

  1. Aaron

    Thank You Isabella,

    I have to say that I am glad to have met you. You are one of the lovely people that I am fortunate to have met and worked with. Your ability to get past that gruff exterior, and see people for who they are has been an inspiration to me. I cherish the time we spent together at skills connection. It was definitely a shaping force in my understanding of the world we live in. On moment stands out in my memory. The gentleman we stayed open late for. The man with the iguana and the raccoons. That experience opened up a new chapter in my life. I still say hello to him every time I see him. I am pretty sure he doesn’t remember me, but it doesn’t matter really. A smile is the best thing I can give him.


  2. isabella mori

    yes, i remember that guy well. he was an experienced binner and bottle collector, and had fascinating stories to tell about this. he always brought me little gifts. one day he brought me one of those little stuffed animals-in-a-can that he had found somewhere. it now lives in a prominent spot in my practice room. i’m glad to hear he’s still around …

    i’m honoured that there was something in me that inspired you. so we inspire each other. this is how the world needs to work, isn’t it? we inspire, nurture and help each other.

  3. jael

    What a wonderful thing this is! Walking. Walking. Talking. Thinking. I loved being at Skills. Aaron’s presence was a real bright spot. There were lots of conversations around the table, many that I heard bits of in the middle of my daily tasks. We really were able to convey how we value the different points of view people hold, and Aaron was a big part of that. The blog entry here is a valid way to summarize Aaron’s way of being in the world, but really Aaron’s website is rich with details, stories and experiences that are far more interesting than what’s in this blog entry.

    I spend my days at work eavesdropping on interesting conversations, while getting my work done, of course. People in my workplace do their work, and all the while they think about their dreams, their families and the world, and they talk about important things. It doesn’t take much for a conversation, even with a complete stranger, to get to something significant, if there is openness. I think the world is a kinder place because of Aaron’s walking, and I’m happy to be connected to that kindness.

  4. Monica

    I was intrigued by your use of the word “congruent” in describing Aaron. I’ve studied mathematics a bit and so I know about congruent triangles, etc,. but I don’t believe I’ve heard that word used to describe a person. Now, I’ve never met Aaron, but from that word I take him to be someone whose beliefs and actions reflect each other perfectly. What a great description, and what a rare find in a human being! Wish I was more like that……

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  8. forddealership

    As a Ford dealer, I naturally do not support the idea of eliminating cars; rather, however, I do support the concept of developing more energy efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles, and I think car manufacturers are working towards this end.

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