Hi, I'm Lee. I've just finished walking from Madrid, Spain to Kiev, Ukraine on foot. Click here to learn why.

Subject: Back.
Monday, 27 November 2006.
Location: Chicago, Illinois.

I'm posting today to plug my appearance at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago this Thursday, 30 November. There I'll be giving a talk and a slideshow about my trip, which will include many images and stories I didn't have space for on this website.

UIMA is at 2320 W. Chicago Avenue, 60622. It begins at 7.30pm. I hope you can come.

My pal Lyle will be on hand to settle a bet with me. It involves him eating his hat -- literally. Of which more in a moment.

I didn't mean to go this long without adding an epilogue to this web journal, some brief words assuring readers that I made it home safely and sanely, and that I'm now hard at work on editing my movie.

At times it seemed it wouldn't be so. I spent 48 hours on trains and buses moving back from Kiev and down across Europe to reuinte with my girlfriend Gwendolyn in Italy. My body barely held up. The illness I wrote about in my last entry worsened by the day, and the drugstore-counter drugs I took in higher and hgher doses only masked the ugly symptoms. I wound up in an Italian hospital for a night. I talked Spanish at the doctors and nurses, near enough to Italian to make my ailments understood, but not a close enough match to beg the night nurse not to stick a needle into my vein before he washed his hands, please.

They ran tests. Nobody could tell what was wrong with me. I decided I'd rather be outside with the bugs I had in me than risk picking up new ones in that cowboy medicine highrise. Gwen pulled the IV out of my vein. The confused staff gave me a handful of paracetemol as I checked myself out. "Avoid ice cream for two days," they told me.

And sure, I went on to recover before landing back in America, my home country where health care, had I needed it, would not have been provided me without chapter-eleven charges. Good timing.

There were many happy times between that night in the sick ward and my flight back, and some hard ones. But those are other, more personal stories.

I'm back into the usual modes of modern living again, of "telephones and trains to take," as my friend Anne Robertz so aptly described the lives most of us lead.

This modern life means comfort -- comfort foods, comfortable beds, the comfortable turns of friendly conversations and comfortable company of people I love. I don't take as much of this for granted as I once did.

I'm watching all the footage I shot, and I already miss those paths, the pruned feet and cloudless days. I miss the uncertainty I felt each morning as I woke to the blank of a new day and its surprises. Sometimes the only surprises I find now come in the dull white envelopes that bill collectors use.

But I don't mean to strike a somber tone. Truth is, I'm as happy as I've ever been. I know what I'm aiming at, and everyday I'm finding the steadiness to hit my mark. This year I set out to live uncommonly, so that I might have uncommon stories to tell. It follows that I may sometimes have to trade in the highs and lows of an uncommon life to work toward that second goal: telling stories. I'm putting it all together for my movie, More Shoes, and I think it'll turn out nicely.

My journal entries will remain on this site for good. You can read them by clicking on the links at right. I don't intend to add much more to this site, save occasional announcements concerning More Shoes when I come close to completing it or screening it.

I had done some publicity for my journey before, during, and after the walk. I may also use this site to collect links to those articles and radio and television pieces.

Beyond that, I've lost interest in blogging. The few on this Earth who care enough to learn of my common-again life will do so in phone calls, emails, or over a cup of coffee somewhere in the neighborhood.

And oh, about that hat. You'll find it pictured above. Lyle didn't think I'd make it to Kiev, and told me he'd eat his hat if I did. He's doing it Thursday night. Can a man digest a yellowish admixture of cotton and polyester? And if so, what does his face look like when he does it? Those who live nearby can find out live at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Those further afield will have to wait for the videotape.

Finally, I close by thanking the newest Fellow Travelers, who donated to my project in the months since I reached Kiev: Aris Fragoyannis, Nynke Oele, Erica Duke, Judy Armstrong, Meris Kott, Vera Marinoff, Steve and Nancy Frost, and Elizabeth Hackett.

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previous entries.


the plan

watch trailer


fellow travelers


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walking journal:

Dec. '05 - Jan. '06.
initial idea, planning and preparations

February 2006
UIMA event, "Ithaka", departure

March 2006
Madrid, rural Spain, and the cross into France

April 2006
the heart of France

May 2006
Paris, Belgium, and Holland

June 2006
Germany during the World Cup

July 2006
Berlin and through Poland

August 2006
Eastward into Ukraine

September 2006
Kiev at last

November 2006
notes on coming home

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writing, photographs and video
Lee Kazimir

all rights reserved, etc. etc.