Hi, I'm Lee. I'm currently walking from Madrid, Spain to Kiev, Ukraine on foot. Click here to learn why.
Subject: The end.
So here I am.
I arrived in Kiev the night of 30 August, walked through rain and into dark, ending in the lit-up Independence Square.
It felt right to end this solitary journey quietly, unheralded, with no one there to greet me or cheer me on.
In the Square I met some self-proclaimed revolutionaries, 19 or 20 concerned Ukrainians who've been living in a tent village on the square to protest the current government. Having walked such a long way to see the square, I figured I should spend the night there, too. So I put up my tent in solidarity, spent the night talking and laughing with my new friends.
It's probably the last night I'll ever spend in that tent.
I'm sick as a dog right now. Achey muscles, fever and chills, and other afflictions you don't want to hear about. I hate these feelings, but I count myself lucky that I fell ill now and never during the trip.
It could be psycho-somatic. My mind might have told my body the hardest part was over and it could lower its defenses. The viruses swarmed.
I leave tomorrow with the morning light.
And what of Kiev itself? Somehow, and I borrow a tack from Hillaire Belloc, I feel the less said, the better. This was all about the journey, not the destination.
By the same token, I'll save any reflective speeches about what I've learned for my movie, after I've had time to reflect on it all. Throughout the trip, too, I've saved some of my favorite images and stories for the final film.
I do, however, want to talk about Andre. I'd never met street kids before, but they're hanging around in Kiev. Kids ten years old or younger without homes, who sit on the sidewalk and beg.
Andre's one of them. He's probably the cutest and sweetest kid you'll ever meet. Look:
I met Andre and, very much thinking of all the hospitality I've received on the journey, decided to help him out a bit. We went to the supermarket and I bought him some bread and water and, at his asking, the mechanical puppy you see pictured above.
Somebody should adopt him. It should be you. It should be me.
But I realized, even as he smiled for my camera, that I wasn't able -- or perhaps I'd better say wasn't willing -- to improve his life by more than the margin of one mechanical puppy.
And I write that with a few tears swelling -- but not falling, never falling.
I thank my new Fellow Travelers: Billy and Jayme Richardson, Edward Stefanik, Werner Klinger, Melissa and J.R. and Kyra Gomoll, and Lindsay and Cameron and Peanut Bigler, and Alex and Katrina, who hosted me in Kiev.
I'll take the opportunity also to re-thank all of my hundreds of donors, without which my journey wouldn't have been possible.
The donations paid for nearly all of my costs during the actual trip, but I remain a few thousand dollars in debt for all the gear I had to buy. So I'll keep the Fellow Travelers program open until More Shoes is finished, for those who may hear about my project after now. I'll continue to credit any donors in the movie and will also send a postcard, although that may be from somehwhere no more exotic than Chicago, Illinois.
The fever is creeping up again. My body is shaking like I'm standing in an Arctic wind. It's time to go and try to sleep it off.
It's been a banquet of moveable feasts. I know that for all my days, when I sleep and dream, I'll always be out here, meeting all of you again, with laden back and ankles unsnapped, on all the big and little roads from Madrid to Kiev.
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Dec. '05 - Jan. '06.
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writing, photographs and video all rights reserved, etc. etc.
Dec. '05 - Jan. '06.
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writing, photographs and video
all rights reserved, etc. etc.