Day 30 of Pilgrimage – 55k east of Bendigo on the way to Wangaratta

Friday 18 September

By the end of today I will have completed 300k and find myself ‘virtually’ only 150k away (or 15 days!) from Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wangaratta. All being well I aim to arrive on Saturday 2 October.

Just to show faith – here is a screen shot of my phone showing my walking from 10 -16 September:

Since we have been able to exercise for two hours outside per day in Melbourne – it has been easier to do the 10k in basically one hit, rather than over the course of the day and in fact I am averaging a little more than 10k each day. Thank you again to all who have donated money for the pilgrimage – over $1300 so far – fantastic effort.

While walking I have reflected upon the reading I have been doing lately. Janet and I are working our way through Joan Chittister’s  book on the Rule of Benedict as part of our morning prayer. I offer the following quote from page 21 of Joan’s book as worthy of reflection and pondering:

The spiritual life is not something that is gotten for the wishing or assumed by affection.  The spiritual life takes discipline. It is something to be learned, to be internalised. It’s not a set of daily exercises; it’s a way of life, an attitude of mind, an orientation of soul. And it is gotten by being schooled until no rules are necessary. Among the ancients there is a story told that confirms this insight to this day – ‘What action shall I perform to attain God?’ the disciple asked the elder. ‘If you wish to attain God,’ the elder said, ‘there are two things you must know. The first is that all efforts to attain God are of no avail.’ ‘And the second?’ the disciple insisted. ‘The second is that you must act as if you did not know the first,’ the elder said. Clearly, great pursuers of the spiritual life know that the secret of the spiritual life is to live it until it becomes real.

We have also been reflecting upon the lives of the Holy men and women of the faith who have gone before us. On Wednesday 15 September the Episcopal Church of the United States of America remembered the life of James Chisholm, Priest. In our own context of COVID-19 his story resonated with me.

James Chisholm was the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 1855, an aggressive yellow fever epidemic swept through Virginia. Many of the region’s wealthy citizens were able to escape the area to avoid exposure and contamination. In most cases the physicians and clergy who served them departed as well. This left the area’s poor bereft of doctors, caregivers and, in some cases, the basic provisions of food and water to sustain life. James Chisholm sent his family away to safety, staying behind to provide whatever care for the sick he could. As the ravages of the plague were beginning to subside, Chisholm, weary to the point of exhaustion from his faithful priestly service, contacted the yellow fever and died. An account of Chisholm’s sacrifice, written only months after his death, marvels at the inner strength that Chisholm discovered that enabled him to stay behind and serve the people many of whom were waiting to die. Before the crisis, Chisholm was not thought of as a particularly strong man in body, and was described as having been retiring to the point of bashfulness, delicate, weak, and lacking much fortitude. When faced, however, with the call of these priestly duties in the face of great hardship, Chisholm showed a strength and courage few knew he possessed.

As we all journey together through our own pandemic, may we be found to be people of God full of strength and courage ready to serve others in their time of great need.

Day 23 of Pilgrimage

Friday 11 September 2020

On Sunday I arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral Bendigo after completing 250k. Just to keep everything above board – here is a snapshot of my walking to the end of yesterday

The early mornings are getting warmer and I am experiencing some lovely sunrises over the Dandenong Ranges. One of the things occupying my thinking as I walk (apart from praying for the places I am virtually walking through!)  is the state of the ‘church’ in this lockdown period. On the one hand we are keeping the community together – staying connected while socially distance. It is not easy and I think it will get a bit harder in the weeks to come as we consider activities like annual meetings, setting budgets for the coming year, and what will Christmas look like! On the other hand we are experiencing more people tuning into our Sunday Eucharists. We need to find new ways to connect with people given our limitations. What is God saying to the church today. I am reminded of the saying that “God is God and everything else is provisional!” What things are we going to leave behind when we come out of this period of lockdown and what new ways of being church are budding waiting to be discovered.

I enjoyed a warm welcome from Dean Elizabeth in anticipation of virtually arriving on Sunday at the Anglican Cathedral in Bendigo. Here is the recording:

I was also given this pilgrim poem to reflect upon on my travels. It is excellent:

Although I may have traveled all the roads,
crossed mountains and valleys from East to West,
if I have not discovered the freedom to be myself,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have shared all of my possessions
with people of other languages and cultures;
made friends with Pilgrims of a thousand paths,
or shared albergues with saints and princes,
if I am not capable of forgiving my neighbor tomorrow,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have carried my pack from beginning to end
and waited for every Pilgrim in need of encouragement,
or given my bed to one who arrived later than I,
given my bottle of water in exchange for nothing;
if upon returning to my home and work,
I am not able to create brotherhood
or make happiness, peace and unity,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have had food and water each day,
and enjoyed a roof and shower every night;
or may have had my injuries well attended,
If I have not discovered in all that the love of God,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have seen all the monuments
and contemplated the best sunsets;
although I may have learned a greeting in every language
or tried the clean water from every fountain;
if I have not discovered who is the author
of so much free beauty and so much peace,
I have arrived nowhere.

If from today I do not continue walking on my path,
searching far and living according to what I have learned;
if from today I do not see in every person, friend or foe
a companion on the Camino;
if from today I cannot recognize God,
the God of Jesus of Nazareth
as the one God of my life,
I have arrived nowhere.



Day 16 of Pilgrimage

Friday 4 September 2020

By the end of today I will be ‘virtually’30k north of Ballarat on my way to Bendigo. Just to show that I am doing the 10k each day I will post on Fridays a snapshot of my week’s walking taken off my phone. Here is week two from Thursday 27 August to Wednesday 2 September:

Thank you to all who have donated money for the cause – we have raised $1184 to date which is a fantastic effort!

On Tuesday I was welcomed to Christ Church Cathedral Ballarat by the acting Dean, Bishop Garry Weatherill. We had a wonderful time together:

Bishop Garry also mentioned that just before the latest lockdown a short video had been produced in which he talks about how things are going in the Diocese.  You can view the clip by clicking on the following link and download the video direct to your computer/phone.

At this walking pace I will arrive ‘virtually’ in Bendigo on Sunday 13 September and I am looking forward to catching up with the Dean of the Cathedral. Once again thank you to all who are supporting this adventure. 160k walked – only 785k to go! Praise be to God.

Day 9 of Pilgrimage

Friday 28 August 2020

In my last entry I forgot to post the link to the St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne website:

By the end of my 10k today I will be virtually between Ballan and Gordan – 40k east of Christ Church Cathedral Ballarat. It is my plan to arrive there on Tuesday 1 September 2020. I have walked 90k on the pilgrimage. Here is a snapshot from my phone on Wednesday 26 August after one week of the pilgrimage – just to show I am above board and doing the walk!

walking four

So far so good. I knock off most of the ks at 5am – it has been a bit cold first thing in the morning but the days have been fantastic – nice sun while still cool which I like. I wish to thank all who have pledged money so far for the pilgrimage – so far we have raised $1084 and it is only one week in! I think I will revise my target from $1000 to $5000. I hope to have an zoom meeting with the acting Dean of Christ Church Ballarat next week which I will post ASAP. Here are a couple of photos of me getting ready to walk:

walking three
5am – very cold

walking one
mid morning one day – still cool

walking two
warm enough for shorts!

The Virtual Pilgrimage begins

Friday 21 August 2020

Today marks day two of my virtual pilgrimage around the Anglican Province of Victoria, Australia. The full pilgrimage plan can be found here: 2020 pilgrimage final

I intend to walk 10k each day around the streets of the Vicarage in Box Hill South and the Vicarage backyard. But virtually I will be walking to each of the Cathedrals in the five Diocese’s of the Province. It is 15k from St Peter’s Anglican Church, Box Hill to St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne – so I arrive virtually at St Paul’s sometime today.

When I visit a Cathedral I hope to be welcomed by the Dean and have a chat about how things are going for the community gathered there; and have some prayer and a blessing for my ‘travels’

I had the great pleasure of ‘meeting’ with the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Dr Andreas Loewe. Our meeting can be found here:

I want to finish my first blog entry on this pilgrimage with a modern version of Jesus sermon on the mount as my first prayer:

Blessed are they who wash their hands,
for they shall hold living water;
blessed are those who keep their distance,
for they shall draw closer to God;
blessed are they who self-quarantine,
for they shall help others;
blessed are those who do not hoard,
for they shall feed families;
blessed are those who sing songs to sheltering neighbours,
for they shall be members of the heavenly host;
blessed are parents who learn to teach at home,
for they shall learn from their children;
blessed are they who shop for older folks,
for they shall receive everlasting thanks;
blessed are the frontline health workers,
for they shall be called healers of humanity.

By next Friday I will be only a few days shy of the Ballarat Cathedral.

A virtual Pilgrimage in a COVID-19 world

On Thursday 20th August I will begin a virtual pilgrimage form the Anglican Parish of Box Hill to visit each of the five Cathedrals of the Anglican Province of Victoria. While we live in stage 4 restrictions I am still able to walk around my house and streets. I will walk at least 10k each day and plot this against a map of Victoria. To do the pilgrimage to each of the five Cathedrals will require me walking about 945k or about 95 days so I hope to finish this on Sunday 22nd November – the celebration of Christ the King. Further details are in the flyer here: 2020 pilgrimage final

Also I plan to use this as a fund raiser to help New Hope Community Care.

Pledges can be made into the following account:

BSB 033-135

Account Number: 535329

I will be posting about once a week to update people on where I am up to VIRTUALLY and how things are going. Stay tuned for more to come

From a Japanese-Mexican Episcopal Church to the Back-to-the-Future Delorean to the La Brea Tar Pits – what a last day in LA!

Sunday 17 November 2019

As it was our last day in LA we wanted to squeeze as much in as we could before boarding the 15 hour flight back to Melbourne tonight. The first thing to do was our final pack. We woke to the phone alarm at 5am to find our entire hotel and the city block on which it was located suffering a power outage. No lights in the room; no power to the lifts – no phones to the front desk -no internet. I was pondering the possibility of having to pack by the light of my mobile phone and how much fun and excitement that would be when everything powered back on at 6am. Packing done – it was down for breakfast – on plastic plates with plastic cutlery but nice omelettes. We checked out and put our luggage in storage for the day. We had arranged with Sedek – our taxi driver from yesterday to pick us up at 8.30am and act our driver for the day.

He arrived right on the money and took us to our first stop – the closest Episcopal (Anglican ) Church which happened to be St Mary’s. We found out the church was started as the first Japanese Anglican Church in LA in 1907. There were stained glass windows of a Japanese feel and design as well as paper cranes hanging from the light fixtures. Over the last twenty years the church has played host to Christians from Mexico’s northern region. We found ourselves at church on a combined bi-lingual service (Spanish/English). It had a very family friendly warm feel and while the numbers attending was not high (less than 50) – they made up for it in great hospitality and a warm welcome (we were given lais to wear as it was our first Sunday.) We couldn’t stay for the ‘coffee hour’as Sedek picked us up and drove us to our next destination – the Petersen Car Museum on Wiltshire Blvd.

This had been one of my dreams to visit if we could and I was in car heaven. Not only was this a fine collection of cars form the turn of the 20th century to now – it had a very special collection of movie cars – the Delorean from Back to the Future – the V8 Interceptor from Mad Max 2; the original Bat mobile from the 60s TV series as well as the version from the 1989 movie. They had cars from the Blade Runner movie; as well as from the Transformers movies franchise. They had the villains car from the 2002 Bond Movie – Die another Day – the green jag with the back mounted machine gun turret.  Too many cars to mention – we had a ball visiting this museum – and as my Mum mentioned to me afterwards – not a single painting on the wall from the late 19th century and I was still happy!

We walked ourselves from here to the La Brea Tar Pits – an ancient tar bog which has the skeletal remains of early North American animals. Did I mention the temperature was 32 degrees C – it was bizarre to think that less than a week before on Monday – we had been freezing in Chicago and now I was at risk of sunburn in LA!

The Museum was fascinating and we enjoyed seeing the fossils and other remains. We made our way back to the Car museum for Sedek to pick us up and drive us back to the hotel where we picked up our bags. He then drove us on to LAX airport. We tipped him well as we realised that we wouldn’t have been able to do as much this day if we had to ring for a cab at each and every venue. We checked our luggage in and got our boarding passes and went through security ONE LAST TIME! We boarded our flight on time and settled in for the 15 hour flight back home to Australia. We were very satisfied as to what we had been able to see and do over the previous three weeks. We reflected that we had truly crossed the country East to West. We had seen world-class museums and art gallerys – had explored American history (good and not so good!) – had experienced natural beauty and wonder at its best and apart from a few minor travel issues – we had been safe – we had been welcomed at every turn and been served with expertise and hospitality and grace. While we certainly noticed on our journey many homeless and rough sleepers and while we know that poverty is rife and that this country, like ours, has many social problems to solve – these problems have to be balanced with the sheer beauty and awe that is this country we have experienced over the last 21 days. Til next time – I thank you for travelling with us and I hope you have enjoyed the ride.

St Mary's Episcopal Church
St Mary’s Episcopal Church

St Mary's Episcopal Church inside

The next few pictures are from the Petersen Car Museum

Petersen Museum 1

Petersen Museum 2

Petersen Museum 3

Petersen Museum 4

Petersen 5
I couldn’t believe I was actually looking at one of Delorean’s from Back to the Future!

Petersen Museum 5

Petersen Museum 6
From Stars Wars 4: A New Hope

Petersen Museum 7
da da da da da da da da da da da da – Batman!

Tar Pit 1

Tar Pit 2

Tar Pit 3

Tar Pit 4
A giant Condor!

Tar Pit 5
Now that’s a bear!!

Iron Man and Fat Man
Iron Man and the Fat Man!


Sunshine in L.A. and you guessed it – more art!

Saturday 16 November 2019

I had set my alarm for 4.30am so as to get up on the train and race down for a shower before anyone and then be ready for breakfast at 5am. Both Mum and I enjoy a lovely breakfast and have a couple of hours to watch the sun rise as the train makes its way into Los Angeles. We arrive right on time at 8am and the first thing we notice is that it is hotter than anywhere else in the States we have been for the last three weeks. After freezing on Monday night in Chicago in sub-zero temperatures we now have high 20’s and I’m sweating as we wait for a cab to take us to our last hotel on this fantastic adventure. Despite the heat – it’s another cloudless lovely day – we have been very fortunate with the weather

Because it’s so early, we just wanted to drop our bags at the Hotel and check in later but they let us check in at 9am so we had a lovely cuppa in our room and planned the day out. First thing was to hang up the jacket! Thanks to a tip off from a parishioner the museum we had to see in LA was the Getty. We arranged for another cab to pick us up and we drove the forty minutes up into the hills. The driver said that if we gave him a time he would try and pick us up and drive us home, so after giving him a suitable time – we boarded a little shuttle train that goes up the hill to this vast set of beautifully designed buildings which house a breath-taking array of art from all over collected by J Paul Getty.

After a small introductory film we agreed on a meeting place and time and off we go to explore. It will come as no surprise to those who have been following the blog that I went straight away to the Impressionists! Followed up by 10th to 18th century European art of a religious focus. Wouldn’t you know it – but they had a special exhibition on the later years of Manet – I was again in heaven. I didn’t waste my time and tried to cover most of the major collections – but you would need more than one day to pay this museum true justice. Its location atop a hill overlooking LA led to glorious vistas from all angles and the outside garden was an deliberately set up art work in itself that would take many trips to explore but alas our time was up and after the compulsory visit to the gift shop – we were once again on the way back to our hotel. I endeavour to take a photo of the traffic. We are on the Interstate 40 – 6 lanes each way at its widest and the traffic is solid. I do close my eyes from time to time as I think our young driver thought we had an emergency to attend and was weaving in and out the traffic at a fast rate of knots!

However, we arrive safely back and we arrange for him to pick us up tomorrow – Sunday and be our driver for the day as we want to make the most of our last day and go to church – see the Peterson car museum and the La Brea Tar Pits before heading off to the airport for our 8.15pm flight home. I hope to get one more blog in to finish off this adventure but may have to wait til I’m back in Australia to post it.

sunrise before LA
Sunrise at 6ish – two hours out from LA

Union Station LA
We arrive at Union Station LA on a glorious morning

view from the Getty Museum 1
View from the museum overlooking LA

view from the Getty Museum 2
The start of the gardens of the Getty



Irises Van Gogh
Irises by Van Gogh

annunciation Bouts
Annunciation by Bouts

female figure Giambologna

The next five are all from the special Manet exhibition – simply stunning!

Manet 1

Manet 2

Manet 3
Bob by Manet

Manet 4

Manet 5

driving in LA on I 40
five lanes both ways travelling at 60 plus miles per hour


A Glorious Day in Flagstaff

Friday 15 November 2019

After yesterday’s fantastic day seeing the Grand Canyon – I wasn’t sure if our day in Flagstaff before catching the train to LA tonight would be able to match it or be a wasted let-down sort of  day. No need to fear – today was excellent. We slept in and had a lovely cooked breakfast (on crockery again – see yesterday’s post for why that’s important). Checked out and stored our luggage at the hotel. They had a free shuttle to take us Downtown. The weather is even better than yesterday – 17 degrees C – not a cloud in the sky – and more importantly – no wind! You get a clear view right to the San Francisco Peaks – 12,000 ft. It is hard to imagine that Flagstaff itself is at 7,000 ft – almost as high as Mt Kosciusko – our highest peak in Australia!

We wander the streets looking at the impressive original buildings of Flagstaff. One street has a huge pink Catholic church besides which stand the Indian Bible Church , besides which stands the Mission to the Navajo Indians – quite an eclectic view! A quick coffee and we get a taxi – same firm as yesterday – to take us to the Museum of Northern Arizona. This museum covers the art and history and culture of the Indian tribes of the Colorado Plateau. Among the usual exhibits you would expect – pots, jewelry,  art and so forth – was a special exhibition – would you believe it – on the impact of the ‘Star Wars’films on Native culture. So there I was standing before an R2D2 robot – full size and fully functional – painted in Native Indian colours and motifs! There was also a special display focused on the ants that inhabit the ground under and around the museum.

Back to our hotel for a relaxing afternoon as we wait for them to take us to the Amtrak Station to board the 9.38pm train to LA – the end of a wonderful two days in Arizona. I can’t speak more highly of the hospitality we received from everyone we met and who served us in this beautiful and delightful city. I recommend a visit.


old building

old building 2

catholic church

indian bible church
Indian Bible Church

mission to the navajos
Mission House

san fransico peaks
San Francisco Peaks – 12,000 ft 

happy birthday Mum
Just for my Mum (and Mother-in-law)

museum 1

museum 2

museum 3

museum 4

museum 5

museum 6

museum 7


A Perfect Day at the Grand Canyon

Thursday 14 November 2019

Today was always going to be a high light of the trip. We had planned our journey over these three weeks so as to see the formation and history, art and culture of the USA. We had also made sure we were to cross off the list two of the natural wonders of the North American continent – those being Niagara Falls and what we planned to see today – the Grand Canyon.

After setting up the details of the day last night – I was so excited I woke at 5am and we had the best breakfast of the trip so far. What made it special – apart from the fact that it was very tasty and the eggs were real, was the fact that it was served on real crockery! You wouldn’t think that a big deal except for us to say that every meal at a hotel thus far has been on plastic or paper plates.

We go outside and the weather is glorious – hardly a cloud in the sky and the temperate is 17 degrees C and no wind. Our taxi arrives right on 7.15am and the driver is a lovely lady who we take to immediately. Our trip to Williams is a quick 40 minutes on the highway and she drops us at the Grand Canyon Train terminal. We arrange for her to pick us up at the end of the day.

I go inside the ticket office and approach the counter. I say my surname and the tickets are there! Now we are guided to a arena and join with the other train guests for a 15 minute cowboy show – who knows why – but it is funny and entertaining in a twee sort of way. We board the cheap carriage – however – it was a restored 1952 cabin and had lovely bench seats that were comfortable. Our attendant is Jeff who has a quick dry sense of humour but tells the worst daddy jokes. The trip up to the Grand Canyon is 2.15 hours and it passes easily enough. We are entertained by a guitar player who sings some cowboy songs for twenty minutes or so – I’m starting to pick up a theme here. One of the things we see along the way is the north pole – a whole display set up for the other train journey this company does – the Polar Express!

Once at the top – we are told we have 3 1/2 hours and must be back on board no later than 2.30pm! We go to the rim of the canyon and wow – I am gob smacked – if you haven’t been here and have the chance to come – COME. It is absolutely positively spectacular! No words or even my poor pictures can come close to capturing the beauty and wonder and grandeur of this feature of the natural world.

After taking it all in and having lunch in a cafe and visiting the gift shop – we all board a the correct time and make our way back down to Williams. Remember those cowboys from the mornings show – well now – they stop the train and hold it up! It’s all fun and games and the kids among us enjoy it.

We arrive back at Williams at 4.45pm. We see a lot of adults and kids dressed up in pj’s ready for the Polar Express.  Not being tempted to do this train journey we find our taxi driver and are back in the hotel by 6pm. We have dinner next door at a nice restaurant and even find the time to finish the blog and do laundry. It has been one great perfect day. FANTASTIC.

i don't have the words
I don’t have any words for this one

lot of engine power
a lot of pulling power up front

the cheap seats up the front
the first carriage – the cheapest but good enough for us

cowboy show before train
Cowboy show before the train trip

Jeff our attendant
Jeff our guide on the train up and back.

The following are just some of my poor attempts to capture the beauty of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon 1

Grand Canyon 2

Grand Canyon 3

Grand Canyon 4

Grand Canyon 5

Grand Canyon 6
I didn’t realise the features had names – the next photo is supposed to be the same as this diagram

Grand Canyon 7


One shot from our trip back down – this feature is called the Red Butt – represents an Indian fist arising from the ground:

Grand Canyon 8