Ben Parzybok

will forget your name, and feel very badly about it

I’m going on a long walk

I’ll be turning a decade birthday in the next week, and so it feels like a drawn-out space for thinking is needed. What do I want to do for the next ten years? How do I want it to happen? What happened over the last ten years? — by all means a tremendous decade, and my favorite one by far.

My best thinking happens while walking. When I got married I took a four day walk from Portland in the direction of Astoria (some of that scenery was later written into Couch). This time I’m shooting for another four days, but in the opposite direction. It’s a short walk, compared to the work the pioneers did, or this guy, but it’s what I can afford from a schedule where I find myself a part of two startups, a freelance career, raising two children and in the middle of writing a couple of books. I think four days will┬ábe ample time to slow the pace down. It also feels like the right thing to do to set off a new decade in the right direction.

Walking also helps me not-think and not-do, both of which I’m also looking forward to.

I’m shooting for walking about 20 miles a day. Is that too ambitious? I guess I’ll find out tomorrow when I start. Here’s my route:

View A walk from Portland, OR to BZ Corner, WA in a larger map

I’ve gone over the route carefully — which is a much different approach than my last big walk where I set out on some train tracks and walked until dark, then found a place to sleep. Though undoubtedly I’ll be sleeping in a few farmer’s fields off the road. I’m also doing it much later in the year than I did last time — fortunately the weather doesn’t look entirely wet. I was encouraged by reading Werner Herzog’s book, Of Walking In Ice, in which he walked from Munich to Paris through a blizzard.

Much of the route will follow the Historic Columbia River Highway – which is just incredibly beautiful, if you haven’t driven it. The rest will be on paths or train tracks. I’m going to try to avoid traffic as much as possible.

Of course, I’ll also be tracking my steps, as I’ve been known to do, and if you’re curious you can see (or join in) the competition map I setup on Walker Tracker for that here.

See you on the other side!

Author: Benjamin Parzybok

My name is Ben Parzybok and I'm a novelist and programmer living in Portland, OR. @sparkwatson



  1. What a wonderful way to prepare for being forty!
    Let’s go for a walk sometime.
    Happy almost birthday!

  2. Happy 4 decades and best of luck. Sounds like a lot of fun. Is there something particular about the destination? or is it where 4 days at 20 miles takes a person?

  3. I like the part about not thinking and not doing. Tough, but pleasant to do in this day and age. Good work!

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