Friday, January 4, 2013

Peace Pilgrim Out

If you'd told me back in 2009 that I'd be writing an update for this blog in 2013, I’d have said you were crazy.

Then again, if you'd told me back in 2006 that I'd try to walk across the country on foot in 2009, I'd have said you were crazy.

Shows what I know.

In any case, here I am, writing an update on a blog I'm surprised I didn’t take down years ago.  I’d like to think that I kept it around for sentimental reasons, but it probably has more to do with being too lazy to delete it.  Either way, I'm glad it's still here, because I have one last thing to write about.

My name is Daryl Watson.  Before I became a peace pilgrim, I was a playwright and a TV writer. Nowadays, I live in Los Angeles, and I'm back to writing again.

For the longest time, I just wanted to put the whole pilgrimage behind me and get on with my life.  I was embarrassed by my decision to even do it, to say nothing of the colossal failure it turned out to be.  The problem was that as I re-connected with old contacts – friends and professionals – the whole walking-across-the-country thing would inevitably come up.  I guess that’s my fault, since I did send out a mass email to just about every human being that I knew, telling them that I was doing a peace walk.  Plus, many of them hadn't heard from me since.

Early last month, I got an email from Elna Baker, an old friend of mine from my days at NYU.  Elna is a hilarious and talented writer who has been featured on This American Life. She remembered getting that mass email I sent and thought the story of my pilgrimage might be right for one of TAL's upcoming episodes.

I told her my story over the phone, she pitched it to the show producers, and a week later - December 21, 2012 – Elna was interviewing me in a recording studio at the Las Vegas NPR affiliate station.

So much for putting this whole thing behind me.

About a month before this interview went down, I was hanging out with a friend of mine.  We were at a bar, it was late, and we had gotten pretty drunk and pretty honest with each other.  I confessed to her that I was still struggling to find my way. 

“You know what I want you to do?" my friend said.  "I want you to go out...and do stuff.  And then I want you to tell me about it.”

It sounded good to me then, and it still does.

Many thanks to Elna and everyone at This American Life for getting my story out there. 

If you want to listen to my interview, it will be airing this weekend.  Check here to find the time that your local NPR station will be playing it.  The episode should also be available in the This American Life archive on Sunday.

Here’s what I’m up to nowadays:

* I’m working on a play called Unbound, which is very loosely based on my experience living down at Occupy Wall Street in 2011. 

* I'm blogging about my experiments with online dating.

*I have a website (, but it’s still under construction. But my email is up and running, so if you want to contact me, you can do so at

*You can also follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

That’s all I got.  For now.  I’ll let you know when the next walk will be.  Until then…

Peace Pilgrim out. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Peace Pilgrim Down. Repeat. Peace Pilgrim Down comes the post that I really didn't want to have to write...

Right after my last post, I stood up, exhausted from walking all night, but fully intending to walk to Baltimore.

Then something in my stomach gave. I ran to the bathroom.

I'll spare you the gory details, but it became clear that my body was dangerously dehydrated; my body in particular requires large amounts of water to keep things working the way they should, or things get really, really bad. After I staggered out of the bathroom, the Best Western hotel manager watched me go with suspicion, since it was obvious I wasn't staying there but had been hanging around a long time. I step out into the morning air and it was already cold. My body screeched in protest, begging for sunlight. I ran into a McDonald's and sat by the window (by the way, I take back many of the nasty things I've said about fast food restaurants, because, however atrocious their food may be, they always let me use their bathroom and refill my water bottle and sit there, free of charge).

So I go into Mcdonald's and I contemplate the long 6 month walk ahead, the walk that my body is clearly not strong enough to make.

I think about the dire warnings from my friends about the sketchy timing of my trip, that it will be even colder once I get to the MidWest--I shiver at the thought (no pun intended).

I think about all the love that came forth from my friends and my love for them, and my realization, after my trip to Israel, that sacred sites are not nearly as sacred as people.

And I realized there is a vast difference between where I am in my physical life and where the original Peace Pilgrim was in hers.

I realized that I was ready for three days of walking, three days of talking about peace, three days of connecting wtih God, three days of sleeping outside in the freezing cold.

I realized that I am ready for 6 months of talking about peace, and 6 months of connecting with God.

I realized that I am not ready for 6 months of walking and 6 months of sleeping outside in the freezing cold.

I realized that I had no I.D., no money, no way of getting back home.

I realized that my only hope of salvation, that can I see, is the hotel manager of the Best Western in Denton, Maryland, a man who believes I just tried to rip him off.

I realized that I was about to be taught a colossal lesson in humility.

I threw a line up to my spirit guides and asked them what they thought. They said they didn't care what decision I made, that the most important thing is that I remember who I am when I make those decisions.

That would be Lesson #1. Lesson #2 involved me pretty much weeping in front of the Best Western hotel manager, trying to convince him that I was totally at his mercy, that I hadn't just tried to rob his hotel (that took some convincing) and to please not get the night manager fired for letting me in. He...and this guy was a true saint...gave me the hotel phone, allowed me to call my friend, my cousin and my mom.

Long story short, my brief stint as a peace pilgrim has been postponed. Part of me, the ego part, feels that I owe you all an apology for letting you down. But that would be ridiculous, because this wasn't expected of me from you at all. This I chose this for myself. And I thank you all for SUPPORTING me with such love.

I don't regret doing this, even though I couldn't see it through. The last three days have been extremely challenging, a exercise in meditation, patience, faith and resourcefulness.

I have no idea what my future will be now. I didn't leave much of my past behind, so it's hard to see where I will go. But I do know that spring is a better time to start a journey like this than September. That gives me half a year to discern my Father's will, half a year to get stronger...

...half a year to maybe try again.

Day #4 - Headed to Baltimore

I want to thank everybody who wrote me such kind, wonderful and supportive emails.

The last 3 days have been challenging, perhaps the most challenging of my life. I've experienced joy and fear, in both their extremes. It helps to know that you guys are with me.

I'm in a Best Western in Denton, Maryland (didn't stay there, but the concierge was kind enough to let me crash on their couch, eat their complimentary breakfast and use the computer). I want to write so much more, but time is limited...

Thanks to everybody who I met who gave me food. I am convinced God sent you, because when I received your food, I was close to what felt like starvation. The spirits that I walked with kept telling me that support was coming soon, to be patient. And they were right each time.

First night I spent sleeping outside of a Catholic church. Talked to a few people, dealt with insane levels of fear but got through it.

Second night was a little better--I walked into Georgetown, Delaware, warmed up on their university campus, met some wonderfully kind folks along the way, got an invitation to stay at a place once I hit Pittsburg and slept in a baseball dugout, wrapped in fake grass that smelled really funny.

It's already getting extremely cold...I'm getting nervous re: the following months.

Last night was rough. I passed the state line into Maryland, walked most of the night. It was freezing. I got stopped by the police as I walking along the highway. I didn't have ID, so I looked a little shady. I explained to him what I was doing, and he seemed to understand, though he looked and talked to me as if I'd taken leave of my senses (fair argument, of course). Ran a background check on my real name, decided I was harmless, and let me go.

I stumbled into the Best Western to escape the cold, met the kindnest concierge I've ever known who let me sleep, eat and write to you all.

I cannot do this without God. That is my mantra. I cannot do this without God.

I hope you all are well. Sorry this was so brief. I have to hit the road soon.

I love you all,

Peace Pilgrim

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Almost forgot: my itinerary

Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California. There. :) Take care.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Until the next computer

I'm laying my computer to rest before I head out, so this will be the last post until I come across another one.  I don't know when that will be.

Take care.  Be kind to one another.  Eat lots of good food.  Get plenty of exercise.  Smile at someone.  Do something that scares you.  Forgive someone that your holding a grudge against. Forgive yourself, most of all.  

Talk to you soon.

Peace Pilgrim Interview - Pensacola, FL - Clip 1

Alex Jones in Waking Life

The dynamic human spirit that refuses to submit!