Known in the Twin Cities area as the founder and priest of the recently closed Celtic temple, author of the book Walk Like a God, and blogger for Patheos.com, an tSruith Drew Jacob is now ready to begin the next chapter of his life. It’s a crazy idea, which an tSruith Jacob readily admits, to walk from Minnesota to Brazil. Yet that’s precisely the path that Jacob set his feet on. Last night I attended his 30th birthday/Rogue Priest deployment party and at 9 pm he used a slick move straight from Lord of the Rings to leave the party and start his trip unseen.
The trip has been a dream of Jacob’s for several years and he’s been planning in earnest for the last six months to make this dream a reality. He sees the trip, one that will give him time to get to know an area and its people and test himself, as a spiritual calling. “I decided to live the Heroic Life after many years of telling the myths of the ancient heroes. One day I realized that although their stories are fun to read or hear, they would be more fun to live. So I’ve begun to change my entire life to be able to travel and do great things. To live the Heroic Life means taking action, living for high ideals, charging fearlessly into new and grand plans, building a name around your art or skill, and using your life to change the way the world works.”
After a time in Milwaukee for intensive Jiu Jitsu training and a stop in Maine, Jacob will head back to Minnesota in the Spring to begin the actual walk/bike ride to Brazil. He plans to make the entire trip hiking or biking each day and camping out or relying on strangers each night. That’s down through the USA, into Mexico where the drug war is raging, through Central America where foreign travelers are encouraged to get a tracking chip placed under their skin in case of kidnapping, and around the top of South America ending in Brazil. Then back again. His mother worries, his friends think he’s insane.
Last night Jacob looked excited, nervous, and confident by turns. The party was held at the Old Arizona Theatre, a venue that gives 100% of their profits to help inner-city teenage girls become successful artists, entrepreneurs and business owners. People munched on snacks or sipped drinks out on the patio while discussing the topic of the night, Drew’s trip. Will he survive it? What do you mean he doesn’t have a smart phone? He won’t wear a bike helmet? He’s going to rely on the kindness of strangers? Why is he doing this trip? Everyone had a theory, but Drew explained why he was making this trip when he made a final speech and toast at 8:30 pm, which included a public dedication to the God Lugh. We crowded into the theatre and Drew stood before a microphone in the back corner of a dimly lit stage.
I want to convey my gratitude to everyone here. I think everyone has heard my plan, it’s kind of a crazy plan. I’m doing a few months of preparation and then in the spring I start walking from Itaska, Minnesota, through Minneapolis, down the Mississippi river, down to the gulf of Mexico, through Central America, and into South America, with the end goal of reaching Brazil. Hopefully on foot or by bicycle the entire way. It will take a couple of years, it’s dangerous, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s been a life long dream and it wouldn’t be possible without all of you. It means so much to me to have you all come together in one place.
When I first moved to Minneapolis 8 years ago, I did not like Minneapolis. It took a while for me to think of it as home. But it is now. and those 7 1/2 years were pretty formative years for me. This was a time where I married and divorced in Minneapolis, I bought and sold a home in Minneapolis, I founded and closed a temple in Minneapolis. I launched a career that has been amazingly rewarding for me, starting with Clean Water Action to the Minnesota Historical Society to Minneapolis institute of Arts. This was truly some of the best years of my life and it prepared me for everything ahead.
So I want to raise my glass, join me if you have something in hand. Not to my trip, not to me, not to anything like that, but to all my friends and loved ones who are here today. Cheers.
At this point Drew put down his wine glass and pulled a ring out of his pocket.
The other thing that I had planned, as a priest in our tradition, when somebody chooses to devote themselves completely to one God, it’s traditional to wear a ring signifying that dedication. For the last several years, I have really narrowed my practice down to one God, Lugh, who is a god of heroes in the Irish tradition. The ideals and teachings of that God are what really appeal to me. I believe in a life of travel, traveling freely and finding your purpose in life. I believe in doing amazing things. Humans can do some incredibly earth changing things whether the Gods are real or imaginary, whether we have souls or not, with or without magic, human beings can do some tremendous things. I believe in living by your ideals and not compromising those ideals. So those are the teachings that make me feel so close to that god, Lugh, and so today I’m going to be putting on a ring to signify dedicating my life to those ideals, that lifestyle of wandering and trying to do something to help people.
So with that my friends, I say, goodbye.
And just like that, he was gone. When I say gone, I mean he disappeared. The crowd was distracted by a man who fell out of his chair, on cue to make a horrendous noise, and when we looked back, Drew was gone. He had slipped out between the curtains, went into the alley behind the theatre, and pedaled off into his adventure. Pay attention to the last line of Drew’s goodbye speech. It’s from Lord of the Rings: fellowship of the Ring. It’s the last line Bilbo says before he slips the One Ring on and disappears from his birthday party and heads out on a long trip alone.