Most Viewed Stories
Man walking to Brazil wants Yumans' prayers
A young man plans to pass through Yuma this week on his way to Brazil - on foot.
Making real on a spiritual vision, Christopher Howe is walking 6,583 miles from Los Angeles to the rain forests of Brazil, collecting people's prayers along the way and encouraging folks to set sail on their own dreams.
"I am walking to Brazil to show people that all things are possible in life," Howe told The Sun. "I want people to see that we can do everything we imagine - and even more."
The 31-year-old traveler is currently in El Centro, Calif., and hopes to arrive here on Tuesday. Howe launched his walk Oct. 5 from the Elevate Film Festival, where a crowd of 5,000 people joined him for a short piece of his long journey.
"All of this is just an opportunity for people to realize that ordinary people can be extraordinary," Howe said. "Just by putting one foot in front of the other."
Following a spiritual vision sparked by an eight-hour meditation, the L.A. resident created the nonprofit organization IAmWalking.com. In addition to living out his dream, Howe said he now wants to bring others on board, not just through prayer and inspiration, but by speaking at events and helping to raise funds and awareness for other nonprofits along the way.
"I'm not walking for a cause," he said. "I am walking for all causes."
On his Web site Howe invites people to "walk, run, wheelchair or roller-skate" along with him as he makes his way down the highway.
He plans to stay several days in some towns and just pass through others. After Yuma Howe will travel to Tucson and then head for Mexico through Nogales.
Along the way Howe is collecting people's anonymous prayers, some of which he posts on his Web site. Every prayer gets pulled out along the journey and prayed over.
"I'm gathering people's prayers, whether they're written on a piece of paper, a napkin or a banana leaf," he said. "I'm always reading the prayers and praying along with people."
Howe is also happy to stop and pray with people right there in the moment.
Prior to IAmWalking, the former high school teacher worked for a film company.
Howe describes himself as Christian, with wide-reaching interests in everything from Rastafarianism and Eastern religions to modern metaphysics.
Howe says he understands why God is leading him to down the road, but admits he's not sure why God picked Brazil for his destination. He explained that everything simply came in a vision.
"We were making a movie then and everything was great, but I basically asked God to use me. I cleared my mind," he said, describing the eight-hour meditation that followed. "I clearly saw myself walking from L.A. to Brazil, being led through my connection to other people, connected to the planet and to that dimension that is here with us but seldom tapped into."
Howe says he walks up to 14 miles a day, sleeping in a bed if it's offered or just anywhere he can lay down. One night he was caught in a sand storm and forced to curl up outside a gas station. In addition to calling local churches, he finds people willing to open up their homes through Couch Surfing.com. His possessions are transported on a modified baby buggy.
Traveling with few luxuries is not a new experience for Howe. He was 14 when he ran away from home in the Bay Area, leading him on a hitchhiking journey that would crisscross the nation and span several years. He says he spent some time as a "Dead Head," following the band The Grateful Dead in its final years. Inspired to study religion and history firsthand, Howe has hitchhiked in the Middle East and "for thousands of miles" through Africa.
Howe says people have proved themselves quite open minded toward his current dream.
"People always ask why I'm going and when I tell them 'I'm walking to Brazil' something shifts in them. Something happens to them. There's this kind of flash and they're suddenly brought into the realm of possibilities."
Mark Oravsky, managing director of IAmWalking, described his friend as gifted, with a talent for drawing people to him.
"Chris just has such a presence of light and love," Oravsky said in a phone interview from Washington state. "There's no judgement in Chris. People absolutely feel that."
Meet Christopher Howe...
Howe will speak about IAmWalking during the Sunday, Nov. 16 service at Yuma Center for Spiritual Living, Eighth Street and Second Avenue. The service, which is open to the public, will begin at 11 a.m.
Go to IAmWalking.org and...
* See a short film about the project
* Submit prayers and prayer requests