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To walk or not to walk...through a military base.

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

When I initially put together the itinerary for my DIY Pilgrimage

Blue sky, ocean waves, and palms trees at San Clemente beach in California
The beach where I'll catch the train on my pilgrimage.

I decided to skip walking through the military base that is situated in between where I’d be walking and where I wanted to end up. There’s no path around, only through. So I decided to take the train to avoid the base.

Mind you, I do have a Department of Defense pass that allows me to pass through on my bicycle but I wanted to not mix military (towards which I have very ambivalent feelings) with pilgrimage. But as I continued to prepare for my trip, I decided I didn’t want to take the train in the middle of walking, and I didn’t want to avoiding what made me uncomfortable, so I decided to go through the base. I called the main gate and was met with curiosity and total respect. They said I needed to talk with someone else. The next person was also incredibly polite but needed to check. The issue wasn’t whether or not I could pass through since I already had my official conveyance card, but rather whether or not I could walk instead of ride my bike. After a few minutes the person was back on the phone explaining to me how it would not be safe since there were so many cars on the road and the bike lane was not protected. She apologized saying they only wanted to keep me safe.

And I actually felt disappointed about not being able to walk through the military base but grateful for the care and concern everyone I spoke to had towards me. I’ll give a special thanks through my train window for the people there, despite my ambivalence, as I whiz by covering what I would cover in a whole day of walking in less than a half an hour!

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