This story is written by Kate Faye and cross-posted from 350MN.
5,000 miles sounds like an awfully long commute, but for musicians and other professionals, traveling long distances is just part of the job. Most musicians don’t think twice about jumping in a van, bus or airplane to play for crowds around the country. For Paul Doffing, a local Minnesota singer/songwriter who is looking to hit the national scene, this poses a conflict of interest. In order to promote and share his music he needs to travel, yet he is concerned about our heavy reliance on fossil fuels and the impacts that reliance has on the planet. Paul is thinking twice about his opportunity to, as Gandhi so famously challenged, “be the change we want to see in the world” and is preparing for an epic journey. He is going to tour by bicycle.
This is no small endeavor. Paul is planning to bike over 5,000 miles with his guitar and gear in tow for the first ever “Freedom From Fuel” music tour. He will be playing in over 30 cities along with countless parks, pubs and churches in smaller towns along the way. His eyes light up when talking about the prospect of playing songs for folks in unanticipated and random places.
Paul is making a road by walking, or biking, in that he is fusing together his passion and work as an artist with his connection to nature. He believes that real positive change happens at the individual level and that we cannot rely solely on politicians to get the job done. “Fossil fuels are so engrained in our minds as the only way of getting from one place to another that we don’t think there is an alternative way of living”. He mentions that the Tar Sands issue is a big factor in his decision to bike his national music tour. “It just doesn’t make sense to use tar sands oil when it has such negative impacts on the earth.”
Many of us struggle to go the extra mile in incorporating a transition from fossil fuels into the daily needs of what our careers and lives require, especially when our work demands traveling to places in other cities or even countries. As we look to politicians nationally toend fossil fuel subsidies and regulate carbon emissions from coal plants, Paul is making a personal commitment to address his own transportation needs by following his dreams free from fossil fuels.
Talking with Paul, I realize that his upcoming tour has parallels to that of choosing to address climate change. The road is long and the end is out of sight and every day will be filled with challenge and achievement. The journey requires a sort of perseverance that can only come from within and be held with the support of those riding along our side or cheering us on from afar. At the end of each day we face the ultimate question – will we find the courage and strength to continue the ride tomorrow? Inspired by his passion for creating music and driven by a message so urgent to the well being of our Earth community, Paul will truly be the change he hopes to see in the world.
Click here to learn more about Paul Doffing, his music and his upcoming tour. The road is long, if you are interested in biking with Paul along the route, hosting him in your home or yard or providing food, contact email@example.com. If you feel inspired to support Paul financially, visit his Kickstarter fundaiser campaign – only four days left!