My apologies for the delay. Between walking all day then finding a hostel to stay in then unpacking then washing clothes from that day so they can dry out the next day while I walk so I can wear them the following day… and then starting over again, it’s been hard to carve out writing time on the road. And any down time has been spent hearing people’s journeys. So many seekers!

Before I continue with weekly posts though, I’d like to share the first letter that I wrote to my first grandchild on the “first” night she was born. I only had the chance to see her twice before leaving on my three month vow of silence and 800 KM trek walking The Camino. Each day I walk for hours and hours and hours, almost entirely by myself. And each day I imagine conversations with her. Who knew that a new baby in my world would have such a profound impact? Who knew?! 🙂

September 13th, 2016

I’m your grandpa Marshall. I’m only 49 so I’m gonna be a kickass gramps! (Oops I mean kickBUTT.) I just came back from the hospital where I held you in my arms for the first time. Welcome to the Marshall family. Welcome to this world. Welcome to sunshine and wind and snow and rain. Welcome to moonlight and stars and trees and oceans and… welcome to THIS life!

I have to go away for a while. I’m sorry. But don’t worry, I’ll be back! (I’ll tell you all about the actor that made those last three words famous another time.) The last time I saw you, you couldn’t see me – yet. Your eyes were all wide and dopey at the same time. Kinda like you were high. (Your dad will tell you about that stuff. That’s his job.) Your cry was soft. (phew!) I was afraid to touch you because I thought I would make you cry like those babies that usually sit near me on planes. OH! OH! PLANES! So you’re gonna see animals in the sky above you and they’re called birds. They fly. The white ones poop on you sometimes. Be careful. They put wings on busses so now we can fly too! Busses are people moving machines that smell like vomit and school lunches. School is a building that kids go to to learn stuff parents don’t have time to teach us because they’re busy making money to buy things they don’t really need. And vomit… well, vomit you already know about.

Watching my son, your daddy, wipe your bum for the first time was hilarious! It made me remember wiping your daddy’s bum for the first time. I was just about to call the fire department to help me remove that stuff!

Seeing you only hours after you were born, brought back a ton of memories and emotions. Treasured moments that I had forgotten about. I suddenly realized that the last time I held a baby in my arms was 23 years ago when your aunt was born. It’s not that I’m afraid of babies or that I’m “too cool” to hold a baby. I just think that most people were too scared to give a baby to me to hold. I’m kinda big and ugly. You’ll see.

Anyway, I just came home from the hospital and I’m sitting on the back porch raising a glass of Irish cream (your dad will talk to you about that stuff) up into the moonlit sky as the wind blows in a new reality. You have made me a grandpa and I’m not ready to be a grandpa yet! At least, not a good one. Grandpas are supposed to have their poop together. (That’s the stuff that gets stuck to you your bum!)

I really want to talk with you, but I’m about to stop talking for a few months. (I guess we’ll have something in common!) Besides, you can’t understand me anyway and a conversation requires that both of us talk. LOL. Ironic. You can’t talk and everyone loves you, and talking has been the thing that’s gotten me into the most trouble. One of the many reasons why I’ve decided to stop doing it for a while.

But before you begin another day, I want you to know that you are loved unconditionally. I know this because you haven’t done a thing and I love you. And that will never change. NEVER. As far as I have been told, you have been born into a proud legacy, dating back into the 1800’s when the Marshalls came to Canada from Ireland. Your great great great grandfather, your great great grandfather, and your great grandfather have all been men of honour and integrity. Men who have given back to their communities. Men who were spoken well of by others.

And then there’s me…

While I’m on this walkabout (something Aussies do when they’ve had enough) I’m going to try my best to try and figure out a few things and come back with a better understanding of who I was, who I am, and who I actually want to be. There’s a fine line between owning who you are, yet wanting more from yourself. I think that having you in my life is the new hope that I’ve been waiting for.

I wonder what you’ll look like when I finally get to see you again at Christmas? You will be my bestest present EVER! Please know that everyday I’m gone, I will think about you. Although these letters talk about things that you won’t understand, hopefully other people will. I’m writing with you in mind and hope that one day, we might read them together.
Grandpa Marshall


4 thoughts on “THE JOURNEY BEGINS… but first…

  1. Ruby Neumann

    That was beautiful, Drew. Raw, real and beautiful.

    Here’s hoping all is well on your journey. One thought in response to this little nugget you shared with your granddaughter.

    “But before you begin another day, I want you to know that you are loved unconditionally. I know this because you haven’t done a thing and I love you. And that will never change. NEVER.”

    Does this sound like a message from someone maybe for you? You may still be convinced that God still isn’t talking to you… But it seems obvious to me!

    Happy Walking and Happy Listening… and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Ruby Neumann from Calmar Alberta.


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