A pilgrimage has both surface ritual and deeper meaning. For example, a pilgrimage to Mecca involves wearing special clothing, performing particular sacrifices, and following prescribed routes and behavior, all of which tie into the essential meaning of the journey to a place of great significance. So, after selecting a site of personal significance, I put together a few ritualistic elements, in order to set this journey apart from normal life.
Fasting. A lot of religious rituals involve fasting, probably because it both produces a somewhat altered mental state and emphasizes the act of taking nourishment. I figured I would go with this time-tested method of heightening awareness and putting a focus on spiritual nourishment. I would wake up and then travel 3100 miles (primarily by plane, but with the last part by foot) before eating again.
Footwear. I was looking for something that would involve a bit of mortification of the flesh. I knew that with sensible boots, I could walk 25 miles
without getting blisters, so something anti-sensible was needed. I found some pink flip flops at the local CVS, which seemed both anti-sensible and vaguely represented a twist on medieval sandals. Making walking into an uncomfortable task was important in order to (1) emphasize the act of will needed to move towards the destination (2) provide a reminder of the journey afterwards, via blisters.
Clothing. Often, clothing is used to demonstrate humility, and purposefully simple clothes are worn as a symbolic rejection of material values. Oddly unfashionable dress also sends the message that the exterior is less important than the interior. (Though this is a somewhat ironic medium for the message---how does prescribing what people should wear fit in the the message that what you wear is not important?) Anyhow, I went with the oldest clothing I own, which happens to be a vaguely medieval or classical outfit, which I made out of a worn-out bedsheet back in 1984. In addition to symbolizing a humbleness or openness towards learning, running around town in this particular outfit also emphasizes the somewhat risky or uncertain nature of life. (Because the material is old enough that it might very well disintegrate if I snag it on something.) Over this, I added a cloak, because it looked a bit like rain, and also I didn't want to actually be stuck running around the city naked if the tunic fell apart.
Thus outfitted, I proceeded to walk the 1.7 miles to my destination. Along the way, I tried to make eye contact with as many people as possible, and offered them free proverbs written on index cards. This was to symbolize that during the journey, it is important to engage with fellow travelers, and share the bounty. I talked to pushcart vendors, businessmen, homeless people, and tourists. One guy asked "Are you a nun?" and I told him "No, I'm a scientist, but I'm on vacation." Quite a few people stopped to take a proverb, and a number of them complimented me on my outfit.
The last part of the walk involved going up a long hill, which seemed appropriately symbolic of climbing towards enlightenment and fulfillment. Arriving at my destination, I found the location heralded by some miraculous trumpet shaped flowers. I stopped, and prayed a version of the rosary, and then rang the doorbell. I was surprised when the door was opened, and there was Sam himself. He graciously showed me around the very spot where SF0 was born, and introduced me to Sean and Lara. I was overwhelmed with the sheer awesomeness of actually being in the presence of these folks who had come up with a great idea and made it happen. We talked for a while, and then they bestowed some SF0 tokens and accepted my offerings.
I left elated, inspired, and rather light-headed. I took the Muni partway back to my hotel, bought a bunch of first aid tape for my feet, and ate a delicious cream puff and some pretty good soup. I made this pilgrimage as a token of my love and respect for SF0. This game has been a transformative experience in my life, and it was intoxicating to see meet some of the real people who continue to make SF0 happen.