Nomadic traveler and activist John Sears returned to the Capitol Wednesday to ask legislators to rethink the nation’s transportation system. He brought with him his three mules – Little Girl, Lady and Who-dee-doo – who accompany him on his journey.
Sears, 67, also goes by the name “Mule.” He has been traveling the American West with his pack animals for more than 10 years. Along the way, he stops at city hall and government offices. He presents officials with a copy of his “Declaration of Emergency,” which calls for the creation of a government-funded interstate trail system.
This system would function like the interstate freeway system. But it would connect people with nature and help stop the sprawl of “Megatropolis” – Sears’ term for the man-made world that, according to his declaration, “shows no bounds and cares not for the consequences of its behavior.”
“We need a human environment, not just machines and concrete,” Sears said. “The trail system would address that.”
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Sears has been living an itinerant lifestyle for more than 30 years. He acquired his first mule about a decade ago. Profiled by “The Atlantic,” “Mules and More Magazine” and other publications, Sears has become something of a celebrity. But he insisted that the journey is more than a stunt.
“It was in my bones when I was a kid,” he said. “This isn’t a project. This is our life.”
Sears last visited Sacramento in September of 2014. He’s next headed to Santa Rosa. He’ll then turn north to escape the summer heat, and journey south when it starts to get colder. Sears chronicles his odyssey on his website and Facebook page.
Whether the visits to government offices will inspire legislative change isn’t something Sears seems worried about. He is an unlikely lobbyist, one who walks up to 20 miles a day and sleeps outdoors with his animals.
“We are told by our ancestors to do what we are doing,” Sears said. “Do something, don’t sit and watch what’s happening ... . We’re responding to that. The rest of it is out of our hands.”