Doris Davis, Walking Across America

Doris Davis is walking across America.  The walk is a team effort, four walkers, including Doris’ daughter, Viveka Davis, will walk the entire 3000 miles from Oceanside, California to Washington, D.C.  Doris is committed to 1500 of those miles at over 11 miles per day.  They are accompanied by two modest RVs an the team will alternate walking days with support chores.

Doris is 72 years old and, lately, an interfaith minister.  The first footfall may have been on March 8, 2011, but, surely, the walk started in Berkeley in the 60s, where Doris was a student.

Asked if she was a hippie, Doris said she was a pre-Beatnik Bohemian, but by whatever name, she was active in the movement that set about to change the world.  A movement that surely altered the evolution of our entire society at the level of our most basic institutions.

Her path toward social activism came to an abrupt halt when a child protective services agency took her four children away and agreed to return them only if she could guarantee she could protect them from their abusing father.  So she divorced her Fullbright Fellow husband and found a career in university administration to support motherhood.

Asked why she is walking, Doris answered that she asks herself that question every day.  One of her blogs, tells there are an outer answers—labels for goals–and an inner answers—gratitude and personal completion.

Doris, Viveka, and I sipped our way through 20 cups of tea in six non-stop hours of conversation and I came to believe Doris is walking to raise awareness for a couple of her core beliefs.

From another of her blogs at

“. . .women’s full participation and contribution, in partnership with men, is essential now to resolve our global challenges”.

She believes there needs to be more women in the world’s leadership.  Women’s disposition to listen, discuss, and compromise will dilute male aggressiveness

“Western women will lead the world out of its present chaos.” A statement she attributes to the Dalai Lama.

“Western women have come a long way,” she says, “however there is further to go.  One of women’s tasks is to raise up women everywhere.  Most of the world treats women as chattel, beasts of burden, disposable.

“I am not angry with men.”  Doris says.  “What I believe is, as a nation, we have lost our vision.  We need to return to the vision of our founding fathers and this is why Washington, D.C. is our destination. “

Finally, I asked, how can one woman make a difference?

“By being a good example.” She said.


This is Doris’ story but I am unable to tell it without mentioning two of her children.

[Name to be inserted as soon as available] her son who was permanently injured in a teen-age auto accident.  Paralyzed from the belly button down, he got a scholarship in wheelchair basketball to the University of Illinois.  It is the story that taught me to not infer “permanently disabled” from “permanently injured.”

Viveka, who is traveling with Doris, was a successful movie star by the time she was in her 20s.  She played in a number of movies and TV productions and starred as Wynonna Judd in the 1995 mini-series, Love Can Build a Bridge.

6 Responses to Doris Davis, Walking Across America

  1. karen wittgraf says:

    WOW!! This is much more than I expected and I am sitting here in semi shock, feeling a little guilty myself, for not having that kind of courage or commitment to anything. I see, alas!, what you already knew about “the road” and it’s people. Doris is, indeed, one of the beautiful people. This is beginning to sound like an American version of “Three Cups of Tea”, but, thankfully, a peaceful experience.

  2. M. Kaplan says:

    Al, When I first glanced at Doris, I thought that the photo was you.

  3. Donald Fleming says:

    I’m really enjoying these postings Al keep them coming. Been looking up Rv’s like yours on Crags list.

    • allevenson says:

      Don, I am very pleased with my motorhome and was lucky to have stumbled on to this particular model. I had a bias toward diesel engines which limited the choices in coaches under 30′. Safari built the Trek model and offered it with a 135 hp Isuzu diesel in the early 90s. GM built the chassis and installed the Isuzu for which they were the exclusive importers at the time. They sold a ton of these finished as delivery trucks. I believe Safari built about 600 Isuzu Treks.

      Beside being of better than average construction, the owners have formed several clubs around the country. Besides developing a very familial camaraderie, They have dozens of technical bulletins posted at their website. I have attended two rallies of Trekkers and now have the phone numbers of a couple of Trek gurus–I believe these guys could field strip a Trek in the dark. They have taken a lot of mystery out of the coach for me and raise my confidence level to be able to do my year on the road.

      If you get close to buying a coach and have a question, feel free to try it on me. There should be some good buys these days as people throw in the towel at $4/gal fuel. That is also a good reason to stay with a modest-sized coach, a smaller engine. My 12 mpg feels like the epitome of fuel economy as compared to some of the gas guzzlers.

  4. A book about people that wanted to change the world would be interesting. History already shows us that many who try do not succeed.

    How about Gandhi? He succeeded when his non-violent movement brought freedom for India from the British Empire but what about his goal to bring peace between Muslims and Hindus?

    Then there was Marx and Lenin. They wanted to change the world and the route they thought would work best is just about gone. Cuba and China are both moving toward capitalism and the USSR is no more.

    Maybe it is a good thing that many of those people that wanted to change the world didn’t’ succeed. Hitler was one of those want-to-be changers and we should all be glad he failed.

  5. Shayna Lester says:

    Doris dear,
    I am soooo impressed with your courage. It was wonderful to read some of the things you have said….you are a very deeply intuitive and wise woman. I look forward to reading more as ‘you walk on your path’ across the U.S.
    Sending you much love for a wonderful journey,
    Shayna Lester

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