Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

CA woman walks for peace

Alexis Ryon-Melcher

Alexis Ryon-Melcher

A California woman is walking through the state for peace, working to meet strangers and looking for volunteer work along the way.

Alexis Ryon-Melcher, 53, a lesbian who works as a life coach, left Nevada City, her home of about 25 years, March 21 on her “Walk for Peace.” She’s been walking ever since.

Ryon-Melcher was in South San Francisco Thursday and was headed to San Mateo Friday. She’s not sure of her ultimate destination, or whether she’ll go back to Nevada City.

“I have no idea where I will end up,” she said. “I have sold off pretty much everything I own. I’m relying on the spirit to tell me when and where I’m supposed to stop.”

The idea for her trip came from a dream she had more than 20 years ago.

“It’s something I’ve thought about on and off,” Ryon-Melcher said. “I wasn’t sure what exactly it was supposed to looked like … It scared me. It felt like a big commitment and a big shift in a settled life, but I feel called to have these conversations about peace and create some energy at the grassroots level about what it’s going to take to be peaceful in ourselves and with other people, and ultimately in the world.”

She acknowledged that even to her, “there’s a part of it that seems really outrageous,” but “I just feel really fortunate to be doing this. I consider this my work, and I just feel really fortunate.”

She recalled one conversation she had with a homeless man a couple weeks ago.

Ryon-Melcher carries her possessions in “a little buggy.” The man had all his things with him, too, and “we had a really lovely conversation.”

After they were done talking, “he turned around and ran back and offered me a couple bucks. I was really moved by how little each of us has, but his absolute willingness to give me part of what he had.”

The biggest challenge has been finding a place to stay each night. She’s used and has stayed in a couple motels, but she also has a sleeping bag and a tent, and she’s spent some time sleeping outside.

So far, only one person’s told her she has to be nuts.

“I actually only had one person say that to me,” Ryon-Melcher said. “It was a very, very good friend of mine, several months after I told her I was doing it, when she realized there were nights I was going to be camping.”

She welcomes people to walk with her, and she can be reached through her website –




— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 30, 2016 @ 11:23 pm PST
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