Wildcat Tracks: Theodore Muschany ’14 & Caleb Krumsieg ’14

Lots of college students take a little time off after graduation, maybe move back home, enjoy an extended vacation, or take an 18,000-mile road trip…wait, what? That’s right, a five-month journey driving from California to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, is exactly what WCA alumni Caleb Krumsieg and Theodore Muschany decided to do after graduating from Wheaton College. Along with two other Wheaton grads, the guys came up with a plan to travel the Pan-American Highway. “We spent over three years preparing for this trip, sorting out the logistics and determining our goals,” said Krumsieg. The group dubbed their trip: Project: Go There. “We were ‘going there’ beyond borders from California to the southern tip of Argentina, stepping away from our formal education and also out of comfortable places,” he explained. “We were not approaching this trip as some sort of ‘mission trip’, where we set out to save the world. But more of a listening tour to understand how different people see this incredible world that we get to call home for a few short years.”

A love for the outdoors and travel began with Westminster. “I would go so far as to say that Project: Go There wouldn’t have happened without the inspiration of Mr. Knerr and Dr. Holley. Theo and I went on back-to-back Summer Seminar backpacking trips junior and senior years to Montana and Oregon.” Krumsieg said. “Those trips took our love of outdoor exploration and education to a new level that ultimately drove us (literally) to the mountains of Patagonia. We have Mr. Knerr to thank for leading both of those trips and helping establish the Summer Seminar program as a pillar of our WCA experiences. Dr. Holley as well, thanks to senior year English class. We read stories like Into the Wild by John Krakauer and Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard. Those books helped me to think about enjoying life in ways that ‘normal’ people may think are ‘abnormal’. Both Mr. Knerr and Dr. Holley exemplified meeting God in the great outdoors in ways that have been influential to my own walk with Christ through college and beyond.”

The vast majority of this trip was self-funded by the group working two to four jobs throughout the summer of 2017. They also received sponsorships from companies like Clif Bar, Novus Travel, and Waveland Property Group. Loading up a 2001 Toyota Sequoia, the group set off from San Fransisco on August 8, 2017. They eventually crossed into 13 countries, meeting new friends and seeing old ones with Westminster connections like former teacher Tim Baldwin or alum Lucy Wynn ’12 at the Micah Project in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As one might expect, the journey was not all smooth sailing. “Nearly every night for a semester, we slept in a different location. Sometimes on a literal mountaintop or at a rural gas station in the dense heat. The highs, lows, and in-between times felt unbearable at times.”

But they persevered, driven to learn more about cultures and people so different from what they knew. “At each border crossing, we were welcomed into a unique country where real people love, work, eat, sleep, cry, and laugh,” Krumsieg says. “Not once did we meet a person who threatened us. On the contrary, we found new friends and acquaintances alike to be relationally present and welcoming.” This trip of a lifetime opened the group’s eyes to new experiences, but more importantly, it taught them about human relationships. “Typically, human relationships with strangers are broken. By refusing to listen or empathize, strangers can easily slight or misunderstand one another.” Krumsieg explained. “As we made our way south, dozens of people warmly opened their doors and generously provided meals. As we shared stories over food and coffee, those hosts painted a picture quite different from what we had experienced in our own context. By trusting us and sharing their lives, they demonstrated love at one of its most basic levels and they educated us on how good relationships can be.”

To read more about their journey or see additional pictures, visit their website: projectgothere.weebly.com

This alumni spotlight was originally featured in the November 2018 issue of our alumni newsletter, Wildcat Tracks.
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