As filmmaker Erin R. Dooley made her travel plans to walk 85 miles through the mountains in Ireland, people naturally asked if she would film a follow-up to her documentary film “A Way to Forgiveness,” which followed her journey walking 550 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago.
At first Dooley resisted, but when enough people had asked, she started to think about what she’d like to say in her next film. “A Way to Forgiveness” is very personal story that follows Dooley trying to forgive her former husband as she dealt with their divorce. Since her upcoming trip to Ireland was just a vacation, Dooley felt unsure of what the project would be, even in the weeks leading up to her departure.
“I started thinking about what hiking means to me, asking myself why I do it,” explains Dooley. “Hiking is now a central part of my life. It earned its place of honor when it gave me something to cling to when all seemed lost in my life.” Dooley walks a few miles every day and tries to squeeze in a longer hike most weekends. After much contemplation, she found her answer.
“Walking is a very contemplative activity for me. In walking, my body and my mind have found a new rhythm in life. I thought I would explore this,” says Dooley, “but I wanted to do it in a different way.” Dooley asked others to help her make a collaborative film. She invited people to film themselves walking on the same days she was walking the The Wicklow Way in Ireland. She wrote open-ended prompts for each of the seven days.
The result is a docu-series called “Wander on Purpose.” Dooley and 10 other hikers walk through nature sharing thoughts on life and contemplating the effect nature has on them. “Think of it like TED Talks in nature,” explains Dooley.
Each of the four episodes is 12-minutes long and follows people hiking in California, Illinois, and Florida as Dooley travels in Ireland. Filming mostly on their cell phones, the hikers talk about such things as giving up the mundane, discovering joy in life, and giving up fears and expectations.
Dooley knew almost everyone involved in the project, either through hiking or filmmaking. Among the hikers is JC Farris, Chicago-area writer/director, with whom Dooley has collaborated in making four other projects. “It was a great opportunity to force myself to get away from my computer and not only connect with nature, but knowing Erin was doing the same in Ireland, I was also spiritually connecting with my friend.”
Vickie Eisenstein, Chicago-area comic actor and YouTube-r, says “It’s incredible that at the exact same time I was filming myself taking a walk in suburban Chicago, ruminating on my purpose, others were doing the exact same thing. It’s really awesome that a film can be made collaboratively like this one was!”
“Wander on Purpose” will be released on July 18 on www.dashentertainmentllc.com. Audiences are encouraged to go for a walk to contemplate the topics discussed in the episodes and join the conversation on Dooley’s YouTube channel.
Copyright 2017 Erin R. Dooley
About the author: Erin R. Dooley is an award-winning screenwriter and producer. If she is not at home working, she can likely be found on one of the many trails in Los Angeles. Her projects are available online at www.dashentertainmentllc.com.