It has been three years since I began my first walk across America, and two-and-a-half years since I stepped into the chilly Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco.
In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. But now that I’m mere days away from another cross-country trek, it feels like a matter of weeks. I’m getting my brain back into “walking mode.”
The urge to get back on the road never left. It is easy to romanticise about the beauty of life on two feet. The road brings about amazing experiences…sleeping under the stars in national forests…watching winter turn to spring, spring to summer, and summer to fall….having unforgettable encounters with perfect strangers….the list goes on and on.
But along with the rewards of the road come the challenges. Blisters. Cold. Heat. Wind. Rain. Snow. Crazy drivers. Bumpy or non-existent shoulders. Uncertainty. Sleeping under bridges. Mental fatigue. Muscle soreness. My stench. That list, it seems, is even longer.
So the question I asked myself, over and over again, before committing to another walk was “Do you really want to put up with that shit for six months….again?”
And after a hearty laugh, the answer was, unequivocally, “Yes.”
Not because I’m a glutton for pain and punishment, but because every uncomfortable mile walked will make my smile that much brighter when I get my next meal at a diner or have a pleasant roadside encounter.
Every blister is a reminder of how powerful a single step can be when paired with more steps.
No matter how much pain accompanies a journey, there is beauty that can be found at every turn.
Those beautiful moments that result from the struggle are what fuel me and make me feel alive.
I had a wonderful weekend in St. Louis with my mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and niece. A little family time is always a great lead-up to the solitude that is right around the corner.
My next post will be from the highways of New England.
Let’s get out and walk people!
A few random photos from the weeks leading up to my train trip to Maine….