2020 has been a challenging year for everyone due to the presence of COVID and social unrest in our country. Numerous close friends and family members have expressed concerns about my decision to walk during these unprecedented times. I wanted to put together a list of precautions and boundaries I am setting for myself in order to increase my chances of a safe crossing of the U.S.
I will follow all CDC recommended actions to prevent the contraction or spread of COVID, including practicing proper social distancing, wearing a mask in public, limiting my time in public places, avoiding crowds, and washing my hands (or using hand sanitizer) when I will be or have been around people or public places.
I’m frugal by nature (some would even say cheap to a fault!) and am on a shoestring budget for this trip, so stays in hotels/motels or visits to sit-down restaurants will be few and far between. I will be camping most nights and spending roughly 99% of my time outside, which will help with social distancing. Considering the parts of the country I’ll be walking through (especially desserts in the West), I will be naturally isolated, often encountering three or four day stretches without passing through any towns or cities.
I will stay up-to-date on state and local rules and regulations regarding COVID and follow all government/business mandates regarding the virus. If a state or city goes into lockdown while I am walking through, my walk will temporarily stop until the lockdown is lifted.
I will also avoid areas that experience increased violence as the result of the upcoming election or future events.
Although we are living in some strange times, I believe that a different set of problems requires a different set of solutions. I will do everything in my power to find those solutions while keeping the health and safety of those around me in the forefront of my mind.
If, at any point, I feel like it is too dangerous to continue my walk (for myself or others), I will hit the pause button and resume walking at a later date.
Walk on with your mask on!