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I'm planning on walking across the country - any interesting advice, personal stories, positive feedback anyone would like to share?
March 23, 2009 2:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning on walking across the country - any interesting advice, personal stories, positive feedback anyone would like to share?

This is a personal serendipity quest. I'm not walking in the name of any particular charity or cause - but for my own enlightenment and experience. I started a photo blog to follow my progress.
posted by horseshoecrab to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
[took blog link out, please put it in your profile if you'd like people to see it]
posted by jessamyn at 2:30 PM on March 23, 2009


First and foremost, I'd say "carry mace"
Second: Cellphone and charger. Get one of the ones that you can pop a AA battery to use as an emergency backup (also carry a lot of AA batteries).
Third: Have fun and good luck!
posted by DonSlice at 2:34 PM on March 23, 2009


Which 'country' are you referring to ? The whole world is listening.
posted by southof40 at 2:39 PM on March 23, 2009


You've read A Walk Across America, yeah?
posted by nitsuj at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2009


Budget for replacement shoes. Consider getting liners and swapping them out each day to mitigate moisture issues. Have stuff mailed ahead (hotels, hostels, post offices, etc., in advance). Avoid highways, stick to rural roads. Wear something reflective and bright both day and night. Plan for some down time. Start with short days (5hrs?) and work your way up to long days (12hrs). Bringa blister kit for the first few weeks. Have a rain coat and rain pants. Synthetics, although lighter and quicker to dry, stink easily. Consider cotton underwear and synthetics for everything else. Have a press release and have someone else notify towns in advance that you are coming. Wear sunscreen, get a hat and sunglasses. Stop and smell the roses.
posted by furtive at 2:41 PM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I was a teen, I would walk everywhere for hours. Just wandering.
The only thing I might offer is that somewhere, someone is going to try to take your head off from a moving vehicle. For me, it was the sensation of a baseball bat whistling past my left ear at 40 miles an hour.

Stay alert.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:43 PM on March 23, 2009


Thanks everyone who's comment thus far - indeed, stop & smell the roses. And the pine trees..
& I am referring to America - apologies for not making that clear.
posted by horseshoecrab at 2:53 PM on March 23, 2009


How are you going to get back home when you're done?
posted by netbros at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2009


A friend of mine did this. He spent many months on shorter walking tours getting stronger, getting used to the equipment he planned to carry, and all importantly, getting sponsorship/saving for the shoes he would have to replace every month or two, the cost of packs, food, technical clothing, tents, occasional hotel nights etc etc.

It took him almost two years to plan and the actual walk took a year.
posted by wingless_angel at 4:05 PM on March 23, 2009


A book on the same topic I really enjoyed was "Walk to New York" about a walk from Northern Ontario of 2,200 km (1400 miles - about half the distance between New York and San Francisco). This sounds like wonderful adventure - good luck and enjoy each moment!
posted by saucysault at 4:22 PM on March 23, 2009


Yeah, seconding reading the experiences of those who've gone before you. Don't overlook cycling logs, as there's some overlap. One I always enjoyed is this one.

I wouldn't worry about anything except for aggressive dogs bolting out of rural proprerties, in which case some mace would be useful.
posted by crapmatic at 4:22 PM on March 23, 2009


Is it me, or does this sound kinda Forrest Gump-ish? I think its AWESOME.

Here is what you should do:

1. Cell phone. Don't use the shitty one you have now. Get one that you can recharge via SOLAR POWER. I can't think of a popular cell phone company that makes one, but if you get a popular enough phone, chances are that people will have solar power for it. Think Motorola Razr.

2. Mace? No. It doesn't work on everyone, and there may be state/local ordinances against it. I think you're a very courageous person for doing this walk, so I don't think you're really worried about bands of murderers following you across states like in a Lifetime movie. The first thing many people would think is "carry a gun"(or some other form of self-defense). I have two reasons to oppose that:
a. If you aren't properly trained with a weapon...chances are it will be used against you.
b. Do you really want your nice walk across America to be "my walk across america with a can of pepper spray". Wow.
Just be aware of your surroundings, have good backup plans, and...

3. Know the route you are taking. Don't change it up, and always have the phone number for local police. Better to be prepared than not.

4. The less you carry, the better. Carrying things for sentimental value might take a toll on you. Alton Brown has this policy of not having anything in his kitchen that serves only one purpose. You might want to consider that in how you pack. If you're a minimalist, it might be cool to do this walk with as few things as possible (without sacrificing your safety).

5. Checking out your website, it seems as if you really like taking pictures. I bet you have a nice camera that can be attached to your neck. Bad idea.
a. Have you ever walked 6 hours with a camera around your neck...it sucks.
b. Having an expensive camera around your neck might invite trouble. I'm not saying this will happen, it just invites it.
You should pack it nicely...and if you see something worthy of snapping...take it out. Easy enough, right?

6. You're a chick and you're walking across roads. Cops might stop you cuz they think you're a prostitute, and dudes might pull over for you because they might try the old quid pro quo and offer you a ride. Just be courteous and tell them what you are doing. They should leave you alone.

7. Document your day at night, or while stopping. Don't buy the thickest, heaviest notebook for this. Something light but still voluminous.

8. Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:46 PM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trail Journals will have lots of helpful hiking/long distance walking information and inspiration. You may also be interested in reading information from people who used the American Discovery Trail to cross the country. ADT
posted by BlooPen at 5:54 PM on March 23, 2009


Two other women who walked across the US:

Granny_D

Peace_Pilgrim
posted by yohko at 10:28 PM on March 23, 2009


Thanks to everyone who have shared their thoughts!

To hal_c_on:
It's very true, I have no idea how to use a weapon, and I'm not about to start. I have very keen instincts, and if I should get into a situation, well - there must be a lesson involved. But really, I don't have fear, and I think that good vibes attract like.
I have a brand new cell phone that has an amazing battery life that I do not plan on taxing.
As for what I'm carrying, I am going very much minimalist. Basic, tiny, compact. Nothing sentimental. In fact, I will be writing in a journal of sorts and mailing the pages to a friend as I go. As for my camera, it's actually a five year old Cannon Powershot (so thanks for the good camera-usage props!) that doesn't weight much at all. But once I actually leave for the grand adventure, I will be leaving the digital behind and adopting a lo-fi 35mm point and click and mailing the rolls of film to a friend who will develop and scan them for me, then stick them on said blog. It'll be a wild art experiment for both of us!
As for the Forest Gump reference, I had to smile at that - you are not the first person to mention it. And in a way, it does feel like that. The journey, no matter what shape it takes, is what is calling. Enlightenment and awe seem inevitable in all this, and I am just so very excited to be alive and to feel so free. There seems no greater cure for sorrow or stagnation than talking a walk and taking in the world.

Again, thank you : )
posted by horseshoecrab at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2009


Met a "walker" in Chicago once. His website is here:

http://www.walkforprogress.org/
posted by iamck at 2:56 AM on March 29, 2009


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