“Keep Faith. The human race is divine.” -Protagoras
We’re just over one week in, one border crossed (into South Carolina), and over 100 miles covered. I’m sipping my tall, nonfat iced coffee at starbucks in North Myrtle Beach, resting my body and allowing for some much needed recovery from the grueling week of persistent aches, pains and challenges.
I began with an oversized pack which nearly crippled me and have since cut the weight to bare essentials and honestly less than that, as depicted of a sheet for a sleeping bag. The original sleeping cacoon and tent have been tossed to the curb. Simply too heavy a load to carry. I’ve also downsized my wardrobe to 3 changes of shorts, tees and socks. Accomplishing the miles is foremost of importance and one way or another those miles will be covered.
When prepping for this Trek, I imagined roadside campouts with smores and coombya singalongs as a nightly means of rest and recovery. It just seemed logical as a walk across the country would surely bring some good times of outdoor living and my favorite lifestyle of “winging it”. Oh how right AND wrong I was.
Night one was a mix of both. We found ourselves sleeping in a garage of an unihabited beachfront rental property. Was it the smartest or most legal of things to do? Welp, let’s just say that as the rain pellets smashed against the roof above, neither of those were on my mind. Rest and recovery took all precedence. A swift baby wipe shower and laying atop my then secured sleeping bag, marked for the most grateful night of having a roof since I can remember. Night one was accomplished with much success.
The weight of the packs and covering anywhere from 12 to 20 miles a day has resulted in aching muslces and blistered, painful feet (Video of feet as of this morning. Not for those with a weak stomach. Consider this your warning ). Each time we stop to rest and regroup, my feet tighten up and the striding out back onto the pavement is marked with 5 minutes of Matter over Mind pain as I recoup my gait and “walk it out”. By days end when we hit our stopping point where TOdd and I look around for our options, my body is beat to the ground and laying along curb of the road seems as good an option as any. Logically, I let that thought come and go as swiftly as possible.
The Constant and Conclusion
The first week has taught me that one thing is constant. The unexpected and unthinkable enters our world during this crucial time of need each night. We have slept in the lobby of a cop station (after the church lady called the cops on two suspicious white guys sleeping out back) to the couch of our cab driver, Junebug, who was originally taking us 4 miles ahead to our sleeping location. We’ve had everything from near and dear friends graciously putting us up with food, showers and rest to a 75 year old man, Lael, who pointed us in a direction he knew was needing heard. This was a spot under the stars safe and away from any passer-bys who could bring us any trouble or harm. I couldn’t help but spend my night under the stars reflecting on the wisdom of the hour long conversation which I will carry into the following months and endless years of life to come.
One week in. TOdd and I are completely humbled. The world is marked with seemingly so many horrific things, yet our experiences have been nothing but persistent kindness and genuine love. It’s as if the tides of the earth have been shifted and a wave of caring souls have been placed on our path to guide and protect us through this journey. As I’ve said many times before, we are all on this 3600 Mile Walk together. Without the love and support of each of you, this experience could not be possible. Collectively each step is a step towards a more complete life marked with good deeds and meaning behind all our actions.
Let these words mean more now than ever … Embrace. Believe. And most of all, “Keep Faith. The human race is divine.”
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As long as I can eat, I’ll make the Trek across the country. Feel free to buy me breakfast or even a years worth of Ramon Noodles!