Last Friday, I connected with my aunt regarding my departure from Williamsburg. I intended to walk to her place in Powhatan, and it would take about 3 days. As it turned out, my twin cousins had a birthday on 29th that I would definitely miss if I continued walking, so they offered to pick me up. There was a trail head about an hour’s walk from me, and they were about an hour and a half away by car, so we agreed to meet there. As it turns out, I would’ve needed a ride that day anyway at some point.
You see, I walked myself into not being able to continue safely again. That morning I was having trouble eating and drinking, and was experiencing waves of nausea. On climbing small hills, nothing compared to some of long and/or tall arched bridges I had already passed heading to Williamsburg, I would get exhausted to the point of needing to rest for a few minutes just to feel like I could take complete breaths again. Turns out walking with equipment through high-heat high-humidity conditions can cause symptoms of heat stroke! Who knew?
To top it all off, I was getting well and thoroughly chafed. This walk has beaten me to injury and sickness on all of my bouts, so it was time to recover and seriously reconsider my approach.
What about hitchhiking? Perhaps I can put my thumb out to get around until I get the resources to deal with this better. Basically I’d be trading the risk of walking myself into injury for the risk of dealing with the kind of person okay with picking up hitchhikers. Not too promising.
What about slowing way down? Short walks, long breaks, if only on the days like the one that knocked me off my feet yet again. Great, until I hit stretches of travel with nowhere to get food or water for miles on end.
It seems I would basically need someone trailing nearby in a car holding much of what I need, or be well connected all along my path for food, resources, or shelter. There are points where I would need more food or water than I could carry, making the viability to do this without dying drop like a rock.
After talking with a few family members, we decided my best option would be to regroup, prepare more, save more, and shift my sights to something more along the lines of the Appalachian trail. It’s meant to be hiked, its a great challenge, and I won’t be confined to road shoulders as wide as my wagon while semi trucks and texting divers are flying by at speeds up to 50mph.
The bad news: I must end my walk across America. It’s in the interest of my surviving through to the end of this year, and I’m sure will surprise no one. I knew this was a foolish and nigh-insurmountable task for me, but I’m glad I took it on.
The good news: with exception to actually crossing the country on foot, which went something like this…
…I actually accomplished everything else I set out to do.
- Follow my heart in pursuing something great
- Make new friends along the way
- Give it my all despite the odds…
- …but also have the wherewithal to regroup and figure things out instead of stubbornly persisting straight into furthur injury. “Any man can make mistakes, but only a fool persists in his error.”
- Be humbled in my experience
- Establish long term goals and purpose
So now I’m back in Minnesota. I’ll be helping my parents pack their things, after which we’ll all be headed out to their new place near Las Vegas! My dad’s been working there for a few months now, and may even be able to get me a job where he’s working now, doing cloud storage server maintenance.
I’ll have great access to gyms, state parks and trails ranging from beginner to expert difficulty. With this, I can properly and thoroughly prepare myself for a challenge like the Appalachian trail. If I get the job with dad, I’ll also be in a career with great long-term growth and flexibility!
I may have severely failed to cross America, but I succeeded in having the guts to take it on in the first place. I’ve gained perspective on how easy things have been for me, and how that can lead to the kind of comfort zone rut I was in before departing. I have a greater appreciation for having a home to recuperate at after a day of pushing my limits in pursuit of self improvement.
Life has presented new challenging and worthwhile opportunities for me, and I don’t intend to let them pass me by.
I will still periodically post updates about things here, to keep a public journal of where things go from here or recollections of things I often forget so I have something to reference.