Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A New Home

Hello all! I've had a wonderful summer with many adventures during my road trip around the United States, and I'm excited to share them all with you. It turned out that updating the blog while I was on the trip wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, sometimes due to lack of a good internet connection, but most of the time because I was just too tired from my busy days of traveling to think about writing anything. I figured writing about the trip and blogging would be a little easier once I was living in the same place for a while, and my new home happens to be Union, Kentucky just south of Cincinnati. So, that's what I will try to do from here on out, and I'll post stories as I write them out. Thank you all again for helping to make my dreams of traveling a reality and for cheering me on. I learned so much and all in all I feel very fulfilled by the whole experience.

Love,

Eric


video

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shifting Gears

Check out my new car! It's a 2005 Hyundai Elantra GT, and it will be my companion for the rest of my trip. It's a manual transmission and I've had to learn how to drive stick the past few days, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. New departure date looks like right around the end of Memorial Day weekend. Just a couple more days and I'll be zooming towards the Heartland. More to come!

- Eric

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Clarity

First of all, I'd like to apologize for failing to give you all written updates for the past two Wednesdays. I've been pretty busy and had alot on my mind lately, my bad!

That brings me to the main reason for this post: I've put alot of thought into it, days and days of going back and forth, and I've decided that from this point on, my cross-country journey will not be exclusively a walking trip.

So far I have walked almost 300 miles from Provincetown, MA to Wassaic, NY, in just over a month's time. This has been an amazing journey in itself and I feel very blessed and proud to have completed it without any major problems. I had overwhelming support from all my family and friends, and together we were able to raise almost $4,000 to fight hunger in America. The universe gave me an almost completely sunny four weeks during which I learned countless lessons about my body's limits, the kindness of strangers, and what it really takes to immerse yourself in this type of solitary lifestyle.

However, it has become more and more clear to me that I need to be honest with myself about what I am trying to get out of this trip, and the type of fulfillment I am truly searching for. From the outset, I never wanted this trip to be about the accomplishment of walking the United States or have it just act as a means to an end. It's more about the process of the journey itself, the people I meet along the way, and my ability to share kindess and love with strangers as well as everyone I am missing back home.

Even as early as mid-April, as I was coming off Cape Cod, I started to realize that one day I could be having these amazing travel experiences, meeting new people, and exploring the country, and I could do so in a way that didn't make it so difficult on my body and spirit. Recently I've felt an overwhelming urge to reevaluate this trip, and I wanted to take the time here to explain my decision to everyone, straight from my heart.

Basically what it came down to in the end was a case of the Cons overshadowing the Pros in this walking lifestyle. First, although my body was getting stronger from long periods of walking with the pack, the pain in my feet never really went away, and often I would end up feeling axious or worried throughout the day about the possibility of injuring my foot again. Second, food and water availability was another thing I would sometimes get stressed over. Walking 11 miles on a hot day, on asphault, up and down hills, dodging cars, and not being properly fed or hydrated: it can really take something away from the beautiful scenery around you. I recently faced this problem and it was the first time I had to consider the reality of living without proper nourishment. It's not fun! Third, the simple fact that unless I was staying at some kind stranger's place, I was completely alone. I felt like I was prepared for this aspect of the trip, but I believe I may have been wrong. Although it was nice camping out on quiet, calm nights, there is something about having no cell phone reception and no way to leave but your own two feet that can make the night about 100 times lonelier. Problems like these made me think: "If I'm feeling more lonely & stressed than I am fulfilled & happy, why should I continue this way?"

I know all of this sounds like I am totally knocking the walking experience, which is completely not the case. These were some of the only Cons of the trip, but they turned out to be big ones for me. For another person, with a different body, or a different life situation, or with a different background experience, these things could turn out to be trivial and easily overlooked. But for me personally, I just realized that I had to trust in my heart that I know what is best for me. I didn't want to continue to push my body and spirit past my limits just for some stubborn sense of accomplishment. That's not me!

The whole point of this trip was to throw myself into some adventurous and uncomfortable territory so that I could experience, learn, and move on from there. I feel like I have done that, and now it is time to move on to the next step. Although it was hard to feel like I wasn't 'giving up' when I first made this decision, I really don't feel that way at all going forward. I am still going to head West across the country: walking, hiking, eating, meeting new people, exploring, and reflecting. How, you ask? By car, of course!

Right now I'm looking to buy a used car, and once I find a good one I will be leaving as soon as possible from Danbury towards California. I have some destinations and stops in mind, but I will try to make the trip as open-ended as possible. Having a car in the equation will simply allow me to carry more supplies, zoom in and out of places quickly, have some type of shelter in bad weather, and will make food budgeting a bit easier too. I still want to walk in different places for at least a couple hours a day, and I will continue to update this blog as my travel journal.

I hope that you will all support me in this decision, and I want to thank everyone who has supported me, cheered me on, and donated to my fundraiser; you are all my inspirations and you make me feel proud to know and love such amazing people.

I also want to give a special thanks to Jason Griffing, Julianna Rathonyi, Jim & Kris Waldron, the Switaj family, Mom & Dad Armstrong, and Nature's Classroom Lakeside for taking me in and giving me somewhere to stay as I walked across Connecticut. You are all incredible!

That's all folks! I'll be posting updates as this next stage unfolds...

- Eric

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Long-Awaited Update

Hello everyone!

It's been much too long since I've given you all a written update. Part of it has been because I have been lazy and I feel like I can never quite find the time to formulate my thoughts, and part of it has been the fact that I am still pondering how I should schedule my written or video updates. I'm thinking a weekly written update would be good. Today is Wednesday, so how about every Wednesday!? Cool.

First of all, I want to take the first part of this to name and sincerely thank all of those who have generously taken me in and restored my spirit beyond words. People like Len Bowen, Rick & Julie Guibord, Heather Dalton, Nature's Classroom Yarmouth, Carol & Dave Thompson, Tom & Deena Kinsky, my amazing girlfriend Erin Sladen, Stephanie & Sue at the Moonlite Inn, Josh Lavoie, Judy Wynne & Family, my buddy Greg Colucci, Nature's Classroom Ivoryton, and Jessica Flake have shown so much kindess, gone out of their way for me, and made sure that I've felt comfortable and safe on a journey where neither of those things will ever be a guarantee. You all inspire me more than you'll ever know!

To those people who I meet on the street in passing, I want you to know how powerful your words of encouragement are and how wonderful it is to meet all of you. You are a part of what makes every day a new adventure and you keep my inner positivity glowing. Thank you so much!

Even those who may never read this; you beep your horns at me and shout enthusiastically or pump your fist out the window of your car. You keep me going!

If I'm leaving anyone out please forgive me; everyone involved so far has really made this more amazing so far than I could have ever expected.

Now, onto a more general update on how things have gone and how things are going. As far as how I'm doing physically, things are looking good! All my muscles have been feeling strong and flexible, and aside from a few minor blisters and occasional sunburn, I've really had no complaints. The weather has been so incredibly beautiful that sometimes I wonder if this is real life. I honestly have not had to walk in a steady rain once yet. As previously mentioned, the same kind of luck has been true with finding places to sleep at night. I've only had to camp outside two nights so far, and both times I only had to deal with a few sprinkles of rain. My pack has been feeling good, never too heavy that I felt any pressing need to lighten the load. Food and water have been easy problems to solve so far, since New England is pretty dense as far as restaurants, gas stations, and other stores go.

I've seen and done some really beautiful things so far. I've traveled beside the ocean, walked along abandoned railroad tracks, crossed a 135 foot tall bridge, walked through a couple cities, stayed at a B&B free of charge, played basketball with kids in Pawtucket, crossed two state borders, and camped outside under an abandoned wooden bridge. Those are just some of the highlights, but there have been so many more amazing things that have happened, it's hard to keep track of it all! Seeing the landscape change from coastal plain to rolling hills has been a real treat so far, and feeling the season change from late winter to budding spring has also been encouraging.

So, all in all, I am doing very well! As I make my way across Connecticut I am meeting more people and exploring both new and familiar places, getting used to the hills, and bracing for the heat of the coming summer. It's gonna be a good one!

Until next Wednesday...

- Eric

PS: I intend to do a long picture update pretty soon, so check back!

On The Road: April 23rd, 2013

Willimantic, Connecticut

Monday, April 15, 2013

On The Road: April 15th, 2013

Thoughts, love, and prayers with all those in Boston tonight. Do not be afraid; they can't take our love and our spirits away from us.

Rehoboth, Massachusetts

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"A man may stand there and put all America behind him"


View from the top of Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown; looking eastward towards the Atlantic.
(Found on Google Images)

Well! It's been a long break from walking so far. I've been here in Danbury resting, stretching, walking, and researching. While it's been nice to return home and re-evaluate my situation, I'm definitely ready to get back out on the road! For a few weeks after I came home, my heel just wouldn't stop hurting every time I tried to walk. BUT finally, about a week ago I started seeing the results of my frequent stretching. I'm happy to report that I am feeling much more flexible now and I am walking increasing distances each day with no heel pain at all! Today I walked about 4 miles and my feet felt great. It's really encouraging to have made progress, but to make sure I don't rush into walking again I will be waiting until April 1st to head back to Cape Cod. I've also nixed tons of unnecessary things from my pack, so much that it may turn out to be 5 to 10 pounds lighter, which is a HUGE help. With warmer weather and extra daylight, I'm thinking once I get back on the road I'll really hit my stride. Can't wait!

Here's some EXCLUSIVE NEVER BEFORE SEEN photos from my first 4 days of walking:



The Sun Rises

Me at the Pilgrim Monument, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt at the Cornerstone Ceremony for the Pilgrim Monument, 1907
Neat, huh!

Erin & Me!

Cape Cod Bay looking like quicksilver.

"Beside, an outward cold and dreariness, which make it necessary to seek shelter at night, lend a spirit of adventure to a walk." - Henry David Thoreau 
I've finally decided my future lies...
"To The Lost"

Chillin' at the Truro War Memorial.

The Flag Flies

Yeah! Minus the bike part.

View of distant Provincetown from a hillside in Truro.

Old man's beard? Bear Grylls would be proud.

Snack time on Hungry Hill!

Chillin' on Hungry Hill.

A wire runs through it.

And believe me, it WAS.

Ocean View Road!

Never a sweeter sight.

Chillin' at Blackfish Variety bus stop. In case you were wondering, they don't have any fruit.

My way or the highway.

Best Dinner

Somehow the ground knew the exact distance I had walked thus far...

Frozen Marsh

Chillin' at the awesome tree.

And then I climbed it!

And then I saw this view!

First bear sighting; I'll have you know I was clutching my pepper spray tight!

Amazingly Beautiful

On My Level

Frozen Pool 
~*~*~ Dude & Luna ~*~*~


Best Fish Tank


"It is remarkable that men do not sail the sea with more expectation. Nothing remarkable was ever accomplished in a prosaic mood. The heroes and discoverers have found true more than was previously believed, only when they were expecting and dreaming of something more than their contemporaries dreamed of, or even themselves discovered, that is, when they were in a frame of mind fitted to behold the truth. Referred to the world's standard, they are always insane." - Henry David Thoreau
Hope you enjoyed the pictures; let the insanity begin!