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How To: Walk Across America

When I started planning our cross country walk, I didn't know where to start. I was slightly intimidated by those who had done it already; I didn't want to waste thier time by emailing them questions that could have been answered by simply doing my research. Furthermore, I didn't know exactly what to ask. I had questions regarding budgeting, gear, route, weather, milage, camping, food, and much much more. Over the course of the next month I will be updating this article to encompass a great number of topics. I hope to address those questions most commonly asked by passer-byers, while supplying enough in-depth info to encourage and help those who plan on embarking on similar walks. I look forward to getting this info written out, so check back soon to learn the ins and outs of walking across America.

To keeping you in the know,



Steps 1-5 Preperation: the big picture...

Step 1: Imagine yourself roadside and a car pulls over. Your first thought is most likely "I hope they offer me some water," because water is heavy and valuable. They most likely won't offer water, instead... their first question will be, what are you doing or are you really doing it (this one is easy to answer: walking across america and yes), then they ask why (not so easy). This question plagues peoples minds; they are looking for purpose. On our trip, we often aswered, "why not," we have no mortgage, no job, no kids, and we just graduated, meaning we have no physical home. We would tell the passer-byer we were simply looking for adventure at a time in our lives when we had nothing to loose. Sometimes (not always), we would explain that we wanted to point our adventure in a positve direction; that we were using our website to help raise awareness Feeding America. So ask yourself "why." I promise you that at some point you will seriously contemplate why you put yourself through this journey. Regardless of whether you have a reason yet or not, it helps to know what you expect to get out of an undertaking such as this.

Lots of people walk for a charity. If this is what you are looking to do, you will no doubt be able to leverage the epic nature of a walk like this. You are going to meet tons of new people everyday and those people are going to be curious. I am sure a charity would love to have an spokesperson as publicly accessable as you. This topic plays well into personal PR, but we will talk about that in a bit.

Other reasons include, self discovery, fittness, data analysis, and so on. So really think about "the why" because it would not be fun to fail at the halfway point because you didn't have a reason to continue. Furthermore, whatever your reason is, it will help keep you motivated when the journey gets tough (and it will).

Step 2: Create a plan; "those who don't have a plan, plan to fail." I don't know if I neccessarily agree with this statement, but in the case of walking across America, I definitely suggest a plan. When creating a plan I would suggest first thinking about timeline, route, budget, and gear. All these aspects are all interelated. Obviously these are some aspects of the journey you are seeking advice about and we will get to them in a bit. The point is... you need a plan!

After I did my research, I planned on backpacking with the lightest gear I could afford from New York down to Tennessee, then west to California. I planned on doing this with my girlfriend and on a budget of 20 dollars a day per person. We were going to leave New York on July 1st 2012 and try to finish in 150 days. This was the basic plan and it influenced many other aspects of the trip. It dictated our pace, where we would be sleeping, what weather we had to pack for, and so on.

Step 3: Do your homework: Your plan and thus your trip will be greatly influenced by how much research you put in ahead of time. Since I planned on backpacking I read everything I could on the subject. Unable to do much physical training ahead of time, I hit the road with no "walking muscles." This meant my girlfriend and I would greatly benefit from light wieght gear. Regardless of how much wieght we shed, I knew that the friction from our bags, cloths, and shoes would likely cause blisters (I knew this because of my research). I read about how to prevent blisters (keep dry feet via baby powder and change socks often) and treat blisters (don't pop them, drain them only if necessary and from the base edge). This research and preparation paid off greatly.

Step 4: Gather Supplies: Once I knew what I needed both physically and mentally I compiled it all. I bought what I needed. I made sure those things I already had for the trip were well maintained and in good condition. I didn't know everything I needed to when I left, but I was as prepared as I was capable of being. When people would ask me a question about where I planned on sleeping, food, shoes, wieght, route, or anything else I had some knowledge on the subject. This not only made sure I wasn't going to get myself killed, but gave others confidence in my ablity to complete the journey (which in turn helps with donations, if you are looking for help).

Step 5: Get Walking: Once you have done all the prep work, the time has come, and you are ready to hit the road or trail. One way plane ticket, that first step out the front door, that first time you put your completed pack on your back, your on the road and headed forward. This part just puts a huge grin on my face, because as much as you prepare you will have no idea what a wonderful adventure you are about to embark on.


Ok Ok, now for the details.... to be continued.... eventually....