Follow my journey from Midtown NYC (Nov. 2012) to Downtown Los Angeles (Jul. 2013).
THE GOALS: (1.) Raise $20,000 for the American Diabetes Association, (2.) Spread awareness about the growing epidemic of Type-2 Diabetes, and (3.) Experience America up close and personal. [MISSION COMPLETE 7/20/13]
Cook, IN. As I walk I am accompanied with my small American flag attached to my pack. It serves as a reminder of how great this nation is and has the potential to be. Through this journey I've come to better realize its significance and the fact that it represents different things to different people. I believe everyone should have some idea of what their nation's flag means to them.
Madaryville, IN. After sleeping at a beautiful state park, I packed up, and I walked westward toward Lake Village to pick up some gear waiting for me at the post office.
Along the way I took a break to eat, drink, rest my back and feet. Liking the scenery around me, I took this photo.
Marion, IN. This photo was taken early morning on the Cardinal Greenway Trail on my way to Peru, Indiana.
Munster, IN. Kim was definitely a sweetheart. As the evening concierge, she offered me a great rate at The Hampton Inn, gave me the best route into Chicago (so I could live to talk about walking through Southside), and overall she made it a great stay.
The fact that we are in the same field and execute customer service on a high level gave us much to talk about as well as my journey, health, etc. I'm glad I met Kim, whom I'm still in contact with, she was awesome!
Saint John, IN. This photo was taken outside The Shrine of Christ's Passion. As you can see its a beautiful sculpture of the Virgin Mary. Don't know what it was but something drew me to stop from walking (towards Chicago) and take time to admire this statue.
Medaryville, IN. This is Paul and Matt, now at first glance while they were ordering I thought they were brothers or close friends. However, after asking them they turned out to be father and son. We talked a bit about my trip and they later gave a small donation to the ADA while leaving. I really meet some great people at Subway.
Lake Village, IN. While camping out one evening in the small town of Lake Village, I lost my phone while climbing from a dike, crossing the road, and then descending into a grassy drop. After setting up the tent for the night I suddenly realized I lost my phone in that transition. After a brief search with no luck I decided I would look once morning hit and so I went to sleep still thinking about my phone.
Morning came and with daylight on my side it was time to find my phone. One problem: during the night it snowed 3-4 inches! After several hours of looking and not finding it I decided to take break.
Went to the local store and purchased pumpkin flavored coffee, Gatorade, and hand warmers. What next? The library, it has alway been a great resource during this journey. Got there, logged on to the computer and then went to Find My iPhone (Apple iCloud). It showed the phone was still operable and its approximate location. While asking the librarian for a print out of my phone's location Matt (2nd from left in photo) and his wife Elizabeth (3rd from left) offer to help me locate the phone.
So, Matt & I searched and searched and searched and searched while his wife Elizabeth (sitting in the car nearby) along with their pastor (over the phone) prayed and prayed for my phone's recovery. As we just about exhausted our efforts the phone was found still working, no damages. I was one happy camper-hiker-walker!
I offered to take them to dinner in return for assisting me in finding my phone. They refused, and instead took me to visit Alan (far left) and Gail (4th from left with grand daughter) who minister Grace at the Cross Church. Alan and Gail both prayed for my phone to be found during my search. They were great hosts, we talked, I was fed, and later we all went out to view the church, a nearby nicely renovated former horse barn.
After examining all the sanctuary's beautiful fixtures and decor Pastor Alan prayed for my safe travels. I said my good-byes to Alan and Gail then left with Matt and Elizabeth.
Since it was later in the afternoon Matt offered to put me up for the night which was a good idea even though I was just thinking about walking. We talked for a while, I had a great dinner, slept well, ate an excellent breakfast in the AM, and then departed them -- heading to Cedar Lake, IN.
Matthew and Elizabeth's level of care, concern, selflessness is highly admirable. I felt bad for Matt when he was helping me look through the snow for my phone along side that very busy elevated 2-lane road, but he didn't want to leave my side even when I insisted. In this journey my phone has become my lifeline and without Matt's good will amongst other things, I wouldn't have found my phone and would have found myself in a difficult situation for quite some time.
Sometimes our mishaps bring forth great people, ideas, things, and/or events to come into our lives and this was one of those moments.
Peru, Indiana. It seemed to have taken forever to get into the city of Peru, Indiana. Before getting to my destination that day I met Tom King (Marion, IN), Chris Reed (Peru, IN) who both gave donations, and several other individuals who gave me praise along the way.
Thankfully that evening I had great place to stay and it was with Tony and his beautiful wife Kim who I connected with through their son via the "Couchsurfing.com" website.
Unfortunately, I never got to actually meet their son Dylan (who was away at college), but Tony and Kim were excellent hosts. They offered me Dylan's room with a cozy bed and bathroom, and filled me to the brim with Kim's home cooked food and assortments of desserts.
We sat back in the living room and talked about my walk, themselves & family, tennis (a game I've always admired while living in Connecticut), and they offered great tales and antics of their sons that make my cross country walk seem like an evening stroll.
I love hearing stories of adventurous people, everyone walks around so sanitized to try new things and explore the unknown. So many things that scare us to "follow the program" and keep us scared and falsely fearing.
On this journey I have meditated on the multitude of positive things that could possibly transpire as well as the negative. I am content with all that has, is, and will happen good and bad.
Whether it was sleep walking, walking/sleeping in minus 15 degree weather, walking through the hood/notorious trailer park, hands being numb and useless, sleeping in hunting parks while hunters were hunting, being attacked by unchained dogs regularly, encountering a bear/several coyotes, running out of food/water, or walking through dark forest at night -- I've come to realize no matter what obstacles you or I have faced from Day 1, birth, to right now you and I have survived time and time again and are still standing to learn & grow from those lessons and are here to tell about them! I will continue until my ticket expires, I enjoy and live for my peaks and enjoy and adjust in my valleys -- life is ups and downs, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be bigger than any obstacle or personal fear and with a friendly calm demeanor will continue to press on come hell or high water.
It was inspiring to hear about their son's courage. It enhanced my everlasting yearn to think positively outside of my frame of comfort in order to stretch my own self-imposed limitation.
I wished I had spent more time with them, however I enjoyed their (and Dylan's) kindness for graciously accommodating me. Thanks a lot guys and Dylan good luck in school (please make sure to switch from general studies... trust me)!
Above is Tom King, who mistook me for a farm worker (too funny) while I stopped to take off a layer (due to over heating, which happens often while walking through the snow) and get a quick bite to eat -- this was bet. Marion, IN and Peru, IN.
So he asked me what I was doing, I explained, we spoke for a little, gave him my business card, and he departed. He later drove back (which often happens) and gave a donation for the ADA, which I was grateful for.
St. John, Indiana. Shout out to all the Lake Central High gentlemen I met at Taco Bell:
DJ, Gage, Brandon, Chandler, Chris, Max, Austin, & Damarta.
I'm glad I met you guys. Later in life you come to realize how wonderful your high school years are. It is launchpad into the rest of your life. So I wanted to leave you with these words, if you can take something from them -- great! If not, its okay I still wish great things for you...
*In a world of noise, confusion, illusion, and fear have full faith in yourself and believe in your ability to handle and rise above ANY situation.
*Put in the work for excellent grades and go to college.
*Get involved in at least one team sport.
*Have your goals and a detailed written plan before you graduate high school.
*Start a small business now.
*Learn to manage your personal finance.
*Follow your passions.
*With the exception of honor & good sense, never give up and never give in.
*Finally, be true to yourself.
...I wish you all the best!
Also shout out to the young man with long hair who's name I didn't get who was the first one to greet me and told what I was doing was awesome. Thanks also to Brandy, the young lady behind the counter.
I love Taco Bell!
De Motte, IN. After a night of camping out of camping out with only a frozen can of soup, I was dead hungry. The only things I had to hold me over that morning was some Orbit gum, along with a bag of spicey Doritos and a Rice Crispy treat I asked a police officer for after he stopped me (a technique that's helps me when I'm hungry and happen to get pulled over). Those snacks I received made my day, I quickly ripped the wrappers open, fingers frozen, and devoured them on site.
After walking about 5 miles I discovered a huge truck stop in which I found a Subway restaurant. On my journey Subway has been the friendliest and healthiest fast food restaurant, so that's where I went.
There I met the Rachael and Char (shown above), they were extremely nice and accommodating. They knew just about everyone that walked in the door (like Cheers minus the beer) and probably because of their positive energy I felt I knew them as well. I even noted some things from their interaction with customers that I will use when I return. I ate very well, charged my phone, thanked the staff, and later left.
Life is sometimes a challenge and it helps to come across or have individuals in your life like Rachael and Char to maintain that upbeat, positive mindset. I work in the hospitality field and I admire those that get it, those that understand its not all about how fast or how well you make my footlong sandwich but essentially how you make me feel (customer, non-customer, family, friend, co-worker, etc.) -- that's it plan and simply and that's what keeps 'em coming back. Rachael and Char get it and I'm glad I stopped there.
Friday, November 28, 2012
Runner, Writer, Thinker, & Positive Energy.