George Throop is travelling down and around the lower half of the United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. That's an unremarkable storyline considering business people, performers, and folks on vacation take trips across the country on a daily basis. Most of those people fly while others enjoy the scenic views of driving and trains. But George picked the most environmentally friendly option of all: He's walking.
We remember the popular scenes of witnessing the fictional journey of the title-character Forrest Gump as he ran across the country, having amassed a large group of followers along the way. In the movie, Forrest traveled for three years, two months, 14 days and 16 hours according to the film. And his reason became one of the most famous movie quotes of all time, "I just felt like running." George on the other hand is walking in memory of his mother, who died of bone cancer when George was only 9 years old.
"I'm walking across America to inspire people to live healthier lifestyles," he said. "I'm walking across the country to inspire people that every single one of us has enormous power within to create a better world for ourselves as well as everyone around us."
It's taken George 4 years to walk from his home in Washington State to Baltimore, having started on September 20, 2009. With the GPS on his smartphone as his guide, George is on his way to his final destination in Washington, D.C. His trek covers almost 5,000 miles.
Along the way, George is staying with host families or anyone that will lend him some shelter or a meal. He's also equipped with a rolling cart that includes camping supplies should he need them, a single pair of convertible outdoor pants, a couple shirts (one long sleeve), thermals, gloves, and a wool shawl among his other sleeping and rain gear. George started his walk wearing running shoes but had switched to sandals during the milder temperatures and will probably be transitioning back to runners now that the weather is starting to change again. "My feet love Saucony," he said.
George is a vegetarian, so one of the challenges he meets on a daily basis is consuming enough calories to keep up with the amount he burns walking. Initially, it was George's plan to walk 20 miles a day, 6 days a week. However, he soon found that this would be a difficult schedule to keep, sometimes causing him to overshoot communities and miss out on a lot of the sights that locals wanted him to see. So on the advice of a gentleman he met along the way, George decided to just "Enjoy the Walk," which is also the name of his blog at www.enjoythewalk.org.
Regardless of what sights he sees or detours he takes off his route, it's always been important to George that he "connect the steps." And he's done so entirely except in his route through Louisiana, which featured two bridges that were too dangerous for him to cross on foot. As for his favorite parts of his journey, George said he loves talking to people that love their city and noted the California Redwoods as "the most precious part of the walk."
Although he ditched his schedule a long time ago, George hopes to be finished by the end of the year. Follow George's journey as he blogs and read more about his mission and journey at www.enjoythewalk.org.
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