Ben Does Life., The Long Walk

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Tonight I’m arriving in California after nine months of planning a 3,100 mile walk from Los Angeles to Boston. Pacific to Atlantic. Saturday morning I’ll dip my toes into the ocean and begin the longest walk of my life. 

Last May, the day I turned 29, I weighed 381 pounds, just out of a four-year relationship and was the unhealthiest I’d been in a long time. When I began planning the walk, I suspect I saw it as an escape–running away from myself, I guess. The geographic cure and all that. I wrote (and am still writing) every day about the process, the planning and the things I’m feeling toward the walk. In the early stages of plotting, my attitude was overly confident, certainly overcompensating for my own insecurities. Now, as I’m more prepared and trained for the endeavor, I have a respect for the journey. 

And I’m no longer running from something. In fact, I’m leaving a lot behind to do the walk as scheduled. My generally-comfortable life and routine notwithstanding, I’m leaving my girlfriend, my job, my family, friends and my dog. I’ve sold or given away most everything I own, fully committed to the trek. I’m scared as hell, but even more excited. I can’t think of anything further outside of my comfort zone of work, Netflix, lunch-break Yahtzee, climate-controlled workouts, and late-night Mario Kart with Alexis. Every Friday I go to the same Waffle House where my favorite waitress Jeanette brings me a bacon and egg sandwich. None of that will be making the walk with me and it’s a little unnerving. 

Seven years ago I started this blog, promising Meemaw I would find happiness in life. I’ve done that, for the most part, and now I’m seeking the adventure. Channeling my inner Meemaw and becoming an explorer. It’s going to take a long time, somewhere between seven and nine months. I’m not exactly sure what all I’m looking for out there; the journey has a nebulous thesis. The only thing I know for certain is that it’s going to be hard, lonely, and exhausting, but hopefully exhilarating, inspiring, and rewarding all the same.

So that’s it. I’m walking to my grandmother’s via one of the longest routes imaginable. I’ll see you in the fall, Meemaw. I can’t wait. 

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