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It's been 2 years since I left Tucson to make the long journey home. In that time, my life has completely transformed. New job, home, and sense of self. Walking Home was a big part of that change and I am forever indebted to you for making that possible.
So, without further ado, I am excited to send out your Kickstarter gifts. Please let me know if you had any transformations that mean I should send your gifts to a different address.
For all you local Tucsonians, I would love to hand deliver your gifts and thank you in person. Would you be interested in a Thank You dinner? If so, please respond with Dinner Please!
I am finished. I have walked 2,007 miles, from Tucson to Grand Rapids. Walking from south to north and west to east, in desert wind, pine forests, over mountain passes, through clouds of smoke and dry heat, across prairies, open range, grasslands, rolling hills, above the flooded Missouri, past miles of idyllic farmland, row upon row of corn/milo/soybeans, in rain or wind, through the woods, along the shores of Lake Michigan, cruising over deep blue water, through big cities and small towns, and on my last day, crunching through frost-coated grass dappled with red, orange and yellow leaves.
But this beauty that is our country is only half the story.
Walking Home is about how connecting with community, online and in person, can create safety. How a lone woman can cross the country but never truly be alone.
I carefully planned this trip so that it was impossible to do on my own. I didn't bring a tent and I only had a $2 per day budget. There is no practical way to walk across the country by yourself on $2 a day without a tent… I had to ask for help.
And it worked. For 156 days I asked for kindness and received it abundantly. From my Kickstarter contributors, my friends and family, the road crew guys who offered me water, the people who stopped along the highway to make sure I was alright, the community organizations who made phone calls to their members to find me a night's lodging, my online followers who watched over me daily, my fellow walkers who joined me for a stretch of road, my wonderful hosts who shared their homes and stories with me… never have I experienced anything more beautiful than surviving and thriving completely by the grace of the kindness of others.
In 156 days, I slept in 122 different beds on this journey, 96 were in homes and 26 in non-homes. The other 26 beds were in hotels, motels, resorts, unrented apartments, churches, the humane society, the maritime museum, an RV park, and a spiritual retreat. In 156 days, I paid for only 8 night's lodging… the rest was free of charge.
I lost track of how many times people bought me dinner or handed me money. They would hear what I was doing and want to help me on my way. One guy gave me all the money in his wallet, six dollars, apologized and then came back with a bag full of snacks and handed me a $100 bill. This was not the first or last time someone gave me $100. Another time, a woman gave me $5 and said, "I'm so sorry I don't have more money with me. Good luck! I'll be praying for you." Just about everyday, someone prayed with or for me.
I want to thank each and every person who prayed for me, watched over me, or helped me on my way. Whether you read this or not, my sincerest thanks. I quite literally couldn't have done it without you. The beauty and kindness I found on this journey has blown away any lingering doubts I had about the breadth and depth of the human heart. Thank you all.
Hello and thanks again for all your support to make this possible...
Check out the website if you haven't had a chance: http://www.walkinghomestories.com/
In addition to the live-streaming, there are short weekly videos, the Mom Report, Blog updates from the road, and an interactive map with photos of the journey.
I can't wait to get home and see my family, but I am going to be sad when this is over. This has been the best time of my life. I have met the most wonderful people. I have crossed 1824 miles and never felt alone because people helped me every step of the way, inviting me into their home, driving me back to my leaving off point, feeding me, making me snacks, handing me money, and joining me for a mile or twenty. There is something so beautiful about living by the grace of the kindness of others.
And then there is the beauty and freedom of the open road: cows grazing under a story book canopy of ponderosa pines in Northern Arizona, chunks of ancient volcanic rock flowing over and around red baked New Mexico dirt, a perfect circle of green corn in a sea of brown dustbowl wheat fields in Oklahoma, the vast blue sky of Kansas with one solitary windmill creaking and sighing in the easterly wind, trees submerged up to their ankles in the flooded banks of the Missouri, a patchwork quilt of lemon yellow corn, white farm houses and forest green soybeans in Grant Wood's Iowa, and white and black spotted cows emerging cautiously from red barns in Wisconsin to gaze at the strange cyborg creature passing by so leisurely.
1824 miles, every step of it beautiful. Just a trip across the lake and a few more miles, and I'll be home.
Home is so layered and complex. My home in Tucson. My mom's home. My dad's home. My home town. My family's home towns. The little home I carry on my back each day. All the home's I've been invited into on this trip. I have not felt homeless one day of this trip. I feel homefull.
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Walking Home stickers, set of 3, designed by Danny Martin + everything above
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- (40 days)