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$1,183 pledged of $50,000 goal
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By Matthew Youmans
$1,183 pledged of $50,000 goal
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About

In simple terms I am looking to make a documentary. I will make a film about an amazing and difficult journey across Canada, one fat man's attempt to walk one of the longest roads in the world.

 The road I intend to follow for most of my journey is the fourth longest in the world. The Trans-Canada Highway spans from Victoria, BC all the way to St. John's City in Newfoundland. From end to end it's a staggering 4860 Miles (7,821km) long, passing through all ten of the Canadian provinces, and most of the notable cities. My intention is to follow the road in it's entirety,walking every step of it's massive length. This would be a long and difficult task for even a fit and well trained distance walker, and I am neither of these things. 

To cover this great distance in a single span of time, I will need to begin my journey in the beginning of March. For those of you who aren't familiar with the seasons in Canada and their weather this will probably be one of the hardest parts of the journey. Not only will I be battling against myself, while still trying to find my pace and rhythm during the beginning of this journey; I will also be required to battle the elements. March and April will still be cold in Canada; it will be difficult to keep up a good pace through the cold, the ice, and the snow. These first two months of my trek are likely to be the ones in which I most desire to give up, they will take the most fortitude to push through.

I will have eight months to work with before another bitter Canadian winter starts to set in. To complete the journey I will need to average 30 miles a day, five days a week, for the entirety of the eight months. That's 600 miles of walking a month. This will be a challenge that will push me to my limits, and past them. No part of my journey will be easy, but I will take everything I can from it, the triumphs, the challenges, and even the failures. I will push myself to complete this journey with everything I have, and hope that I have a strong enough determination to make it. 

No matter what comes from this walk, it will be the experience of my lifetime, and I plan to find a way to complete it any way I can. It's my hopes to record the journey, to share it with all of you, to create something truly wonderful, and truly human.

I've always been fat.

As far back as I can remember I've been a big guy. In school my weight was a constant source of teasing and bullying, and into my early adult life it became a readily available crutch. 

It was far easier to blame the bias of others for my failures than it was to accept any blame myself. When I would fail to get the attention of a girl I liked, or didn't get the job I wanted, I would just tell myself that it's because I'm fat, and then I would proceed to eat my rejection away.

I went through a period in my life where everything became a constant cycle of self abuse. I would go to work, where I would reward my toil with fast food, soda, and junk; afterwards I would return home, sit on my ass all night watching movies and playing video games. I was at a point where I had so little self worth that almost all I would do is sit on my ass and eat.

My weight was the perfect excuse not to do the things I wanted to do. There was no point in trying to fulfill any of my dreams, or desires, because I would just fail at it anyways. I was too fat to explore all the places I wanted to see, to fly anywhere on a plane, or to be loved.

I remember when everything finally started to change. I had to go to the Emergency Room for some rather alarming symptoms, the whole time worrying that I was dying, that I had something awful, that life was finally over. It turned out, after seeing a specialist that it was just a minor issue, and I was going to live. However, the doctor then told me that my weight was a big issue, and if I didn't get it under control, I wasn't going to live to see forty.

A warning like that really hits you. I was only twenty-five years old at the time, and forty sounded a lifetime away, but I didn't want to die. I slowly started to change things... little things at first, I would walk to work, even though I had to stop for back pain multiple times on the two mile journey. I lowered my portion size, tried to drink less soda, and for the most part cut out sweets. I didn't lose weight quickly, but for the first time in my life my pant size started to go down instead of up. 

At my worst, I couldn't tell you with any accuracy how much I weighed. I could barely fit in to pants with a 62 inch waist, walking was slow and difficult, and I felt disgusting. My best estimation from when I was able to start tracking my weight is that I was near, or past 500lbs. 

When I was twenty-seven, I met my wife, and she became my biggest supporter in my weight loss battle. By the time I turned twenty-eight things were generally a bit better. My quality of life improved, I was able to comfortably wear 58 inch pants, and I was finally able to start using a (heavy duty) scale, weighing in just under 430lbs. 

Finally seeing my weight gave me greater drive, and over the next few years I've managed to make some pretty decent progress. I started exercising more, mainly walking, and pushed my maximum distance from less than a mile to over fifteen. 

I've recently turned 32 as I write this, and I've managed to fit (perhaps still a bit snugly) into 54 inch pants, I no longer experience back pain from day to day life or when exercising, and in all I feel far healthier. I'm still 375lbs, though I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far. 

I've managed to build my self confidence, and stop relying on any crutches. My weight loss journey is far from over, but my weight no longer prevents me from doing the things I want to do. I know I can achieve what I put my mind to. What I'm setting my mind to now is my long dreamed of coast to coast walk across Canada.

My weight will be a key issue in my ability to complete this journey. What I need most to improve my chances of successfully completing the walk is to train. There is more than a year until I plan to attempt this incredible journey, and if I raise enough money I plan to spend the time focusing primarily on planning and training. I would like to use the next year to plan for the trip, and to train my body to become a tool of great stamina.

There is no way I can make this journey as I am now. I am too fat, my endurance is too low, and I don't have the training to push that much every day. Right now I can walk 15 miles fairly comfortably without a break. I believe that I could push out 25 miles in a day if I push myself to my limits, however it will take me days to recuperate. To make the journey in a single year I need to be able to walk 30 miles a day, five days a week.

Before I begin I am going to need to train, and to push myself like I've never done before. I am planning the walk for March of 2017, which gives me a little over a year for training. In this time I need to push my limits, and expand them. I need to shape myself into a better version of me, cut away the fat, the lazy, and the weak. 

I plan to document and share my efforts, and my results, as I work to become a much more fit version of myself. I will be tracking exercise, meals, snacks, drinks, and measurements and sharing them. 

Getting into shape is something I need to finish doing, for myself. Getting to a healthy weight is something that any fat person can achieve, and really we owe it to ourselves. It's easy and comfortable to stay in an unhealthy routine. There are a million and one things to watch and to do without ever getting off your ass, but there's only one real reason to get up and take control of your body. You owe it to yourself. Your body is your home, and you deserve to like the home you live in.

I plan not only to document the trek itself, but my own journey of preparation and weight loss. My goal is to consult with several professionals to get my body to a place where it can match my determination.

My final goal for this period is to have my weight down to 250lbs or less, and to work out the best methods of walking, hydration, and nutrition to ensure I have the greatest chance of completing this challenge.

No matter what I am planning to attempt the walk in March 2017, even if I can't raise the money to create the film.    

I do not know that I can complete the walk across Canada. We don't know our limits until we surpass them. I understand the scope of the challenge I place in front of myself, but understanding is not the same as knowing if I am up to it.

If I raise the money to make the film, the film will be made. The story I want to tell is one of challenge and accomplishment, but the narration will follow reality, not desire. If I can't complete the trek than the film will have to encompass the realities of that failure.

It is not my plan to face the elements in complete discomfort, rather I plan to be accompanied by an RV, and to do my best to spend my nights recovering. The journey is long and hard on it's own, and I see no reason to make it further difficult by insisting on having only what I can carry on my back.

At any time injury could end the journey without my desire to end it. I am one man, in a body that's been poorly taken care of. I have never pushed myself to such limits, and do not know how well my health will match my will. There are several obstacles that may prove insurmountable.

March in BC should be quite pleasant, at least along the coast when I begin. Passage through the rocky mountains this time of year however will be treacherous, dangerous, and likely the single largest challenge I will face. Dealing with the cold, the elevation, and the constant climb will be beyond difficult.

Once I pass through the mountains the road and the weather should become far less extreme. However, this is a challenge of endurance and drive. The Canadian prairies are known for two things, being long, and being flat. I expect that the unchanging landscapes and the monotony of the road will test my mental endurance as well as my physical stamina.

By mid summer I should be in Ontario. NW Ontario are the lands I still call home, despite being out of them for close to a decade. This lush and varying landscape will make for scenic walking, however the harsh summer temperatures will also be much more difficult to bear. My home town of Thunder Bay sits nearly on the half way point of the Trans Canada Highway. This was the final stopping point of my biggest inspiration for this journey, Terry Fox. His own attempt to cross Canada was halted by the spread of the cancer which had inspired his run. If I am on schedule I plan to take a week at the half way point and rebuild my energy. If I'm behind, then the coming winter will afford me no such luxury. If I make it this far, I will have no reason to doubt my ability to complete the walk.

From here my trek will take me to the very heart of Canada, it's capital city of Ottawa, then across the river into french speaking Quebec. This will represent the last of the large provinces to cross, and the beginning of the end of my journey.

The rest of the journey should be no less scenic, and as fall arrives, and winter approaches, the temperatures will slowly fall. If I finish on schedule I am looking at a late October arrival in St. John's NL. Every week that I fall behind brings the harshness of the Atlantic winter closer and closer.

Risks and challenges

My dream is big. I've been told that it's crazy, and maybe it is. I've been told it's nearly impossible, but that's not the same as being impossible.

I am not a film maker. I have no experience in the industry and have never even had the desire to make film. However I plan to consult with anyone who is willing to help me bring about a better project. My knowledge of film may be lacking, but there's no reason I cannot expand upon it. If I have enough funds I hope to hire several professionals to help me make this journey a film that is truly enjoyable.

My health is far from perfect. My weight will bring me complications that I must overcome to complete the journey.

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