Sometimes I wonder how I survived.

There are times when I look back at some of my experiences and decisions on my Walk and think to myself, how the heck did I actually survive that?  Like this one from day 2 in Hancock, Maryland where I was hiding from a massive storm:

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The funny thing about this video is it wasn’t until I was watching it last night that I realized that what I called a fire station alarm was most likely a TORNADO SIREN OMG.  And it had gone off three times already.  And there I was sitting in a wire and aluminum shelter.  Seriously, how did I survive this trip?

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To be fair, I had been listening to my little weather radio and was aware of tornado spottings in the area. It’s just…I’m from Maine, people. We don’t have tornado sirens here. If you hear a siren it’s a pretty sure bet that it’s just the fire station downtown. Logically I knew about tornado and storm sirens, I just didn’t think about it at the time. Thankfully I was lucky and no tornadoes actually touched down where I was. I remember hearing about one or two little ones in the nearby areas, but only golf ball sized hail, strong winds, thunder and rain where I was.

Honestly, I had the best luck along this trip. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but looking back I’m just constantly amazed at the dangers I narrowly avoided.

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Someday….

You know what I think would be fun? Taking a road trip across America loosely following my walking path and seeing all the people who helped me along the way.  It’d be pretty nice to be able to let the ones who don’t follow online know that I made it safe and sound.

And road trips are always fun!

I’m imagining we’d go in a tricked out VW Van.

Travel in style! Plenty of room for a bed and storage of gear.

I think Anna would really take to van travel.  She’s excellent in a car (as many people across America can attest to), and I think she got a little bored with the constant foot travel.  I think travelling in a van, and taking day trips would really suit her.

We could stop places and do day hikes and explore areas we couldn’t get to while passing on foot.  Maybe schedule in some organized public/town walks.   Do some public speaking at local schools, encouraging kids to get outdoors and explore more. I don’t know. These are the things I contemplate and dream about. What my next adventure will be, what I’d do differently, different modes of travel.  It’s fun to plan and dream.

 

Edit to add:

After reading this blog entry my mother commented: And to think, that’s what I suggested you should have done the first trip.

To which I replied: Yes, but it wasn’t the right time for that kind of trip. I needed to go on foot first.

Which is true. Everything in it’s own time, and all that jazz.

Equipment List: Walk Across America

Making an equipment list for my walk across the US was a lot harder than making the one for walking the Erie Canal.  For one, I used a lot more gear (400+ miles vs 3000+ miles). And then what gear I had was always changing and adapting.  I’d enter different climates with different demands (winter gear for mountains) or I’d mail home gear I ended up not needing (extra clothes) or stuff that didn’t work out.

Here I’ve put together a basic list of all my gear. I’ve tried to put notes with gear that didn’t work out or stuff that I didn’t need until later. Hopefully this helps some people out while planning their own adventures. If you have any questions about gear, feel free to email or comment here.

Stroller (I had an older version of this stroller.)
Backpack
Clothes
– 1 pair of jeans (later thrown away)
– 1 pair of conversion pants
– 2 pair shorts (one for sleepwear, mailed other home in PA)
– 1 pair long cotton pants (sleepwear)
– 1 long sleeve shirt
– 2 t-shirts (1 cotton, 1 hiking)
– 2 tank tops
– 5 pairs of underwear
– 5 pairs of socks
– 2 bras (by Ohio I had only 1 for the rest of the trip)
Cold Weather Gear (gathered as I hit the Rockies)
Winter Jacket
Fleece Jacket
– Winter hat
– Winter gloves
– long underwear
– heavier winter socks (mostly to sleep in)
Shoes (New Balance trail runners)
Sun hat
Rain jacket + rain pants
Sleeping pad
Sleeping bag
Tent
Odor-proof bags
Bear Vault (added in Colorado)
Cooler (given away in Colorado)
2 Nalgene bottles
Knife
Flashlight/emergency radio
Rope
Clothes pins
Journal + pens
First Aid Kit
Stove & Cookware (both added later, and only used a handful of times)
Toiletries
– quick-dry adventure towel
– toothbrush
– toothpaste
Noxzema wipe thingies (once the first pack was gone I didn’t buy more)
– face cloth
– contacts + solution
– glasses
soap
Electronics
cell phone
netbook
– mp3 player
– digital camera
– Kindle
Solar Charger

Anna’s Gear
Anna’s Pack
-dog food
-treats
-travel dog bowl
-poop bags
-vet papers
shoes (added in Utah)
-spare collar
sleeping pad (cut in half)
-blanket to sleep on

And that’s it. I think. I had other bits and bobs – hair ties, spare batteries, lip balm, sunscreen, etc – that I didn’t include, but that’s all the major stuff. Unless I’ve forgotten something, which is completely possible.

Oh, and I also had a small ziplock bag always within reach, which carried a small notebook, pen, a bunch of my business cards, and (as time went by) business cards and notes that people I met would give me along the way.

Like I said above, if you have any questions or want a more in depth review of something, feel free to comment here or email me at Ameranth (at) gmail .com

Home

Look how much fun we're having!

The road trip back east was a lot of fun – as evidenced in the above photo.  I’m not going to go into too much detail right now, but if you want a more thorough report, with photos, head on over to my Mom’s blog.

It was a lot of fun, though. Got to see a lot more of the country – and places I had skipped by on the walk out.  We ended up going back through Utah and through Zion, then up towards Montana to see family, over to Minnesota to see my niece, and then zipping on up to Maine.

If you ever walk across America, I highly suggest getting back home with a road trip. Softens the blow, since you go from walking every day to driving-but-still-traveling everyday. I imagine it would have been a much more difficult transition to fly back and just BAM you’re done.

Plus, who doesn’t like a roadtrip?!

And now I’m back home.  At the moment, Home means back in Maine and staying with my parents.  Ultimately, my home is always changing.  I know that some part of me will always think of Maine – and New England in general – as home.  It’s where my parents are, where I spent most of my childhood, where a lot of friends still are.

But home to me, in all honesty, is not a building or a concrete place.   Home is a concept, a feeling, an idea.  Home is comfort and love. Home is wherever I am; wherever I end up laying my head at night.  Home is being with Anna and doing what I love, and that’s travel, having grand adventures, and connecting with people along the way.

Home is wherever I'm with you