Updated: Jun 10, 2019
27 May 2019 - Chester, Illinois
17.5 + 15.5 + 10 + 20 + 19 + 19 = 101
The numbers listed above are the miles I walked over a 6-day period in late April and early May, from near Lookout Mountain to Sewanee and finally to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. How do you walk 100 miles a week if you are walking six days a week? Well, you average about 17 miles a day. I would have to go back and look at my journal to see if I wrote anything about how I was feeling on those days. I do happen to know that the 15.5 mile day was the day that I was charged by five dogs simultaneously. I had a lot of emotions that day, and began carrying a stick with me after that happened. What is true is that I don’t always feel the same physically, on these different days of walking.
Today I walked from Carbondale and ended up close to Ava in Illinois. I was blessed to have Mary Wunderlich pick me up around 2 pm and bring me to the Wunderlich home in Chester. This is a blessing because Mary will be taking me back to that spot tomorrow morning to resume my walk, and picking me up at the end of tomorrow’s walk, too. This means I don’t have to carry so much in my pack tomorrow. Mary picking me up at 2 pm was also a blessing because I just didn’t have it today. I felt sluggish and weak. I felt a wee bit delirious and well… old. So, I was ready to stop after 16 miles.
And how do you walk 3,715 miles from Charleston, South Carolina to San Francisco, California? (Well, it’s that distance the way I am wandering around!) You keep walking! 6 days a week, week after week, about 100 miles a week - more some weeks, less some other weeks. You just keep walking. Until one day, you see the Golden Gate Bridge and then the Pacific Ocean.
I’ve had a number of people say to me - from before I began the walk and since I’ve started it - “Walk on!” There are different things motivating me to walk on.
• There are the children for whom I am raising money. They and their families often walk, so I am walking on for them.
• There is what we might call the “accountability factor.” Cheryl Strayed mentioned this in her book Wild. She had told a lot of people she was going to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail, so when it got challenging, she couldn’t very easily say, “Ah, what the heck. I quit!” And I have told a lot of people, over quite a few years now, that I was going to do this walk across the country. So that keeps me walking, too.
• Wanting to get to Kansas City so that I can see Julia again - that is the next place where she will fly in to meet me - this definitely motivates me to walk on!
• Wondering who I will meet and what I will see and where I might speak - this keeps me walking, too.
• Wanting to inspire people to follow their own dreams and do the things that they hear God calling them to do, no matter what age they are or what stage of life they might be in - this keeps me walking, too.
• People encouraging me to keep walking helps me to keep walking, too. Encouragement from others, often coming at just the right time, is very helpful!
I guess there are a number of factors contributing to the fact that I keep going - even on the days that my body doesn’t feel so great, or it’s raining, or I’m homesick. And many days, thanks be to God, I feel great and the miles fly by as I see marvelous things and meet gracious, interesting people.
What motivates you to get “up and at ‘em” each day? I can hear my Dad calling out when I was young and it was time to get up. “Rise and shine! It’s a beautiful day!” Some days I’d want to throw my pillow at him. But most days I would get up pretty easily, because I was ready to go.
“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)
Walk on. With the Lord’s help… walk on.