In my last post I wrote about walking with my hubby and shared my dream of taking a walking vacation. I’m picturing this as the travel version of the slow food movement. Taking our time. Savoring every step. Stopping to take photographs. And, the best part- burning enough calories to indulge my desire to sip and sample all of the local delicacies along the way . That’s my idea of a really good walk.
Not everyone shares my vision of walking as a slow amble to the next food establishment. There are people out there who walk with purpose – for a cause – and I’m not talking a five mile stroll here either. These folks walk to raise money, raise awareness, make a statement and make a difference. They are stepping out in a really big way and I was so struck by what some of these walkers have accomplished, that I wanted to share their stories. They humble me and their efforts make our world a better place. There are literally thousands of people who have walked 1,000’s of miles for their cause. Here are just a few. You might already know of them. I did not.
In 1995, Doris became interested in campaign reform and led a petition movement to remove unregulated “soft” money from election campaigns. On January 1, 1999 – at the age of 89 – she began a 3,200 mile walk across the country to demonstrate her concern for the issue. Walking ten miles each day for fourteen months, Doris traveled as a pilgrim – walking until given shelter, fasting until given food. With the unflagging generosity of strangers she met along the way, Doris never went without a meal or a bed. She trekked through 1,000 miles of desert, climbed the Appalachian Range in blizzard conditions and even skied 100 miles after a historic snowfall made roadside walking impossible. When she arrived in Washington D.C., Granny D was met by over 2,000 supporters. Several members of Congress walked the final miles with her. She died at the age of 100 in a head-on car crash on her way to a speaking engagement.
(story and photos from the website GoGrannyGo)
Steve Fugate ~
Steve Fugate, a 65-year-old Florida man, made walking his passion after his son committed suicide in 1999. Since then, Fugate has walked all over the United States, tallying up 30,000 miles. At each stop, he talks to people, especially children, about learning to love life. So far, Steve has crossed the U.S. six times. He says he’s starting to slow down and might like to find an easier form of transportation or a small trailer (he usually sleeps in a small tent he carried) to make life a little easier, but his passion for sharing his LOVE LIFE message still burns bright. Follow Steve on his blog Trail Therapy.
Polly Letofsky ~
In 1999 Polly went for a walk. A very long walk. She traveled across 4 continents, 22 countries, and over 14,000 miles – by foot – to become the first woman to walk around the world as a one woman awareness campaign for breast cancer. Survivors and well-wishers around the world came to walk with her. Every day strangers welcomed her into their homes and shared meals. In the middle of Polly’s five year journey, the world suddenly shifted on it’s axis on September 11, 2001 and she suddenly found herself in a vastly changing world. Polly kept on walking. Today, Polly is a motivational speaker with a book, 3mph -The Adventures of One Woman’s Walk Around the World and a documentary film about her amazing five year walking adventure.
Makes me want to lace up my new shoes, adjust the backpack and hit the road…Starbucks here I come!