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I sat up and dragged myself out of my bag to pack my gear up. As I packed I just kept sort of laughing. I'm not even really too much of an adventurous guy. Hiking and camping like this has never been something I have been crazy about. I do like camping but usually out of a motor home or trailer. I honestly don't even really like going for walks. Why this idea popped into my head and why I'm going for it is beyond me. I just know this entire experience is pretty far out of my element and comfort zone. Why am I even out here in the first place? I'm not 100% sure why I decided this? But here I am and so far it has been pretty eye opening for me.
I finished packing my things and washing up and took off. I just wonder as I walk down the highway what people think of a dirty man hauling a cart with canned food and water, with long hair and a dirty beard. I wish I could be in their minds to know. Each passing car, I want to see just how far off they are. Little do they know just a month ago I was a clean shaved and well dressed in my peacoat eating out at dinner at a nice place with a model as my date. It's funny how putting myself out here like this can change other people's perception so fast. It's like I'm living in another person's eyes where I get to see the real side of people. I have had some good people approach me on this journey, really good. And have also had people who seemed to look at me and put a judgement on me by who they "think" I am. Which in all reality right now I am homeless and poor, but inside I am much more. It gives me a sense of knowing who people really are.
I walked down the highway and through the town of Defuniak Springs. It was small and pretty plain and simple. The walk from the east side of town to the west was uphill. As I reached the edge of town and nothing but trees ahead were in sight.
There was one one last restaurant before the end of the town and it was Mexican food, my favorite. It smelled so good but I needed to keep tight and live off what I have. So I looked straight ahead. Just then I heard a truck door shut and a man yells "hey how many miles to the gallon does that cart get?" and I said "about 300 so far" he laughed. He immediately after that said, "you hungry?" I told him ya I was pretty hungry and laughed. He said "c'mon in here, 'I'll buy you lunch!" I was shocked. Was this real or am I day dreaming? And to let you guys know, I havn't had the "food" sign on my back for about a week now. Since I had been stocked up I took it off and trashed it, that's why it had slowed down for a while. So he invited my to lunch even without that!
I left my cart on the side of the building and went in with him. His name was John and he was maybe 60 or so. He was a friendly and happy guy who joked with everyone. The waitresses or the people next to us, ect. He was bubbly. He asked about my journey and called me nuts! He said good luck and that I'm gonna need it. I told him "ya, I know". He asked where I was headed to today and I told him Crestview, which was 27 miles away. He laughed and said "you won't make it there by tonight!" I felt like saying "oh ya I will" but instead I said "ya maybe not, if I don't I'll pitch a tent wherever I can't go on anymore". And for some reason him saying that stuck with me.
We sat there and laughed and had a good time. I ate about 3 baskets of chips and salsa and then absolutely devoured my meal of a taco and echiladas with rice and beans. It was so good and probably the best Mexican food has ever tasted simply because I was starving! He was a cool dude, but he seemed to not really have faith that the trip was possible. I understood as I know it's a risk and long shot, but I still have faith it can be done with God's help. So he was nice, yet challenged the thoughts I had at the same time. Either way I was very appreciative for the meal and for sharing some laughs.
He was on a schedule and when we were done didn't have much to say but good luck. It was a weird encounter but really interesting. I took off walking and of course what he said about me not making it was on my mind. So I put my headphones in and set off down the highway.
I walked all day. I drank water lightly and kept moving. By the time I left from eating with John it was already 12, so 27 miles would take me well past dark if I wanted to make it.
My feet started to hurt a little around 4. They were cramping up and getting tender. I just thought that maybe I had to push through the pain for my feet to callus up eventually. So I kept going.
At around 7 the little hurt turned into moderate pain. My feet were hurting on certain spots so I tried switching how I put weight down and stay off those parts.
At about 9pm they were hurting really badly. I could barely walk straight and was wincing. I had about 5 miles left and wanted to make it there badly. I pushed through. Every step really hurt and it seemed like time slowed down. The last few miles was by far the hardest the trip has been so far. My feet were so jacked up I knew I shouldn't have pushed it. Damn my pride! The only reason I kept going through the pain was because John told me I couldn't and my pride wanted to prove to myself he was wrong and I could.
I got to the church that was my destination. I made it 27 miles to Crestview. I was hurting so bad I literally went straight to a fenced area around some dumpsters where I would be out of sight in the morning, made my bed really fast and laid down to pass out. I was annoyed with myself and how bad my feet hurt. I went to sleep a little agitated.
at 8:17 PM