Why Walk Again?

It has been three years since I began my first walk across America, and two-and-a-half years since I stepped into the chilly Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco.

In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. But now that I’m mere days away from another cross-country trek, it feels like a matter of weeks. I’m getting my brain back into “walking mode.”

The urge to get back on the road never left. It is easy to romanticise about the beauty of life on two feet. The road brings about amazing experiences…sleeping under the stars in national forests…watching winter turn to spring, spring to summer, and summer to fall….having unforgettable encounters with perfect strangers….the list goes on and on.

But along with the rewards of the road come the challenges. Blisters. Cold. Heat. Wind. Rain. Snow. Crazy drivers. Bumpy or non-existent shoulders. Uncertainty. Sleeping under bridges. Mental fatigue. Muscle soreness. My stench. That list, it seems, is even longer.

So the question I asked myself, over and over again, before committing to another walk was “Do you really want to put up with that shit for six months….again?”

And after a hearty laugh, the answer was, unequivocally, “Yes.”

Not because I’m a glutton for pain and punishment, but because every uncomfortable mile walked will make my smile that much brighter when I get my next meal at a diner or have a pleasant roadside encounter.

Every blister is a reminder of how powerful a single step can be when paired with more steps.

No matter how much pain accompanies a journey, there is beauty that can be found at every turn.

Those beautiful moments that result from the struggle are what fuel me and make me feel alive.

I had a wonderful weekend in St. Louis with my mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and niece. A little family time is always a great lead-up to the solitude that is right around the corner.

My next post will be from the highways of New England.

Let’s get out and walk people!

–Ben

A few random photos from the weeks leading up to my train trip to Maine….

Missouri Botanical Gardens

My travel buddy to St. Louis. Thanks for the lift mom!

Wishing for a safe “Walk for 60” journey at the wishing bench in Lawrence, KS.

All packed up!

The Manitou Incline provides some nice training grounds.

Family time!

11 thoughts on “Why Walk Again?

    1. Thank you so much Theresa! We passed the exit for Knob Noster on the way to St Louis and I thought of you all! That was a great way to start the day. Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

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  1. Thanks Ben for the update! Looks like everyone had a great time in St. Louis ( no one was “singing the blues”!). Great photos of the Missouri Botanical Gardens and Manitou Incline. You’ll be seeing so many different parts of the U.S. and meet various folks who you wouldn’t meet if you didn’t go on this journey. Tonight I’m leading a walk for the St. Paul Hiking Club. It’s not nearly as adventurous as your journey but we will walk for about an hour (along the Mississippi River and neighborhood) and afterwards have dessert at a local restaurant. We’ll eat all the calories that we burned up! Take care. Happy Trails! Liz

    On Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 9:07 AM, Walking Across America – 2018 wrote:

    > Ben_Clagett posted: “It has been three years since I began my first walk > across America, and two-and-a-half years since I stepped into the chilly > Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco. In some ways it feels like a lifetime > ago. But now that I’m mere days away from another cros” >

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    1. That sounds wonderful Liz! I hope winter has loosened its grip on Minnesota! Going to be pretty chilly in Maine to start….I’m certainly excited to see some new territory…And walk some Canada! Enjoy your walk and desert! Thanks for the well wishes, as always!

      –Ben

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  2. I had the privilege of meeting you in Klondike Park off the Katy Trail on June 13, 2015. I’m glad you are getting back on the road. I am now retired and volunteer at the MO Botanical Garden. I wish I would have known you were there, I would have loved to visit with you. Safe travels . . .  Here is my journal entry from our encounter:Met Ben ClagettYou meet the most interesting people on a bike. This is Ben Clagett. He is 🚶walking from Virginia Beach to San Francisco.  He started on April 4th and will be on the road until November. I had the privilege of buying him lunch.🍴

    From: Walking Across America – 2018 To: bchulka@gmail.com Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 9:07 AM Subject: [New post] Why Walk Again? #yiv3375117624 a:hover {color:red;} #yiv3375117624 a { text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;} #yiv3375117624 a.yiv3375117624primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3375117624 a.yiv3375117624primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;} #yiv3375117624 a.yiv3375117624primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3375117624 a.yiv3375117624primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;} #yiv3375117624 WordPress.com | Ben_Clagett posted: “It has been three years since I began my first walk across America, and two-and-a-half years since I stepped into the chilly Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. But now that I’m mere days away from another cros” | |

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    1. Hey Bruce! Thanks for the message! The gardens were still early for a lot of blooming but the daffodils were beautiful! Ill always remember our meeting on the KT….and the subsequent pretzel burger you bought me!!! Congrats on retirement and I’m sure the gardens are a great place to be. I visit every time I’m in St. Louis! Walk on my friend!

      –Ben

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