This is the Purpose of Life

$6,175 of $10k goal

Raised by 63 people in 20 months
Erin Parete  ESCONDIDO, CA
UPDATE:  March 15, 2017

One year and two days ago, I started my trek across America and it was glorious.   It did not, however, go quite as planned.  I made it through Delaware, Maryland, D.C., nearly all of Virginia and then, as I was climbing up the Blue Ridge Mountains, my right foot-- without warning-- decided it would have rather been doing other things, loudly declared, "I'm out," and then promptly broke itself.  That was not my best day.

I did my half-assed version of letting it heal, but because I am stubborn (and crazy and maybe a little stupid), I ended up (re)breaking my foot two more times while trying to continue on my journey before finally having to admit defeat-- temporary defeat, but defeat nonetheless.

I learned my lesson.  I took my licks.  And now it's time to start over.

An infinite amount of gratitude goes to all who helped last year.  You provided me with the means to get all the gear I needed, as well as food and occasional lodging along the way.  You helped me pay for some pricey medical bills when I was forced to seek real medical attention after the VA healthcare system let me down (they diagnosed me with tendonitis and essentially told me to rub some dirt on it; turns out they were really, really wrong about that), and you allowed me to keep myself fed while I was healing and attempting to find an employer who would hire someone with a broken foot.  There aren't yet words in existence that are good enough to express my gratitude.

I will once again start my journey across America on March 25, 2017. I will be starting in Rhode Island and finishing in Half Moon Bay, California. It's just over 3,100 miles from start to finish.

This time around, I have all the gear I need.  I have five months' worth of protein bars and oatmeal and granola and peanut butter and trail mix and all sorts of other things I will never want to eat again after I finish.  This, however, doesn't mean I won't need help.

If you decide to donate, this is how your donation will be used: 

You'll be providing me with the means to stay at a motel every now and again (sleeping in ditches or under bridges happens more often than not, but it's decidedly not my favorite thing to do), or get some crappy fast food (which will be necessary, as I will be burning between 4,000 and 5,000 calories a day and that's a hard amount of calories to replenish with damned granola), or some quarters to spend at a laundromat (because that's gonna be a thing), or obtain replacement gear (I'm gonna go through several pairs of shoes), and so on and so forth.  I'll be spending five months walking across America.  Food, shelter and gear are the things that will keep me alive and going. 

And that's that.

My original story is posted below; my intent remains the same.  I still wish to seek out the good in people, and I'm even more hopeful this time around after having seen such good in action last time.  I can tell you with certainty that we are not as divided as we're led to believe.  Stop believing what you see on CNN.  People are inherently good and kind and willing to help, regardless of their political, religious or social leanings.  People are good. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

(Original message follows.)

                                          ****************
For those of you who know me, no explanation is necessary.

For those of you who are just now learning of my existence, here is my story:

I am 37 years old and I'm getting older every day, which still never ceases to surprise me.  I have had one dream for the past 20-some years: to walk from Sea to Shining Sea (nevermind that the Atlantic and the Pacific aren't "seas;" it's still a good song).  In short, I want to walk across the country.  That's over 4,000 miles.  Alone.  On foot.

I want to do this for three reasons:

1.  It can be done.  That, in and of itself, is a good enough reason for me.
2.  If I am fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on how you look at it) to be awake and aware on my death bed, I want to be able to look back with joyous satisfaction and say, "I did something amazing once."  How many people are able to say that as they lay dying?  And how many people spend their dying moments counting their regrets?  I want to be one of the former.
3.  I believe in the good in people.  I want to spend almost a year of my life walking across this great country of ours on foot.  I want to humbly knock on strangers' doors to ask if they would allow me to set up a tent on their property-- promising to be gone by sunrise-- and see the goodness in people shine through.  I will be grateful for every patch of land I get to adopt for the night; I will be grateful for the use of a hose; I will be grateful for every shower, every hot meal, and every bed offered to me out of kindness and compassion.  This is what I want to experience. 

We're led to believe that the world is a dangerous place, filled with people who have cruel intentions.  I don't believe this.  I-- foolishly, perhaps-- believe that people are good.  I believe that people who are able to help, will.  I want to witness what I believe.  I believe that people are beautiful and kind and compassionate.

I am going to go on this walk no matter what.  If I have zero dollars in my pocket when I go, *I will go anyway*.  I believe in people that much.

As it stands, money is necessary to make this dream happen-- equipment, supplies, a little money for when I have an opportunity to get a cheap motel-- and I can't think of a dumber reason to rule out a dream.  Money is money and it's stupid and inconvenient and I refuse to let something as inconsequential as money stop me from doing something magnificent.  This journey means the world to me.  Please help me make it.

How often do you get a chance to make a dream come true for someone?  This is my dream.  You can make it a reality.


"To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life."

Indeed.
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Update 1
Posted by Erin Parete
20 months ago
   Share
Maggie--
I don't know who you are, but-- from the bottom of my heart-- *thank you*.
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David Hellard
20 months ago

A little something to get you going....

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$6,175 of $10k goal

Raised by 63 people in 20 months
Created July 17, 2015
SK
$10
Samantha King
6 days ago

I'm a single Mum who works as a casual, as an RN. I'm sorry I could only donate $10. If I had more, I'd give more. But hopefully my $10 will buy you a Snapple hahaha or other beverage of your choice when you need it on your epic hike. Your website made me laugh. And bizarrely, the quote on your page is from one of my favourite movies. So I felt compelled to donate. You are inspiring and I hope you get to complete your hike this time. Much love and well wishes from a fellow Walter Mitty.

DA
$50
Debi Arnold
11 days ago

Travel safe!!!

$100
Carolyn & Michael Lalli
12 days ago

Safe Travels...we will miss you a lot.

$15
Meghan Porter
12 days ago

Wishing you positive vibes for your journey!!

$20
Anonymous
1 month ago
$20
Anonymous
2 months ago
CE
$200
Cali The Elder
5 months ago(Monthly Donation)
CE
$200
Cali The Elder
6 months ago(Monthly Donation)
CE
$200
Cali The Elder
7 months ago(Monthly Donation)
$300
Anonymous
8 months ago
David Hellard
20 months ago

A little something to get you going....

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