Over 80 days ago in Rockaway Beach, New York, Matt Green, a 30-year-old Virginia native, put one foot in front of the other, and he hasn’t stopped since. Now in North Dakota, he’s on his second pair of boots and still going strong on his way to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. He says he isn’t doing the walk for charity or fame: “I’m doing it for its own sake, for the value inherent in the act itself…I need an adventure. And I do want to smell the ground and look at grass and birds and trees. I want to savor the country. And there’s no other way to do it save on foot.”
Back in New York City where Green lived for five years, he worked as a civil engineer and led walking tours. For his walk across the nation, he planned to pound out 15 miles a day but has since set a personal record of 30 miles in a day. When sundown nears, he pitches his tent on the property or farms of friendly locals, families or couples. In many instances, he’s invited inside homes, fed homemade meals and offered beer, dessert, bed and breakfast. He trekked through Minnesota just as strawberries started to ripen, which had locals collecting strawberries from their gardens to whip up strawberry shortcake and other delectable treats. Upon leaving homes, many families challenge Green to make room in his cart for food they give him for the road. One family gave him a handmade quilt; a group of nurses sent him off with rhubarb bread. Others have slipped him a $20. Thousands of readers have e-mailed him.
The walking, he says, on his website, gives him a direct way to connect to the space around him. “We walk to the fridge, we walk to bed, we walk around the yard. We walk to the copy machine, we walk to the coffee machine, we walk around the grocery store. So this is that same familiar stride, that most basic form of locomotion we know so well, but through vast, immense, unknown places. It’s a way to live a continuous line across the country as if it were my home.”
What’s the farthest that you’ve walked?
Photo: Matt Green via I’mJustWalkin.com
- Nat Geo Expeditions