Let's Go West (Update on my Walk Across America)

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    Jan 20, 2012 6:22 PM GMT
    Here's my latest blog post, with news about resuming my walk after the sojourn in Alabama.

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    Let’s Go West

    If I had walked a straight line across the continent, I would probably be home--or close to it--by now. But the walk south, and the stay in Alabama, have been worth the delay. I still have a few hundred miles more heading south (I can’t miss New Orleans), but I’m now ready to start the westward trek. I’m getting ready (fixin', as they say here) to leave Tuscaloosa, and I’m hoping to be in the Big Easy for Mardi Gras.

    The logistics of the walk, from here on out, will be a little different. For starters, I will no longer be burdening my hips with the weight of the backpack. In order to walk the longer distances that will be demanded of me going forward, I got myself a bike trailer equipped with a handle. I will use it to carry my gear. It holds up to 100 pounds, so I’ll also be able to bring more food, clothing, and supplies.

    Several people have pointed out a conundrum I’ll face as I head into the more sparsely populated West. The main point of my walk, as you all know, is to find out “what it means to be an American.” I want to paint a portrait of the American people in the early 21st century. As I said from the beginning, I’m out to hear your stories, your hopes and fears, your view of our country. I’m guessing I won’t be getting much input from cacti. So, what to do about those stretches where I could face a week or more of walking without meeting a soul? Should I allow myself to hitchhike or accept occasional rides in order to maximize my chances of meeting new people? I hadn’t thought about this, and now I’m torn.

    Spending the holidays in Alabama was a great idea. I’ve had some personal worries in the last couple of months which would have been hard to face alone. I was glad to be in the company of friends. It has also been a true privilege to get to know the guys in the roofing crew. I could (and may) write a book based just on their stories. They have truly inspired me, and I think they represent America at its best.

    I look forward to the journey ahead. I face it reenergized, and already a different man than I was on July 4th 2011. I plan to post more frequently as I go on, and hope you will continue to follow me.

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    ADDENDUM FOR RJ:
    I came out to the crew. They were pretty shocked. One of them sort of stopped talking to me. The rest were just kind of awkward for the first few days. But then one of them said, in front of the rest, that they all wanted me to know that they don't think differently of me and that they still hope I consider them friends. I've been treated, since then, to all the cliché questions straight guys ask gay guys. But it's all been totally fine.
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    Jan 20, 2012 7:00 PM GMT
    I wanna hear your answers to them...to see if they are glib and/or smartass!icon_lol.gif
  • kuroshiro

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    Jan 20, 2012 7:05 PM GMT
    Wow, one of them stopped talking to you? That's quite sad and ignorant.
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    Jan 20, 2012 7:45 PM GMT
    kuroshiro saidWow, one of them stopped talking to you? That's quite sad and ignorant.
    Its Alabama!

    Keep up the blogging! Looking forward to the daily adventures!
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    Jan 20, 2012 7:47 PM GMT
    Good job.

    Hopefully they didn't ask you the

    "so who's the man and who's the woman in the relationship" question

    my eyes usually roll right into the back of my head when I get that one icon_mad.gif
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    Jan 20, 2012 7:51 PM GMT
    kuroshiro saidWow, one of them stopped talking to you? That's quite sad and ignorant.


    I figured that he's actually a closet case, frustrated and really wanting a way to be the real him.
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    Jan 20, 2012 8:00 PM GMT
    BuddyinNYC said
    kuroshiro saidWow, one of them stopped talking to you? That's quite sad and ignorant.
    I figured that he's actually a closet case, frustrated and really wanting a way to be the real him.

    In this guy's case, I have a feeling this could, actually, be true. He hasn't been belligerent, or anything. He just sort of withdrew. He's about my age, a father of two, and a recovering alcoholic (he has been sober for 18 months). Complicated guy.
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    Jan 20, 2012 8:21 PM GMT
    At least they didn't ask you to prove that you were gay? icon_eek.gif
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    Jan 21, 2012 4:41 PM GMT
    Claystation saidGood job.

    Hopefully they didn't ask you the

    "so who's the man and who's the woman in the relationship" question

    my eyes usually roll right into the back of my head when I get that one icon_mad.gif

    Oh, of course I got one along those lines. The guy who asked didn't frame it as man/woman, but he hesitated and asked about how you decide "who's the one who... you know... who... takes it?" I got to tell them all about tops, bottoms and vers. They were all blushing the whole time. It was actually kinda cute.
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    Jan 21, 2012 4:47 PM GMT
    Even though Tuscaloosa sucks, I'm glad they treated you decently up there. Alabama, on a personal level, isn't always as bad as it's made out to be, and I'm glad you got to experience that.

    Safe travels, Tino.
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    Jan 21, 2012 4:48 PM GMT
    Congratulations! I wish you all the best on the next leg of your journey. I hope you continue to enjoy the south... There are some beautiful places to see. If you head north from Mardi Gras toward the Ozark Mountains, please let me know.

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    Jan 21, 2012 4:48 PM GMT
    Thanks for the update. :-)
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    Jan 21, 2012 4:54 PM GMT
    LOL "...who takes it".. that's a funny way to putting it...oops, no pun intended.

    good luck on the rest of your journey. as far as the long stretches of nothing in the west, if your mission and goal is to speak with people to understand their thoughts and feelings, then there's no harm in skipping all the sparce zones.

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    Jan 21, 2012 4:56 PM GMT
    Fantastic post. Hope your travels westward go smoothly.
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    Jan 21, 2012 6:08 PM GMT
    Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. I look forward to meeting more of you along the way.
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Jan 21, 2012 6:22 PM GMT
    When will you be arriving here.