Since I’ve begun walking, I’ve noticed a few questions repeatedly come up from the folks I meet. So, I’ve decided to write up an official list of BJ’s Frequently Asked Questions. Here goes!
Q: Where did you start walking?
A: I started walking at
Pass, near Williamstown, on Rt. 2 on the border ofNew York
Q: Where will you finish?
A: I plan on finishing at Long Point on the tip of Cape Cod, near
Q: When did you start?
A: I started the morning of Wednesday, October 4th.
Q: When will you finish?
A: I hope to finish by Friday, October 27th.
Q: Why are you walking?
A: Because it’s so expensive to park in
Boston, I decided to leave my car in Williamstown and walk in. : )
Seriously, I m walking to collect personal messages to the next governor from the people of
Q: Is that the only reason?
A: No, I am also recording stories and photos of the people I meet and the places I pass through. I love a good story, so if you have one, I’d love to hear it!
Q: Are there any other reasons?
A: In the next few years, the roads that I m traveling on – Rt. 2, Rt. 112, Rt. 9, etc. are going to change and develop. At frequent intervals, I stop and take photos of the street from where I am. I think it will be interesting to compare these photos with what the scenery and buildings look like in 20 years, 50 years, even 100 years from now.
Q: Any other reasons?
A: OK, you got me. I’m REALLY walking to get rich and meet girls.
Q: Speaking of getting rich, are you accepting donations?
A: No, I do not accept donations (although one day a woman pulled up next to me, rolled own the window, held out a wad of dollar bills, and said, “I don’t know why you’re walking, but here’s some money.”) If you do feel inclined to donate money because of my walk, please consider donating to your local historical committee and/or society. On my walk I have passed many cemeteries and seen old headstones knocked down, eroding, and in other states of disrepair. These graveyards are often taken for granted and overlooked, but they really need to be preserved – once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Q. Are you walking for breast cancer?
A: No. You may have seen me wearing a Walk for Breast Cancer T-Shirt, but my walk has nothing to do with raising funds for cancer research. I wear the T-shirts because as an EMT, I have volunteered for the Avon Two Day and the Susan G. Komen Three Day, and I now I own a heap of free Breast Cancer T-shirts. I wear these shirts because I’m not worrying about sleeping, sweating, or generally ruining them.
But since I have your attention, I’d like to point out that October is Brest Cancer Awareness Month – please remember to schedule regular examinations. OK, end public service announcement.
Q: October, huh? Isn’t it a little cold to be walking?
A: Well, summer would have been too hot, and winter would have been too cold. I can’t think of a prettier time in than October in
Massachusetts. It’s a bit chilly at night and in the mornings, but I think it’s a fair trade to see the leaves turn and peak. It’s like one of those wall calendars that show the
New England foliage, except I’m surrounded by it 360 degrees.
Q: Where do you sleep at night?
A: I carry a one man tent and a sleeping bag in my backpack. When it gets dark, I will simply knock on a door and ask if I can my tent in the backyard. Most people are nice and let me stay. Some even take me in and offer me dinner, a hot shower, or even let me stay in the guest room.
I appreciate everything everyone does for me – if it wasn’t for the kindness of strangers, I wouldn’t have gotten very far. I believe in two things: people are inherently good, and the principals of good karma.
Q: What kind of equipment are you using?
A: I walk with an old pair of Reebok Cross Trainers I bought years go and rarely wore. After eight days of walking, still no blisters (knock on wood).
I carry everything in a REI CIMA 80. It’s a comfortable bag, I just wish that the zippers on the top compartment were facing outwards. As it is, you can’t access half the compartments if the pack is lying strap-side down on the ground.
I sleep in a North Face Solo tent. I love it!
I sleep in an
EMS down mummy sleeping bag, rated at 25 F. The nights so far have been hovering in the upper 30’s, and if I bundle up with all my clothes, no problems!.
I sleep on a Therm-a-Rest Z-Litr Sleeping Pad. The waffle design helps to keep in heat. It woks so well that if my feet slip off the pad and are directly on the cold floor of the tent, I’ll wake up. But can anyone explain why a sheet of foam costs $35? Ugh!
Q: Can other people walk with you?
A: Yes! I’d love some company, even if it’s just for a few minutes or a few hours. Please email me the day before and I will be glad to tell you where I will be.
Q: Do you listen to music as you walk?
For safety’s sake, no. Although sometimes I walk along a rustic little dirt road, just me with the foliage and a bird song, and I think, I sure could use some Grateful Dead right now!
Q: Have you contacted anyone about this trip?
A: Yes, before I left, I researched the home pages of the towns that I would be passing through. I try to send an email to the police department, giving them a heads up. Then I try to email the board of selectmen, the historical committees, and the town librarian. Like I said, I love to meet people in the communities I am seeing and discuss their history, their strengths, their challenges, and their futures.
Q: How many miles do you walk a day?
A: Unfortunately, I don’t have a pedometer, and there are no regular mileage markers along the routes I am traveling. But I guess at the end of eight days I’m averaging 15 – 18 miles for eight hours of walking. I could go faster, but I am stopping to take photos, talk with people, etc. As I write this, I am on a three day break, and when I start walking again, I’d like to increase the pace to 20 miles a day.
Q: How much preparation did you do for the trip? How are your legs?
A: Not nearly as much as I should have. After eight days of walking, my legs hurt every day nd my feet are sore like you wouldn’t believe. My biggest concern is my knees, which are frequent flyers on the pain train. So far they’ve been doing alright.
Q: Why is your blog full of grammatical and spelling errors?
A: For that, I apologize. When I’m on the road, I actually write my dispatches on my phone (yes, I’m posting from my cell phone). It’s hard enough to write on a two inch screen, and almost impossible to go back and proofread. Also, the keys on the left side of my computer at home all stick, so sometimes I’ll miss an “A” “Q” “Z” or “1.” It’s frustrating. After I finish the walk, I’ll probably go back and edit, but for now, consider the errors part of the charm. :)
Q: How come you don’t post photos?
A: Again, I am posting from a phone… once I finish the walk, I’ll go back on the blog and fill in the details, add pictures, and work on the “deluxe” version.
Q: Let’s talk about the notebook. Can anyone leave a message in it?
A: Anyone who is a resident of
Massachusetts can leave a message in it.
Q: Will the next governor really see you?
A: Thanks to Ms Kim Ring, gubernatorial candidates Christy Mihos and Kerry Healey have already agreed to meet with me after their inauguration. As of mid-October, I am still waiting to hear from Deval Patrick and Grace Ross.
Q: Who do you want to win? Are you Democrat or Republican? Who are you going to vote for?
A: Each candidiate has his and her own strengths and weaknesses. As an Independent voter, I still have not decided who I’ll choose.
Q: Who do you think will win?
A: If bumper stickers and lawn sings are any indications, the northwestern part of the state belongs to Democrat Deval Patrick. Route 9 from Ware into
Worcester belongs to
Kerry Healey. In a week of walking, I’ve seen just one Christy Mihos sign, and no Grace Ross signs.
Q: Are you going to run for office?
A: It’s possible.
Q: Are you going to walk across the
A: That’s possible, too.
Q: Are you going to write a book?
A: That’s even more possible.
Q: What are you going to do after thus walk? How goes the job search?
A: I sent my resume to a school in
Winchester, and I am waiting to hear back. If anyone knows a school looking for a middle school geography/history teacher, please let me know! (Although at this point, I am so desperate for work, I’d be willing to teach cats how to swim).
Q: How are you paying for this?
A: From my savings.
Q: Do you have any sponsors?
A: None currently, but I am intrigued.
Q: Have I ever done anything like this before?
A: When I was 20, I did a year abroad in Mexico, and during the Christmas vacation, I hiked solo across the country, along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, from Vera Cruz on the Atlantic to
Oaxaca on the Pacific. It took me twelve days to cover the roughly 180 miles. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Q: What are your pet peeves?
A: Litter and trash on the side of the road. I saw some pretty disgusting things while I was on my walk through the poorest parts of
Mexico – families dumping their household trash into rivers, bottles, cans, clothes, compost, even dead goats and horses dumped onto the side of the road. It was depressing to see such disregard for the environment. Please – show some respect for
Massachusetts – dispose of your trash properly.
Q: How much does your pack weigh?
A: About 35 lbs.
Q: Where did you get the idea for your walk?
A: Growing up, one of my favorite books was The Walker’s Journal, which I found at a church yard sale and begged my Mom to buy for me for like $.50. It was a collection of columns written by Worcester Telegram and Gazette reporter John Dingam, as told by Robert Sweetgall, who was walking through all 50 states in 12 months to promote health and wellness. From that book, I moved on to Worldwalker, by Steven Newman, and the classic, A Walk Across America, by Peter Jenkins. While other kids were pretending they were famous baseball or football stars, I was thinking about someday packing my bag and going off on my own adventure. Imagine how blessed I feel for these few weeks, to live my dream of walking, traveling, meeting, talking, listening, and writing!
Q: If you had to be stranded on a deserted island with just three other people, who would they be?
A: That’s easy – a chiropractor, a podiatrist, and a massage therapist! ;)