I apologize for not posting a message sooner but it’s been a pretty hectic couple of days. I finished my walk on Wednesday at the Women of Change shelter right on schedule. I received an incredibly warm welcome from a group of probably 20-30 people, including people from Philabundance and Project H.OM.E., as well as women from the shelter and a few family and friends (a number of the faculty from the Philadelphia Center, who were the ones who helped arranged my internship in Philly were also there, which was really special for me). My cousin Phil, who I stayed with while I was walking through Reading also made the drive down and surprised me. That was a really nice surprise.
Only one news channel showed up – ABC ch 6 – but that was more than enough. The people from Philabundance and Project H.O.M.E. had a cake and other goodies waiting for me when I arrived. It was really cool. Everyone made me feel really special. I particularly enjoyed meeting some of the women from the shelter. They were very grateful and told me how much they appreciated what I did. That was a a very special and very humbling experience. It’s strange for me to think about and actually see that what I did, this little walk I put together, to see that it actually affected other people. I mean that is exactly what I intended, but it’s still kind of a strange thing to know and see that what you do can and does affect other people. That was great for me to see. I could actually see that I had made a positive difference in someone else’s life, and that meant more to me than I can ever explain.
The last day of the walk was pretty surreal. Even though I only had about 14-15 miles to walk I left Conshohocken a bit earlier that morning than usual, just to make sure I would get there in time and to give my self extra time in the event I got lost or something. I planned to meet up with my parents and uncle (who I would be staying with that night) at Lloyd Hall at the end of Boathouse Row. I got there at about noon (I got my first glimpse of the city skyline coming down the Schuykill River Trail – along Kelly Drive – at ~11:30a.m. and admit that I did a little double handed fist pump). My family about 20 minutes later and after a round of hugs and small talk, we had to figure out what to do with ourselves until 2:00, the time I was scheduled to arrive. I really wanted to stop by the Philadelphia Center and visit my old stomping grounds so we head down to Broad Street – 2 blocks down from city hall – and I introduced my family to some of the faculty and staff I had work with while studying/interning in Philly. It was wonderful to see the place I again. I hadn’t been back to Philly since I finished my internship in May of 2009. It was great to see Ruthy and Char and Rosina again. Of course they had gotten new furniture and a new paint job since I had left, but it was still nice being back. I met the rest of the gang Deborah, Ilene, and Dianne when I arrived at the shelter.
It was really just a wonderful way to finish the walk. Although the walk maybe finished I have a lot more I want/need to do with my life I need to take of thanking everyone who helped make this walk possible. I need to pack up my stuff and get ready to move down to St. Louis in the next couple days to start my year of service with Americorps. I really need to catch up on my journal and post more messages and hopefully pictures here on my blog. And I really ought to get start filling out law school and scholarship applications. So there is no time for me to rest now that I’ve finished walking, that was the easy part. Now it’s time to really get some stuff done.
I know I’ve finished the walk but please stay posted. I have more I want to share.
Thanks again for all your support. All the messages and well wishes really meant a lot to me and helped me keep going when my pack began to feel heavier and heavier.
I’ll be leaving fairly shortly to begin walking for the day but wanted to try and post a little something because I’ve been kind of slow to put up new posts (I need to do some catching up in the journal I’ve been keeping as well). I can’t believe this journey is almost over. It will be nice to get to Philly and see everyone and know that I accomplished what I set out to do, not to mention give my body some time to rest, but it will be strange to be done. I’ll be moving down to St. Louis this Sunday so I really wont have much/any time to sit and relax and reflect on everything, at least not for a little while.
Any way, I’ll be leaving Collegeville, where I stayed with another wonderful family that is friends with my awesome cousins Stef and Phil. It’s a beautiful old home and Rick and Debbie and I had a really good conversation over a fantastic dinner. I’ll make my way down the Perkiomen Trail and then get on the Schuykill River Trail, which I will then pretty much take the rest of the way.
Just a reminder, I will be ending the walk at 2:ooPM at the Women of Change Shelter at 2042 Arch Street in Philly Tomorrow. If you’re in the area and would be interested in seeing the end I would love to see you down there. I don’t know exactly what Philabundance and Project H.O.M.E. have planned but the news should be there, so it should be pretty neat.
Thanks again for your continued support. I’ve really appreciated all the posts and well wishes. They have definitely helped me and given me inspiration to keep going.
Now that the end is in sight I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m definitely excited to get to Philly and complete the walk but there’s a lot of things I’m going to miss about being on my walk, most notably all the wonderful people I’ve been meeting. I’ll be starting my year of service with Americorps pretty much as soon as I finish my walk, so I’ll have the opportunity to continue meeting and helping new people, but this walk has been such a great experience I don’t really want it to end. I’ve learned and grown so much during the course of this walk I feel that I’ve gained way more than I have ever hoped.
I’m never really sure what to write when I get a chance to update this blog, and by the time I start writing I’m usually pretty tired and on the verge of falling asleep so I apologize if they’re boring and/or uninformative. So, being that I again find myself fighting to keep my eyes open and mind focused. I thought it might be a good idea to ask you guys what you’d like to hear/know. What, if any, kinds of questions do have for me. I’d love to hear any sort of questions you might have and will do my best to answer them as best as I can. I will have internet access from at least Friday night to Sunday night so I should be able to respond to questions pretty quickly.
I look forward to hearing from you guys and can’t wait to see what questions you may have. I think I’m going to go pass out now. Thanks again for your continued support.
I am overjoyed to be writing to you from just one days walk outside of Harrisburg. It’s been two weeks and a day(13 days of actual walking) and over 240 miles since I’ve left Pittsburgh. In that time I’ve met so many wonderful people and had so many wonderful expreiences that it would be impossible to describe them all. I have been overwhelmed my generousity and support I have received from absolutely everyone I have encountered. Every single encounter I’ve had has been so uplifting I feel more and more inspired with each passing day.
The kindness and goodness of all the people I’ve been meeting is something I want to stress because I feel that too often all we hear about on the news (or at least most of what we hear) is all the bad things that are going on in the world. We have two wars going, we are dealing with the greatest environmental diaster possibly ever, and every day people around the countrty are getting shot and robbed. We hear about tragedies like these on a daily basis. What we don’t hear about enough are 8-10 people who voluteer at the local food pantry in a rural central PA town, people that probably are all that more well off than the people they are helping. We don’t hear about the people that reach into their pockets and pull out the few bucks they have to offer to a kid with a huge backpack and tired legs. And we don’t hear about the people who open their hearts and homes to a complete stranger just out of the goodness of their heart. We don’t hear about these things but they happen everyday, a lot more than one might think after having watched the news. I know because I’ve seen it and experienced it. I would not be hear right now writing this if not for the incredible kindness of others. The world is filled with good people doing good things. Don’t let the news depress you. Yes there’s some terrible things that happen but there is so much more good that are happening.
As I have been walking I have been filled with so much hope and so much optimism through each and every encounter I’ve had. Just know that there is a lot more good than bad out there and there are a lot of people working really hard to make things even better.
Thank you all for your continued support and hopefully I’ll be able to get out updates a little more regularly over the last half of my walk.
It’s the end of day 5 and I’ve been relaxing and enjoying the overwhelming hospitality and generousity of Sister Nancy and everyone else at Mount Aloysius College. I’m not sure about the Aloysius part yet but MOUNT is definitely a very fitting name for this place. Yesterday’s walk was much longer – 25 miles compared to 15 today – but man are there some serious hills out here. Tomorow I’ll have the pleasure of getting my day started with 12% incline hill that goes up over 2,000 feet in elevation. It’ll be nice to get it oout of the way early though and I’m told that after that it’s pretty much down hill all the way to Holidaysburg.
The first couple days have been pretty long and exhausting but I’ve gotten through them with fairly minimal damage to my body, I think, I hope. So far I only have 2 blisters and I got them just within the past day or two. It has definitely been physically challenging, but it’s been mentally challenging too, more so than I think I anticipated. It was definitely much better on day one when I was walking with people. It helps pass the time better and makes things more enjoyable. I’ve really had to push myself towards the ends of my walks the first couple days. Yesterday I got some added motivation in the way of an inpending storm -it thundered for about the last 6 miles of my walk but I managed to finish before it started raining much.
I’ve met a lot of really wonderful, caring, and generous people while I’ve been walking, who have really lifted my spirits and given me much hope and optimisim. Hopefully I’ll have more time to spend on a computer later and will be able to fill you guys in on some of the stories and such, but right now I’m pretty tired and need to get some rest - walking over 100 miles in 5 days has a way of tuckering a person out.
Thank you all for your continued support. Knowing that people are interest and care about what I’m doing gives me motivition to keep going even when I feel like I can’t take another step. Good night and happy walking.
Today was a pretty awesome day. The walk definitely got off to a great start.
My day began at 4:40am (I like to talk a walk a stretch a little before breakfast). After making sure everything was set to go and having some oatmeal and a banana for breakfast my mom, dad, sister and I headed down to Jubilee. I wanted to make sure I got there early so I’d be there when everyone else started arriving. We got there at about 6:40. Jubilee doesn’t open until 7 but there were already two people waiting outside the door by the time we arrived.
I was absolutely thrilled at the turn out. I think I counted 18 people who all came out to see me off and walk with me. Thank you all so much for coming out and supporting this cause. I cannot adequately express how much it meant to me to see so many people outside Jubilee, at 7am on a weekend, just to come spend some time walking with me. It felt incredible to turn around as we were walking up 5th Avenue and see the side walk filled with so many of my friends (some of whom I had seen in probably years) and family. I want to sincerely thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. This was certainly be one of the most special experiences I’ve had in my life.
I want to extend an even deep expression of appreciation and gratitude to Josh Zorich. You are one of the most awesome people and best friend ever. Josh walked with me the entire way; from Jubilee to Murrysville. I didn’t think walking by myself last Sunday was that bad, but having Josh there to talk to the whole way made the walk infinitely easier and more enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed the hours of conversation we had. Thank you so much.
I also want to thank and commend my father for walking with me (and Josh) for the majority of the day – from Jubilee to 2.2 miles into Oakland and then from Penn Hills to Murrysville. I was extremely impressed. I know that it wasn’t easy for you and you’ll probably be really feeling it tomorrow (remember to ice), but the fact that you kept going and made it all the way to Murrysville was inspiring for me.
Hopefully the weather we had today will follow me throughout my walk. It was nice and cool in the morning and never got too hot. I did some how manage to get sunburn on my neck, which I only noticed after I finished walking, but it’s not too bad. I will just be sporting the uber sweet farms tan around my neckline for a while – it’s a pretty cool look if you ask me anyway (ok maybe not).
So one day and 20 miles down- 24 days and 345 more miles to go.
I forgot to mention that I have confirmed the new location for the end of my walk(since I couldn’t get a permit for Love Park): The Women of Change Shelter at 2042 Arch Street in Philadelphia. This shelter works with both Philabundance and Project H.O.M.E. so it was a perfect place to end, better than Love Park. They are going to have a little welcoming celebration there at 2:00pm on Wednesday August 25th. Anyone who will be in the area is cordially invited to come. I would love to see as many people there as possible.
Thanks again for all your support.