In October 2011, 23-year-old Andrew Forsthoefel set out from his house in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and began a Westward trek that would not end until he hit the shores of the Pacific.
Nine months and some 2,000 miles later, Andrew is still walking, just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, having completed about two thirds of his journey.
Taking a page from a John Muir biography, Andrew started his journey on foot to take in the sounds of America at the pace of, well, a human’s pace. He’s traveled through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, encountering every ecosystem from swamp to mountain. All of this with the goal of collecting what he calls, “the most basic human interface of them all: stories.”
“Life is fast,” Andrew wrote on his blog, Walking to Listen, which chronicles the trip. “And I’ve found it’s easy to confuse the miraculous for the mundane, so I’m slowing down, way down, in order to give my full presence to the extraordinary that infuses each moment and resides in every one of us.”
Unlike many adventures which have set itineraries and final destination points, Andrew seems to be comfortable with keeping his ultimate destination up in the air:
“This is not a race and, in fact, I do not have a final destination. Right now, it’s simply the Pacific, but I want to be very open and fluid with this project, going where I’m taken by serendipity. And if I find closure before the Pacific, this is fine and wonderful, too.”
To check out his periodic blog updates, go to his blog here. He relies on the generosity of folks across the country to provide shelter, so if you’re on the West coast and you’d like to contact him, go here.