My name is Harry and I decided to go on a trip to separate myself from the sedentary lifestyle of the average American to do several things:

-To encourage other people to get out and get moving

-To experience the kindness of Americans along the way

-To experience extended quiet time with myself and God

-To test my resolve in a giant task

-To explore this wonderful country

I am a chef by trade and cooked for people as I met them. I began in May and finished in August. I was escorted by police, taken in by churches, rejected by other churches, faced 60 mile days in poor conditions, traveled the highways and byways, faced scorching heat and hailstorms, and I met other cross-country travelers. There are lots of stories, but I want to hear your questions... logistics, spirituality, whatever!

Here is my facebook blog. https://www.facebook.com/AmericaOnFoot

I'm also in a story competition that has become a popularity contest unfortunately. If you think my story is worth voting for, you can vote here once a day: http://nmtruestories.com/entry/2907616?view=full

Some neat photos of the trip on Instagram, if you do that @Hmilanian

Thanks and ask away - anything!

Comments: 1123 • Responses: 135  • Date: 

LucanGagnon482 karma

OH I WOULD WALK 1500 MILES AND I WILL WALK 1500 MORE

bachner136 karma

Yes bro, for that lady named Pacific!

Pignore121 karma

Legit question: did you masturbate at all during this 90 day period?

bachner43 karma

LOOOOOOOOOOOL

katmaniac117 karma

You've mentioned the kindness of strangers. Will you share a story of such kindness?

bachner126 karma

I met kind strangers every single day. Most restaurants along route 66 gave me free food when I told them who I was and what I was doing. You can find more specific examples on my website: www.Facebook.com/AmericaOnFoot

toxlab106 karma

I have no question for you, sir.

But I like AMA's, and I read on because your journey sounded intense, challenging, and one of incredible introspection.

I am no man of God, and have a lot of doubt in the concept of throwing yourself over to the notion of an omnipotent, unknowable force. But I read your kind replies, your whimsical stories, and your delight in the small kindnesses you encountered on a journey far more daunting than anything I would ever attempt, and it fills me with hope. It gives me the sense that there is perhaps something indefatigable within us. Something that is eternal. And by the extension of love, we can help others find it within themselves.

That's what I took away from your stories, anyway. Your trip seems remarkable on a number of levels. I look forward to reading your blog. Know that you doubtlessly touched many lives on your voyage, and you have touched another one here on Reddit. Thank you.

bachner39 karma

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message!

_Hodor_Hodor_83 karma

Harry! Sorry I threw a rock and hit you in the face that one time I was playing with you and your brother in our neighborhood. Still feel bad about that and I don't think I ever got to apologize. I loved following your journey. Power to you brother!

How did your family react to your decision to go? To your stories? How much of your own money did you spend on this trip?

bachner47 karma

My family loves me and tried to talk me out of it. They were always looking for updates to the journey and like to hear the stories. It was a journey for them as well in its own way.

rhayward77 karma

So apology not accepted?

bachner50 karma

Aha, I hold no grudges agaisnt anyone, life is short. I'm just not sure who that is! Hodor. Character from Game of Thrones?! Love that show.

IniproMontoya74 karma

Can you now accurately tell the time by looking at the sun's position in the sky?

bachner72 karma

Yes.

LifeQuery70 karma

3,000+ Miles in 90 days, that's over 33 miles a day for 90 days. Impressive. How many pounds did you carry on your back? How many calories did you eat a day and how did you portion you food? Did you take any days of pure rest? Is there a detailed map of where you started, stopped and finished your journey?

Well done!

bachner75 karma

It was actually a little less than 90 days. Sometimes I walked more than 60 miles a day. For example, from the last town in NW Texas to San Jon, New Mexico or between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa. Those were huge days. I didn't use a backpack at all. Carrying even 10lbs on your back (1 gallon of water and a flashlight) can create excruciating pain over a 3,000 mile journey. I used a Chariot Cougar 2 rigged to carry extra weight. Camping gear and water. I didn't portion food. I had none. Strangers would pull over and give me supplies or I wouldnt eat. I couldn't tell you about the calories but I know it was a lot. I would take my shirt off at the end of the day and it would be stiff with dried sweat.

LifeQuery24 karma

Did you lose any weight during this time?

bachner104 karma

I actually gained weight, but have a lower body fat %. I look thinner, but weigh more.

Steel_Crown60 karma

do you have any stories of almost getting hit by a vehicle?

bachner97 karma

Too many to count. This happened several times a day for ninety days in a row.

sglansberg355 karma

What was the scariest moment of your trip?

bachner114 karma

Great question. The scariest moment, I don't think I can share yet. But, I will tell you I was scared of coming home. For 3 months being in need most of the time and then returning to a lifestyle with too much is a bit shocking. I don't fit in it well now. At least, I prefer less. Another time I was in fear was a point in Albuquerque when I felt I needed to flash a firearm I carried to dissuade a mugging.

jleonardbc44 karma

Since you say you had $0 in your pocket, where did you keep your money instead?

bachner55 karma

Ahahaha, clever. I didn't bring any. I wanted to see what would happen.

Maxscape741 karma

Do you have any good stories to share?

bachner355 karma

Lots! Here's one: There was a stretch where I would see the same (or same types) of trains passing me for a few days. They were hugely long trains, a hundred or more cars, no joke, I was counting. One day an engineer of one of the trains must have seen me from a long way out and stopped the entire train to give me a bottle of water. It was epic. I felt like industry and commerce had stopped for me that day.

CIRCLE_JERK_LEGEND54 karma

Was it cold?

bachner83 karma

Usually it was very hot. There were times in the Mojave desert were it reached 130 degrees during the day. Surprisingly it was 100 degrees even at night.

CIRCLE_JERK_LEGEND19 karma

How did you keep from overheating?

bachner39 karma

You get used to it. I started in Florida where it is hot because of humidity and I had 2 months and 2,000 miles of time to adjust to the dry increasing heat. By the time I got to the Mojave desert... it was intense but I could do it. Also, I was so close to the finish line that I had momentum carrying me mentally. It was hard but not impossible.

iwanttofork6 karma

This reminds me of that song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

bachner4 karma

Rad!

2131andBeyond39 karma

Now this is an AMA by which I am intrigued.

  • You say how you're a chef and like to be prepared, but at the same time went into this adventure just letting things happen...what were you able to plan in advance? Obviously plans change, but were you able to at least work out a route in advance?
  • Did you have a phone or any communication devices with you along the way? Also, what exactly would you carry in the Chariot Cougar other than your tent? First Aid kit, perhaps?
  • Best meal on the whole journey?

bachner56 karma

Glad it caught your attention!

Let's see, planning. Well, because of my profession - I tried to plan everything. Mother nature made sure to let me know that the joke was definitely on me! I tried to plan the route, pit stops, sleeping schedules. All of that went out the window. It's impossible to plan for this without a huge support team. So, I let go of that part of me for this project. I embraced the crazy storms, the crazy drivers, the long extents without food. It was a wild trip.

I tried to google walking directions to the west coast. Don't do that, it's a death trap. Google will have you walk through the most dangerous areas possible because its faster. Great company but their walking maps need adjustment ha ha!

I did have a phone but since I was often in areas with no service it would die very quickly. It was trying to find service and the battery was drained in an hour maybe. So I kept it in airplane mode and only turned it on for emergencies or updating the facebook page when I was at a place with free wi-fi.

In the cougar I started with a bunch of junk that any college kid would anticipate needing on a cross-country camping trip. I brought all sorts of stupid stuff: rope, zip-ties, tape, umbrella, lantern, pots and pans. All of that was completely useless and I donated most of it.

I stripped down to just the bare essentials: tent, tarp, bag, 2 outfits, water. Stuff like that.

Best meal... hmmmm. So many. Mudbugs in Louisiana. Navajo burgers. Green chile on EVERYTHING in New Mexico - wow. So tasty.

RoastBeest51 karma

Maybe you could contact Google and offer your expertise to improve their walking routes. They seem to be all about continuous improvement to their products.

bachner50 karma

That would be something else, I would love to.

2131andBeyond10 karma

Yeah, the planning aspect seems to just be silly, especially when life throws us many curveballs. Good on you for making it happen and not backing out when hit with stormy roads (literally and figuratively).

I presume you had no MP3 player or anything for music, and simply just enjoyed sounds of the earth the entire way. That's pretty badass.

Also, have you seen Craigslist Joe? Pretty comparable concept in the "get up and go" adventure kind of way, but obviously different in how you both went about it. If not, definitely check it out.

bachner5 karma

Craigslist Joe is a pretty neat guy!

bionicgiblets3336 karma

Certainly there were points when you wanted to give up, and clearly you didn't, but I'm curious what was your most pathetic moment? Were you ever down on your knees crying like, man fuck this, what was I thinking?

Did you ever have any stray dogs or cats start to follow you?

Did you ever stop walking for a few days because you found a place you enjoyed so much?

bachner66 karma

Great questions.

I did have MANY moments like that. Yelling at the wind till my voice was hoarse. Feeling like God or mother nature had betrayed me or that they were testing me.

One time because of fierce wind, were talking 50mph, my cart with all of its weight went off a steep hill and got caught in a barbed wire fence. The only way to get back onto the road was to climb back up. I freed my cart from the barbed wire and messed up my hands and arms. Then I began my ascent up the hill. Little did I know that it was all sugarsand. My cart became a sled and I continuously got thrown down the hill. One time I was within 2 feet of the top and my foot slipped. The cart ran over my shoulder and chest - I stopped it with my foot, severely injuring my ankle. I ended up unloading the entire cart, disassembling it and making many trips up and down the hill. I was very discouraged but I kept going.

I was no stranger to wild animals on this trip. Most of them were just curious or looking for food. My cart made me appear as a large scary animal though so they kept their distance. One small dog, a rotweiller puppy, hobbled over to me on an indian reservation one time. Named it Sazo. Miss that guy.

I never stopped walking but sometimes a place I liked was long enough to get two days of exposure, like Austin or the Navajo Reservation.

Great questions.

bionicgiblets3316 karma

Oh man that sounds brutal, I'm glad you persevered. I've always wanted to try to hitch-hike across the country (inspired by a hitch-hiker I picked up outside of St. Louis this summer), but now that seems too easy. Maybe tracing the steps of Lewis and Clark would be a better challenge for me, and also be neat as I've lived both near the end of the trail and at the beginning.

Another question. Were you working prior to this, and if so did you quit your job or what? After I graduate this December I have a semester and summer off before I begin medical school (assuming I get accepted somewhere), maybe I will try to go on some sort of adventure like this.

bachner33 karma

I was the sous chef at a restaurant for two years. I walked up to my GM and told them I needed 3 months off to walk across the country or I'd have to give my two weeks. They knew I was a passionate guy and they wished me luck :)

Mattsterman28 karma

What body part hurts the most after 3000 miles?

bachner56 karma

My left knee blew out after the third week from an old crosscountry running injury. After that I had to implement lots of stretching and up my water intake. I also had to take lots of ibuprofein. 30 to 40 miles a day can be painful!

Jloot28 karma

At what point were you most and least proud to be an American?

bachner69 karma

I really am proud to be an American. Some people refused to let me sleep on the edge of their property, but I don't hold the country over their decision. Rather, I love how so many people run to help when it is needed. I feel like Americans generally really care about the person on the side of the road. I've experienced it. Even the police of different states have kind concern. I received escorts through particular areas, not because I asked, but because they wanted to see me through alright.

four_tit_tude27 karma

How the heck did you carry enough water on some stretches in the west? Out in the middle of the desert? The slightest mistake and you're screwed dead.

bachner22 karma

One could say the same thing driving on a one lane road. Most people don't realize the daily danger. I stayed on roads mostly so there are people passing and there were those who provided what I needed.

I carried water I received each day in the cart I pushed.

four_tit_tude13 karma

No. There is a huge, enormous difference. In terrific heat, you can die in one day without water. One day. I read about it all the time, as I live in Southern California, it happens all the time where foreigners come to the desert and die. Damn, it just happened 2 or 3 weeks ago.

Anyways, how did you pick your route? You didn't use Hwy 10. How did you know that there would be enough traffic on the road you chose? How long was it that you would go between towns?

bachner13 karma

I walked between 30 or 40 miles a day. I did highway 90 and I-10 for 1,000 miles then I-35 through waco towards Fort Worth, then 287 to amarillo and i-40 for 1,500 miles. I wanted something with enough traffic but still not so much that I would be harassed.

theschillingmaster27 karma

Did you get bored often? If you did, how did you alleviate your boredom?

bachner102 karma

Some parts of Texas were boring because it's very flat. I walked on a road surround by barbedwire fences and empty nothingness for hundreds of miles through Texas. Once I got into New Mexico the view was much prettier. I spent a LOT of time in my head. Thinking. Sometimes hours would go by and I would realize my walking day was almost done. Other times I would sing out loud and I would even free-style rap about things I found on the side of the road.

People keep throwing out their trash, Could be useful, better add it to my stash, Oh no, dont touch that, could start a rash, Wanted to wave but they drove by too fast.

cjcogburn3027 karma

Have you ever considered hiking the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end?

bachner25 karma

Yes, perhaps in the future. When you have a success it seems like there are so many options that can be pursued!

iwanttofork25 karma

Ok I have to ask, whenever you went #2 in the wilderness, did you ever run out of toilet paper? And if you did, did you resort to using leaves?

bachner30 karma

I never had to use leaves. I'm very resourceful. Also, when you don't eat for two days and then eat an entire pizza your digestive system learns to adapt. Sometimes it would be 2 days before I had to go #2.

FlyingChange17 karma

When I moved into the dorms freshman year, I didn't go #2 for 6 days. What's the longest you went without... doing your business?

bachner11 karma

Maybe 2 days

kitzkronic23 karma

What stretch of the walk was hardest for you? i.e. physically, mentally, spiritually

bachner59 karma

There were several times when I had to walk through the night because of the weather or unsafe feeling of the area. After a 30 mile day, you just want to lay down. But I had to move on. Those were trying times.

ProfessorCannabis23 karma

[deleted]

bachner49 karma

In Amarillo, the law enforcement staged a road block for me after several phone calls came in alerting them to a sketchy vagabond character. The arresting officer complained out loud, WHAT IS THIS JUNK ALL OVER MY HANDS?! I laughed as I informed him that I was wearing a "cake" of ten days worth of sunscreen and bugspray :)

He laughed about it afterwards!

moducky25 karma

Did they actually arrest you?

bachner28 karma

I never went to jail. :)

I_SHAPE_CATS23 karma

How many pairs of shoes did you go through?

bachner41 karma

I walked through 5 pairs of shoes.

bachner40 karma

All of them were donated to me by project followers trying to support the cause.

GNGRKID21 karma

You mentioned you were rejected by some churches. Can you elaborate on that?

bachner86 karma

I arrived in Henrietta, Texas one half hour before sundown. I had two different contacts there but both turned their phones off. I was running out of ideas and day light very quickly. I approached a church and saw people inside. I knocked on a side door and told them my story. I asked if they had anyone who would let me just sleep in their yard. They said they would make some phone calls and advised me to wait outside for them. A few minutes later I saw them leave out of a side door and drive away. Luckily, the church of christ down the road was much more hospitable and I will be forever grateful to them.

cj_and_cockers21 karma

Just realized I passed you in the Mojave on my way to northern California a few weeks ago. Congratulations - this is quite an accomplishment.

bachner15 karma

Sounds like a reddit meetup! :) Thanks for paying close attention to the road and not hitting me!

greenlightrunner20 karma

In what state did you see the most impressive sunset?

bachner58 karma

New Mexico and Arizona had the most impressive sunsets for me. The deep reds were breathtaking. There was also a lot less light pollution, so the stars were equally life changing.

F-uck20 karma

Where did you sleep every day?

bachner40 karma

That was the million dollar question and what made this trip exciting and dangerous. I slept in a different place every day for 90 days straight. Usually in the woods, under bridges or behind stores. Occasionally Americans would put me up in their houses or let me pitch my tent in their yard.

F-uck12 karma

Sounds like one of the more challenging parts of the trip. Did you carry around a small tent or anything like that to sleep with? Pillow? Blanket? Etc

bachner16 karma

Yes! I had a kids stroller that I used to carry one tent, one tarp, one bag, one pillow and about 50 lbs of water.

F-uck2 karma

Kind of a stupid question but did anyone ever give you weird looks for using a kids stroller? To me it seems smart. Also thanks for responding :)

And my last question: What was the best/worst thing you ate/drank during the trip?

bachner11 karma

I'm sure there were plenty of strange looks, but they mostly flew by in cars! One of my favorite foods was eating anything in New Mexico with green chilis!

Romald_Thumbkin19 karma

What gun did you carry, and which holster, did it hold up?

bachner25 karma

357 Airlite by Smith and Wesson. Still works.

Romald_Thumbkin14 karma

And the holster, which is a big curiosity of mine. Talk about a torture test.

bachner17 karma

I had an IWB holster but the gun by nature is so light that I could just carry it in my pocket. Loved it and highly recommend it.

Wishyouamerry19 karma

If you started and finished with $0, how did you get back home once you'd walked across the country?

bachner23 karma

A very wealthy lady who owns property in Los Angeles hosted a party for me at one of her restaurants and helped me with a rental car to get home

ThirdWordCapslocked17 karma

Seeing how YOU went "Into The Wild" if you will, what is your opinion on the word "society!"?

bachner46 karma

Society is important. People cling to it and need it. Most normal people cannot handle this kind of trip. 3 months of isolation is not easy by any means. It's salvation for some and ruin for others.

I do think that if each American at 18 was required to do this walk, our society would be a very different place.

MrMischiefMackson17 karma

Were you ever raped arrested or assualted?

bachner44 karma

I was never raped but people tried. That's all I'll say about that. I'm glad I brought a firearm. I was assaulted and I was also handcuffed and thrown into a couple cop cars.

mblitch14 karma

I am curious about those incidents. Under what pretense were you arrested? Was it just during walking or was it when 'trespassing' and sleeping on private property?

bachner16 karma

Just while walking. Law enforcement would get calls alerting them of a sketchy vagabond character walking through town and they'd come out to meet me :) When camping on private property I was usually very careful. Only had a couple run ins and they all ended decently, no injuries.

pooperly16 karma

[deleted]

bachner29 karma

Bro, I make a mean ham sandwich! Love them!

TheFatLemon14 karma

Has it changed your life in any ways, or did you just return to your normal life when you finished your journey?

bachner36 karma

I haven't been finished with the trip for very long. Right now, I am exhausted from having so many individual conversations. I know I will need some time grow from my experiences. I am more encouraging toward kindness and generosity. I am more frugal. I trust God more and want to help others to trust him more. I see people wasting away in front of the computer and TV.

jinglesassy14 karma

Did you wake up one day and decide "You know what, im walking cross country" Or did you think about it for awhile?

What did your family/friends think of it?

Did you ever almost give up on it?

How did you celebrate it when you finished?

Thanks for reading/answerign this :)

bachner19 karma

My friends were pretty stoked. Family advised against it! I had a lot of discouraging days but I can't quit anything ever. I would've never given up. Rather die. I had a party at Laguna after a dip in the Pacific. So surprised just how many came to the Laguna party!

bachner18 karma

My immediate celebration was to take a dip in the pacific. My overall celebration is to share my experience and to enjoy the company of those I met along the way, those I have returned to, and a thankfulness to God.

Initially my family was warning against traveling in this way.

PQQKIE14 karma

What kind of god do you believe in?

bachner32 karma

The one in the holy bible, I go to a Church of Christ in Florida. I am not the greatest Christian ever but I try. It's not easy!

ToffeeAppleCider12 karma

Why is it not easy, by the way?

bachner66 karma

I think its a challenge because we're encouraged to be a light to others. A shining example of love and charity. Its tough to always be on your "A" game. We get down and discouraged just like everyone else. This world can be a tough and often cutthroat place to live in. It's hard enough surviving in it, let alone trying to share good news that people are resistant to. I do the best I can :)

One thing I try to do is to help others while fulfilling my selfish traveling bug. I can't help it. I want to see as many places as possible but one idea is to be charitable while doing it. Like visiting Honduras to build houses for the poor instead of the Bahamas. Both are very nice places I'm sure though.

Does this help? Of course there's always many things that are tempting to try that we are not supposed to do either. No one is perfect though! Keep trying and always try to do right by everyone. You'll mess up but that's expected.

Vindic_Star13 karma

what was your schedule?

bachner17 karma

Schedule is very important for a trip like this when dealing with a guy like me. With my chef background I like things to be very organized and planned out. As you can imagine, planning for this sort of thing is nearly impossible but I tried. Some things I would schedule were activities like: "okay, in thirty minutes I can take a sip of water, in one hour I can stretch, in 1.5 hours I can take more ibuprofein".

I was always up before the sun and usually walked past sundown. This trip was a 90 hour a week job but one that was enjoyable most times.

deweysizemore13 karma

I drove across the country once and noticed how the landscape from state to state could be so different. When walking across the country, and having more time to notice such things, what differences did you notice? Not only in the landscape, but the people and culture from state to state?

bachner14 karma

Good question.

Just driving to the grocery store as opposed to walking there is a critical difference. You notice everything. Moving 3mph really opens your eyes.

I felt like this was the best way to explore my home country intimately, I was right.

HerbalRose13 karma

[deleted]

bachner10 karma

Good idea! I love Spanish cuisine and most European cuisines, I would LOVE to do that.

Too many people to credit in one place. I met hundreds of incredibly unique and inspiring individuals. We're all trying to find our own path, it was awesome sharing stories. Pirate Christ was a neat fellow - very long dreads.

bowling_for_soup_fan12 karma

Do you keep in touch with any of the people you met along your journey?

bachner14 karma

Yes! some of them will be life long friends I suspect.

perhapsaduck12 karma

How did you eat?

bachner15 karma

I ate when people stopped to give me food. Sometimes people would stop to check on me, then return with food. I always felt blessed, though sometimes I went long stretches without food and water.

Mattsterman10 karma

That's crazy, did you ever have to beg for food? Did you have anyone to call for food if you really needed it?

bachner35 karma

I never had to beg even once. In fact I never even asked for a hand out. If I needed something it just happened without much thought or effort. I would stop by a fast-food joint to fill up my water canteens and people would offer to buy me lunch or what have you. I lived by the same mantra for every component of the trip. Although, sometimes my stubbornness left me hungry for a day or two. I was testing my self and my faith and my countrymen. I'm proud to say 3 months later I am healthy and generally well-nourished!

hague_convention12 karma

Love your story and the sincerity of your faith. Out of curiosity, which state did you get your CCW from? You mentioned traveling through LA, and I know firearms law can be tricky there.

Also, did you have any moments in which you felt God's presence or any times when you felt he was influencing your situation?

Thanks!

bachner20 karma

I got my ccw from Florida. To be honest the whole point of a ccw is that its concealed. No one ever knew I had a firearm unless they were threatening me. Even when law enforcement did inquire, I explained my situation and they overlooked it. Every time!

God was with me the whole trip but I felt especially comforted and in awe in nature. Like when standing ontop of a mountain or at the grand canyon.

Ki11igraphy11 karma

Congratulations on your spirit walk

, what has this journy taught you that you would like to pass on to others?

What is the best advice you can give to another considering this journy?

bachner16 karma

Thank you most sincerely. This journey has taught me many many many things. The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone doing any journey of any caliber is this: if your heart is in the right place and you are trying to do something good, it will work and God, as well as, other Americans will take care of you.

BossHydro11 karma

What big cities did you go through? What was the most friendly?

bachner16 karma

mobile, new orleans, houston, austin, amarillo, albuquerque, los angeles

bachner20 karma

The most friendly town was probably Wichita Falls, Texas

72372311 karma

Best experience? Worst experience?

bachner48 karma

Best experience walking into the water at Laguna Beach, knowing I did it. Blood, sweat and tears. I finished.

Worst experience, having 10 people show up to my welcome home party 2 hours ago when 130 rsvpd.

Mattsterman11 karma

How much money did you have in your pocket at the end of your walk?

bachner40 karma

I did not accept money. $0.

ceslek17 karma

What's the most money you were offered?

Approximately how much money were you offered in total?

bachner27 karma

Not sure, probably a couple thousand dollars on the low end. I did let people buy me things and donate things. For example, meals or shoes or new tires for my cart :)

fergusonwallace10 karma

Do you have a picture of your cart?

bowlduke10 karma

Has this experience changed your view towards homelessness and social justice in this country?

bachner16 karma

Hmmmm. I guess so. I know for a fact that it has changed my car rides! While driving, I realize that I'm looking for places to stealth camp. I'm looking for people to avoid. Places with wi-fi or somewhere to fill up water.

As far as social justice, I feel like certain places where more hospitable towards my vagabond character. Other places not so much :) It's such a tough topic. Humans in general, are subject to so much pain and suffering. I tried to help as many people as possible, homeless included.

Nezzor9 karma

Did you get blisters?

bachner14 karma

When I tried sandals, yes!

SourD4209 karma

did you walk in like a straight line or a certain path or what?

bachner12 karma

I followed roads and highways. Paper maps are still great!

09128418 karma

What shoes did you wear and did they survive ?

bachner10 karma

My shoes did not survive. I was given different kinds along the way. As long as they fit OK, they worked.

sumraunchysmell8 karma

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in undertaking a journey similar to your own?

bachner21 karma

I've had several people reach out to me lately trying to begin a trip like mine. I would advise agaisnt it to be honest, or at least advise for you to plan on spending much more time than 3 months. Walking 3,000 miles on foot in less than 90 days is unheard of. I have put my body through a very great burden and I will have to have pool therapy for my legs probably. Otherwise, plan to be very lonely and to get over it. Plan to be very hungry and to get over it. Plan to have a life changing experience that is impossible to plan for :) Get ready to adjust on the fly and keep your head up. If you have any specific questions, list them and I will do my best to answer the ones I can.

Siddhartha_907 karma

What universities did you happen to visit? Any particular one you liked?

bachner19 karma

I didn't get to visit too many to be honest with you. They're typically far away from the main interstates. A two hour drive to the local university could be a 3 day walk for me :) I did a presentation for one college class though. LSU was nice.

fuzzycuffs7 karma

With all the methods to travel from west to easy coast, how do you manage to run into other cross country travelers? Does everyone take the Lincoln Highway or something?

bachner6 karma

Good question.

If you think about traveling cross country, certain parts of our country come with their own challenges. Mountains and cold versus dry hot and spread out. Most people prefer flat and hot versus constant elevation changes.

I-40 and I-10 are solid interstates to walk on.

Brew_Swillis6 karma

Did you ever have to steal anything along the way?

bachner6 karma

Nope! Somehow, what I needed always showed up.

Gonji895 karma

I'm considering doing a similar journey in Spring 2014 so I'll ask some specific questions.

1) I'm not planning on walking it in 90 days. I think I will stretch that out to more like 100-120 days to give my body a better fighting chance. So my question is what, specifically, did you bring along? I saw tarp, tent, bag, 50+pounds of water, 2 pairs of clothes, your S&W... Is that all?

2) Which route did you take? I live in North Carolina so I would be tempted to take HWY 40. Recommended or no?

3) If I were planning to avoid the law enforcement trouble or attempted rape and assault, what precautions would you recommend, besides carrying a firearm?

Thank you for doing this AMA. I have been considering this for many months since I got out of the military and your story has inspired me to go ahead and try it.

bachner4 karma

Do a trial run and make sure you have what it takes mentally.

AriKillem5 karma

Where was your favorite stop?

bachner8 karma

Either the "blue hole" in Santa Rosa, the Grand Canyon in AZ, or New Orleans.

EatingSandwiches15 karma

A lot of blisters I would imagine? what kind of medical care did you have on the road?

bachner6 karma

Not much at all. The first two weeks were the hardest. My ankles were swollen. Bug bitten. Sick. After the 2 or 300 mile hump everything clicked and it became easier.

XZIVR5 karma

How often did you find yourself humming/singing the lyrics to "I would walk 500 miles"?

bachner21 karma

Aha, that song is a joke. I heard it once in a diner and CRACKED up. This mans illustration of an incredible feat of love is 1/6 the distance I walked :)

prepetual_change5 karma

What was the most mentally difficult part of your trek?

Did you learn or discover anything about yourself that had you surprised?

bachner4 karma

Being alone for 3 months straight. I missed talking to people and my puppy Captain, 2 years old Golden Retriever. :)

PlamZ4 karma

Would you do it again elsewhere? If so, where?

bachner7 karma

This trip was incredible, challenging, exciting. I would definitely do it again. Im asking myself that same question. It's too soon to say anything officially about my next walk but in the meantime I am starting up my Community Walk project. My entire town is invited to a weekly walk. We will all meet at the local park and just do a few laps together. I want to get people outside, in the sunshine, experiencing life and having fun together. Connection!

PlamZ2 karma

Pretty cool! Good luck on that!

bachner1 karma

Thank you!

jdombrowsk4 karma

Did you walk 500 miles?

jdombrowsk3 karma

Would you walk 500 more?

bachner2 karma

Hahaha I would walk 3,000 miles just to wind up at your door!

Aldrahill4 karma

I dunno why but I feel like... I don't like it.

People do this a lot it seems. Walk everywhere.

So, you walk a certain distance, and just... kinda ask for food and shelter? Like, you just kinda walk there and are like "HEY Im walking so I deserve food and shelter, whereas you have to work for it."

I know you're probably not an asshole, maybe it's just me being tired but... the concept just irks me. I honestly feel like I shouldn't be expected to have to give you things.

Romald_Thumbkin6 karma

I don't think you're expected to do it, especially by this guy. And you simply wouldn't. That's fine, he's not entitled to anything you worked for. For everyone that gave him something, a few million didn't!

The people that did render assistance have also worked for what they could give, and they wanted to.

bachner4 karma

Aldrahill and Romald, no one was required to help me, I'm glad they did though, it saved my life.

puppylover1073 karma

What was your thought process in deciding to do this? Was it a wake up and say I want to walk across America next week or was this something you have been planning for months then finally pulled the trigger?

Congrats by the way this is really cool and encouraging!

bachner3 karma

Thanks! I wanted to go on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. When I looked up directions I noticed there was a walking option and I was hooked. Once I made it to the GC I decided to just finish it!

enVoco3 karma

How did you manage to leave everything you have and everything you cared about and start this journey that seemed ridiculous? Did a lot people thought you had gone crazy?

bachner2 karma

I met some resistance, but I also didn't tell everyone I knew. I think there is an urge in some people to step out of the mundane parts of life, at least for a little while.

MrMischiefMackson3 karma

Like I wanna do something like this but I know my experience won't be nearly as rewarding

bachner2 karma

Your experience would probably be equally rewarding but it depends on what you're after. If you want to learn who you are and what you can take. This is a good way to do it but I'm confident there are other ways as well.

Fat_Head_Carl3 karma

What kind of hat did you wear, abs sun protection?

bachner2 karma

I wore a marine floppy camo hat. Like this: https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/965342_577834768922475_932087714_o.jpg

Hope that link works!

mjh843 karma

what did god say to you?

bachner4 karma

God has shown me options. I'm trying to decide which ones to pursue at the moment. Life is always about options. At least with me anyways. There were often choices presented to me and as funny as it sounds, something in nature would direct me towards one of them on the trip. Saving my life several times.

mjh843 karma

care to elaborate on the time that your life was in danger?

bachner5 karma

In Albuquerque along with several other places I was surrounded by thug types. I asked them to step aside but they started cursing at me and eventually shoving me so I pulled out my firearm. I said how I had enough bullets for all of them and they backed off. It's uncomfortable to talk about those kinds of stories though. Such tense situations affected me to the core.

mjh840 karma

did God tell you to pull out your weapon?

bachner2 karma

Hehe, I think that was my gut and natural instinct. God gave me a conscious and enough good sense not to use it on anyone. That firearm was a tool that saved my life countless times. I'm sincerely thankful that I never had to actually use it. Hope I never ever do!

ProfessorCannabis3 karma

What was the approximate ratio of people you encountered who were:

*Nice, friendly and/or helpful

*Indifferent

*Unfriendly, bothersome, rude, etc

bachner4 karma

I would say that a majority of people were quite helpful. It was very refreshing to experience this because I expected the opposite. America is still a very charitable country and I found that out firsthand. There were people who were indifferent and rude but it was more entertaining for me than bothersome hehe :)

XGDragon2 karma

Now do it in Europe, from Lissabon to Moscow!

bachner8 karma

I would love love love to do a europe walking trip. I'm going to spend some time recovering from this one first and then consider my options. One part of the project that I actually plan on introducing tonight at my welcome home party which is in one hour is... the community walk! Everyone in my home community will be invited. We will meet bi-weekly or once a week to have a large outdoorsy walk together. Nice and slow. Chatty. I want to get people outside and making connections.

sconnie642 karma

So did you just randomly pitch your tent in some farmer's back field or what did you do for sleeping?

How often did you shower??

Did you stay in people's houses more than your tent or vice versa?

bachner1 karma

The first 30ish days I slept in a tent in the woods or under a bridge. Once the website picked up finding yards to camp in was easier. Towards the end I found more couches to crash on. Lots and lots of tent time. I preferred that though. I could come and go as I please. Rest for three or four hours, pack up and go!

djle122 karma

bath/shower?

bachner2 karma

Gas station hand sinks, mostly just cleaning my face. Showers here and there when people would take me into their homes. You get used to being dirty and almost prefer it after awhile. My first shower was 2 or 3 weeks in. It was a weird laughing/crying combination. It felt so nice!!!

fetalasmuck2 karma

How sunburned did you get?

bachner1 karma

Not too bad, actually. You can see my pictures on my facebook link.

bachner1 karma

I wore suncreen for the first month and then got tired of the chemicals. My skin adapted and I stopped burning.

jkirbyk2 karma

As a Texas I'm glad to hear you enjoyed my state(even though it can get kinda bland every once and a while) I was wondering

How long Did it take you to walk across Texas?

Best and worst Places in Texas

Have you found yourself walking to places you would have normally driven to at home?

Thanks!

bowling_for_soup_fan3 karma

As a Texas

I didn't realize states could talk!

jkirbyk3 karma

The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of me.

bachner2 karma

:)

iPayTheTrollToll2 karma

How do you go about planning this? Were you apprehensive, but just said, You know what, I gotta do it

I think about running cross country alot, but the thought of "what could happen" strikes me with fear.

bachner2 karma

I did shorter walks and exercise in some preparation. But when you get out there, you just firmly decide to go for it. There were too many unknowns to plan too much. I knew I needed some equipment to logically move and survive. I depended on others for the rest.

doopercooper2 karma

Hi, can you post some pictures that are not on Facebook or Instagram?

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

bachner1 karma

http://i.imgur.com/DgcXmdK.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/JoUlMxh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/MVMQYr1.jpg

The dog is the random puppy that came up to me on the navajo reservation, we named him sazo and put a collar on him.

TaxedOP2 karma

What was your general response to the usual patron when they pulled over and asked if you were okay?

Why take the path along the lower portion of the US, unless it was merely for the shortest route?

bachner1 karma

My initial goal was to see the Grand Canyon, so it was a pretty direct route from near where I live. When I neared the GC I decided that I should continue.

zainyogini2 karma

What was your favorite state to walk through? What did you do to prepare for your trip, physically, mentally and spiritually?

bachner2 karma

New Mexico was my favorite state. Visually awesome. People were very hospitable. I hardly prepared at all. I thought I did but I had no idea. You can't prepare for this. You just do it and adapt :)

Issoire2 karma

So your money was kept in a fanny pack of sorts?

bachner1 karma

I didn't have any money! :)

ChinoSanDiego2 karma

at any point did you take advantage of the kindness of strangers? like entering restaurants with no money on the off chance of getting free food?

bachner1 karma

Yes, constantly :) At first I was weary of this situation but after awhile it was commonplace. People were excited to help someone on such a grand adventure and I definitely needed help.

ironik862 karma

Just want to say that this is something I've been thinking about doing for awhile now and am inspired by your answers to these questions. Here's a question I have, do you see yourself doing it again in the future? It's good to see that you had an overall positive experience.

bachner3 karma

Thanks for the comment, you should do it! It's not easy. Be careful and do a test run to see if your body is up for it.

Yes, I could do this again definitely, I loved it.

ironik863 karma

I walked about 50 miles a week for about 10 months (Didnt have a car, looking for work etc and ended up loving to walk), some days I'd walk upwards 10-15 miles. It was really strange getting back into a car....I felt super detached.

bachner2 karma

Hehe yes. Imagine how I feel being back in air-conditioning. Just sitting in a comfortable chair is weird. The transition back to "normality" has been tough but I'll make it. If I can walk 3,000 miles I should be able to do this too! Hah.

ironik863 karma

Haha...I'm sure you're a bit shell shocked by the AC, huh? I was walking in summer texas heat...then around October I started having to walk in the cold of Illinois (never having even seen snow before prior to this). If I had to pick between walking in the windy cold or humid heat...I'd pick heat any day of the week. Very cool to see another person do this though, makes me think I'll have to do it within the next few years..the more time goes by the more I want to and probably will :)

bachner2 karma

It was definitely a crazy trip. I prefer hot to cold too. At least for walking. My gear was lighter weight and my limbs were loose from the heat. Moving around in the cold is very difficult

tninak2 karma

Of all the places you passed through what two would you consider relocating to permanently and why?

bachner1 karma

Lake Charles, Louisiana and Grants, New Mexico. An abundance of kind people. Smaller towns but close enough to bigger cities to get things you need from stores. Lots of local culture and beautiful things to see.

phonologyrules2 karma

What was your route?

bachner2 karma

I walked on the blue star memorial highway (highway 90) for approximately 1,000 miles and then I took 35 to fort worth and 287 to Amarillo followed by the purple heart trail (route 66/i40) for 1,500 miles approximately. With detours here and there for survivability and avoiding storms - that kinda thing.

iAmDTF2 karma

Have you seen the movie "Forrest Gump"?

bachner7 karma

Haha, yes! I visited the Bubba Gump restaurant in New Orleans. When I told the staff who I was and what I was doing they got really excited. We took pictures and they proclaimed me the real Forrest Gump. I was just happy that I got a free bucket of crawfish.

Alwaysthequiet12 karma

You sound like an amazing person. Also.... well I would walk five hundred miles, and I would walk 5 hundred more, well I would walk five hundred miles just to be the man who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your door

.... I'll just see myself out...

bachner2 karma

Hehehe... I remember when I heard that song in a diner... the song writers illustration of an impossible feat proving his love is approximately 1/3 the distance I had to walk. Cracks me up :)

The walking was the easy part. I went on autopilot. It was like meditating. The mental part was the hard part!

Alwaysthequiet12 karma

What you did was most definitely an amazing feat. I know I couldn't do something like that!

So out of the whole trip, what do you think was your greatest experience?

bachner5 karma

I think the greatest moment was when I was walking my last day and I was stopped at a cross-walk waiting for the green light. I was 100 feet from the beach. There were 150 people waiting for me on the other side and maybe 20 people walking behind me. I could hear the water, I could feel the breeze, smell the sea. It was overwhelming. Then when I finally went into the water, everything was quiet. It was beautiful.

DrPeteVenkman2 karma

So....you're a moocher?

bachner4 karma

Totally but I never made anyone uncomfortable by it. I never asked for anything. If people offered I accepted willingly. This trip was about connection and experience not hand outs. I knew no matter what, that I would finish or I would die trying. I finished and it was a very positive experience for everyone involved as far as I know. People were very excited to participate and help where they could.

andicotsteel2 karma

How many pairs of shoes did you bring and what kind?

bachner1 karma

I brought one pair of adidas shoes! They lasted me quite awhile and then the rest of my shoes were donated to me along the way. A good assortment of all the brands you can find in a shoe store. Most running shoes will work just fine. I tried a pair of sandals but the blisters made them undesirable.

andicotsteel2 karma

Do you ever use any special insoles like Superfeet? Just curious. Congrats on your trip. It's very inspiring. Rest up now.

bachner1 karma

I probably would have considered it if anyone donated some but I didn't have money to spend on them :) Thanks!!!

CallMeMoe2 karma

How did you manage to stay fed? to me, i feel that that would be the hardest thing to overcome in this kind of journey

bachner1 karma

Strangers along the way gave what I needed. I'm thankful to them, to all the people I met along the way, to my church back home praying for me.

gay_mike1 karma

Did you get any inspiration from this guy

bachner1 karma

Definitely.

flukz-6 karma

...without a job, a residence and legal tender, that's what you are, a bum.

bachner2 karma

I prefer gypsy good sir! I did however have my own catering company that I left behind to pick up now, as well as, an apartment that I was leasing and set money aside for before I left.

cheesefrykid-17 karma

You said you experienced extended quiet time with yourself and God, I was just wondering how it feels to talk to yourself and hope some non-existent entity is listening to you?

hjfzj10 karma

On that note, how does it feel to be a disrespectful asshole?

bachner5 karma

That's okay, everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs. Cheesefrykid, it felt really good. A 3,000 mile walk may change what you believe in, as well as, what you feel exists and doesn't exist, what matters and what doesn't. The first three weeks was "hope", afterwards there was no doubt that something was taking care of me. I like to believe that it was God.