Proof: here at Instagram where you can also see hundreds of pictures from the walk.

On February 27th I left the Pacific Ocean and over the course of the last five months I walked 3,100 miles to the Atlantic Ocean in Boston. I learned a lot about the country, a lot about myself, and a lot about people in general.

Here's a five-minute highlight video of the walk, if you're into that. Also, I'm putting the finishing edits on the book I wrote about the walk. You can find that at http://benwalksamerica.com.

Otherwise, ask me anything. I'll be here all day answering any and everything.

I'll get out ahead of the questions and answer the most popular question first.

Why? Are you raising money for anything? Any charity?

  • My motivation was the adventure. There was no cause associated. I wasn't raising awareness or money for anything. At first I felt a little guilty when people would ask me, but I learned to own it. I was doing it because it was there. To see if I could. Humans have an innate desire to explore and adventure and that's what I was tapping into more than anything. After I started thinking about it, I got worried that one day I'd regret it if I didn't do it. The idea of watching the country evolve ever slowly as I moved eastward at 3 mph, that excited me.

Comments: 1878 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

DvynC2013 karma

Hi Ben! I accidentally stole your water bottle in Illinois, are you going to want that back?

delvis4011780 karma

DEVYN WHAT UP?! Say hi to Velerie for me.

fumtwee798 karma

Ben, congratulations and thanks for doing this AMA! I explained to my six year-old son that you just finished a walk across the entire country and his response was "Boy, he must be sweaty!"

His question for you: "what was your favorite dinner?"

Loved following your progress on Instagram!!

delvis401691 karma

Town and Country Diner in Florence, KS back in early May. It was a brutal day and I ate three pancakes and four slices of bacon. Truly amazing dinner.

windy_daze_72749 karma

Hey Ben! This is Wendy. I walked with you for a bit in PA and am now planning to promote arts integration in classrooms while backpacking/bicycling Europe. I've have 10 months to plan and will need to travel with technology.

  1. How did your technology hold up to the various weather/climates?
  2. What types do you recommend since I'll be documenting my journey/presenting in classrooms while carrying a pack?
  3. Is there anything you wish you would have brought (technology wise) or anything you would have left behind?

Thanks!

delvis401348 karma

Wendy! Good to see you here. My technologies never really failed. Maybe my phone battery dying faster in cold weather but having portable power was very useful. Nothing really I would have done differently. I planned pretty well as far as tech goes. Maybe a nicer camera.

3agl30 karma

What camera did you carry?

delvis40161 karma

iPhone 6s and GoPro 4 silver

KentConnor541 karma

Are you a little disappointed that you finished at the beginning of the Pokémon GO craze?

This question is a little tilted toward my current obsession, but I feel like you could have seen a lot of variety in the game that us job-bound nights/weekend players just don't get.

delvis401348 karma

I never got into Pokemon when I was younger. I seemed just too old for the craze in junior high. I haven't downloaded or played Pokemon Go either, but you're not the first person to ask, lol.

PirateSteve_Garrr475 karma

Did you ever feel unsafe or that your life was in danger while on your adventure?

And I was lucky enough to hear about your journey in late May. Been following your shenanigans ever since and I want to thank you for having the courage to do this. It really has motivated me to start breaking out of my usual bubble and get out of my comfort zone.

delvis4011216 karma

There was a sketchy part of Riverside, CA at 3 in the morning or thereabouts. I was too scared to sleep in the place I had chosen to stealth camp so I kept walking. There was a skeezy porn shop next to a hotel I wanted to get to to sleep for a few hours. The hotel was even scarier so I kept walking. Some dude in the parking lot started yelling at me, "COME HERE." I didn't, and he didn't like that, so he started jogging after me. My stroller and I put the sprint on and got the hell out. He lost interest, fortunately.

LibertyMango406 karma

What state/city is the least sidewalk friendly place? Congrats on your walk and completed goals!

delvis401831 karma

New Jersey was particularly rough. Crazy traffic (and crazy drivers to be honest).

Mutt122344 karma

What state/city is the most sidewalk friendly place?

delvis401180 karma

Most cities are the same as far as pedestrians are concerned. Highway 50 in Colorado/Kansas had some amazing shoulders, though.

almostelm221 karma

Hi Ben! I've been following your IG account since shortly before you took off on this amazing journey! It's been wonderful to see you succeed.

My question is, did you keep track of how many days were spent camping outside versus how many were in a hotel or a kind person's home? I'm really curious about the ratio!

delvis401514 karma

  • Instagram/Facebook followers inviting me to crash: 60
  • Days camping: 20
  • Hotels: 32
  • Stranger's homes: 19
  • Warmshowers app: 7

Was the breakdown.

Freddie-Hg148 karma

Ben! Congratulations! I've been following you on your journey since the beginning, and though we never crossed paths, I want to say that I am greatly envious and admiring of your trip.

What are you planning to do in the next day? Month? Year?

delvis401139 karma

The next month is just editing and organizing my book. Then focusing on weight loss. I'm in a decent place financially to take some time and focus on making the book as good as possible.

mookiburr136 karma

Did you see any wildlife that you hadn't seen before? Any scary run-ins with wildlife?

delvis401321 karma

No snakes or bears, which was cool. In the Mojave desert I would wake up with my tent in the middle of 10-20 coyotes all howling at either the morning or at me for camping in their turf. That was a really cool thing every morning.

JakeltheMan136 karma

Did you ever feel like quitting? What did you tell yourself when you did?

P.s I have been following you on instagram and I love your pictures

delvis401233 karma

I never had a moment where I wanted to quit, and I consider myself lucky in that regard. I don't know, life was so good out on the road. So simple. And I had so many people back at home and on the Internet following along and keeping my morale high that it never crossed my mind. Every day I was meeting new people and seeing amazing things. I had some rough days, but never "I need to quit" days.

rosyrobin111 karma

Congratulations on your great accomplishment, Ben! 1) How many pairs of shoes did you go through? 2) What's next for Charles? 3)How's life as you transition back to staying in one place? Thank you for sharing your journey with us all. Best, Robin

delvis40110 karma

  • I went through five pairs of shoes.
  • Charles is safely home with me in Little Rock. I'll hold onto him; he's a really good stroller. If I have kids in the future I'll push them all over the place (maybe not across the country).
  • Life is different now. I feel restless here at home; just adjusting to not walking 25 miles per day. I definitely developed a dependency on the grind and it's taking time to get used to regular life.

patred698 karma

Ben, Congratulations on your accomplishment! I've been following you since your last AMA, and I've gotta say, you are one truly inspiring dude. Anyways, how were you able to pull this feat off financially? I can't imagine you were able to work while you were doing the walk, and you were on the road for a LONG time. How were you able to maintain yourself money-wise and how will you be able to take the hit in the long-run? Also, do you have any big future plans after this?

delvis401156 karma

Finances were a tough part. I started with $5,500 and thought I was good, but I overspent on hotels and restaurants early on. I ran out of money in central Ohio. I wrote about the financial spot I found mysef in and reached out to people to buy specific things if they wanted to chip in. A few Gatorades for $5 for example. A few meals at Panera. It was a little embarrassing, but people were understanding. The trip can be done for much cheaper, depending on how rough you want to get.

PreciselyUnclear47 karma

I bicycled from Baltimore to New Jersey but also spent a surprising amount of money. It's really hard to resist those fast food, or little mom and pop restaurants.

delvis40140 karma

Yeppppp. So true.

theHLpostulate87 karma

Hey Ben, it's been fun following your journey on Instagram.

What was your favorite dog that you saw on your journey?

delvis401185 karma

Thunderpup! I met a fellow walker in Garden City, KS who just so happened to be going east to west. He was walking with a beautiful golden dog named Thunderpup.

hahaworklol77 karma

Hey Ben, I rode my bicycle across the USA (Virginia - San Fran) two summers ago. How much did you appreciate the sense of freedom you had on a day to day basis? You woke up and had to make sure you got through that day, and that was it. No worrying about a week from then or what happened yesterday. Are you nervous at all to get back to "real life" and having to deal with not living such a free lifestyle?

delvis401103 karma

This was a huge theme of the writing I did. Just how life is so simple. Sun's up? Walk. Sun's down? Sleep. It's a cool way of life and it's something I'm somewhat struggling with as I get back to my city and the routine.

bassmanfro77 karma

Did you encounter people on your trip that made you feel unsafe or that they were a little too friendly?

delvis401231 karma

I stayed with a very bizarre family in Illinois. Well, I was supposed to, but I excused myself and found someone else in town. They were religious fanaticals who talked endlessly about the endtimes and just made me feel weird in general. Plus, they didn't "believe" in air conditioning, so that was not so good.

tryingtojustbe49 karma

how did you find said family? are the revelation spewing evangelicals who shun air conditioning also big into instagram and reddit ama's?

delvis40197 karma

Yeah, it was weird, they all had phones and followed along on Instagram.

RomanMad71 karma

Hey Ben it's Roman. I wanted to try to stalk you on all forms of social media. Congrats on making it to Boston! You always have a place to stay in Cbus. My question is when are you coming to get that pizza cause it's still in my fridge?

delvis40156 karma

:( pls deliver to LR.

stats169 karma

What was your favorite sandwich on the walk?

delvis401181 karma

Fried pork tenderloin at a small cafe in Terre Haute, IN. So big it took two buns. Onions and a little mayo. Oh god, so good.

Jmonty55108 karma

What fine gentleman took you there?

delvis401109 karma

<3

SteelyDanny43 karma

What's it been like re-adjusting to life not walking all day every day?

delvis401129 karma

It's tough. My body is so used to getting out and on the road. I definitely think it's a physiological dependency that I'm going to battle for a bit here at home. I'm also feeling a little weird socially. My girlfriend and best friend have noted it and I'm aware of it. A little more withdrawn maybe? Just getting back into the routine of being around people after 12-14 hour days of not talking to anyone.

pm-me-ur-window-view38 karma

What was your phone/data plan through all this? Was it ok?

delvis40118 karma

I'm on Verizon 12 GB plan. I usually went over 2-4 GB.

Freddie-Hg36 karma

You mentioned that you somewhat unexpectedly got a girlfriend right before you left LA. Did you think having a long-distance (changing-distance*) girlfriend helped with the trip? Did it detract because the initial intention of taking this trip was to do it on your own when you had no obligations? Was it somewhere in the middle? Thanks!

delvis40180 karma

It was a surprise and something I wasn't exactly planning on (or prepared for). I saw myself doing the walk unattached, I think. Not just to be single and have the option be open in case, you know, the chance I encountered girls I met along the walk, but also because I didn't necessarily want anything pulling me back home. My girlfriend was amazing and supportive in every way though, and having a constant back home, someone to talk to every night; it made the walk a lot easier.

dmoushey_3134 karma

What was your favorite part about St. Louis, besides staying at the casino and seeing your girlfriend? ;)

delvis40155 karma

Being taught the "always swipe right and let the chips fall where they may" method on Tinder by your boy. Also your cats <3

classicderence24 karma

Hi Ben, I've followed your journey since Kansas on Instagram with fascination!

With the benefit of hindsight, if you were to do the journey all over again, what would you do differently?

Also, what's the most bizarre thing you've seen on your travels?

Thanks for doing this IamA!

delvis401111 karma

I started with the idea that I'd never get in a car. That I'd walk to see local landmarks, sites. But what ended up happening is that I could never motivate myself to walk the 5-10-20 extra miles off route to go see the things, so I stuck with my "rule" and stayed on route. It had the opposite effect of the intention. I was walking across the country without seeing anything. So I changed the rule to that I could go in a car with people but had to be dropped back off at the spot I got picked up so I never lost any mileage.

Book2gs17 karma

Congrats Ben!!! You mentioned there were a couple points where you were worried about a stalker with creepy emails... Going through this whole walk and announcing what areas you were walking to/through, do you feel like this would be a safe thing for a woman to do alone like you?

delvis40149 karma

Yeah, about day 15 or so I got an email from someone claiming to be following me, and they said, "the easiest way to get away with murder is to hit them with your car, watch your back; I've been following you..." which made me feel weird. That was just about the only time I felt a little nervous. As far as walking it as a female I know a few who are doing it/have done it. The thing to remember is you're doing all your walking during the day and on highways with quite a bit of traffic. I don't know, I never felt unsafe, but I can't necessarily speak to how it would be as a female doing it.

KittyCatPicnic14 karma

Are you going to continue to rock the super tan calf look, or try to even out the tan?

delvis40118 karma

Unfortunately, my day-to-day attire doesn't change much from my walk attire so I'll probably keep the tan lines until Christmas when they fade.

Ramrod3126 karma

How hard was it to make the complete walk with balls so big? Didn't they slow you down, or was there a compartment to rest them in your stroller?

delvis40112 karma

Strong boxer briefs.

andrew_moraes3 karma

Hey Ben! Could you tell us about your walk through the Mojave? Also, what do you have planned for future adventures?

delvis4016 karma

The Mojave was tough. A long stretch from 29 Palms, CA to Needles, CA. Only two gas stations and nothing else for 130 miles or so. It was in early March so the weather wasn't too bad, but it was tough mentally to be so isolated so early in the walk when I wasn't used to it.

Rachel3482 karma

Hey Ben!

Rachel here from the Kansas bakery where you stopped in for some cinnamon rolls. My question for you: how did you keep track of your adventures that you you wanted to include in your book? Did you write down things as they happened? At the end of each day? Also, best song to get you through a long day of walking?

It was great to meet you! Congrats on making it and can't wait to read your book!

delvis4013 karma

Answered my writing process a little earlier, so I'll skip that one, but best song was Providence, RI by American Princes. And Too Cruel by Dirty Heads. And Quarterback by Kopecky.

cdnmarty2 karma

Was there anyone close to you who told you you were crazy for attempting this? If so, how did you deal with it?

delvis4015 karma

My mom didn't "get it" but was supportive. Everyone I know was pretty supportive and excited.

triggc2 karma

How many blisters did you get?

delvis40110 karma

The first week, I got quite a few, but by the end of week one, everything was calloused over and I was all set for the rest of the walk.

ledo1232 karma

Ben - Thanks for Doing the AMA. I've been following for the past several weeks. Question: Did you lose any weight during the Trip? I currently walk 5 miles/day and haven't lost any weight :(.

delvis40111 karma

I was surprised at the weight-loss aspect of it. In the early days I dropped weight pretty quickly. Partially due to the nature of the desolate west and the options for food/restaurants being limited. I ended gaining weight as I moved into the eastern half of America. I ate a lot. Partly because some of the story was the local food I encountered, partly because kind people housed me and took me to amazing restaurants, partly because I am a chronic overeater. I wrote a lot about my struggles with overeating as I walked, and it's something I delve into extensively in the book. I ended up losing 18 pounds over the course of the walk.

Jayda_alexandra2 karma

Hi Ben what was you favorite part of Boston? I couldn't make it to your party but I've been following you since day 1.

delvis4018 karma

Ahhh, Boston was amazing. It was hot as hell, but five or six of us walked the final 13 miles together and 30 or so people met me at the beach to welcome me to the Atlantic. Just a really cool day. You can see a bit of the finish line in the video I linked in the OP.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

delvis4017 karma

I'm a big dude, so my legs are sturdy as hell. Never really struggled with any type of injury other than general soreness of walking 25-30 miles each day.

car0linagirl2 karma

What was your writing process like while on the road? Can't wait to read your book!

delvis40110 karma

Almost every night I would write about the day in my journal. Anywhere between 100-500 words usually. Then every week or so I'd get my computer out and expand, reflect, and put it into narrative/story form for the book. Now, it's just me going through and organizing it into proper book form and editing.

dimplejuice2 karma

How did you figure out a route to take that was safe to walk along the shoulder so as to avoid highways? Ever feel like the shoulder didn't provide enough space to safely walk?

delvis4015 karma

Almost all highways have a decent shoulder. (besides highway 40 in Illinois... damn gravel shoulder...). City walking was dicier than any highways. Highways are built for cars to pull over if need be, which makes it walkable.

nijevazno1 karma

I'm curious if you ever got in a car to go to see a diversion and then got dropped back off where you were picked up? Or were were you strict about not getting in any vehicle the entire time?

delvis4015 karma

I got picked up plenty of times to see nearby things, landmarks, concerts, or people's houses to hang out, sleep, eat, etc. They would always drop me back where they picked me up.

flameboyxu1 karma

Who are some individuals that you met in this journey that was memorable for you?

delvis40112 karma

I stayed with some farmers on my 30th birthday in Missouri. They were amazing humans. Did all my laundry, sewed up a hole in my shorts, and made me birthday pancakes when I headed out. Also gave me a birthday card with a $10 bill inside. Pam and John :)

delvis4011 karma

I stayed with some farmers on my 30th birthday in Missouri. They were amazing humans. Did all my laundry, sewed up a hole in my shorts, and made me birthday pancakes when I headed out. Also gave me a birthday card with a $10 bill inside. Pam and John :)

Novapoliton1 karma

Where did you sleep and how did you plan the route?

delvis4014 karma

I broke down my sleeping spots earlier. I used Google Maps walking directions and added a few nearby cities along the way.

intensenerd1 karma

Did you get sick of any music you listened to? Or did you mostly just listen to the ambiance around you?

Also, thanks for being so social. You've been a great inspiration.

delvis4013 karma

I probably listened to maybe an hour or two of music per day. When you're walking you're never bored, surprisingly. Constantly on alert and thinking. I spent a lot of time writing in my head.

d44911 karma

Hi Ben! What shoes did you use and how many pairs did you go through? Also,were you always wearing shoes or did you switch it out every now and then?

delvis4012 karma

Five pairs total. About 600 miles each. Always had shoes on.

MyBeardCollectsLint1 karma

Congrats on completing your walk! Has this journey sparked any interest to try out long distance backpacking? Perhaps the Pacific Crest Trail?

delvis4012 karma

Yeah, I think anytime you do something like this, it sparks something in you that begins to crave it. For sure I'd like to do both the AT and PCT one day. Not anytime soon, though. I need to drop a bit of weight before I start hiking thousands of miles.

HallAndCoats1 karma

What was the hardest state for you to walk through? And what did you think of Indiana?

delvis4013 karma

Indiana was a lot of fun. Very nice people. Kansas was the most difficult. So flat and the highways move in a grid around the farms so there's very few diagonals to get me up to KC. I spent something like 460 miles and 24 days in Kansas...

nunes921 karma

are you from RI?

delvis4012 karma

Little Rock, AR!

Megzor061 karma

It was really cool watching your walk through Instagram! How has this walk changed you, physically, mentally, and emotionally?

delvis4018 karma

The biggest thing is how simple my life is now. I hope the new minimalist lifestyle I've developed sticks. When everything you own fits in a jogging stroller, I don't know. Life is just easier.

nightshade_71 karma

What was your scariest stretch to walk on? And what was the most fun stretch? And any horror stories you would like to share?

delvis4013 karma

Not many scary places. (New Jersey highways notwithstanding). I loved the Katy Trail in Missouri, though.