I am James "Attrition" Lunning, and I am a swordfighting vagrant who has spent the last 30 months hiking over 15,000 miles around the US.
At the ripe young age of 21 I quit my job as a machinist to hike around the US. I've hiked across the US nearly 4 times, thru 29 states, and over 15,000 contiguous miles. Currently taking a rest day after watching the Solar Eclipse, in the last state of the Continental Divide Trail: Montana.
When I set out on the Appalachian Trail on February 12th of 2015 I had planned to hike until I ran out of either money or trails I could reasonably connect, but it was sort of a joke and I couldn't have understood what I was really up for. I've snowshoed across the High Sierra in November, the San Juan Mountains in May; trekked across the Great Plains, Death Valley, the Mojave and Sonoran deserts; shiverred my way through the Upper Midwestern winter; been swept down rivers and steep icy slopes. I've cried at the sight of grocery stores, and been kicked out of buffets for staying too long/eating too much. All the while carrying my trusty longsword.
If I had to pin down why I'm doing this, flippantly its because I played too much (or not enough) Dungeons and Dragons. More seriously would be that many things conspired to give me this opportunity, not least of which was my father having a cancer scare just before retiring, which made it clear as day that I couldn't count on retiring, so if I wanted to go traveling I needed to make it happen. The dumb heady reason is that I don't believe in free will so this is all post-fact rationalization anyways. Hiking was chosen as the mode of travel as combination of having started on the Appalachian Trail, and an inspiring meeting with another hiker doing a similar walk to what I've been up to, I am considering Kayaking the next leg of my trip. I carry the sword partly as a dedication device, I study Historical European Martial Arts (mainly Fiore if we have folks from /r/wma) and figured if I didn't bring it along then I wouldn't be likely to go back to it when I returned; but also I like the frame of mind carrying it puts me in, very adventurous and kindof like I am on some sort of quest.
I am not independently wealthy, but I did go to a low cost trade school to become a CNC machinist, and worked for about a year while pinching my pennies pretty tightly. I bought food in extreme bulk before I left and my parents help me by mailing boxes of it to post offices along the way. I do pay the postage but I'm trading the labor with my Mom, in exchange I'm planning to take her on a thru hike of the John Muir Trail in CA, during the summer after I call my hike complete.
Sporadically updated Blog: https://www.attritionhike.com
12am Mountain time
EDIT: Aright its almost Midnight in Missoula, and past my bedtime. Time for sleep. Thanks Reddit! Its been a blast!
10:30am Mountain Time
2nd EDIT: I'm gonna answer a few more, while I wait for the phone repair place to finish replacing my broken phone camera.
12pm Mountain Time
3rd EDIT: Signing off once again, and gonna get back to hiking. I'll maybe pop back in next town stop and answer some questions that I missed. Thanks Reddit! It's been fun and weirdly exhausting!