Comments: 108 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

uburoy67 karma

Because you've visited so many cities across the country, you've seen a vast variety of American culture and behavior. Many of us have formed opinions without your lived experience.

What would you say are some of the interesting differences among Americans that we would not be aware of?

JDAroadwarrior122 karma

Cities were especially difficult for me, so I tried to avoid them. Most cities have homeless problems and people tend to treat them poorly. I was no exception to that. However, I found that people from smaller towns were usually quite generous and even curious as to why someone was passing through there with a backpack. In a city, people would be quick to look away or even be rude. But in a small town, people would walk up to me and ask what I was up to. When I told them I was walking across America, they would usually stop to chat for a while or even offer to buy me food. I even had a few people bring me back to their house so I could get a shower, do my laundry, have dinner with them, and sometimes even give me a bed to sleep on. I never had that kind of luck in any cities.

Mandala_Eyes39 karma

I just read your book last month, I've never been rude to travelers, but hearing your experience gave me ideas for what is actually helpful. Ended up meeting some cool friends while they did laundry and caught a shower:)

JDAroadwarrior10 karma

That is awesome!


How many times have you been compared to Forrest Gump?

JDAroadwarrior35 karma

I often get compared to Forrest Gump, Jack Reacher, and Rambo lol I'm sure it will pop up on here several times.

KingKoopasErectPenis28 karma

What did your diet consist of during your travels?

JDAroadwarrior45 karma

I did a lot of hunting, trapping, fishing, foraging, and even did some dumpster diving while passing through towns. Occasionally, people would stop to give me food, take me out to eat, bring me into their homes, or even send me care packages. I also found ways of making money while I was traveling and would stop at grocery stores to get things like granola bars and peanut butter.

Here is a picture of some bread I made from cattails: https://imgur.com/BIzGuK2

This Texas family brought me into their home and I had dinner with them: https://imgur.com/cy4GNFi

These girls stopped to give me a bag of food in Louisiana: https://imgur.com/gD0DOhp

Here is some food I got from digging in the trash: https://imgur.com/9vvAEY1

dapostrophus19 karma

Are you all healed up now?

JDAroadwarrior42 karma

My cancer was in remission at the end of my treatment, but I haven't had any check-ups since then. However, the reason I stopped walking was because my knees went out. I still have a hard time walking to this day and probably will for the rest of my life. Well, unless I have knee replacement surgery, which I hope to get one day. I may even attempt to walk across other countries should I ever feel up to it. The desire is still there.

Eranthius16 karma

After your VA was disapproved, have you gone after it again or just given up?

JDAroadwarrior43 karma

It really hurt when my claim was denied because I felt like what was causing me so much grief didn't matter. I later applied a second time, which was also denied, but I wasn't surprised. I finally understood what so many other veterans were going through and why the VA had such a bad reputation. I am currently going through the process a third time, but this is my first time using a VSO, so I am feeling a bit more hopeful.

trabbler12 karma

Were there any instances when you felt like you were in danger?

JDAroadwarrior35 karma

Of course. There is no way you could travel that distance over that time frame and not have any close calls. That's just part of the adventure. I was charged by a grizzly bear in Alaska, got shot at in Kentucky after stumbling across a meth house, almost got blown off the top of a mountain, got caught up in a few tornadoes, was nearly struck by lightning several times, got soaking wet when the temperatures were supposed to drop below freezing that night, almost got hit by several cars, had some man try to get me into his van, and got so hot that I passed out and woke up with blood all over my face. The list goes on and on.

lightxs11 karma

What would be your advice for someone that wants to do something similar to you? (Traveling across a big country / going around the world) how did you support yourself financially?

JDAroadwarrior10 karma

I'd say go for it if it was something they really wanted to do. If you find you don't like it, you can always stop and return to a normal life.

Although I didn't need much money, I would sometimes need new equipment or want to get myself a motel room. But when I needed money, I would find odd jobs, made and sold bows and atlatls, sold things that I found while dumpster diving, and I collected every bit of change that I saw sitting on the side of the road. This may surprise you but there's a lot of money just sitting on the ground. I wish I had kept up with how much money I found. I always had a big bag full of change with me.

Grazthespaz9 karma

From your experience do you think that this is the way that humans are supposed to live and that modern luxuries/convenience have only made life for stressful for us?

JDAroadwarrior20 karma

I think there should at least be a good mix of enjoying the outdoors. Maybe not to the extent that I did it, but I found it to be very therapeutic. Everyone is different, though. Some people seem to enjoy a more modern approach to living, but there are certainly people who feel like they need a break from it. I receive emails all the time from people who say they wish they could just throw everything into a backpack and take off. I can never say what I truly feel because I have a fear of steering people into a decision they might regret. However, I think everyone deserves the right to do whatever they think will make them happy. And if they later find that path wasn't for them, then they can change it. I think a lot of people have this fear that everything they do is permanent, but that really isn't the case. You can switch gears at any point. That's how I feel about it anyway.

Gbchris128 karma

I want to do this so bad. My planned route is from NYC -> San Francisco in 2022/2023. What was the most dangerous part in your travels? Is there any moment where you thought to yourself "I cant do this anymore"? Any "Oh Shit." moments?

JDAroadwarrior4 karma

I had a lot of close calls getting caught up in bad weather, almost being hit by motorists, and even got shot at a few times. The only time I really thought I had messed up was when I got charged by a grizzly bear in Alaska, but you won't have to worry about that on your route. You may have the occasional run-in with black bears, mountain lions, and aggressive dogs. I'd recommend carrying a can of bear spray to use for self-defense, just in case. Other than that, just be sure to stay aware of your surroundings and you should be fine. Keep an eye on the weather and how many miles you think you'll need to do to reach your next water supply. You may want to get a cart or something to carry the extra water you'll need across the desert. I didn't do that but I wish I had.