My feet hurt. That realization hit me as I stood looking out at the Pacific Ocean for the third time in ten years. Had it been that long? I thought about the events that lead me to start this journey.
I remember sitting in my little apartment feeling sorry for myself. I’d been laid off. I had enough money to make it for two months. I didn’t have a boyfriend or any real friends at the time. I decided I needed to do something drastic. I sold all of my furniture, emptied out my bank account and packed a backpack with enough essentials for one week. I figured I would know what to do with my life by the end of that week. I walked out my front door and kept going.
I have walked across this country three times now. It’s amazing how little a person needs. I don’t miss my computer or my phone. When I stop for supplies I grab a newspaper to keep up with current events.
Today I have another decision to make. Do I continue on or try to re-enter society? As I stare at the waves crashing against the rocks below I hear other people around me. The tourists have arrived.
I turn around to watch them climb out of their cars. Some notice me and some don’t. The ones that do have a range of expressions, from disgust to pity. I watch as those with children try to herd them away from me like I’m a leper, the children never looking up from the screen in their hands. They step to the edge of the cliff in groups; the parents trying to get the attention of the kids and the kids not caring about the world around them. The adults sigh and look at each other acknowledging another failed family outing.
I strap on my backpack and start walking. I’ll see if the world is ready for me in another ten years.