By now some of you have heard that I decided to write a book about my experience walking across America. Some people will probably roll their eyes and say, great another person who thinks they can write a book. So what! Before I get on a plane and head back home to Los Angeles, CA I should take this opportunity to talk about the book in greater detail. As I said before, this book is going to be about all my experiences walking across America. You already know I set out to do this so I could raise money for charity. What you don't know - in case you were following on Facebook or Twitter - is that I didn't talk about everything that happened while on the road and it's not that I was keeping things a secret, it's that there were plenty of folks out there who were concerned about my well being and some of the things that happened could have caused people to worry unnecessarily. It's nice to have people out there who care. Many thanks to the moms out there who treated me like I was one of their own - even though I'm probably not much younger or older. Anyway, the book. Why? I had no intentions of ever writing a book because a) I'm not an author and b) as I'm sure you can tell my writing skills suck. That's right I said suck.
While I was traveling through the pan handle of Florida I met a WWII veteran who I shared my many of my stories with. Seems like a lot of war veterans like sharing stories. Then again, they've seen a lot. At one point during the conversation he had told me that he no longer followed the news on television, radio, newspaper or the internet because it seemed like the media seemed to focus their attention on things like human suffering, tragedy, disasters, scandals, etc. Shit, I contacted several news outlets in Portland, ME and not a single one of them seemed interested in my story. I just spent a year and a half of my life walking across America to raise money for children with cancer for crying out loud. Although, a gentleman who saw me walking through Ogunquit, ME approached me and asked if he could interview me for the newspaper he works for. Anyway, it was because of the veteran that I met in Florida that I decided to write a book about my experiences. He said that people needed to hear about all the good, decent, kind, giving folks I had met across the country because it's not often people hear about them and with everything that is going on in our world today people want to have their faith in humanity restored. So, I told him I would write a book.
Something else people may not be aware of is that I decided to write the book and give the proceeds to various non-profit organizations and schools. Along with that I want to donate a portion to an art school or some kind of scholarship fund in honor of a friend of mine who passed away while I was in Louisiana. This friend was very much looking forward to retirement because he wanted to spend all his time creating art. Shortly after he retired he became ill and unfortunately died. Art was a big part of his life and I know it meant a lot to him. The other thing I'm going to be doing is having a book cover design contest. Normally I like to do everything myself. When it comes to anything creative I can be a bit of a control freak, but that's just because often times I already know how I want something to look. The idea is to open this contest up to schools all over the country from kindergarten on up to the college level as well as the general public. Yet again another opportunity for fundraising. So, contestants will be able to submit their art after making a small donation to any of the charities I will be trying to raise money for. More than likely I will let the public choose the artists creation. More on that later.
What kinds of things will be in the book? Everything! This is not a book about walking across America to raise money for charity. Yes that will be a small part of it, but this book is about my experiences walking across the U.S. I will talk about the high points and the low. Trying to raise money for charity is no easy task. In fact it can be downright frustrating. You'll learn more about that later too. Many of the things I will write about will be my encounters with people throughout the country, details about the cities I walked through, unusual and exciting experiences, wild animal encounters, thoughts I had while walking, my favorite cities and states, the countless nights I spent sleeping outdoors, dealings with law enforcement, and many more things. My hope is that everybody who read the book will enjoy it and will hopefully be able to get something from it. In addition to that with the sales from the book I hope to be able to help many other non-profit organizations, big and small, as well as schools.
One last thing before I end this post, the names in the book will be changed. Nobody's real name will be used, so don't worry. I know people want their private lives to remain private. However some of the experiences we shared are unique and at times were downright amusing so I have to share a little. Now it's time to get ready to go back home and get started on this book. Once again, thank you very much to all the people who donated to my cause and helped me get across the continent safe and sound.