On August 25th (day 152), he completed his long walk and posted a picture of the celebratory cake given to him by the Rockaway Beach, OR Chamber of Commerce. I wish he would turn around and head right back to the east coast, walking a different route (or even the same). I don't want it to end. Ever. Period.
His pictures have heart, the heart of a nation and a people. His pictures give heart and optimism. My appreciation, respect and admiration for Matt is boundless.
Today, I am reflecting upon his initial thoughts regarding his journey... Here they are:
Matt, you make me happy! Your words of optimism are just what I needed to hear while preparing for my road trip (by car) across half the country and back! May I too take those few extra moments or hours (or even days) to explore and savor the land, the things nature and people put on the land and the people along the way.
I’ll need months of contemplation and reflection before I can fully and coherently discuss everything I’ve learned on this walk, but I think the two most obvious lessons are these:
1) Have some faith in this world. Things aren’t as bad as they tell us. We may all have different political opinions and different religious beliefs and different cultural norms (I’m a liberal atheist Jew. Did you know that? Does it matter?), and many of us probably couldn’t stand to be around each other on a regular basis, but most of us would, as it turns out, extend a helping hand to a stranger in need. I walked 3100 miles across this country and didn’t encounter a single person who tried to hurt me, or steal from me, or damage my possessions. Maybe this isn’t a place that needs to be feared. Maybe it’s a place that needs to be explored, and appreciated, and celebrated.
2) There’s beauty everywhere. Keep your eyes open, and keep your mind open, and you’ll be amazed what’s out there, right under your nose, just waiting to be discovered. You don’t need to go to the Best This or the Most Spectacular That; just take a stroll around the neighborhood. I blindly followed directions from Google on my walk, making no effort to see anything special, and look at everything I found that I thought needed to be shared with the world!