Enjoy The Walk
by Georgia Osten & Kelly Moad

George Throop is walking across America

George Throop is walking across America

As I sat across the table from George this morning, the first thought that came to mind was Forrest Gump: “From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!” I even said that to him, he just smiled sweetly and kindly agreed with me. After leaving Houston last week, he walked to Beaumont where he met a gracious host who took him in for a day and a half. She told him he needed to see the Gulf Coast and brought him here to Crystal Beach. This is how we are so fortunate to have met this amazing person, George Throop.

George began his “Walk across America” in September 2009 to advocate and raise awareness for healthier lifestyles, suggesting that everyone walk at least 20 minutes a day. He began his trek…from Washington State with a completion goal of 9 months, but quickly learned that “enjoying the walk” was more important. Now, he plans to reach Washington DC by Fall 2012. George said it would be grand if President Obama would walk the last 20 minutes with him.

George typically walks 20-30 miles per day – his longest walk was 35 miles. Although he has no certain schedule, he tries to walk mostly during daylight hours, not on major thoroughfares. Most of the time he is offered shelter in someone’s home or a church; probably 15% of the time he camps out in the tent he carries on his jogging stroller. Actually, the jogging stroller wasn’t acquired until El Paso; prior to that he had everything in his backpack. He will frequently stay several days in a location, depending on the overwhelming hospitality of the folks he encounters.

Not surprisingly, George has made many memories thus far. On one particular camp out in Oregon, he had a close encounter with a bear, or maybe it was a large cat. Sleeping in his tent, he was awakened by the heavy breathing within inches of his head. He turned on his flashlight worn around his neck and mimicked a loud growl to scare off the predator, which finally worked after a hair-raising period of time. I asked if he had food in his tent and he replied, “No, my food was tied in a tree.” He had another encounter with a rattlesnake that happened to be on his path as he was walking along. He was deep “in the zone” traveling through West Texas. We asked if he got a picture, but by the time he stopped running and turned around to look at the coiled, rattling creature, he was too far away to get a good shot. Thankfully! George said he was most awe-struck upon his journey through the California Redwoods and Big Sur. Beautiful country. Another daily concern is, of course, the weather. He just missed golfball-sized hail outside Brownwood, Texas. And he recounted his wonderful experience at the Cowboy Church in Goldthwaite, Texas. Yes, everyone in Texas rides a horse and carries a six-shooter.

George is walking in his 8th pair of shoes. Though he prefers running shoes, he has recently converted to sandals and is looking for sponsors to provide footwear. He says that when he can begin to feel the pebbles through the soles, it’s time for a new pair. George is on his way to visit our neighbors in Southern Louisiana. If he thought Texans were friendly, just wait until he “passes” through Lafayette, Houma and Crosby. Watch out for the mosquitoes and gators!

George is using this experience to complete an individual course of learning curriculum for his Bachelors Degree, with aspirations of being a motivational speaker. I have to tell you, I was inspired just sitting across the table from him at breakfast.

Follow George on his journey. He uploads his journal to Facebook each day by SmartPhone and updates his website often. I’m going to be a faithful follower – I’m in awe. If you would like to read more about George Throop, visit his website: www.enjoythewalk.org. And find him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/georgethroop.

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