Nate Damm is a Tripper who is currently walking across the United States, from coast to coast – from Lewes, Delaware to San Francisco, California. He is our Tripper of the Week.
You are currently walking across the entire United States, from the East Coast to the West. What inspired your journey?
A lot of different things and people inspired this trip. I read Planetwalker by John Francis and it opened my eyes to the possibility of a cross-country walk. Then I spent a couple of years following the journeys of other people who were walking across the U.S. There were also a lot of personal things that inspired me to do this. I found myself frustrated with the negativity of the news and media and wanted to find some positive stuff for myself. I also wanted to see my country in the slowest way possible and experience a lot of different types of people and places.
What has been the most surprising realization so far on your travels?
The random acts of kindness that I’ve experienced. Everything from people seeing me walking and bringing me a lunch or a bottle of water, to them letting me camp in their backyard or even letting me stay in their home with them. I have an unlimited number of stories like these.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you would have known before you started?
I don’t think so. I really value this thing as a learning experience. I tried really hard to go into this trip with no expectations. I knew I’d be walking all day, and that was about it, so it’s ALL been new to me. I figured it would be a crazy learning experience, and I was right. I don’t think that there’s really a way to prepare for a trip of this nature, so you have to just keep your eyes open and know that you’re just going to have to pick everything up along the way.
How long have you been walking and how much longer do you estimate it will take you to complete your trek?
I’ve been walking for about 3 months so far, with about 5 months ahead of me still. I’m not in any sort of rush though!
What have your travels confirmed to be true about life on the road?
Well, the biggest generalization that has been proven wrong so many times is that it is unsafe to travel this way (walking, camping, relying on strangers). Every day people tell me that what I’m doing is not safe and tell me that “there are crazy people out there.” But there are good people out there too. In fact, there are much more of them than the crazy/bad people. I had the feeling that this was the case as I tend to be optimistic, but it has been confirmed time and time again.
Thus far, what has been your favorite destination and why?
That’s a tough one! All I can really say is that I haven’t yet been to a place that I didn’t like.
Would you recommend a similar journey to other young people?
Absolutely. It’s been nothing short of life changing for me so far, and I’m only 3 months in. If you want to travel slowly, meet all kinds of different people and are up for a big physical and mental challenge – then this is for you. It’s also a very inexpensive way to travel.
Thanks, Nate for a great interview! We hope to host you in San Francisco. As you continue your journey across America we wish you happy travels!
Photo credits: all photos from Nate Walks America on Facebook.