Ed Walks: A 3,000 Mile Conversational Journey by Foot

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An oral history project that involves a 3,000 mile walk across America.
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Edward Champion
Video / Web
Brooklyn, New York
United States
1 Team Member

When Sir George Mallory was asked why he wished to climb Everest, he replied, “Because it's there.” When pressed on why he was walking across America four decades ago, the pioneering travel writer Peter Jenkins answered, “To get to know the country.”

The horizontal journey, with its vast stretch and uncountable hours, doesn't always share the heroic gravitas of its vertical cousin. But while the trip upward is fueled by the thrill of being first to plant a pole in a peak, the long hike across a wide expanse demands a deeper purpose. It beckons us to learn from the land.

A 3,000 Mile Conversational Journey by Foot

On May 15, 2013, I aim to walk 3,000 miles across America over the course of approximately six months, starting in Brooklyn and ending in San Francisco. I plan to talk with many people along the way, asking them about their lives and writing dispatches as I make my way from town to town.

I'll be walking fifteen to twenty miles a day and pitching my tent where I can, going out of my way to visit many overlooked towns. And after I finish this cross-country journey, I will edit these conversations into a far-reaching multipart radio narrative spanning twelve states.

As I make my way west, these adventures will also be chronicled in real time at edwalks.com. Imagine a Studs Terkel for the digital age or Charles Kuralt traveling around America on foot. I don't claim to be their equal, but these are some of the inspirations who will guide me into finding distinct insights into the everyday experiences we take for granted.

How Will Your Donation Help?

As a regular walker who has completed two Great Saunters, I believe that I can make it to the end. But a six month project like this requires financial resources, which will be devoted to food, lodging, technological services, and equipment that will keep me transmitting communications from the road. Because paying journalism outlets no longer support original and ambitious projects of this nature, I am turning to Indiegogo to see if we can make history and come to know our country better.

Your gracious donations will create an oral history project unfolding in real time. Your invaluable generosity, no matter what the contribution amount, will forge an unprecedented chronicle of American life in 2013. Think of this as a microbudget Federal Writers Project for the 21st century.

The perks have been designed so that many of the rewards are allocated before the walk.

If you can't donate, then please spread the word so that others can.

What's the Route?

The route will take me through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California.

Some of the cities I plan to walk through include Pittsburgh, Columbus, Fort Wayne, Gary, Chicago, Des Moines, Omaha, Lincoln, Rock Springs, Carson City, and Sacramento.

However, there are a few Indiegogo perks which could change the route.

So Once the Project is Funded, You Start Walking?

Yes. The walk is scheduled to begin on May 15, 2013. Once the project is fully funded, you will be able to read the dispatches at edwalks.com for free. And when the radio narrative of these conversations is finished, you will also be able to listen to these shows for free.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

"Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process; a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley
Find This Campaign On
$3,185USD
raised by 57 people in 1 month
13% funded
No time left
$25,000 USD goal
Fixed Funding This campaign did not meet its $25,000USD funding goal by the deadline.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on April 22, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Acknowledgment

    Acknowledgment in a edwalks.com travel entry.

    3 claimed
  • $25USD
    Postcard from the road

    A postcard sent to you from the road, plus an acknowledgment.

    26 claimed
  • $50USD
    Dramatic audio reading

    A dramatic audio reading on a subject of your choice, plus a postcard sent to you from the road and an acknowledgment.

    6 claimed
  • $100USD
    Mug

    A special Ed Walks mug, plus a dramatic audio reading on a subject of your choice, a postcard sent to you from the road, and an acknowledgment.

    6 claimed
  • $125USD
    Copy of Rachel Joyce book

    A paperback copy of Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry, plus a special Ed Walks mug, a dramatic audio reading on a subject of your choice, a postcard sent to you from the road, and an acknowledgment. (Many thanks to Random House!)

    1 out of 3 claimed
  • $250USD
    Hand-delivered message

    I will personally hand-deliver a letter or a message to a random person on the route (or a specific person of your choice). (Nothing illegal.) Plus the mug, the dramatic audio reading, a postcard sent to you from the road, and an acknowledgment.

    1 claimed
  • $500USD
    YouTube video performance

    I will compose a song on a topic of your choosing and upload the video performance to YouTube. Plus the hand-delivered letter, the mug, the dramatic audio reading, a postcard sent to you from the road, and an acknowledgment.

    0 out of 10 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Name a place for me to walk to

    Name a specific town or place that you would like me to walk to (within 25 miles of proposed route). Plus the YouTube performance, the hand-delivered letter, the mug, the dramatic audio reading, the postcard sent to you from the road, and an acknowledgment.

    0 out of 5 claimed
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