Real life Forrest Gump walks the USA

3rd Oct 2012
Written by: Macca Sherifi

Real life Forrest Gump walks the USA

Backpacker walks across the USA in 178 days

“Run Forrest run!” It’s probably one of the most well known quotes from any film. Can you remember the part of the film where Forrest decides to run and just keeps on running? Well this story is a bit like that apart from one thing – it actually happened.

One day Nick Kleckner decided to go for a walk. However, instead of stopping after a few hours he kept on going. 178 days later and he made it across the USA.

Known as “Hobo Nick”, the 25-year-old began his epic 4,023km journey without food, water or money.

Along the way he gained a whole lot of facial hair to rival Forrest and went through five pairs of shoes during the trip, which started in Florida and ended in Huntington Beach, California.

With little access to showers, it wasn’t long before he began to smell like “donkey turd”.

At times he went without food for days, dropping 25kg during the walk.

“I was in that state where I was just straight hungry,” he said. “There (were) many times where it was like that.

“But it’s amazing how much my body adapted.”

Nick living the dream just outside California

However there were many positives to the trip too.

“It’s really meditative and therapeutic,” he said. “In a 20-minute sunset while I’m alone, it seems like I get 10 hours of thinking done. My thoughts are so clear.”

“Hobo Nick” had worked as an electrician and taxi driver in California before dropping everything and buying a one-way ticket to Florida for the epic walk.

“It was a combination that was weighing down on me,” he said of life before the walk. “It built up, and I got to that point where I couldn’t deal with everything anymore. I felt a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety and decided to get out.

“Since I have been homeless I have lived more in the moment and have really learned to be thankful.”

If that doesn’t inspire you to drop everything and go on a gap year, then nothing will!

Jump on the message boards and talk about some on your up-and-coming adventures – if they’re like Nick’s then we all want to hear about them!

If you’re thinking of taking a gap year then read our article on ‘Gap Year Ideas’ and ‘Things to Do Before You Die’ for some ideas and inspiration… who knows, maybe we’ll be writing a story about you and your gap year before long…

Oh, and check out his video; it’s pretty awesome. He’s even got a blog too…

Photos attributed to Nick Kleckner.


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