When Matt Green, a 30-year-old Virginia native left his secure Manhattan civil engineering career to push his hand designed shopping cart across America, he had no idea that the journey would bring him out of his anomic personality, and into the homes, and hearts, of so many welcoming faces behind so many doors along the byways and country roads of this great land.
Green, a self-professed loner, had not figured this into his original plan, as he had no lime-lite, or publicity seeking agenda in mind when he left New York to begin with. Green says he only knows that walking makes him happy, and while sitting in a Manhattan high rise cubical he constantly daydreamed of just walking away.
This is not to say that Green had not prepared himself for the journey, as his daydream took an initiative. Whether cognizant, or in — his re-awakening, the adventurer determined to actually do the legwork, and financial planning, which soon wended the dream into his present reality. And that is a reality that we the people, are able to track day by day, along with him on his charted, and pin-mapped website.
As far as the physical preparations one’s body would need for such an undertaking, Green was already well prepared. He had guided groups of tourist and bustling New Yorkers on eight to ten-mile sightseeing tours for much of the latter part of his five-year stay in the big apple… So when Matt Green set out late in March of this year from Rockaway Beach, New York on a 3000-mile trek to Rockaway Beach Oregon, don’t think for one moment that he was under any delusional velleity that his destination was only a stones throw away.
From the original story, by Martha Irvine, National AP writer, released earlier today, we find that apparently no stone was left unturned by the reporters covering this walk across America. Here, Irvine puts into words, the thoughts, and comments of the parents of Matt Green, living, in Ashland, Virginia, and following Greens progress via email, website mapping, and cell phone instant messages of — (I’m Okay.)
By Martha Irvine, Associated Press, National Writer, 9:10, am Eastern Time, Thursday 27, May, 2010:
So when Green told his walking buddies he planned to do a cross-country trip, they were among the few who “thought it was the coolest thing they’d ever heard.”
Others, including his parents, weren’t as convinced.
They worried about his safety, that he’d get hit by a car or attacked. They also wondered whether their eldest should be more settled in his life.
“For my generation, stability meant something different,” says his dad, Barry Green, who lives in Ashland, Va., with Green’s mom, Miriam.
In his day, there was more of a premium placed on sticking with a job and moving around less.
Not that he didn’t have his own wanderlust, at least for a time. The elder Green remembers how, as a young man — even younger than his son — he saved up money, bought a car and did his own traveling. His own mother would wait by the telephone for him to call.
Now he and Miriam find themselves watching each night for an e-mail that comes when their son pushes the “I’m OK” button on an emergency beacon that transmits his exact location by satellite. Green also carries pepper spray and a stick to fend off attacking dogs. So far, he hasn’t needed them.
He understands his parents’ trepidation and does what he can to allay their fears, without giving up this adventure.
But for now, he’s less concerned about stability, or preparing for something far off like retirement, especially in a time when so many people are having to put off that retirement, anyway.
As previously mentioned, Matt had no personal agenda of breaking any Guinness book of world records, setting, any great speed, or acquiring any other prize at the onset of his journey than that of making it across the U.S. and being happy along the way. From what we see in the original story, and from his website, Matt has already achieved much of that one desire, as well as bringing a little sunshine into the lives of a few Americans living in rural areas on back roads that were once, viral, commercialized business thoroughfares.
During his trek, although Matt is rejected by some of those who’s doors he knocks upon, asking if he can pitch his tent somewhere on their property, the admitted introvert seems to have broken down any walls in which he may, or may not have had on the level of approaching someone personally, or shying away from others social advances and offerings for friendship, conversation, or a helping hand.
Judging from the welcoming, and joyousness of some he meets, ranging from an 84-year-old lady, who was certainly happy to give Matt a guided tour of her garden,— whom otherwise without Matt’s surprise visit, may not have many tours left to offer — to one man leaving a convenience store, spotting him and walking up the road to give him a bottle of water, and a $20.00 dollar bill, Matt seems to be overcoming his self-proclaimed reservedness by leaps and bounds.
Sadly, many are still out here, cramped in some 8 by 10 cubical, with our means of communication traveling at the speed of light to millions of terminals across networks of people, but never coming in touch with one live human being— Or fighting the five o’clock bank rush on Friday afternoon only to stand in line with dozens of other people, all of whom, including ourselves, seem to find it too much of a bother to even say hi to the other.
My hat is off to you Matt. You are living out what many others have only dreamed of doing. You just walked away. But, not without putting things in order before striking out on the endeavor.
Who knows? This trip may just turn out to open a whole new venue of enlightened highway design, in the mind of this intrepid wayward engineer. After all, the civil engineering department that Matt walked away from back in Manhattan, before striking out to fulfill a personal emptiness deep within his soul, was none other than the” Roadway Design-Department.”
Nonetheless, as this scrapping 30-year-old Matt Green hikes across the highways and bi-ways of America, the rest of us can only sit and daydream of what it would be like to get away from it all. — Or— we can thank God, and the world-wide web, and just click on his website — as he just walks away.