This is my second post about adventurers. As I prepare to walk across the United States, I have read most of the current books by people who have traversed the US for one reason or another. Some had support vehicles, some relied on friends and other people to put them up in their homes, while others payed for hotels and ate in restaurants during their walk. And almost all relied on Social Media or the internet to assist them in some way. I have also read some of the classic books like “Walk Across America” by Peter Jenkins and “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac. However, probably the most impressive and inspiring stories I have read and researched was that of 37-year-old Helga Estby and her teenage daughter Clara. This is an amazing story of two women who walked from Spokane to New York City in 1896.
It is a story of an offer from someone in New York who was willing to pay her and her teenage daughter Clara $10,000 to walk across America on foot, unescorted, and in seven months. Helga, an immigrant, mother of eight children, and extremely poor accepted the challenge and set out on May 5, 1896, with Clara, five dollars, a revolver, red-pepper spray and a curling iron leaving her husband with the children. She was scorned before, during, and after the journey. All her journals were destroyed by her family, and the people who had offered her the $10,000 never paid her. Two books about this subject are worth a read: “Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across America,” by Linda Lawrence Hunt and the novel: “The Daughter’s Walk” by Jane Kirkpatrick.
Sometimes it is really helpful to put things in perspective. Today’s dangers are real: walking in heavy traffic along busy highways and becoming a target of theft or violence. However, these two adventurers (If I can take the liberty to use that term) faced hardships that make their story unique and inspiring. Whether you are following this blog because you are a friend, family, arm-chair adventurer, or actually planning an adventure yourself, I certainly would recommend any of these books!
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