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Q:

Do you find yourself singing The Proclaimers often?

A:

Well I'm gonna be the first to ask the obvious- why did you quit??


Q:

Constantly. I use trekking poles and the sound of them tapping on the ground always goes at the same rhythm of the song, getting it into my head.

A:

I felt (a) unprepared, (b) underqualified, and (c) unsupported.

(a) The majority of the knowledge I gained during my time in college was of no use to me whatsoever. Most of the focus was on early childhood students and my professors all told me (us, I guess) that all we had to do was trust our students and be there for them and everything else would fall into place. When myself and others in my cohort in school would ask about more 'refined' behavioral issues (for lack of a better term), they'd shrug it off and say "Just do this and you won't have that problem." Everything was so idealistic for them and it became obvious later on how out of touch with teaching they were. So when I landed my job, I was naïve as could be and was overwhelmed from the second it started by student behaviors, shifting policies within the district/state, and the sheer workload.

(b) Beyond just not bracing for a realistic classroom setting, my school was a full inclusion setting, meaning kids in special education attended general education classes as often as possible. I love the system and think it's the way to go, but I had almost no realistic education for how to approach moderate/severe disabilities as a teacher. I didn't really know any of the available accessibility technologies or techniques for actually getting the major points across. Even assessing a student with severe disabilities was an enigma for me. I reached out for help from various sources, but each person told me so many different and conflicting things that I never managed to get it right.

(c) In the two weeks prior to the school year, I discovered I wouldn't have curriculum for my students. That's, like, a big deal. It's the road map of what you teach, and when/how to teach it. There was no mentor from the district that was promised when I was hired earlier in the summer. There were no textbooks or class novels. I had to work in the librarian at my school to apply for a state grant just to BUY THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S NOVELS, as I was then going off of that curriculum. My principal was letting all the 'rough' parents walk all over her when she was supposed to be a barrier between them and us teachers. Upper administration in the district had very little concern for any of my grievances, too, as there were a number of seat swaps in the headquarters and policies changing just as rapidly.

I never claimed to be a great teacher and I do blame much of my hardship on myself, but I was certainly never given an environment to thrive in.


Q:

Have you run into any wild animals?

A:

I work in Arizona. Which district, or region?


Q:

Nothing out of the ordinary.
I have heard Mountain Lion screams at night but nothing has bothered me as of now.

A:

I was working in the northern portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area. I'm hesitant to say which district, but it was one of the larger ones.


Q:

Presumably a state of anxiety

A:

My guess is you were in Peoria Unified if so they are the lowest paid of the districts and the worst off with staff and support.


Q:

Maryland by the Potomac River, Southwestern Ohio, and Southwestern Indiana is when I can recall

A:

I was not, but I'm familiar with that district. I was paid very low for a first-year teacher, even by teacher standards. What's truly terrifying is that I know for a fact I was making more money than people who had been at my school for years. #thisiswhatnofundinglookslike


Q:

This is so bad ass. I wish I had the balls to just get up and do it.

How old are you? And what sortve opprutinuty did you see that you knew to jump on this? Was it spontaneous?

A:

Thats how they are brining people in nowadays in Arizona. Teachers now are taking a year off and then coming back so they can get paid more since raises are non existent or if anything they are 1 percent or less. That is one of the problems in Phoenix, schools are underfunded yet we have so many districts all with administration overhead sucking up what little money there is.


Q:

I am 27.
As far as the opportunity goes, I had no obligations to tend to at this particular time in my life; my apartment lease was up, no car payment, no girlfriend or children. I sold EVERYTHING I owned (aside from one small box of sentimental stuff that I left with a family member), rented a car and had a buddy drive me to the Atlantic Ocean where I started in Delaware.

A:

Exactly. They need to attract people with competitive (lol) salaries by paying new teachers more, but then there's no money left to pay the veteran educators with. But if you pay the veterans better and the newbies less, you'll have an even larger teacher shortage than we currently do.

And every time a budget override gets struck down or an education-benefiting tax increase fails to pass, everything gets worse.


Q:

If you smoked a joint right now we'd be the same person

A:

Thanks for the detailed response. I currently work with children in a one-on-one type setting and love it. People ask me all the time why I don't pursue a career in teaching and while I've thought about it, the entire education system just seems way too overwhelming and unrewarding. I hope you find a new calling!!


Q:

That's deep.

A:

Thank you for what you do. Being a para is an even less respected profession despite being the ones that make the biggest difference with those who need it.


Q:

How did you find a good (safe) route to take? Are you largely taking back roads, trails, etc?

BTW you should track your route on strava

A:

I'm a school bus driver. I get to hang out with each group of kids for around 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon. So pretty much I just get to hear their goofy stories, tell dad type jokes,offer quick advice...then drop them off for the day. It's pretty great (I certainly don't do it for the pay).

I can't imagine how the teachers stand up there with so many eyes on them all day every day and be expected to teach.

Hope you find a better niche in the system.

Edit: Though the benifits and paid time off can't be beat.


Q:

I am following the American Discovery Trail, a coast to coast route that links together as many State and National Parks as possible on one continuous trail.
It does veer towards backroads and actual trails as much as possible, but sometimes US Highways must be followed, given the current location.
I use the ADT as a guideline for the most part, but sometimes I will take alternate routes on Highways to ensure I will hit a resupply point.

A:

That's what subbing is like for me. I get to spend one day with a variety of different students and impart the best of what I've got to them, then I move on to the next school.


Q:

How's the weather?

A:

I had a similar experience. Nobody tells you that teaching the kids is really only 30% of the job. Parents, prep, grading papers, dealing with administration, being a surrogate parent, etc. is most of what you do. Plus, if you have a principal who doesn't support you, and makes you feel like the bad guy with the parents it is untenable. I had as many conversations with child advocates as I had with my team the first year I taught. I hung on for 3 years. Finally the principal was nice enough to can me when we "restructured" for the 4th time in 5 years.


Q:

I am currently in Southern Illinois and although a bit gloomy, it's rather warm for this time of year.
I have yet to see actual snowfall on the trail and hope it stays that way!

A:

I feel you. I do. What do you do now? Still teaching elsewhere?


Q:

Why did you choose this time to do this?

A:

That people are unprepared for it is one of the main criticisms, I think, of programs like Teach For America. For instance, they take idealistic young teachers with little experience and expect them to actually effect change and it doesn't work that way. Do you agree?


Q:

It just happened to be the available time that I could. I was super hyped about it and ready to dive right in, which I feel was my best decision.
Another persuading factor was that if I kept a 100 mile/week pace, I would be to Colorado in the Spring time and not have to postpone my trip by waiting for the Rockies to be passable.

A:

It's exactly the problem we have right now. The training and preparation prospective teachers receive is so behind the times of a system that barely has any shared identity from year to year.


Q:

What was the most concerning part of your voyage so far? Like any tight spots, close calls, etc?

Good luck to you and Merry Christmas! I'll be sure to follow your journey on Facebook. (Thought of a GoFundMe?)

A:

I've been teaching ~25 years. Still feel unsupported, unappreciated by my admins, yet don't want to leave because I went into teaching to teach. I just have to find other ways to do what I must.


Q:

Thank you! Merry Christmas to you as well!

So far my biggest concern is breaking down my tent in the morning during the winter months. It's very hard on my fingers as they tend to go numb pretty quickly, but once I start walking I can heat them up just fine.

As far as close-calls would be crossing the Old Iron Bridge in Leavenworth, IN. The flooring of the bridge had been removed and is just a rusted frame 30 ft above a river. I wasn't able to loosen my hip belt or take my phone/wallet off my persons which made crossing much more intense.

A:

Yeah, I feel you. I love teaching still, but most of the job isn't that. I get that all jobs have bullshit to wade through, but calling the job "teaching" is almost false advertising.

Subbing for the current school year is doing me a lot of good, though, I think. I get a chance to show up, teach, and leave. Good day? Coming back. It's been giving me a lot of motivation to take some hard looks at what I really did all of this for.


Q:

How many pairs of shoes did you use already? If only one then what shoes are you using?

A:

No education does what you ask, anymore. School maybe gives you the time and freedom to figure out your calling and sells you a small amount of relatively temporary credibility to establish yourself in a career. The idea that anyone is prepared for any particular job after college is naive and never explained to kids. College helps you by exposing you to higher levels of thoughts and ideas, but it is not a training facility and never really was. Trade schools did what you are asking and they rarely exist anymore.


Q:

I am still on my first pair of boots and the tread is getting very low.

I am currently using Merrell Ridgepass Mids(I think that's the name).

A:

That's fair, to a point. My professors in college weren't too helpful as described in the topic post of this specific thread, but it was almost like they were giving us misinformation because of how long they'd been out of the field. They were all older people who taught only as recently as ten years prior, with a few having only taught in the 80's-90's. I can think back to so many questions we asked and the answer we got was so outdated that almost nobody teaching today feels that way.

I get that college isn't trade school, but the learning curve for teaching versus nearly anything else is so steep that the majority slide back down and say "Well what the shit, hill?" That's my biggest concern. There needs to be total reform of the public education system, but it also needs to start at the source: where our teachers come from.


Q:

Do you have any gear list?

A:

What was the worst and the best moment in the classroom for you?


Q:

I have not compiled one yet, but I do plan on getting a list made up soon. I would like to include the weight of each individual item on my list but do not have access to a scale unfortunately.
I can get a list put together within the next couple of days though.

A:

Worst moment and best moment revolved around the same incident. It definitely had to be the one regarding a troublesome student who came from a rough background and was consistently having trouble fitting in. He and I were always closer than most other students were to me and, despite his (and my) shortcomings, our relationship grew into a strong trust over time.

During parent/teacher conferences in which us three teachers all met the parents at once (because fuck 90 different meetings for EACH teacher), one of my colleagues mentioned that she saw the student stealing food from another student's lunchbox and bribing another for food. I, personally, had never witnessed this and was honestly a little surprised when I heard it. Well, Mom went home and shamed the kid and he roared in during my first class the next day and shouted me out, screaming that he trusted me and thought I'd be there for him and how I lied just to get him into trouble to keep him under control at home. ... It's tough to even recall the memory as it's still so vivid in my mind. Eventually, he apologized and I did, too, as for all he knew I DID say those things - I couldn't just say the other teacher lied or whatever. We ended the school year amicably with a giant hug and he promised me he'd go on to do good things with his life and help others like himself.


Q:

Can you post a picture of all your gear?

A:

fuck that other teacher. had they never thought maybe the kid was not fed well at home? that very well may not a behavior issue, but an issue of abuse.


Q:

Not the greatest pic, but I took this a couple of days ago.
Current Layout

I will work on a list and better picture in the next couple of days and place it in an edit!

A:

It wasss... a complicated issue with that kid. Mom in prison, dad just starting to get it together because of it but still sort of a tool, stepmom being a breath of fresh air for both of them, etc. None of us thought he wasn't receiving enough food from home (largely because he always brought a lunch and never once indicated to any of us that food was an issue). I'm not saying it wasn't possible, but he also had issues with stealing things even when he didn't need them. It's a 'survivor' mentality. A lot of kids from rough backgrounds pick it up during times when they DON'T have anything, and latch onto anything they can.

I think my colleague was more just pointing out that he was stealing in the first place and not insinuating that, because it was food, he's hungry.


Q:

Oh man, you should have gotten the titanium spork. I've broken so many of those plastic ones while backpacking and then I have to miserably eat oatmeal with my hands.

A:

Did you talk to any current teachers in your state before deciding on being a teacher?


Q:

I got that spork for free :) I would like to upgrade to something that weighs less sometime in the future when I can weigh my ounces on a scale.

A:

Not directly, no. But we (my college cohort and myself) all knew the common grievances going into it. We also knew that there are good schools and struggling schools, good districts and struggling districts, and that we could choose where to end up.

Of course, that didn't prepare for just how polarizing the difference between an affluent school and a Title I school is.


Q:

What made you decide to do this?

A:

How early into your college career did you commit to going into teaching?


Q:

I wanted to move out of Michigan and wasn't sure as to where. I had the opportunity to do this and jumped on it.

A:

When I started college, I was a Music Education major. That came out of my own uncertainty of what I'd do with my life and the fact I was musical all throughout grade school. I did this for a couple years as I grew disillusioned and jaded with my lack of personal accountability in those beginning years. Once I kinda got my shit together around my junior year, I realized I didn't want to be a music teacher and made the switch to Primary Education (as, in another post here, I explain why I always admired the idea of being a teacher). It the took me three years between making up for lost ground and starting a new program, but then I student-taught in what was technically my sixth year, and graduated in that December.


Q:

Everytime I speak to someone that moves here I always ask why

A:

because this is an AMA, I'll come out with this one:

Did anyone ever say to you: "you need to find out more about education as a working environment before you commit to that as a career path."

Like, did anyone at your university or anything advise you to find out about things like.... all the things you didn't know wouldn't suit you about teaching?

I considered being a teacher at one point, and then spoke to 2 people who were currently teaching, and based on what they said and what I knew about myself, I decided against it.

I just wonder why no one advised you to actually examine the teaching environment/talk to 2 or 3 actual teachers in your area before committing to education as a career.


Q:

The only reason I could see people moving to Michigan is for Northern MI and the U.P.
Other than that I would ask why also.

A:

I was (am?) passionate about teaching and knew what I was getting myself into. I did talk to people, and they told me realistic things. What I didn't account for was an unsupportive school district causing a dramatically increased amount of stress beyond what I knew was expected.


Q:

What do you do for shelter and sustenance? Do you use electronics, and if so where do you charge them? If this costs any money, how are you financing it?

A:

What did you expect from the job and how did your experience contrast?


Q:

I have a 1-man tent: Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1.
I eat four meals a day with two snack breaks which is as follows:
-Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal with a Pop-Tart.
-Brunch: Granola bar, Instant Oatmeal, Trail mix.
-Lunch: Flavored Tuna in a Fajita wrap. -Dinner: Pre-boiled Rice packet with Gravy packet.

Food costs me $4/day averaging around $120/ month.

I use my Cell Phone and Vaporizer for electronics and charge them using a 20,000mAh external power bank which I charge at gas stations, restaurants or random outlets that I see.

The average cost for this kind of trip is around $400/month which covers any extra luxuries or amenities.

A:

I was looking for an outlet for my creativity, personality, and passion for helping children gain knowledge and an understanding of the world around them in a safe but realistic environment. I expected to take a group of humans and give them the tools they needed to be successful as they transitioned into a traditionally tumultuous time in their lives.

I think I still followed through with that mission statement for the vast majority of my students, despite how the school year went. You can probably read the other responses and get a fair sense of how it all went down.


Q:

lol you're vaping across the nation!? /u/h3h3productions

A:

Yeah, I just disagree categorically with that ideology re zeroes. You're parroting exactly what my professors said in my master's program. I understand the logic, but in practice in the classroom, I believe it encourages bad behavior. You can't do half your job and expect to keep it. Life isn't about getting by, and nobody cares if you're demoralized because you were too lazy to do the work at your job... Procrastination and laziness should not be rewarded. And I think that as educators, it is incumbent upon us (well not me anymore) to prepare children for life, and coddling doesn't do that. I'm not a huge disciplinarian behaviorwise, but I think that strict grading is important. I also don't think that you need to give hw every night by any means (outside of math). But I do think you owe it to your students to owe them accountable. I feel the same way about people who work for me. They owe it to me to do the work, and I owe it to them to hold them accountable, even if I like them and don't want to.

I'm also a huge liberal, disagree completely with race to the top, nclb, fucking the incoming Sec of Ed, and have serious reservations about charter schools.

Based on what you wrote here, there's probably a lot we would agree on... The zeroes is the one thing I'm pretty old school about... Anyway, happy holidays. I'm truly proud of you and everyone else who teaches.


Q:

I am! I'm using an RDA and carry Kanthal with cotton so I'm never stuck without an atomizer.

A:

Teachers will always be needed, but the methods with which we teach will always change. Incorporating technology into the classroom right now is essential for many reasons, the two most crucial being that students' lives are already dominated by tech and it's how you're going to reach them most often, and teaching them through new technologies will also teach them ABOUT the technologies, preparing them for the real-world.

As for how much educators will be supported, well, that's probably not about to change a whole lot with the recent string of elections on state and federal levels.


Q:

VAPENATION BRAH

A:

Fellow teacher here. If you really like the idea of teaching I'd try another school. Even in the same district schools can vary greatly. Go and ask the teachers if possible without administration to get an honest sense of the school climate.

I don't have as great school related question so...what did you get for Christmas?


Q:

I don't even know what that means.

A:

Gift card to a good pizza place in town that my wife and I love, a high-quality waffle iron, a gas grill for our new patio, and a few smaller but equally neat things.


Q:

How do you train for something like this?

A:

So I have a friend who is in his 3rd year of teaching 9-12 earth sciences. I asked him what the worst part of teaching is and he said it's dealing with people who don't want to learn because it reflects badly on you. Do you agree with this or is there something worse? Besides pay of course.


Q:

Honestly, I didn't train at all and I paid the price. Had a lot of blisters in the early weeks but after about 4 weeks I was able to walk from Sunrise to Sunset.
If I were to give any advice from what I know now, I would say to do calf exercises and walk to the grocery store with a hiking bag, stuff your groceries in it and walk back every day for a few months.

A:

Absolutely. My worth as a teacher to the state was almost solely based on the test scores of not only my own students, but all students at my school and even within my geographic area. I had a number of students whose parents were rather vocal about their distaste with teachers/schools and were very, ehh, anti-establishment in general. So when their kids strut into my room, refuse to learn, and any sort of sense I can get into them is instantly deleted when they're picked up, how is it remotely fair that my credibility as a professional is based on their test scores? Or how about my student who came to school the morning after being taken into Child Protective Services because his mom almost died from a crack overdose? The last thing on their mind is "being a good test-taker," yet that's where my job security lies. The system is horrendously biased against students with less stable home lives and, therefore, against teachers in lower income areas. So it's no wonder the state has trouble filling these positions and keeping people there for longer than 5 years.


Q:

Where in the USA have you met the nicest people?

A:

My SO is on her second year at a Title 1, and she did an ARL program so literally no preparation in college. Everything you said in your replies is spot on with her experience. I'm sorry teaching wasn't what you'd hoped.

How many tacos can you eat?


Q:

That's a tough one, as I've only been through 6 states so far.

If I had to give an answer based from that, I would have to give my shoutout to West Virginia!

A:

Though I wasn't really going for sympathy, I appreciate your words nonetheless. I have a friend who has just decided this year (his third) is his last year. He had such a hard time deciding what to do earlier this school year and he and I discussed his options and what he wants out of life at this point. He realized that stepping away isn't admitting defeat, and you shouldn't have any obligations to stay and continuing doing something if it's making you miserable each day.

If they're approximately the size from Taco Bell (but much better so I don't vomit later), 4 before I'm just forcing it.


Q:

That's amazing.

I think I'm hypocrite. I love being a loner, at the same time I hate not being surrounded by at least a few people. I think overall I would struggle most with just not having a person by my side, even if we didn't talk at all.

A:

I worked in an affluent school at the beginning of my career and I saw the parents do that as well. They made crazy demands


Q:

That's how I am.
But I also like to go at my own pace without having to worry about slowing people down, I take a lot of breaks and require a lot of coffee in the morning before I start breaking my tent down.

A:

That's rough. We never had issues with physical violence against staff, luckily, but I know it exists in certain areas/schools. There WAS one time when the principal came down and pulled a regular troublemaker out of class (rough background; it was hard to blame the kid) and she spoke with him out in the courtyard. With all our doors open as it was nice outside, the kid abruptly shouted, "FUCK THIS SCHOOL, THIS IS BULLSHIT," right in the principal's face, then stormed off into the bathroom. That kid got a one-day in-school suspension and that was it, all because our principal was a pushover and was afraid to deal with the [admittedly awful] parents. But that was her job, and she didn't do it. So that kid committed student-career-suicide and got a light slap on the wrist.

It's so terrible to be in a position where your administration, your lifeline and shield, doesn't protect you. But hang in there. Mad props to you for sticking it out. Those kids need strong people in their lives and you're going to make the difference where your administration can't.


Q:

Do you have concerns about your safety? What advice would you give to a female who plans a two month hike alone.

A:

Just out of curiosity, what SHOULD the punisment have been for telling the principal that?


Q:

I haven't had much reason to be concerned when it comes to people. In my opinion, the people are the best part.

Trust your gut, if something feels off, keep walking.

When it comes to trails and animals, I just make unnatural sounds frequently so I don't startle anything.

A:

It would be up to the principal obviously, but it should have been an out-of-school suspension for probably two days. That's, like, something I would've been KILLED FOR had I done it at that age.


Q:

Just curious, can you give an example of an unnatural sound you make?

A:

Was mostly curious because I had some behavioral problems in school, not quite THAT direct, but still pretty antagonistic. Got suspended a couple of times but teachers didn't give up on me. I have a really good life/career now and I'm not sure where I'd be if my teachers had given me up as a lost cause.

Mostly just wanted to say to you, and any other teachers reading, that I was a shithead student, and I didn't get better while in school, but the efforts my teachers made DID have a positive impact, it just took a few years after I got out of school before the lessons finally worked their way through my thick skull. The fruits of your labor isn't always visible, but you likely have a positive impact on more lives than you realize based only on feedback/results in the classroom.


Q:

Singing, banging my trekking poles against each other, etc

A:

I think most of us know it. I certainly never assumed my "shithead students" would just keep being shitheads their whole lives. Everyone (well, most) grow up at a certain point and get it together. I was always striving to make differences in my classroom that I could see in real time, but I know that the biggest changes I've caused have yet to occur still.

Thanks for your insight and words.


Q:

How often do you get to bathe or shower? Do you use natural bodies of water for that? If so, how often do you come alongside/cross rivers and lakes? Do you end up feeling dirty often?

A:

Yep. That's what I cannot comprehend about kids nowadays. I mean, when I was a kid I remembered reading about that kind of thing in the newspaper and being confused as to how that sort of behavior was even possible. Now my Mom is a teacher and she has to deal with violent, disruptive students. At one point she had a six-year old threaten to kill her. (Last I heard, the student and his parent had a very unpleasant conversation with the local police officer, and the mom ended up quitting her job so she could try to work with him full time.)

When I was in school, the worst disrespect I ever saw was a kid who just quit. We were required to pass a Speech class in order to graduate High School. There was this one kid who didn't give a damn and never had. When his turn came to give his presentation to the class, he refused. The teacher very calmly and patiently explained that if he didn't do the presentation, he would not pass the class and that meant he wouldn't graduate. He didn't care. That was the last year I saw that kid in school. I have no idea what happened to him, but good riddance, as far as I'm concerned.

To this day, that mentality still baffles me. The very notion that disrespecting teachers is okay, or that you are just allowed to quit because you don't like something, is a worldview that I find utterly alien. Personally, I say fuck the little shits. Kick them out and never let them come back.


Q:

I take a shower whenever I am in the vicinity of one, which is not very often.
Sometimes I go 2 or 3 days without a shower, sometimes I go a week or more.

I haven't had the opportunity to use a body of water yet, I feel I started a bit too late in the year to even logically attempt it. I'd rather be smelly with some natural bug repellent than risk hypothermia or blistering just to feel clean.

Maybe in the summer I'll use natural sources more frequently, but many people seem to be quite understanding of the smells I produce when they figure out what I'm doing (which spells opportunity for a hot shower sometimes.)

A:

To a minor degree, I agree with you. I was never one for too much handholding in my classroom, but I also know that kids are malleable. I may not be able to fix their family's issues or change their horrid living situations, but I can plant the seeds of real change. It's still up to them to water and help them grow, but they're there.

That's why I don't like teaching high school. Sure, most are just trying to figure out what role they'll play in the world, but then some are so resigned to a life of mediocrity and failure that it's actually quite depressing to wonder what happened to them and how the system failed them.


Q:

Who's founding this and how?

A:

What are you going to do for money?


Q:

I assume you mean funding in which I, myself am doing so and took care of my financing prior to setting out.

A:

Now? I'm a substitute teacher for the time being. I was one for a semester after graduating in December 2013 before teaching, so I went back to gain perspective from afar. My wife is also fortunate enough to be making enough money at this time to largely support the both of us.

As for what's to come? I don't intend to be a substitute beyond next school year, but I still legitimately have no idea what's next. I have so many creative interests but still feel drawn to teaching and obligated to return in time.


Q:

How much did you budget for your trip in total?

A:

What is the standard PTSD medication for someone like yourself?


Q:

$5,000; 12 months at $400/month

A:

Mojitos.


Q:

Did you save up first to start your journey?

A:

Consider some kind of self employment if possible; that's the direction I'm looking in.

I had thought about becoming a barber, but it isn't very lucrative in my area (strangely). I've also thought about self-training as a tattoo artist (currently an art teacher) and hopefully get good enough top start a shop. I'd love top be my own boss and stop answering to dumb asses and entitled brats.


Q:

Sold everything I owned.

A:

It is alluring. So much of teaching is already similar to being self-employed that making the switch seems like a no-brainer.


Q:

Is this for personal gratification?

A:

What was the worst thing that happened to you on the job, whether from a colleague or student?


Q:

Yes, I am doing this for myself. I thought about getting a charity set up for when I hit 300 miles, but decided against it since I didn't start the trip for that cause.

A:

A kindergarten teacher had a student who bit her multiple times, but the coup de grâce was when the same student went into the restroom, smeared his own shit all over his shirt, and the ran back into the room slinging it around the air over his head. Yeah; that happened. The mom's reaction was basically just "lol boys will be boys," so that was great.

Luckily, I never had it so rough. I did have a student with severe anxiety and social trauma who regularly screamed out across the room and nearly kicked the door down in blind rages triggered by almost nothing whatsoever. He threw stuff around the room, but never at another student or myself (not intentionally, anyway). One day he just decided his chair and backpack looked better in the fountain outside. He didn't last very long.


Q:

Are you alone or do you have someone walking with you? From most of your replies it would seem like you were alone, but was just curious.

A:

Student here. Im a highschool sophmore now but i remember when i was in sixth grade, the kids were pretty vulgar. They cussed, they made sex jokes and the majority were just rude altogether (and most of them still are now). Although the teachers seemed to not notice this repulsive behavior. Do y'all just ignore it? Or mabye you just dont catch it. Do you develop a sort of immunity to this behavior and these words?


Q:

I am solo hiking this, but I started 5 days after another two guys started this trail and caught up with them.
We hiked together for a few weeks and took two different routes for one section. We plan on meeting back up within the next week.

A:

It largely depends on the quality of te school and exterior environment that the kids live in. Having subbed around for some time now, I can safely say some classes are dicks who do everything you described and more while others are well-behaved, mild-mannered, and academically focused.

As a full-time teacher, the class of kids we had were largely immature, talkative, and disrespectful. They were going to be cussing and talking about all sorts of bullshit whether we let it happen or not, but they usually at least had the decency to keep it all out of earshot. We eventually taught them more about respecting one another and when certain types of language are less appropriate than at other times (not that, y'know, much of what came out of their mouths was appropriate ever). Thankfully, we didn't have too many problems with vulgarity or cussing after the first month or two. We knew it went on, but that's just dumb adolescents doing what they do. As long as it didn't come inside or impact the learning/safety of the kids, it wasn't of too much concern.


Q:

Smart. Ohio is very flat and easy to hike

A:

So you couldn't cut it. There are lots like you and the few like me who survive get to deal with the mess you leave. Your thoughts?


Q:

Idk if I can agree with this statement :x

Southern Ohio is plagued with foothills, up and down up and down up and down lol

A:

Mess? I inherited a mess and still got those kids out the door with test scores above the district average and social skills ready for middle school. So you're welcome for that.

Maybe you have me mistaken for someone else.

You seem eager to blame those who walk away from a broken education system instead of actually identifying the problem. I value that you stay and appreciate your personal sacrifices for the greater good of society, but please do not belittle me or others in my situation just because we wanted a different job.


Q:

Is it that bad? I used to live in Southern Ohio. I must just have been used to it

A:

It's noticeable on foot lol.


Q:

Any interest in bike touring? It's similar logistically to what you're doing, with the stealth camping, etc., but riding a bike is so much nicer than walking with a backpack. More freedom walking, though.

A:

Actually yes! Earlier in the trip I had been brainstorming what to do after California and have considered possibly biking from Washington state to Florida if I could manage to get everything in place.


Q:

You're about to finish your journey but you see Texas Rattlesnake himself standing in your way. So do you:

A. Take a Stone Cold Stunner, but finish your journey

Or

B. Turn around and don't get Stunned, but don't finish your journey?

A:

If I had just walked 5,000 miles you're damn right I'm finishing it with a bang.

I'll bust out my Macho Man voice "YOU AINT GOIN NO WHEEEEEERE!"


Q:

Did your mama ever tell you that "Life must be like a box of chocolates ...? Sorry man couldnt resist

A:

Nope. But someone's mama told them that once and I did what he did.


Q:

How did you accrue the appropriate information to navigate the trail (maps, routing directions, etc.)? I've been looking, the information seems relatively vague.

A:

The trail route is in a guidebook sold on the [Official ADT Website](discoverytrail.org) for the trail in the form of Turn-by-Turn directions in a downloadable PDF format or by mail parcel for a printed version.
The guidebooks must be purchased for the information to my knowledge.
I am assuming because the trail is only roughly 20-something years old, the directions will be very tough to find anywhere else and I'm guessing the funds go towards the maintenance of the trail wherever possible.


Q:

Gotcha, I certainly do hope that the money goes into the trail. Follow-up question, what's your trail name? Or is that just an AT thing?

A:

I didn't have one prior to this trip, but I met two other guys on this trail and we hiked for a couple of weeks. Throughout that time together I was always singing random songs, and anytime someone would say a set of words that matched up with a set of lyrics in my "song vocabulary" I would start singing that song.
It became such a common occurrence with an astounding amount and variety of music that they deemed me "Jukebox".

If it sticks, it sticks.


Q:

Why? And what's your route?

A:

I could give you a thousand answers on why I'm doing this. But the one question I keep asking myself is why didn't I do this sooner.
It's an amazing experience so far and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois (current), Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California.


Q:

Kansas,

The ADT portion Leawood (MO line) to Lawrence, is really close to me. If you need a pit stop, let me know.

A:

Thank you!


Q:

Congrats on finally doing it. Holler if you need a friend in los angeles!

A:

Thanks, I appreciate that!


Q:

Has this been a long time dream of yours and if so, what was the catalyst that made you decide that you would actually go through with it? I've thought about similar treks but it seems so outlandish. Best of luck.

A:

Not specifically walking across the country, but I did want to travel a lot, as that's the lifestyle I grew up with. Staying idle for too long wasn't fulfilling enough for me.

I finally decided < - (key word btw) that enough was enough and jumped in rather than "waiting till I was ready"


Q:

How are your feet holding up? I can't imagine driving that far, let alone walking it.

A:

They are toughened now!
Just have to be aware of hotspots forming and it's manageable


Q:

I've got two friends who completed the ADT a couple years ago!

Couple questions.

Have you realized you want bigger shoes yet?

Did you plant water in the drier parts of the country?

They planted jugs of water in Nevada or something like that and marked it by GPS.

A:

That's awesome! If they've done the ADT, then I have probably heard of them. I did a lot of research prior to starting and have still been researching ADT hikers.

Haven't had much concern with my shoe size, but that's because I wear a half size up and always have :)

I haven't been in any areas yet where water is scarce, but Nevada and Utah have been my highest researched states, hoping I can get some form of truck support or have some family bury water out there. If not, I'll probably end up getting a cart to push instead so I can carry a much larger quantity of water.


Q:

I'm sure you have. They're a couple from Nebraska. Kept a blog during their hike. They had to do it in two parts due to a family emergency. Really interesting people.

Be careful on how you plant water, they said about half of theirs came up empty.

A neat fact on the ADT that I'm sure you're aware of, is that it covers more miles north and south than east and west. Crazy.

Do you have a "trail name"?

A:

Wow, that's really unfortunate about the water. It's really dangerous to mess with someone's drop as it CAN kill someone if they placed their eggs in that basket.

I actually did not realize that about the North and South miles, thanks for the fun fact!

I have been given the name "jukebox" for how much I sing.


Q:

Do your feet hurt?

A:

They did for 2 months.
Now, I hardly have foot pain, and if I feel a hotspot forming I know how to spot it, and immediately tend to it.


Q:

Dude, congrats to you for doing this. This has been a dream of mine for several years now. Aaron Huey did a speech on his walk across America, and I would highly recommend it https://www.annenbergphotospace.org/video/aaron-huey-american-ocean.

I don't really have a question, but just wanted to say kudos and suggest that speech (about an hour).

Do you have a PayPal I can donate to? If you find your way walking through Sacramento, hit me up. Got a meal and a few beers on me.

A:

Thank you I appreciate the encouragement!
I will be going through Sacramento and would definitely take up that offer!
Follow my FB and contact me when I'm getting near your area.

I'm guessing around August-Sept next year!


Q:

If you encountered a dog while walking and it doesn't want to leave you and keeps following you, would you take it with you on the rest of your trip?

A:

Actually there has been 4 dogs who just kept walking with me, 2 of which I returned to the owners house, and 2 of which I could not find where they lived.
The longest one has walked with me was just over 2 miles, in which he dashed into the woods and never returned.
I don't think I would take a dog with me the rest of the trip though.


Q:

What was your last longest hike you did before this?

A:

Pokémon GO.


Q:

How has the walk mentally changed you?

A:

I think it's still a bit early to say. But I definitely now know what it's like to be stared at by everyone and every thing.

I still don't know what word to use here but "humbling" would probably fit.


Q:

Are you by yourself? If so, do you get lonely? What do you do to occupy yourself?

A:

I am by myself for most of the time.
Usually I just lurk on Reddit, or play Hearthstone if I have a full charge on my battery and service.
If I can't do that, I'll either draw or just go to sleep, I usually walk until sunset so that my time is occupied.


Q:

How much harder do you think it'd be to be vegan on this expedition?

A:

I do not know much about following a vegan diet, but it's not too difficult to find food on this trail as there are towns regularly.

The only difference I would see is an increase of daily cost for food.

I shop at Dollar General damn-near exclusively, so if you can get vegan versions of the list I provided in one of the earlier answers from DG, I'd say it shouldn't be much of a concern.

Just throw out your expectations of quality if you have any :)