ST. LOUIS – Walking across America is no whimsical decision; it’s a feat that demands careful thought, planning, and a resilient mindset. Holden Minor Ringer, a 25-year-old, is currently on this extraordinary journey, revealing his faith in humanity.

While his peers were navigating post-college life, Ringer was daydreaming about a different adventure, gazing out the window of his classroom. Little did he know that this daydream would evolve into an extraordinary trek across the country, unlike any other.

Ringer first entertained the idea of walking across America in May 2021 while procrastinating on an exam. “I started Googling ‘walking across America,'” he said. Reading other people’s stories fueled the idea, and he began seriously considering the trek from Washington State to Washington, D.C.

After meticulous preparation from December 2021 to the start of 2023, Ringer officially embarked on his journey in March 2023. Adapting to sleeping outdoors and dealing with the challenges of camping and backpacking comprised a significant part of his preparation.

One of his final goals is to raise money for America Walks, an organization working to make every U.S. community more walkable, fair, connected, and accessible. “There’s like three final goals, but Washington State to Washington, D.C.—that’s the tagline,” Ringer said. He plans to touch the Atlantic in New York City and make New Haven, Connecticut, his final destination, navigating through places like Nashville and Atlanta.

America Walks advocates for safer and more enjoyable alternative modes of transportation, such as transit, biking, or walking. Ringer emphasizes the broader issue of dealing with cars and the organization’s mission to enhance infrastructure.

During his journey, Holden will be meeting with America Walks advocates in Missouri, including Trailnet and Great River Greenways. His experiences along the way have taught him that people often fear more than what actually happens.

Lisa, a food influencer, hosted me in Kansas City, Missouri. One of the top comments on her video was, ‘That was very dangerous of you.’ I believe there’s a greater perception of fear than actual danger. In my experience, about 99% of interactions with people have been incredibly positive.”

On his 123rd day in Colorado, Ringer faced challenges, including a breakdown of his stroller. However, the kindness of strangers, Judy and Wendell, who had offered help earlier, made a significant impact on his journey.

Ringer’s 3000-plus-mile journey on foot has spanned eight months, and he plans to head south to visit family and take a break during December once he reaches Nashville, Tennessee.

Encouraging others to find their own journey, Ringer says, “It doesn’t necessarily have to involve walking, but I strongly advocate for people to walk more. It’s a powerful way to make us realize the importance of safer sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.”

Holden Minor Ringer’s walk across America is not just a personal adventure but also a call to prioritize safer and more accessible pedestrian spaces, supporting organizations like America Walks along the way.

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