A man who lives in New Jersey has spent the past seven years walking. And he didn't just stay on hiking trails; he walked around the world, saw wonderful places, was helped, and met many people on his way. Tom Turcich used up 45 pairs of sneakers while traversing 35 countries.
The man set off from the home that he shared with his sister and his parents and kept on walking in the rain, snow, or sunny weather. He made this decision after losing his friend, and he's since discovered there are a lot of good people out there, even if he's had his fair share of danger.
And on his journey, he's found a loyal companion who didn't hesitate to walk 25,000 miles by his side.
What are the details?
"My dealings with people have almost all been good. I've been helped a lot, been given food and water on the side of the road, and brought in for dinner, or at night for shelter," Tom shared with The Epoch Times about his unique journey.
His long walk began right after he turned 26. He started walking from home, got to Dallas, Texas, and then kept walking. In his first year, he got to Panama City. Though it may seem like a spontaneous decision, the man saved money and worked for eight years before he could start.
His motivation for this journey came when he was a teenager. Tom's outlook on life changed completely after his closest friend passed away.
"I realized I could go just as quickly, and I needed to make the most out of my life. I wanted adventure, and walking around the world seemed to solve that," Tom said.
After getting to Panama City, Tom walked through Colombia and Uruguay, then continued to walk in Europe and North Africa. He crossed Tunisia and then went to Italy, following the Adriatic all the way into Turkey. He then journeyed across Turkey and moved into Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Tom was stuck in Azerbaijan for a while when the restrictions started, and he returned home on two occasions. While he was home, he also sorted out paperwork for a great friend he found while walking in his first year.
Savannah was a fluffy retriever puppy when he adopted her as he headed toward Dallas, Texas. In the beginning, he had to push her along in a cart, but she's grown since and has walked about 25,000 miles with her owner.
After traveling close to 30,000 miles on foot, Tom feels that his understanding of the world is definitely changed and expanded.
"Before leaving, I had been to a couple of countries, but I'd mostly grown up in New Jersey suburbs. Now, after having traveled for so long, I have a much better sense of how history and culture can impact a place and how geography can impact a country and set it on a certain course. Also, it doesn't matter the country; people are people everywhere. And most people are good," Tom explained.
Seeing so many different places on foot also gave him more time to reflect and move away from stress and pressure.
"It brought me peace and self-knowledge," he added.
He's spent all these years sleeping in a tent close to Savannah. On the last stretch of the road, coming back home in light rain, he thought about his life on the road and whether his own bed would be more comfortable.
"I'm not done. I've been out here a long time. And it's great. There's this enormous satisfaction to my days because I'm outside, I'm exercising, and I have this very immediate purpose of just walking this far. And so the days, in a certain way, are very gratifying. But at the same time, I had just been doing this for long enough. I'm ready to see my friends and family and sleep with a roof over my head every night," Tom shared.
The first thing he'll do once he gets back home will be to relax and have a cold drink. He's going to spend the summer at his family's beach house and adjust to a different rhythm of life. He'd also like to write a book about his one-of-a-kind journey.
"I just wanted to see the world to understand it a little better. I couldn't get into Kazakhstan, Mongolia, or Australia because of the restrictions — they were on my original route. But I've done pretty well, and I'm very satisfied with how it turned out."
As for his Texas furry friend, Savannah is still by his side, and she's lived an adventure very few dogs can boast of.