Posted at: 07/26/2013 5:57 PM
By: Dan Bazile
SCHUYLERVILLE -- With each step, Thomas Francine, 26, is getting closer to his goal of walking from Maine all the way to California.
"A couple of years ago, I never would have pictured myself doing this," Francine said.
It all started with a hitchhiking adventure with a friend back in 2008. One thing led to another where Francine hitchhiked his way through 34 states and across several continents totaling 26,000 miles. He said he survived by the kindness of others.
"I never had a bad experience. I literally had thousands of amazing experiences," Francine told Newscahnnel 13. "Through that I realized the world is a lot safer when you actually go out and talk to people."
That's what inspired him to take on this project. It's a 3,100 mile trek to San Diego. He calls it Walking America. But this time, there's no hitchhiking. He's doing it all on foot. We caught up with Francine on Route 29, just west of Schuylerville. He was pushing a stroller he bought on Craigslist.
"In here I got my sleeping bags and some groceries," he said.
Once again for this adventure, Francine said strangers are helping him along the way. Some have invited him to spend the night or camp out in their yard. today while our cameras were rolling, a woman stopped him and gave him blueberries. Plus, the owners of Mango 29 Deli on Route 29 said Francine's lunch was on the house.
"I'm getting a lot of inspirations too along the way," he added.
He's done some random acts of kindness as well. He's passed out flowers to strangers, hoping this walk will show the goodness in humanity.
"I feel like I'm hoping to change the world for one person here and there as I go and spread a good message along the way," Francine said.
Francine did have two jobs. He worked with folks with disabilities and was a substitute teacher. He saved up some money. But he said he's spending very little on this trip. He's documenting the journey through his Facebook page and a blog at GoGreaterGood.com.