You read that right. Kent is doing what my English teacher would have implored him to do every day if he had taken her class. As he prepares for his long walk, he’s started a blog (kenttreptow.com/blog/) and promises to update it from the road whenever he can. In his first entry, he outlined — with minimal punctuation — some of the passions that sent him on his journey:
“A lot of people are asking ‘why?’ Why do I want to walk across the country? I don’t have a nice, clean answer. To start over to find clarity to seek wisdom to have no regrets to live a dream to learn secrets to find treasures to feel the deepest pain and highest joy to be beaten to be victorious to become fearless to feel alive.”
I’ve traveled cross-country myself — in a car, not on foot — so I know something of what Kent’s odyssey will be like. And truth be told, he’s among the few people I know whom I can imagine making the trek.
In the years I’ve worked with him, he’s been a consummate gentleman, especially when covering stories about kids. But he’s also the most adventurous photographer I’ve ever known, at one point traveling to Mongolia on his own dime and taking photos of children who live in the sewers of the capital.
Now he’s leaving for the unknown, again, and I’m finding myself looking at others and wondering if they’ve gotten as much out of life as they planned.
That goes for me, too. I haven’t had the urge to lock the front door and keep walking until I reach Maine, but have I ever felt the sense of fulfillment that Kent is after?
I think I have. I felt it when I squeezed into the front row at a press conference to ask presidential nominee John McCain a question. I felt it the first time I kissed a woman. I felt it when I published a book by a Kentucky poet, then went with her on a book tour of her home state.
The makers of “Braveheart” had one thing right: Not every person lives life to its fullest. And no one does it every minute of every day. But Kent is living his dream now, and for those of us who are living vicariously through him back in Orange County, I can only hope he’ll take lots of pictures.
City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .