By Evan Yeong
Meet “the real life Forrest Gump,” a man named Nick Kleckner, who had the crazy idea to walk across the U.S., starting in Florida and ending up in California. It took him a total of 178 days, but for Nick, the long journey was well worth it.
In the 1994 film FORREST GUMP, Tom Hanks' character decides to go for a run one day, and ends up making it from coast to coast just because he can. He doesn't have a reason, except that he feels like it. Roughly six months ago, Nick decided to follow the same path. The former electrician, now called "Hobo Nick" by many, began his walk as a search for meaning.
FORREST GUMP tells us, "When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went." The movie doesn't explain where or how he found food, but we know how Nick, travelling without money, did it: relying on the goodwill of strangers and what he could scrounge from dumpsters along the way.
Nick also had access to something that Forrest didn't: the Internet. The 25-year-old updated both a twitter and a blog, recording his long trek on his iPod. His arrival at the Pacific Ocean, over five months after he started, led to the very simple tweet "Made it." No hashtags needed.
The most inspirational part of his journey isn't that he walked from coast to coast, but how he did it. Nick was homeless for the entire six months, and during this time, he did what he could to help other homeless people. Whenever he was given extra food or gifts, he passed them along to those who he thought needed them more.
He finished his journey with a new purpose: to help the homeless. It's understandable that his trip got a lot of attention, and he's going to try to use that to support his passion of helping those in need. Forrest Gump may have run back and forth more than once (and invented the smiley face t-shirt along the way), but Nick Kleckner's trip across America left him wanting to do more.