Walking Across America

Isaiah Glen Shields, Passing Through Palestine–our Contemporary John Muir

“Hey, I saw you on TV the other day. You’re the fella that’s walkin’ across the country!”

Hearing these words in the lobby of The Redlands Hotel Saturday stopped me in my tracks. The 28-year-old trim young man wearing serious hiking shoes merely smiled at what he no doubt has heard hundreds of times over the past year. I couldn’t resist a sit-down with Isaiah Glen Shields in The Gallery at Redlands, because I ached to hear his story. I recalled the writings of John Muir I read back in 1987:

I set forth [from Indianapolis] on a thousand-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Chatting in the Gallery

Isaiah walked out of his house in Provo, Utah on May 13, 2021 and set out for Cape Alava, Washington, the westernmost geographical spot in our nation. His ultimate destination: the easternmost spot in our country, the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine. Having walked the entire distance to Palestine, Texas, he set out for Houston late in the afternoon, planning ultimately to walk to Louisiana, then on to Florida, and ultimately turn northward toward Maine.

I had to ask him when he hatched this vision, assuming that it was a gradual idea rather than an instantaneous flash of inspiration. His story was engaging: graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in “strategy” (he said), he found himself working uninspired jobs in corporate finance, often staying no longer than two months at a single position. In July 2020, it dawned on him that every morning on the job when logging on to his computer, he was met with a luminous, colorful photo of some scenic place on our globe. On that particular day he asked himself, “Why on earth am I spending the best years of my life sitting indoors staring at a computer screen rather than being out there in the midst of all this wonder and natural beauty?” From that day he laid the groundwork for the time when he would walk out the door of his home and tramp across the country, taking in the natural wonders and meeting people in the small towns.

Taking advantage of the best technology, Isaiah tells the daily story of his travels on Facebook (Isaiah Glen Shields), Instagram (igshields27), Youtube (you do you), and can be reached on Venmo (@isaiah-shields). Since yesterday, I have had the sincere pleasure of following his travels and vicariously enjoying his connections with people he meets along the way.

Chatting it up with Dave Shultz at the Pint and Barrel Draughthouse

Isaiah’s day in Palestine marked Day #250 in his trek, and we hope he found some enrichment in talking with the people here as we certainly drew much inspiration from him.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy following Isaiah’s odyssey.


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