14 years ago, Steve Fugate took it upon himself to walk across America, as therapy after losing his son. Since then, he has achieved his goal 6 times, and is currently on his seventh attempt. Through his extraordinary journey, he hopes to spread just one simple message – ‘Love Life’. He started his latest walk on March 23, last year and is still going strong. He has already passed through 21 states and has 27 more to go. “My feet swell, my knees hurt, my legs hurt. I do not like walking. But I do it specifically for a reason,” he said. It’s estimated 67-year-old Steve has walked over 34,000 kilometers since he first set out on his legendary treks.
Fugate, a native of Florida, had never really been a fan of walking, but he found it to be a great way to spread love after he lost his children. 1999 was a particularly tough year for him. He was going through a failed marriage and his business had taken a hit. To make matters worse, his son Stevie, 26, was convicted of drunk driving. It was all getting a bit too much to handle, so Fugate decided to go trekking on the 2,167 mile Appalachian Trail, leaving his son in charge of the business.
Unfortunately, young Stevie was also dealing with several serious issues at the time and committed suicide. Fugate received the tragic news as he was trekking through Pennsylvania. “When he put a gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger, he ended my life too,” said the heartbroken father. After a brief period of grieving, he made up his mind to finish the trek. This turned out to be a life-altering decision. “When I was out there, something happened to me. I couldn’t imagine any other human being going through what I did. It’ll change your whole life.”