61-Year-Old Crosses Country by Foot and Pedal

SAN FRANCISCO—As of Aug. 31, Jane Sullivan will have completed her 12-week journey across the United States, which she calls American Walk of Life, or AWOL.

At around 6:40 a.m., on Aug. 30, at Vista Point near the Golden Gate Bridge, she met with friends who joined her walk across the famous landmark.

Her journey started on June 5th in Delaware and she travelled west across 12 different states.

Jane Sullivan met her friends at Vista Point and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge together on Aug. 30, 2019. (Ilene Eng/NTD)
Jane Sullivan started her expedition on June 5 in Delaware and finished at the Golden Gate Bridge on Aug. 30, 2019. (Ilene Eng/NTD)

“And each state, I’ve got a different pilot, driver of my RV, so that I have somewhere to be safe in the evening when I finished my hiking or biking, whichever it may be,” said Sullivan.

Her friends flew to accompany her for parts of her journey. They formed a team to help her map her journey every step of the way. She has been uploading videos of her journey on YouTube.

“Without the support, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Sullivan.

Jane Sullivan crosses the Golden Gate Bridge at Vista Point with her friends on Aug. 30, 2019. (Ilene Eng/NTD)

So what was it like traveling across the states?

“They were all brilliant in their own way, but all different,” she said.

She stayed in California most of her life. She learned a lot from people during her journey across so many states.

“For instance, plastic bags. In West Virginia, there were triple-bag something. A carton of milk in plastic. And in California, I couldn’t get a straw.”

“I’ve seen children doing their own chores, all along through America. Mowing grass, and helping with the chores, and ‘yes ma’am, no ma’am,’ which I haven’t seen here in California. So I see the stark difference or that old-time America to the modern California that I’ve only been used to,” said Sullivan.

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She said people welcomed her wherever she went.

“I was staying in people’s homes, people offered to do my laundry, inviting me around to have a meal with them. Really, really lovely, lovely people.”

Sullivan was inspired after learning about Mary Joyce, a pioneer in Alaska in the 1930s. She realized that as people get older they tend to sit and regret they did not make memories.

“Maybe try and paint a painting, or throw a pot, or garden, or plant some trees. But something, that when you’re in your old age, you could say, I did that. Look what I did with my life,” she said.

She’s also doing this to inspire the younger generation to put down their electronics and get out there and experience the world themselves.

She describes this experience as life-changing.

“I did love America before I left California to go on this journey, and now I’m REALLY in love with America. And I want to return to middle America.”

Jane and her team will continue walking to the Cliff House before having a party and then going home to La Honda.