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Just a few steps left in FHS grad's walk to Miami

Editor's note: Jordan Dibb left Minneapolis March 27 with plans to walk 1,800 miles to Miami to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti. He expects to finish his walk July 4 but last weekend he checked in with us one last time from the road

With about a week left my emotions are all on the fritz. It's the best/worst case of a love/hate relationship I've ever experienced. Every morning I wake up and start walking and can't believe that I have been given this opportunity to do such an awesome thing. Then, after nine hours of walking through 95-plus degree weather, I swear to myself I'll never take another step in my life. But after getting seven hours of sleep I find myself out on the road again and I couldn't be more happy. Physically, I think my body is about ready to be done. My knee acts up more and more often and it makes my walks a little more strenuous. On the flip-side, I haven't gotten a blister on my foot for weeks and the bottoms of my feet are rock hard. Overall, the thought of walking into Miami has definitely been fueling my energy and spirits for the last few weeks and I'm very excited to see my family there next weekend.

I'm guessing my emotions are going to be pretty upside-down when I finish. Walking, the road and the outdoors have become my best friends these past months and I'll hate to say goodbye to them. It'll be very strange to wake up and not have to walk the distance of a marathon every morning. I've started to enjoy waking up in a new place every day, meeting new people everywhere I go and continually experiencing new adventures. But I will be glad to be around my family and friends again. I'm guessing there will be a lot of laughing and dancing when I finally step foot on Miami's city hall steps.

My thoughts kind of just wander as I walk. I'll think about what I want to write for my daily blog or what I'd like to do after I'm done with the walk. I'd like to be able to just turn around and start walking for another great cause, but unfortunately my student loans can't be put on hold forever. I've considered getting my oil clean-up certification and helping the volunteers on the coasts clean up the oil spill. I'm also hoping I can realize my long-time dream of starting a doggy daycare/boarding/training business if I can find the right investors who believe in it and a good location. Whatever I do, I want to be active in my communities and help out other people, businesses, and causes as much as I can.

Every day seems to bring some little adventure into my life and it's always hard to just think of one to talk about. Some of my adventures throughout my walk include: catching a six-foot rat snake, getting stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm, helping baby sea turtles to the ocean, nearly getting run down by a train, adopting a stray dog for a day, running into others who are walking across America for charity, helping flood victims clean up their ruined homes, singing with hillbillies, trying grits and sweet tea (not for me), walking in 101 degree weather and making friends who I'll never forget. The best adventure has just been the walk itself and being able to do it for such a great cause. I've received more support than I ever imagined I would and we've raised a lot of money for Action Against Hunger and those in need in Haiti. We've still got a week of fund raising until the Fourth and I'll even keep the fund raising page up for awhile afterwards, so if you haven't donated yet, now's the time. This last week will go by too fast and before I know it I'll be back in Minnesota. But the beauty of it all is that my friends walking, the open road and the outdoors will never be farther than a pair of hiking shoes and a sunny day.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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