‘How often do you see a guy pushing a stroller along highways in the middle of America?’
Weird looks and odd questions have been a part of Benjamin Lee’s daily routine since May this year when he started walking from one side of the USA to the other to raise money for Oxfam.
He has been transporting his luggage and supplies in a jogging stroller and people are often concerned that he is pushing a baby around the transport arteries of America.
‘There hasn’t really been a day where I haven’t gotten comments or weird looks from people. Most people just stare at me and there are a few who actually ask or pull alongside me on the road.’
‘When I explain what I’m doing they all seem very supportive, interested and helpful.’
The support often comes in the shape of people letting him crash on their couches or camp in backyards, or in one case, a huge abandoned mansion in California that yielded its own surprises.
‘When we walked into the house, we were shocked. Nearly every room was completely covered in trash from wall to wall. Boxes, bikes, food, children’s clothing, family pictures. It was like nothing I had seen before. It became clear that this man definitely did not own this house. He was just squatting there, slowly filling it up with rubbish.’
So far, Ben’s adventure has raised $2,900 for Oxfam Australia.
‘I’ve known of Oxfam for most of my life as a great, trustworthy organisation that does great work around the world,’ he said. ‘It was an obvious choice for me when choosing a charity.’
‘I’ve travelled a lot to parts of this world that are struggling from poverty so helping people is always something I’ve loved to do.’
Ben has traversed just over 2,000 km of the USA’s amazing interior and has about 3,200 km to go. Even though the blisters and fatigue sound like pretty rough going, it’s hard to to be just a little envious of the views.
Along the way he is keeping in daily contact with his family and his girlfriend, and samples fantastic American cuisine as often as he can.
Although, while he’s on the road, it’s more about the tinned stuff—tuna, chili, pasta—and snacks like mix, muesli bars, lollies, fruit, beef jerky.
So would he consider doing something like this again? ‘I’ll definitely go on adventures again. As for another walking journey like this, I doubt. As amazing as it’s been and will be, I would have accomplished everything I wanted to.’
He definitely encourages the rest of us to go for it though.
‘You have nothing to lose but so, so much to gain and it will be something you will never, ever forget. Just make sure you’re as prepared as you can be!’