After 148 days, 3,100 miles and the endless repetition of putting one foot in front of the other millions of times, Ben Davis is back in Little Rock, readjusting to the routine he left behind five months ago.
On the positive side, he now gets to see his girlfriend every day. He can eat breakfast at Leo’s Greek Castle in Hillcrest. And he no longer has to plan on walking 30 miles to Wal-Mart when he needs food or supplies.
But there are things he’s already missing from his cross-country trek: staying and eating with different families each night, meeting new people and the ever-changing landscape.
“Little Rock is great,” Davis said, “but it doesn’t change.”
On Saturday, Davis arrived at Boston’s Pleasure Bay, the final destination in his walk across the country that started Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. He was greeted by 30 or so friends, family members and Instagram followers.
“It was a really cool moment to be able to hang out with them,” he said.
Upon arrival at the beach, Davis said his emotions were mixed. He called it exhilarating to be finished with the journey, but it was also a reality check.
“It was tough to give up that way of life I had grown accustomed to,” he said. “It was hard; it’s still hard.”
That way of life involved walking 25 to 30 miles a day, as previously reported by Arkansas Online, pushing a yellow stroller that held all his water and gear. His feet would start to ache each day at Mile 22 or so, but he said he would always wake up fresh.
His eastbound route placed the toughest obstacles early on in his journey: the Mojave Desert, the Painted Desert, the Rockies and the Great Plains. Isolation was the hardest part ,he said, especially in the Mojave. A 140-mile stretch in the desert only featured two gas stations, one at 50 miles and the other at the 110-mile mark.
For four days, “it was just me entertaining myself,” said Davis, who would pitch a tent and camp off the side of the road.
As he put the miles behind him, the isolation relented. He still had a long way to go when he reached the Mississippi River, he said, but there were more people on his remaining route, giving him places to stay and people to meet.
When Davis stayed at someone’s home, it was usually because the person who lived there was one of his 24,800 Instagram followers, but he would sometimes ask strangers for accommodations.
He would approach strangers’ homes, asking them for water. Naturally, they would ask him about what he was doing. After hearing his explanation, Davis would then ask if he could set up his tent for the night on their property. Nineteen out of 20 times, he said, the strangers would give him a spot to sleep in the house or a meal.
Those details and many more will appear in the book Davis is writing about the journey. He would write in his journal almost every night and then use his laptop to turn those entries into a narrative every week or so.
He said the book is about 90 percent done. Now, he’s writing about the adjustment back to his regular life. Its title: Ever Eastward, the saying his dad would text him as he moved closer and closer to Boston.
“That was kind of the rally cry for the whole walk,” he said.