Utah (ABC4) – The coronavirus pandemic has caused us all to reach outside our comfort zones and do things we never would have dreamed of before.
For Carlos Duran of Miami, getting outside of his comfort zone meant walking across the country to Zion National Park.
On March 1, 2021, Duran left home and began his journey to change his life for the better, and decided to “walk it out.”
Duran tells ABC4, “I was kinda in a rut, kinda not the best version of myself.” So he decided to clear his head and take a walk – a really long walk.
Forty-one-year-old Duran is a Marine veteran born in New York and raised in Miami where he, his wife, and two children live.
As of April 13, Duran tells ABC4 he is in Mississippi and has walked about 900 miles, and still going strong.
He says he knew he needed to do something profound. One day, he says he asked his family if they wanted to take a road trip to the Grand Canyon, but his family didn’t want to go.
Duran says after he decided he wanted to see the Grand Canyon, a “light bulb went off,” and he decided he was going to walk instead of a road trip.
As he was planning for his walk to the Grand Canyon, he saw something about Zion National Park on the news. He tells ABC4 he thought Zion looked beautiful, so he looked it up and saw it wasn’t too far from the Grand Canyon and decided to make it the final destination of his cross country walk.
At about 900 miles in, Duran says, mentally, he is “feeling homesick.”
“As far as my physical conditions, I have never been stronger in my life,” Duran adds.
With all that walking, rest is important. He says his original plan was to walk for six days then stay at a motel to shower, do his laundry, and rest.
He says “things don’t always go as planned,” so he stays where he can, when he can.
On nights he doesn’t stay in a motel he pitches a tent or sleeps in his sleeping bag off the roadways.
When he started his walk back in March, he says he had a few hundred dollars and half of his stimulus check. “I was on a tight budget,” he shares.
He started social media accounts to share his journey. He says people wanted to send money and help out. He explains he was skeptical of the idea at first, but when he made it out of Florida and into Georgia, his wife convinced him to let people help.
He says through social media accounts, he can connect with family, old friends, and complete strangers. “Money just started flowing in,” Duran shares with ABC4.
Throughout his journey, people have been so kind. “There are so many good people,” he shares.
With the money he has been given, Duran says he does his best to pay it forward, adding he wants to give back to others as others have given to him.
He says he likes to pay for someone’s groceries or pay for someone’s meal who is behind him in line.
He says some of his encounters with strangers along the way have brought him, and others, to tears. “I am giving it back out there,” he shares.
The hardest part of this journey has been being away from his family and 2-year-old son.
Duran tells ABC4 he hopes to make it to Zion National Park sometime in July. When he finally makes it, he plans to wander around for a few days then take a shuttle to Las Vegas, Nevada, where a friend who lives in L.A. will pick him up.
From Las Vegas, his friend will drive him to L.A. where he plans to take his first dip in the Pacific Ocean before flying back home to Miami.