WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The first step is the hardest part of any journey. That holds especially true for Barrett Keene who is walking from Miami to San Francisco.
Keene is walking 3,500 miles in hopes of raising awareness for the 145 million orphans world wide.
“Having millions of children facing this when one is just too many it’s just not o.k.,” said Keene.
Keene, a Ph. D. student at Cornell University, collaborated with the Global Orphan Project and created the “Go Walk America” campaign.
His goal is to provide 25,000 school uniforms to children who are not allowed to go to school because they cannot afford to buy uniforms.
The journey was sort of a calling for Keene, who has visited children in several countries and has witnessed the poverty these children must face on their own.
“An ex-girlfriend asked me, she said ‘Barrett have you lost your mind? [The extremity is found] by ignoring the reality that we have millions of children facing ridiculous conditions that we can never imagine, of no fault of their own,” Keene said.
The walk began in Miami just a few days ago, and Keene is already in West Palm Beach. In spite of his progress, the journey has been rough.
“Yesterday it felt like someone slipped a marble in my foot,” Keene said.
His expedition will take him through Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and finally, San Francisco.
For the long road ahead, Keene has found ways to entertain himself.
“I have a lot of audio books, War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice, books I have never taken time to read,” he said.
Keene is walking the line, relying on the kindness of strangers to help him make it across the country. He is currently staying with friends, but is looking for the donation of a trailer or a car that can provide him with a place to rest.