A South Lake Tahoe woman is preparing to walk across America — and she hopes to inspire others to get moving in the process.
This April, Sheryl Lynn will begin a six-month journey walking from Key West, Florida to San Francisco, California. She plans to walk 15-20 miles a day, pushing a stroller with her camping gear and provisions, for a grand total of approximately 3,600 miles. Her goal is to pass through Tahoe on Sept. 20.
"Why?" is the most frequent question Lynn gets — and for the energetic ski instructor and business owner, it's tough to narrow it down to just one reason.
Lynn points to a statistic she found from the Environmental Protection Agency: The average American spends 93 percent of their life indoors.
"For a long time I've thought about how do we get rid of stress? How do we connect? How do we have interactions? How do we get off social media? How do we feel better about ourselves and build confidence and laugh more and love more?" said Lynn. "I feel for myself personally where I find the most peace is just being outside on the trail, and that's really what inspired the walk."
Though Lynn says the walk is about finding joy and taking on a new adventure — "Routine is boring to me," she laughs — the walk also is about having meaningful interactions with strangers and inspiring others to get moving.
"We're in the process of developing a nonprofit organization to go along with Walk With America called Walking Heals America," explained Lynn.
People can sponsor miles of her walk and the money would be used by Lynn to support groups and programs — like Boys & Girls Clubs and senior centers — in the cities she walks through, as well as offer random acts of kindness to people she encounters on the trip. She's already begun collecting donations on a Go Fund Me page.
"I've spoken at the Boys & Girls Club in Kings Beach and here in South Lake Tahoe, and it was amazing to see the kids get so excited about the walk and ask questions," said Lynn.
Along the way Lynn hopes to host events in the cities she walks through and encourage people to walk with her for a day.
"It would be cool if we inspired hundreds or thousands or millions of Americans to walk and then have it take on a life of its own with people regularly hosting walks in their own communities," said Lynn. "I hope to publish a book at the end of this and just kind of tell stories of the people that I met face to face and had real conversations with."
Lynn said she could not pull the walk off without the support of her "crew" that is helping her secure sponsorships, find hosts to stay with and, once she starts the walk, will keep her supplies stocked along the way.
"Sometimes the hardest thing is asking for help," she said.
This Saturday, Feb. 17, Lynn and her crew are hosting a kick-off walking event in South Lake Tahoe. The 2-mile walk begins at Lakeview Commons at 2 p.m. and ends in front of Fire + Ice in Heavenly Village where there will be a flash mob dance. Participants can come to Lakeview Commons at 1:30 p.m. to learn the dance, and all are encouraged to wear yellow — the color that Lynn will be sporting throughout her walk across America.
To find out more, visit http://www.walkingwithamerica.com.