Backpacker Radio #219 | Jonathon Stalls on his 242-Day Walk Across the United States, Pedestrian Dignity, and Healing in Nature
In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Jonathon Stalls. Jonathon is a wildly interesting character who, in 2010, in search of meaning and healing, decided to walk across the length of the country. We learn all about this transformative journey, some of the standout stories along the way- including some instances of the unforeseen kindness of strangers, his alter ego of Cate Blanchett flaring up through the desert, how he was able to fund this journey, an epic poop story, how this expedition turned into his book “WALK: Slow Down, Wake Up, and Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour.” and his current advocacy work in making urban spaces more pedestrian friendly. This is a deep and honest conversation- and we’d like to offer a trigger warning to listeners that the following interview touches on talks of suicide.
We wrap the show with a triple crown of TV shows and movies we’ve watched recently, a brief comparison of the Colorado Trail vs. the John Muir Trail, and a stupidest thing of the week- Zach losing his mind due to sleep deprivation edition.
Download this episode.
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Interview with Jonathon Stalls
- Jonathon’s Instagram
- WALK: Slow Down, Wake Up, and Connect at 1-3 Miles per Hour by Jonathon Stalls
- Intrinsic Paths Website
- Intrinsic Paths/Jonathon Stalls Patreon
- Jonathon on TikTok
Time stamps & Questions
00:03:53 – If you can only go to one burger spot in Colorado for the rest of your life, where are you going?
00:09:05 – Introducing Jonathon Stalls
00:10:15 – Tell us about your dad playing in the NFL
00:13:00 – Are you a football fan today?
00:13:58 – Would Zach let his boys play football?
00:15:06 – What was your sports background?
00:16:58 – How did you get into beach volleyball?
00:20:23 – How much of your life was portrayed in the movie Point Break?
00:20:40 – Where does walking come into play?
00:26:31 – What in Ireland brought out the new approach to life?
00:29:30 – What was your reaction to what you were learning in Ireland?
00:34:57 – How did your mom respond to you coming out?
00:37:23 – How should others approach the conversation?
00:40:45 – Did you know nature was healing to you prior to this hike?
00:42:12 – Walk us through deviating from the American Discovery Trail
00:46:37 – Did you have to pay the funding back?
00:47:30 – Do they give you feedback on what businesses you help?
00:49:42 – How did you select your walking route?
00:55:28 – Let’s hear a poop story!
01:06:40 – How did you balance wanting to be in nature and wanting to engage with communities?
01:10:25 – Did you also find healing in the interaction with others?
01:12:37 – Explain the practices you used to find kinship with nature
01:16:20 – Do you have a favorite tree?
01:19:29 – Do you have a desire to reinvent yourself on a long trail?
01:23:25 – Do you find it frustrating to see the direction of society today?
01:26:13 – What are some wins you’ve witnessed in your work?
01:29:42 – What parts of Denver are most walkable?
01:33:29 – Have you walked the full length of Colfax?
01:34:30 – Tell us about “Walk to Connect” and “Walking Leaders”
01:38:37 – Was there a stretch of trail that wasn’t enjoyable?
01:45:23 – Do you have a specific term for your cross-country walk?
01:45:55 – Was there a specific moment where you felt you were healing on your journey?
01:48:38 – Is there anything about the journey or the book you’d like to relay to listeners?
01:50:32 – What do we need to know about pedestrian dignity?
01:52:54 – Zach Anner & The Quest for the Rainbow Bagel
01:57:00 – Impact of TikTok
01:59:00 – Wrap up: Where to find Jonathon Stalls
Trek Propaganda: The Colorado Trail vs. The John Muir Trail: Which Trail is Better? By Katie Jackson
Thing of the Week
Triple Crown of shows/movies you’ve watched recently
5 Star Review
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