He had a "comfortable life" as an electrician, but one thing Nick Kleckner says he lacked was a higher purpose.
So earlier this year, the 25-year-old decided to leave his job and all his possessions behind and walk across the United States from Florida to California.
Kleckner, who later adopted the moniker "Hobo Nick," bought a one-way plane ticket to Jacksonville, Fla., where he began his journey April 5 with little else but a sleeping bag and a prayer. He had neither food nor money, and resolved to trek alone and on foot, without asking for food or money.
After 178 days and 2,500 miles, Hobo Nick arrived in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Oct. 2, about 55 pounds leaner and a bit wiser.
"Since I have been homeless I have lived more in the moment and have really learned to be thankful," Kleckner told GapYear.com.
In this video interview, given a little less than half way into his trip across the country, Kleckner said that he started with little faith, but asked God to guide him on his journey.
"I started in a bad place, but [God] has my back," Kleckner said. "I don't have any doubt anymore about that... When I have nothing, and someone comes up to me... and gives me just enough to keep me going on that day, and that happens 80 days in a row, I don't question more about that."
He was surprised at people's generosity along the way, describing times in Mississippi where people pulled over to the side of the road to check on him and give him money -- sometimes $100 bills.
"It seriously feels like my mom called a bunch of people along my route and hired them to help me," Kleckner said in the interview.
Even with help, it was a hard journey. Kleckner would sometimes go days without food or search dumpsters for things to eat, he told the Patterson Irrigator. But, whenever Kleckner felt that he had more than he needed, he decided to pay it forward by giving to other homeless folks he encountered on his way.
Hobo Nick also kept a blog, which his mom updated for him, and a Twitter account during his journey. While their unedited contents sometimes offer up a little too much information, the unfiltered thoughts and photos are an amazing record of Kleckner's 6 months walking across America.
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