Man loves life and fights depression with his eighth cross-country walk
Steve Fugate on his eighth and latest cross-country walk. (Photo: Courtesy of Steve Fugate)
It’s very easy to envy him because when you call him during his latest walk across America – he’s already done it seven times – he can’t sound any happier to be doing it. Fugate, known as the “Love Life guy” because of the sign he carries, is like a traveling muse to the heartbroken, helping others overcome extreme sadness the way he did.
OK, maybe not quite the way he did. What Fugate calls his Trail Therapy has taken him 34,000 miles by foot since 1999 – the year his son committed suicide and six years before his daughter died of an accidental drug overdose. Since making his first walk along the Appalachian Trail, he’s gone from coast to coast seven times and now he’s on his eighth walk – the wrinkle this time is that he’ll be stepping in all lower 48 states.
his website – he was enjoying a rare motel rest day in Truckee, Calif., because of the rain. He’s 22 states into his trek, which began March 23, 2013 in Vero Beach, Fla., with 26 more to go. Oregon and Washington are up next.When Yahoo Travel reached Fugate via phone Monday – he published his cell number for all to see on
It doesn’t take much effort to get a touching story out of Fugate. You really only have to ask what he did yesterday. This time, what happened yesterday was being approached by a 21-year-old man who a month earlier had tried committing suicide with a butcher knife to the chest.
“He stepped right in front of me and pulled his shirt up,” Fugate said. “The first thing I said was, ‘Why in God’s name would you do such a stupid, self-centered thing?’ Then I grabbed him and told him I loved him and held him. He just kept hugging me, the young man.”
Fugate has received plenty of media attention and acclaim over the years, including the key to the city in Oakland, which “don’t fit in anything,” Fugate joked. He’s getting renewed interest in part because of his different route, and because of a recent documentary by Cyrus Sutton. Maybe it’s also because he doesn’t seem to know when to quit walking and meeting people.