The Longest Walk

29 01 2009

The Longest Walk –

The Record of Our World’s First Crossing of the Entire Americas

Published by and Orders@Xlibris.com

My original title was An Odyssey of the Human Spirit; I felt that closer in keeping. The initial publisher, Dodd, Mead was the second oldest in America [199-years] when it went bankrupt.

‘The Long Walk.’ was the title of the classic book by a Polish Army officer who escaped from Siberia, so my story became ‘The Longest Walk.’ The journey has never been repeated. Nobody at the time (or since) could have imagined it being pulled off, never mind the penniless way of it, that was when I became a true wayfarer.

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I don’t know about you but as a youngest growing up in England’s Kent, I always dreamed to make a journey, even a great one. I think it had something to do with English history, which was all around, and so much of it seemed focused I far off lands.

So from 5-years-old on, and unknown to my chums, my mind was already in distant parts where dreams were.

First off I went to the ship ‘Worcester’ moored in the Thames and the last of such ‘wooded’ walled vessels afloat. One chop time I suddenly upped and climbed to the top of the tallest mainmast. No other kid of that period ever did that, I believe I was the last.

I spent a total of seven years at sea, first as a cadet and then as a mate. By the time I was 18 I had been around the world – both ways. I finished up as second mate aboard a tramp ship. But I found that it was not the Sea that I loved, no, it was the lands beyond.

So, this and my experiences up to that date propelled me to the bottom of the world, Tierra del Fuego, where I turned northwards and began what would become The Longest Walk. And as Guinness said “of all time.” How lucky I was!

It was my honour, and I did find the wonder, the goodness and the sheer craziness of Life!

Thank you for joining me.

Excerpt One – The North Argentine            

Learning of my immediate plans, they began lecturing me with the hauteur of those who pride themselves in successfully predicting the worst.

            “Oh, you think this is hot? This heat is nothing,” pronounced the husband. “In the desert to the north, it will be much worse for you––no shelter, nothing.”

            “Much, much hotter,” the wife gleefully added.

            “And there are those snakes, and out there are millions of deadly spiders,” the man continued.

            “They might kill you,” beamed his sour-faced wife.

            “Of course, then there’s El Zonda, the hot wind––it will burn you up.”

            “Just like a dead rat,” his echo obliged.

            “Don’t forget the Tucumán police,” Mr. Misery thoughtfully concluded, “they’ll shoot you for sure. They don’t ask questions up there, you know.”

            A good night’s sleep helped me put their dire warnings out of mind, and indeed, the next day, it was a relief to be moving again.

Excerpt Two – Bolivia

            An open door often signified a boliche (“shop”––really a hut), where I might find a few dusty bottles of sickly sweet soda, some cans of Peruvian anchovies, and perhaps an old Argentine meat tin. To one quickly passing by, an adobe hut could be a shop or just as possibly a pigsty or the town hall. You never could tell. Few outsiders ever get to these backwaters, and the sight of this strange traveler would bring the Indians to the door, adults as well as children, all staring out in silent mistrust. Bundled and ponchoed against the high-altitude cold, I would press on.

Excerpt three – Nicaragua

            During the long walk back to their house, night drew on, and with it wild drinking in a makeshift cantina on the tall, uncut grass in the center of the town. Curses flew through the air in my general direction; everyone who spotted me seemed to be in a belligerent mood. I kept my silence––one garbled Spanish phrase from me could have been turned knife-quick into a minor incident. It was with great relief that the nervous family and I managed, backs to the wall, to edge away from the throng and into their house.

NOTE 24 July 2009

If you are interested in this forgotten adventure then the book HE LONGEST WALK – The Record of our world’s First Crossing of the entire Americas is now available from Xlibris. Go through Amazon.com or call 888 795 4274

“In reflection, it was all a wonderful dream, and how lucky I was to survive it. It was where I fell in love with the Humanity, the glorious life experience itself, and our shockingly threatened planet and only home. You know we existlost in a truly huge void. Nearest earth like planet, what a hundred thousand million (human) lifetimes away.

geo.

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15 responses

15 05 2010
oakhillwalkers

I found Mr. Meegan’s book in a Goodwill store and I have started to read it. What a story! It’s giving me and my wife additional inspiration for our planned 500-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago this September and October.

We have walked the Wainwright Coast to Coast Way, The Cotswolds Way, and Hadrian’s Way in the UK as well as The Dingle Way in Ireland. The Camino de Santiago (the French Route starting from St. Jean de Port) is, by far, our most ambitious walk. The travails that Mr. Meegan experienced make the Camino a virtual ‘walk in the park’.

A belated thank you to Mr. meegan for walking his walk and writing about it!

Austin, Texas USA

23 05 2010
georgemeegan

Thank you your wonderful comment and you own — continuing adventures! george meegan

23 05 2010
georgemeegan

What a beautiful world you walk, and from the hills of Austin. gm

2 08 2010
georgemeegan

Well thank you. No agent in UK would touch it and no publisher ever wanted it. Funny old world.

13 03 2013
Anna Cavaliere

Dear George,

I read your excellent book twice and still reread because you described with humor, humanity and skill your grand adventure walking across America and you also told the beautiful story of love between you and Yoshico.
Your book made ​​me feel at your side and made me participate in your adventure to your every step. Thank you for taking the courage and strength to do so.

Anna

4 05 2014
georgemeegan

What a lovely name: Cavaliera! Thank you Anna. We try to live our dreams and what a wonderful world! george meegan

15 11 2013
Adam Hecktman

I live in Chicago. I try as often as I can to either walk to or from work (less than 2 miles each way). Chicago is very much a walking city. So I downloaded The Longest Walk on Audible to listen to as I walked the city. Holy smokes! Great listen, very motivating, extremely entertaining, and taught me to never, ever curse the wind as it whips off of Lake Michigan every again. Thank you for sharing your experience.

4 05 2014
georgemeegan

Adam – thank you. See that U boat in Chicago! george

7 05 2014
adamhecktmantman

Bring your Yoshi cart to Chicago and I’ll give you my very own walking tour.

8 05 2014
georgemeegan

Adam – Chicago “My kind of Town!” sang the great Frank.

My best wishes,
george meegan

3 06 2014
John gsttomofnpittdburgh

George,I love you,email meva way to communicate with you johntaylorgatto@gmail.com hurray,inhavebyadvtwobstrokesvand cannotbwalk fornparylasis.mlive forver bignguynlocvevtobwyumi,too letsbhesrvfomnyou

15 06 2014
georgemeegan

Beloved John. I should have a unique, worldclass surprise for you in some ten more days. Hang on my friend.
Will be in New York for a talk 4th Sept. I can come earlier and be your runner, like Babe Ruth.

Been living on bread & water, plus.

viva, viva, viva friendship eternal. g

12 07 2016
georgemeegan

Will do John and love to you both in that swell town, the kid from Penn.

11 07 2015
Brenda

Have any films on C D or DVD been made of. The Longest Walk

12 07 2016
georgemeegan

No Brenda, but it has been talked about for much of my life!

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