NEBRASKA CITY – Just like the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, a journey can test one’s motivation, especially if it’s a 2,918-mile, ocean-to-ocean walk across America.
Amanda Autrey, a 26-year-old practitioner of holistic medicine, and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Kolton Rackham, began in Georgia on May 1 and arrived in Nebraska City Tuesday.
They are walking to demonstrate how goal-setting and taking control of one’s thought life can change a person’s circumstances. They are wearing Riding Hood and Wolf costumes to rally support for Make-A-Wish and suicide prevention.
The famous fairy tale admonishes children about losing focus on their assigned task and falling prey to the wolf, but Autrey says the perils facing Make-A-Wish children and people troubled with suicide are often traveling with people throughout life.
It’s a tale, she said, that is told in many different ways.
Autrey: “There’s always more to the story. Everywhere that I’ve ever heard that fairy tale told, there’s always more. There’s always more in the details.
Rackham: “There’s always someone else’s perspective in there too.”
They are, by chance, following the path of the recent solar eclipse, and expect to reach Oregon by the end of the year.
The real Little Red Riding Hood was told to beware of those on the trail to grandmother’s house, but Autrey and Rackham are blazing a trail of connectivity.
Police in Illinois advised them not to walk down a certain street, but the route cut three miles off of the trip. They went ahead and met a woman along the way, who had lost her sister the day before. Autrey said all she could do was give a hug, but that made all the difference.
She said there is always more to the story.
Although they felt well-prepared mentally for the rigors of the trip, it has been more physically demanding than they expected.
Autrey documents on Facebook times of relief when Rackham added her 25-pound backpack to his 35-pound load. He has even carried her about 10 yards when they were exposed to blisters, exhaustion and a rain storm.
She says sometimes the perilous wolf is overcome one ocean to another.