Meridian Star

Columns

December 5, 2009

Walk Perdie, walk

After meeting Matthew Perdie, I don't think I'll ever complain about walking again.

While some of us complain about walking to the mail box every day, this guy says it's "the best decision I ever made" to literally walk across the country. Despite the blisters — and the blisters of the blisters — and the daily encounters with oncoming traffic, Perdie keeps walking.

He began in Long Island, N.Y. on June 22 and has now made his way to Meridian ... all on foot. His journey will end some time next year on the West Coast. His goal: literally walk across the country to learn about the country's cultures and its people and film his experiences. The filmmaker has already begun editing episodes on his Web site, perdie.com. He hopes to use his walk to bring awareness to what he considers gross overspending by the federal government. 

"I just felt like I had to do something, something big," Perdie, 24, told me as he sipped hot tea at Cater's Market in North Meridian this past week. 

Perdie took a slight break from walking this week as he stopped for a few days in Meridian. A few members of the local Tea Party movement helped house and feed him before he heads west later today. 

Aside from his awareness campaign, Perdie has met, and documented, countless meetings with total strangers. With every person, every town, every road, Perdie gains new perspective. 

"I didn't want to just believe everything I read and saw in the mainstream media," he said. "I wanted to learn for myself. I wanted to see what Americans were really like. It's great. I look forward to every day."

It's a pretty simple, yet novel, idea. And quite profound.

It made me reflect on an experience I had in high school. I was complaining every day about what I considered to be a lack of leadership in a certain school club. The more I complained, the less people listened. Finally, someone told me something I've never forgotten: "Do something about it. It does no good to complain. If you're not part of the solution, you are, by neglect, a part of the problem. Become the solution by doing something."

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