Have you ever dreamed of traveling all around the world, meeting new people and seeing new places while having the adventure of a lifetime? Angela Maxwell is doing just that, but not in the way you might think. There’s one big difference – Maxwell isn’t making use of a plane or a car to get to where she wants to go next. She does it old school. She walks.
Walking around the world
Maxwell has been making her way around the world on foot for five years. According to Ion Magazine, the idea to take on this adventure first came to Maxwell when she heard of a man doing it a few years ago. She found it an absolutely crazy and fascinating idea. Then she started to wonder whether a woman had ever done it before. Now she has become that woman.
After Maxwell decided that she was going to jump into the adventure, she planned everything for nine months. Maps, her route, everything. Once she embarked on the well-planned adventure on May 2, 2014, she found that most of her plans weren’t actually going to work out and she learned to be okay with that, following her instincts and creating new maps to follow.
She started out traveling from Oregon (where she lives) to England via Australia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Georgia, Turkey, Sardinia, Sicily, and Scotland. Now she is busy finishing up her journey in the US, walking the continent from east to west and raising money for Her Future Coalition. Her goal was to walk across four continents and she’s close to reaching it.
Maxwell sees her journey as one long adventure
It might surprise you to learn that Maxwell is no athlete. According to MightyGoods, she did make time for exercise in her daily routine but she didn’t do anything specific to prepare her for her long journey around the world. Even while she was doing research for her upcoming adventure, Maxwell realized that nothing but the road itself could prepare her for the journey ahead.
Being an introvert, Maxwell enjoys the long walks alone but also loves to meet new people along the road and get to learn more about them and their different cultures. According to her, slow adventuring is the best way to learn and expand your ideas and creativity. It also encourages you to understand different cultures and people because you get to go to so many different places and meet so many different people. This is one of the things that keeps her going and she is pretty sure that she will be going on walking adventures for the rest of her life.
It took a big leap of faith to get started
Maxwell took a big leap of faith when she set out on her walk around the world, closing down her business and selling some of her belongings to fund her adventure. She also received some donations to fund her walk. 10% of what’s given to her she gives to non-profit organizations that she feels is doing impactful work with women all around the world. Maxwell doesn’t really promote herself and therefore doesn’t have a lot of funds, so she spends an average of $5 a day.
Maxwell has a nifty little tent that was sponsored by Hilleberg and it’s been her home for the past five years. She doesn’t carry too much extra gear with her. All her food, water, and supplies are put into a two-wheeled cart and she cooks her own food. Sometimes people who live in the area she’s visiting would invite her over for a meal and offer her a bed, but Maxwell rarely stays in hotels or eat at restaurants.
Her advice to all the adventurers out there
Maxwell’s advice to anyone who wants to go on similar adventures is to plan well ahead. Even though many of your plans won’t work out perfectly, it’s good to have them. She encourages people to dive in head-first and give it their all but to also remember that fear and failure is inevitable when you go on a big adventure. Despite that, you have to pick yourself up and keep on going, you have to give it your all. Your ambitions and dreams can only become a reality if you’re willing to fall and then have the strength to get back up again.
“I’ve faced the feeling of failure several times in my life and on this walk. I’ve found the greatest strength is in accepting the falls and perfecting how we move forward with integrity and clarity. Oftentimes, it’s just about taking a deep breath while stepping into the unknown and hope it’s the best decision you’ve ever made!”
Speaking of falling and getting up, Maxwell also says that it’s important to not be desperate to stick to your mapped out route. You’re on an adventure, and sometimes that means taking a side road to another adventure within the bigger one. In 2017 she joined an expedition that was taking ten camels across Mongolia. She worked as a part of the team to support a Mongolian woman’s dream of a camel caravan along the ancient Silk Road. For Maxwell, Mongolia was the most challenging place she’d ever walked.
Not giving up no matter what
When Ion Magazine asked her if she’s ever felt like giving up, Maxwell didn’t even have to think about the answer – she hasn’t.
“I’ve had times that I’ve cursed the wind, kicked my cart, and cried helplessly in the middle of the desert. But not once have I thought of giving it up or quitting.”
Walking solo all around the world is no small feat. Being willing to fail, to be afraid, to fall and get back up over and over again is true bravery. Not even thinking of quitting when things get tough, not even considering it as an option, is a sign of true strength and something all of us can learn from. Next time your “journey” gets tough, remember that it’s okay to be afraid and it’s even more okay to fail. Getting up again and continuing your journey, knowing that there are always better days ahead, will ultimately help you to reach your goals, come hell or high water.
If you’d like to follow the remainder of Angela Maxwell’s journey, you can visit her blog. She’s also inviting people to join her for a walk when she reaches Washington DC.