Angela Maxwell has spent the last five years walking every continent on Earth, but when she recently passed through Delaware on her way to New York City, the second smallest state in America stood out.
“We had more people offer us food there than in a year of walks together,” Maxwell said. “They were just adorable.”
Maxwell, 37, accompanied on her walk through the United States with her 72-year-old mother, stopped in Milton and Lewes before getting on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and heading into New Jersey. She said she chose Delaware along her route because she had never been in the state before and wanted to take the ferry. Maxwell said she chose places that would feel like a vacation.
Maxwell and her mother started walking from the Lincoln Memorial in early April. She said she walks about 20 miles per day. She generally camps out to sleep and travels with her wooden cart containing her supplies.
This walk is special for Maxwell, in part because she figures this will be the last time her mother will be able to do something like this, and because it culminates her five-year journey around the world. Maxwell said her mother has previously walked legs with her in Europe, primarily Holland and Belgium.
From New York, Maxwell will begin walking across the country and finishing in her hometown of Bend, Ore. She said she anticipates the walk taking 12 to 18 months to complete. She tries to live on $5 per day to keep expenses low. While Maxwell’s walk is unsponsored, she is using her walk to raise money for Her Future Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing young girls from becoming victims of sex trafficking, kidnapping or abuse.
Maxwell said her choice to begin walking was a calling.
“It was what I was meant to do,” she said.
Her journey started in Australia in 2014, when she began in Perth and walked to Kalumburu, essentially across the Australian Outback. She said this was one of the toughest legs of her trip since it was her first time being alone, in a foreign land, with not much more than the clothes on her back.
“I was a novice at camping and walking long distances. It taught me how not to quit,” Maxwell said.
Other dangers followed her on other legs. Maxwell said she tried to walk Vietnam, but caught gray fever, a bacteria that causes fevers and nausea. She said it took her a month to recover and she declined to continue through Southeast Asia. Maxwell changed her focus to Central Asia and walked across Mongolia and through Georgia to Istanbul. She said she wanted to walk through Russia but could not get a visa for longer than 30 days.
Turkey brought what Maxwell said was the most dangerous part of her walks. Walking along the Black Sea in northern Turkey, one night Maxwell heard gunshots and the sounds of fighting. The police found her and asked her to leave the area. She said she found out that fighters with the terror group ISIS were in the same area, clashing with Turkish nationalists.
“It was the one time I had a feeling of real physical harm,” she said.
More relaxing were her trips through continental Europe, which included going from Sicily up into Switzerland and another walk that took her from Scotland to Dover, England.
For more information on Angela Maxwell, to donate and to see her current location, visit www.shewalkstheearth.com.