Man on a mission

July 24, 2007

JayBoOn June 11, Jason Bliss left Myrtle Beach, S.C. and started walking. At 380 lbs., and recovering from a bankruptcy and bouts of depression and alcoholism following a divorce, he began a quest.

Bliss, or JayBo as his friends call him, says he intends to walk across the U.S. to lose weight and set his life on a new course.

Walking at a pace of just 8 – 10 miles per day, he won’t reach his destination, San Francisco, for a long time. But that’s not what’s important to him. As he says in his blog,

“I want to do something extraordinary, build self confidence, jump start my new healthy lifestyle.”

A friend of his, Christopher Hartz, is helping out by keeping up JayBo’s Web site and contacting news media as JayBo nears cities on his walking route. That’s how I found out about him.

JayBo says he wants to get down to 250 lbs. by the time he finishes his walk. I hope he makes it. I hope he can do it without letting the walk become more important than the goal.

It seems that’s what happened to another guy with a similar plan two years ago. Like JayBo, Steve Vaught weighed about 380 lbs. when he left the San Diego area with a plan of losing weight while walking across the U.S.

But Vaught never did lose much weight.

Instead, his Web site became a promotion for his endorsements, he made a book deal and lost it, appeared on several national news broadcasts and interview shows, and then supposedly embarked on some vague walk around the world.

All for what? It doesn’t seem that he knows.

Anyway, back to JayBo. He has a lot to learn about long distance hiking, like cutting down on pack weight and carrying the right gear. For example, in a recent post to his blog he mentions carrying three pairs of sneakers. But he is learning and he appears to have a good attitude.

He’s updating his blog frequently, so it’s easy to follow him on his trek with posts like this:

“Two dogs started following me on 191 onto the road, one was a little cute puppy. I stopped and alerted the owners but 10 minutes later they caught up with me. A store owner knew them and called the owners to pick them up. Yay I had a walking fan club, or I smelled really “interesting” LOL.”

Godspeed, JayBo, and enjoy the journey.