It started in Florida and ended in California, and along the way, a once-directionless electrician found himself and figured out how he can do his part to help the world.
Nick Kleckner, a 25-year-old who ditched his job and home to trek across the continental United States in an effort to find his true calling, has completed his journey from Jacksonville, Fla., to the California coast. He tweeted his arrival at the ocean Saturday, posting a simple, unmistakable message: “Made it.”
After 180 days spent dumpster diving for food and sleeping in alleys, “Hobo Nick” Kleckner’s now safe and sound in southern California and recuperating from his summer-long journey with friends and family. The beard is gone. The knees are on ice. He’s kept a grueling pace since April. He’s rightfully exhausted.
“I haven’t even taken two days off in a row,” he told the Daily Dot. “Most people who work full-time jobs have the weekend off, at least.”
“I think I was really running off adrenaline during that last little stretch because I was so excited. Now that it’s sunk in and I’m hanging here, I’m realizing how tired I am.”
Tired but hardly finished. Kleckner’s plan right now is to take a few days to recover in southern California before hitting the northbound bricks towards the Bay Area.
“There are a lot of people up there that I want to see, and I’ve got a lot of things on my mind right now,” he said. “I’d like to get up there and do some writing, express my mind, and go through the last little part of the trip.”
Kleckner said that he’ll remain homeless while in the Bay Area. He’s “still carrying that trust that I had along the way” and doesn’t want to lay out any plans for moving back into a house or apartment, though he did hint at a few potential projects aimed to “help homeless and help those in need.”
“There’s some stuff in the works right now,” he said. “I have some people who took to my story, thought it was really cool, and share a passion. We’re discussing some things and are going to continue to go in the direction of trying to help others.”
It’s a cloudy idea, but Kleckner’s confident it’ll come to fruition. Even if nothing does, it’s safe to say that Kleckner’s journey helped him accomplish what he needed.
“I’ve developed this passion,” he said. “And I’m excited now because I know which direction I want to go. I’ve never had that. I’ve never had anything that I’ve known I was super passionate about and knew what I wanted to do.
“I was always trying to force things and force happiness, whereas now I’m trying to let that passion pave my way.”
Photo via Nick Kleckner/Instagram