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Fat man, who killed two pedestrians with his truck in 1990, walks across the US

Link: http://www.thefatmanwalking.com/

Fifteen years ago, Vaught, a fit ex-Marine, was driving into the sun when an elderly couple crossed his path. His car struck them both. The woman went through the windshield; Vaught spent the night in jail with her blood in his hair.

That brief moment was the beginning of a downward spiral into depression and obesity.

The day his story appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune, May 3, 2005, Trekker hopes to deal with size and a memory, there was an article on the facing page, "Two die when pickup, car crash in Oceanside."

Every day the paper is like this.

Rarely do the casualties of the car-wasteland become as creatively desperate as Steve Vaught (the fat man).

According to the UT article, when he had trouble walking through the Target store in Escondido on March 31, he became desperate enough to change his life that he decided to walk across the US.

He's like me. He's like all of us. He's a physical, individual manifestation of the layers of bad planning decisions that have resulted in what the Green City Visions conference calls "the face of the peak oil / climate change / biodiversity collapse / health crisis" to which I add, "social wasteland."

So, cheer him on! And talk to him about becoming an activist for the carfree cause.

His yahoo group is thefatmanwalking_group.

The name makes me think of the burning man festival and the blue man group.

Eventually I plan to get carfree patches made. Maybe I could send him one and he'd sew it on his bag...

Added by colin #442 on 2005-05-11. Last modified 2005-05-17 02:43. F0 License: Attribution
Location: World, United States
Topics: active living, discussion list, health, log or journal, men, walking

Colin Leath <>    

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   An email I wrote to Steve., by colin on 2005-05-11 02:41:33

It may also be found here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/thefatmanwalking_group/message/79


Congratulations for dreaming big.

I took a similar journey of desperation, but by bicycle, back in 2003 (NYC to San Diego, via Mexico). I wasn't fat when I started, but I felt bad...

I want to encourage you to consider your life from a perspective beyond the individual. You wrote:

The human race has achieved great feats solely on the efforts of the individual. Building pyramids, settling frontiers and walking on the moon are a few examples.

I hope to remind people like me, that we each have the strength and ability to do anything we want. Losing weight is a choice the same as continuing to exist in this terrible condition is a choice. I have decided to live! It really is a simple decision when you think about it.

I don't think it is simple.

I think we live in a world built of the dreams of individuals.... as well as a lot of unconscious decisions, repeated without thinking.

The fact that so many Americans use cars and live in communities built around cars is a result of one of those unconscious decisions--once a dream of an individual--repeated without thinking.

You might be very interested in the "carfree movement" which has as one of its goals getting communities built for people who do not wish to use cars and who do not wish to be bothered by the car use of others.

Here is a link to a related organization that works on getting communities built that create many opportunities for daily exercise:



I have added a link to your site on my carfree site: http://carfreeuniverse.org/Members/colin/thefatmanwalking/

I would be the first to say it is insensitive, at least in the title, to how you might feel....

At the same time, you can understand why I emphasize this aspect of your story. You are probably aware that more people each year are killed by car crashes than by war and suicide combined ( http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2003/pr40/en/ ). In the US, our share is 42,000 dead each year in traffic crashes--115 each day--and perhaps 20 times that are non-fatally injured.

Those deaths are not accidents--they are caused by building urban environments around the car as a form of transportation. It does not have to be nor should it be that way.

Aside from the safety issues, a basic principle of the carfree movement is that building for cars destroys the social environment... You have only to compare a piazza in Venice with a parking lot outside a Wal-Mart to see how this is true.

You'll be attracting a lot of attention as you walk across the continent.

Consider using your walk to speak out for carfree cities and carfree living. Or if you do not wish to go that far, work with the people supporting the design of communities for "Active Living."

Whatever you decide, what you are doing, and what you have dreamed of doing, is wonderful!!

Thanks for dreaming big. Some of the biggest dreams come from desperation.

Colin Leath

Here is a link to a list of people who offer "warm showers" to cyclists--And they might be happy to have you too!:


The Warm Showers List is a list of Internet cyclists who have offered their hospitality towards touring cyclists. The extent of the hospitality depends on the host and may range from simply a spot to pitch a tent to meals, a warm (hot!) shower, and a bed.

You might also like the links I have collected on other great walkers, like Peace Pilgrim and John Frances:


The bicycle touring links will also inspire you:


You might also really enjoy finding "intentional communities" along your walk route and visiting them:



You made an awesome decision.

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