Archetypes: Andrew Forsthoefel

You can learn a lot just by walking out your door

andrew forsthoefel this american life npr walking walking to listen sign project

    Photo: Wayne Lawrence

CV: Attended St. Andrew's high school in Middletown, Delaware. Graduated from Middlebury College in 2011 with an environmental-studies degree. In September, after losing a job on a lobster boat, Forsthoefel started walking west from Philadelphia with a 50-pound backpack, a mandolin, an Olympus LS-10 audio recorder, and a sign that said WALKING TO LISTEN. He recorded interviews with people he met on the road: a woman in Alabama whose Marine-vet husband had died from complications related to an IED attack in Iraq; a cop near the Grand Canyon who “pulled over” Forsthoefel for pushing a baby stroller containing his pack over a windy pass. Forsthoefel completed his journey in Half Moon Bay, California, 11 months after setting out, and seven months later, This American Life aired a popular show on the project.

Up Next: A book about his trek. Forsthoefel is pulling espresso shots in Woods Hole by day and writing by night.

15: States he walked across.

On Letting ’er Rip: “Taking unusual and maybe risky paths opens up opportunities. It’s the quickest way to go from living in a bubble to learning something new. That’s what the walk was about.” 

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