From sea to shining sea: Arthur’s exodus

It’s not uncommon to see Segway tracks on the beach next to bare footprints nowadays, and countless forms of transportation have developed since Bob Marley affectionately referred to his feet as “his only carriage.” But in a world of speedy transportation and deadline obligation, one young man from Long Beach is taking the scenic route through his America. 

This spring, in an effort to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research, Arthur Hitchcock will travel 6,400 miles from Long Beach, Calif. to Augusta, Maine. That’s an estimated distance between the two points, but the common estimate of 3,000 miles is based on travel by car, a luxury Hitchcock will not afford himself on his journey. 

Hitchcock, who turned 19 in January, has always known he wanted to walk the length of the country, but he never foresaw the circumstances surrounding his now all-consuming stroll.

The 19-year-old photographer walks in memory of his late mother Janet, who died last year of breast cancer. In documenting his journey, Arthur will also pay homage to his late father Mike, who was a professional photographer.

With his father’s weathered old Nikon strap attached to his Canon camera, Hitchcock strolls around Long Beach shooting photos. As he prepares for the logistics of his epic journey, he trains his body for the 25-miles-per-day pace he hopes to keep for the next 13 months by walking to do errands most other people resent doing in a car.

The idea behind the 25-miles-per-day pace is, at that rate, every four days or so, Hitchcock will hit a city or town along his route. His best friend Anthony Felix, who will make the journey via a support vehicle, will be his tether to all safety and conventionality. Felix will lead Hitchcock by four days, and will serve as a kind of herald, going into town and organizing anything he can to help his friend spread the word, while gathering another four days of supplies for Hitchcock’s continued exodus. 

On raising funds, Hitchcock said, “Even if I get a dollar per person that I meet, I plan on meeting thousands of people.”

In regards to his training and preparation for the walk, Hitchcock said everything has led to this moment.

“Keeping things organized and maintaining contacts has been the hard part, but I did varsity cross country in high school, so in a way, I guess I’ve always been training for this,” he said.

The slight young man compensates for his stature in a quiet kind of confidence that wears on him well, and should not be mistaken for naivete. 

“I met him when he was about 12,” Hitchcock’s neighbor Kenny Sessions said, “I remember he was so well-mannered and genuine — there was just something about Artie that made me want to be his friend.”

Sessions, who had only seen Hitchcock on his street with another neighborhood boy, took him under his wing and brought the adolescent everywhere. 

“It was kind of strange I know, a 40-year-old man keeping company with his other friends and a 12-year-old, but I trusted him,” Sessions said. “We would go shooting, and I could trust that young man with the gun. I just knew he was destined for big things, and everything he does makes me proud.”

It is this undying dedication that Hitchcock elicits from his friends. For having such a pie-in-the-sky goal, many people truly believe that he will stay the course, walk the distance and achieve his dream.

He believes in himself with conviction, since he has now dedicated all of his time to this one monumental task.

“I was doing a semester at Long Beach City College when my mother passed away,” Hitchcock said. “I was working at a pool shop part time, and shot photos professionally as a supplemental income.”

After his mother’s death, however, he said he thought only full dedication to his photography would get him anywhere.

He quit the pool store and withdrew from classes at LBCC to dedicate all of his time to his quest.

Now, Hitchcock, with all his eggs in one basket, is organizing a grass roots movement to gain sponsors for his trek across the country. 

He lives on a business card that bears a black and white image of the U.S. accompanied by a stylized route — the sum total of his every effort: a little cartoon man walking a dotted line across the nation, 100 miles at a time. 

With his departure date fast approaching on May 11, Hitchcock has been hard at work getting sponsored. Brooks Shoes has supplied Hitchcock with several pairs of walking shoes (as he is sure to wear through at least two) and outerwear. A company out of New York called OddMenOut has also contributed to Hitchcock’s journey, providing additional apparel as well as domain space for Hitchcock’s large image files and HD video clips that he will be using to document the dailies of life on the road.

One of Hitchcock’s early stops will be in Oregon, where his girlfriend Hannah Floyd goes to school. Floyd, a journalism student, has used her words to try to get the public on her boyfriend’s side. 

“I expect it to be a growing experience for both of us,” she said about spending so much time apart. 

Floyd, who has also experienced cancer in the family, said that her boyfriend’s cause is very close to her heart. It is Floyd’s hope that the rest of the world will soon be able to see Hitchcock as she does, and see his trip for what it is — an inspiration.

“He inspires me every day,” she said.

Hitchock’s journey can be followed on a Facebook fan site, and his recent photography work can be found at

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