A patriotic New Jersey man just completed what he’s calling the journey of a lifetime.
Tommy Pasquale of Randolph, New Jersey, successfully walked from the Atlantic to the Pacific – nearly 3,000 miles – in 143 days.
Pasquale gave himself the goal of trekking from Manasquan, New Jersey, to Venice Beach, California, to raise money and awareness for America’s homeless veterans.
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Pasquale has several veterans and active-duty military in his own circle, as Fox News Digital previously reported.
Since completing his trip, he’s raised nearly $97,935 for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, headquartered in Washington, D.C., Pasquale told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“I have nothing but respect and reverence for what [veterans] do for this country,” he said.
“And just the thought of them coming home [after their service] and being homeless doesn’t sit right with me,” he said.
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Pasquale, who turned 25 years old on Feb. 13, finally set foot on Venice Beach on Feb. 17.
There, he was met by his friends and family at his “finish line.”
“I hate to admit it, but I may have gotten a little emotional,” he said. “I felt very accomplished. I felt very relieved.”
The nearly five-month journey took less time than Pasquale expected; he initially predicted he’d make it to California by April.
Toward the end of his journey, he was walking 25 to 30 miles per day with fewer rest days in between, he said.
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The many miles he covered, all while pushing his shopping cart full of essentials, caused him to burn through 10 pairs of shoes, he said.
“I felt very accomplished. I felt very relieved.”
“I wore some New Balances, some Hokas, Newton running shoes,” he said. “They definitely got a few miles on them … and they kept me going.”
“I was really worried about foot problems and ankle and knee problems, but I was pretty fortunate … I feel pretty good,” he continued.
For his overnights, he camped in a tent he was towing with him when he wasn’t crashing at a motel or at the homes of people he knew along the way.
Pasquale admitted that while he’s happy to have accomplished the cross-country walk, he’s also “glad it’s over.”
Pasquale said he kept a copy of Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” on hand.
“I have no regrets about doing it,” he said. “I definitely learned a lot about myself [and] the world around me.”
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He described the journey as a “rollercoaster of emotions the whole way through.”
One of the most difficult obstacles, he noted, was being away from his family during the holidays.
At the time, Pasquale was halfway through the trip somewhere near Dallas, Texas — and the weather was “cold as all hell,” he said.
“As good as it felt to be about halfway done, [I] really had a long way to go,” he added.
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Even with Pasquale’s sometimes daunting and long road ahead — including the western desert landscape, which presented him with physical challenges — he was still able to mentally push through.
“It was great to see Americans helping out other Americans.”
He said he kept his mind active by listening to country music, Bruce Springsteen classics and “The Will Cain Podcast.”
Pasquale said he also kept a copy of Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” on hand.
A close friend gave him a copy of the speech on the day he left Manasquan; he read it “every time I got down,” he said.
“I was able to pick myself back up after reading it,” he said.
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“I wouldn’t have left [New Jersey and headed west] if I wasn’t confident in being able to finish,” he added of the cross-country trek.
“Through those low points, I really had to dig deep and kind of find it in myself.”
Pasquale emphasized how generous Americans were across the country along his route.
A few friends of another friend he’d met in Knoxville, Tennessee, helped house him for a week once he reached Nashville — a major stop Pasquale considered a “high point” of the whole trip.
“It really warmed my heart that I was able to make new friends in Jack and Luke,” he said, indicating the two new friends.
“People were very helpful the whole way through.”
He added, “It was great to see Americans helping out other Americans.”
While Pasquale’s mission was to raise money and awareness for homeless veterans, he saw for himself the “homeless problems” in each major city he passed through.
“We live in the greatest country in the world. We definitely have our problems, but we definitely have it good here.”
“It is a problem,” he said.
“I’m happy I can do something to help out, even if it’s a very small part,” he said.
On his journey “from sea to shining sea,” Pasquale learned that regardless of political affiliation or the state of the country, Americans “have it good” here in the United States.
“We live in the greatest country in the world,” he said. “We definitely have our problems, but we definitely have it good here.”
He continued, “The more we’re able to get along with each other and help one another out, the better off we’ll all be.”
Now that Pasquale is nestled back into “normal” life in New Jersey, he plans to write a book using the journal entries he kept during his walk along the open road.
Donations for veterans can still be made at GoFundMe and the Tommy Walks America info page at linktr.ee/tommy_pasquale.