Nick Kleckner: Real Life Forrest Gump Walks Across America [Video]

Nick Kleckner was heralded as a real life Forrest Gump after completing a cross-country walk. “Run, Nick, run” may not have quite the same ring to it as one of the most famous movie lines ever, but that fictional character and the man with extremely tired feet do have a lot in common. One day Kleckner, 25, just woke up and decided to go for a walk. Instead of returning home after a few hours of robust exercise, the man opted to stay on his course for the next 178 days, the PattersonIrrigator notes.

The cross-country walker, affectionately known to many as Hobo Nick, began his epic journey without any cash in his pocket or food and water in a backpack. During his walk from Florida to California, Kleckner lost a lot of weight and gained quite a bit of facial hair. Hobo Nick likely resembled Tom Hanks’ famous Forrest Gump character so much that passersby may have thought filming for a sequel was in the works.

The avid walker went through five pairs of shoes during his hike to Huntington Beach in his home state of California. Hobo Nick reportedly went days without food during his cross-country walk, Gap Year reports.

Nick Kleckner has this to say about his life-changing trek:

“I was in that state where I was just straight hungry. There were many times where it was like that. But it’s amazing how much my body adapted. It’s really meditative and therapeutic. In a 20-minute sunset while I’m alone, it seems like I get 10 hours of thinking done. My thoughts are so clear.”

Kleckner was working as a taxicab driver and electrician in California before embarking on his walk across America. He noted that a lot of stress, pressure, and anxiety had built up in his life, prompting the choice to opt out for awhile. Hobo Nick maintains that he has learned to live more in the moment and to be more thankful.

Hobo Nick cross-country walk