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D.C. Writer Plans To Walk Hundreds Of Miles To New York City

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right. At some point in the frustrating, frightening past year, you have probably needed to just go outside and take a long walk. Neil King needed to do the same, although he went a little bit longer than most people - more than 200 miles.

NEIL KING: I just basically picked this route, which is the way that a lot of people would have traveled back in other times, but mainly for the resonance that I thought it would have historically and the diversity and types of people I would meet along the way.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, Mr. King is a writer. He is 61. He lives in Washington, D.C., and he's currently walking to New York City.

NEIL KING: This walk started out essentially as a joke a few years ago when I said to myself if you wanted to walk from Washington to New York, how would you do it, and why would you do it?

KING: That joke turned into a reality. We talked to Neil while he was in York, Pa., about 100 miles into his journey. He decided to give the I-95 corridor a miss and go for a more scenic route.

NEIL KING: The more I looked at the mechanics of it, the more I became fascinated by, you know, the territory itself, which is, one could argue, really the founding stretch of the nation in many ways.

INSKEEP: Neil covers around 15 miles per day and stops when he encounters something interesting. One standout for him was when he reached the Mason-Dixon Line between Maryland and Pennsylvania and found an old, abandoned farmhouse.

NEIL KING: I walked down to it down this lane, and the line itself, that border, went right through this farm. And some German farmer had come probably in the 1830s and built this amazing place that had a balcony basically that looked right over that dividing line. And it was just an amazing place to spend 10 or 15 minutes just sort of taking in the reality of that and what that must have meant or not meant to the people who lived there during that time.

KING: He's only been on the road for one week, but Neil says he's met some amazing people and had some extraordinary conversations. He's looking forward to adventures that lie ahead, including a unique final stretch into New York City.

NEIL KING: On to the Valley Forge, Philadelphia, Doylestown, Princeton, all the way up through New Jersey and then finally across the harbor by canoe or kayak, I should say, to Manhattan.

INSKEEP: Writer and walker Neil King, who's racking up serious miles this month. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.