Love. It is what Valentine’s Day is all about, right? Roses, chocolate, special Valentines on your desk or in the mail? Certainly that is the “Hallmark” version and the one we all grew up celebrating.
Love Life. Sure, that is most people’s goal but how about truly LOVING LIFE?! Meet Steve Fugate who despite some pretty terrible life events does just that. Steve loves life so much that he started a LOVE LIFE Walk across the country (as in the United States) and has so far crossed the country six times! Zig zagging through all 48 of the contiguous states, over purple mountains of majesty and through amber waves of grain, propelled only by his two feet is a reminder to himself and others to simply LOVE LIFE.
Why would someone go to such lengths to remind us of something so simple? Steve is walking to “mend broken hearts while still beating” and his message is spreading love, smiles and healing each and every place he visits. Once upon a time Steve faced tremendous loss and made a choice to live through and beyond the pain; he would NOT allow his heart to break by choosing to LIVE. Through walking, Steve discovered inner peace and freedom from heartbreak.
On a March morning in Vero Beach, Steve took the first step, Love Life sign in hand, on a walk that has already surpassed 30,000 miles. He averages about 25 miles per day on his LOVE LIFE WALK, pulling a donated trailer and expects to be 69 or 70 years old when he finishes the walk on the shores of the Indian River Lagoon.
“Damn, no wonder I get profiled sometimes as homeless! I do look homeless. I am NOT homeless. My home is America, located on the planet Earth, contained within the Universe. Wow, what a home! My actual living space is a van, given to me by a beautiful friend in Vero Beach, Florida. Tagged and insured and all that stuff by a beautiful friend in Coronado Beach, California. Just recently I was given a Jayco 25 foot Travel Trailer by beautiful friends, a Vietnamese couple residing in Pomona, California! Sooo, when I finish walking in a year and a half or so, I will drive my gift van to California and pull my gift Jayco Travel Trailer home to my special gift place where my most special gifts of all, my two babies, grew up, in beautiful Vero Beach, Florida. Thank you Trina Stull, I love you. I LOVE LIFE and everyone in THAT life.”
Why? Steve lost his son Stevie at 26 to suicide and his first walk was in Stevie’s honor. Six years and thousands of miles later, Steve learned of his daughter’s death by an accidental overdose. Searching for answers, he realized he held the answer on the sign above his head: LOVE LIFE.
Steve’s inspiration comes from a desire to share the love he would otherwise be sharing with his children with the people he meets; many of whom are deeply distressed either at a loss or are considering giving it all up. That is until they see his LOVE LIFE sign and strike up a conversation. His attitude, gratitude and perspective are amazing:
A most profound and truer quote was never spoken, “If you want to be happy in this life forget about yourself.” An extremely difficult thing for us to learn. I remember during arguments with my now, ex-wife, the many times we each pointed out to the other the huge sacrifices we had made and great things we had done for the other. Neither of us willing to actually hear the other out without defending ourselves. When we get our eyes off ourselves and onto others, we remove one of the two walls between us. And one wall is much easier to climb than two. I’ve since learned that the more attention I give to helping with the problems facing another, or the pain another is suffering, the more my own problems are lessened and the more my own pain is soothed. It was difficult to see my own self-righteousness. What a shock finding out I wasn’t the wonderful person I thought I was and that I might just need to change… a little. Finding my own faults has moved me much further along in Life than finding faults in another. LOVE LIFE.
–Steve Fugate, February 9, 2015 (Love Life Walk Facebook Post)
What more could one say? Steve Fugate and his dedication to bringing the love of life to others is inspiring and a wonderful story for Valentine’s Day.
LOVE LIFE. The end.
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Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Sherry lived in Mexico City for two of her elementary school years; this began her love for language, culture, Spanish and the adventures of living abroad.Sherry graduated with a BA from the University of South Carolina Honors College in Columbia, South Carolina with a double-major in Economics & International Studies.After graduation, her wanderlust took her to Steamboat, CO;San Francisco, CA; Beijing, China; Washington, DC; Nyack, NY and both Fredericksburg & Charlottesville, VA for the last 15 years.She moved to Vero Beach to stick her toes, permanently in the sand in early 2014.
Sherry's professional work experience has been in the Finance & Wireless Telecom worlds.Her skills include training/teaching, writing/editing/publishing, strategic planning, regulatory affairs, technical & consumer marketing and foreign languages.Spanish and Mandarin Chinese are her specialties.
When not creating, writing and roaming online, Sherry enjoys her two teen daughters:Josephine, 21 & Camille, 18; surf fishing for the "big one"; greens & beach golf; walking Vero's beaches; biking & swimming; shooting photos on her smart phone; hanging at Waldo's & Dario's and socializing/exploring all over Central & South Beach.
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