When it comes to walking across the country from California to New York, “for the heck of it” is as good a reason as any. In fact, in an age where publicity and profit seem to be much more common motives for this type of quest, 24-year-old Catherine Li’s largely under-the-radar 3,000-mile trek stands out as a true exception.

“People always ask me [why]….At first, I was so urgent [to respond] so I just started to tell them all the feelings I was having but I realized that…I just felt like walking. I just decided to click over to living in the actual moment instead of inventing all these fantastic fantasies for the future.”

Equipped with a shopping cart, a tent and a few personal effects, Li, who is currently in Pennsylvania and estimates she walks 15 miles a day, has met many kind strangers along her seven month trip. They’ve provided her with McDonald’s gift cards, unsolicited funds, rides and even places to stay.

Hear her speak about the journey below:

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