My name is Marz Waggener. I’m pretty much just wandering across the country, starting in Georgia and heading generally westward. I don’t have a plan or schedule. I’m just walking, writing, meeting people, and taking photographs. There’s no telling how long the walk will last – could be days, could be weeks, could be months, could be years. I’ll quite likely end up in California, because that’s the place that feels most like home, but there’s no plan – so I could end up in Montana or Mexico or Mongolia.
The nomadic life has always intrigued me. When I was in high school, my brother and I would always check for hobos when we crossed railroad tracks. In my early 20’s I dreamed of living in a pickup truck – a shell over the back, a small cot and minimal provisions tucked inside. Over the years I’ve read a lot of stories and information – hobos, street living, car living, small portable shelters, nomads, campers, backpackers, survival skills.
I had a short foray in car living a few years back – a tiny, twenty-year-old Volvo that broke down at least once a week. It wasn’t so comfortable sleeping in a crumpled mess on the back seat. The thick metal of the ’86 Volvo trapped heat all day and didn’t cool down at night. I was working over 50 hours a week at that time, so I couldn’t move around and go on adventures. I only slept in the car for two months before getting an apartment.
In early 2011 I left California and went to Georgia, where all my immediate family lives. Then something started pushing me to travel, to explore, to take some unusual chances. So I went to the source of all knowledge and accuracy (just kidding!) — the Internet. I read the experiences of men and women who had hitchhiked across countries, backpacked, lived in trucks, lived on the streets of inner cities (while making a movie no less), and took epic hikes across the United States from New York to California. Some of these people just enjoyed the adventure, but many were filmmakers, photographers, writers, supporting a cause, or following a calling from God. A few were even nomads by lifestyle choice, never returning to a permanant home.
What a crazy idea. Pack up a backpack with some camping supplies and start walking across the country, taking pictures and writing stories along the way. I was too old for nonsense like this. It would get really boring after a while. It was even a little dangerous, and I was really out of shape to be hiking with a heavy pack every day.
And yet here I am.