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Walking to Cleveland

Read Part Two of Four here.

RNC Part Three of Four

RLn Editor’s Note: Drew Philip, a freelance writer with Belt Magazine with photographer Garrett MacLean, in the grand tradition of Alexis de Toqueville and Woody Guthrie walked to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and talked directly and plainly with the people along the way. Philip documented what he learned in a four part series published on Belt Magazine’s website.

This post was originally published on July 12.

By Drew Philp
Photos by Garrett MacLean

A Painful Road Ahead

I stayed in Toledo an extra day to attend a Black Lives Matter rally but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I thought I might be spending the night in the hospital. I could barely see, my hands shook, and I was nauseated, all symptoms of dehydration and heat exhaustion. The heat index had been in the upper 90’s, with little cloud cover. I hadn’t had much to eat. I had major sunburn on my legs, my arms, and my neck.

I’d spent the previous night guerrilla camping in the wilderness and had woken up with at least one tick inside my bivy sack. I’d gotten about four hours of sleep after walking about 40 miles.

As my head swam in a delirious fog and I tried to force a protein bar and a sports drink inside myself against the will of my vomitous stomach, I worried it might not just be dehydration, or low blood sugar, but some tick-borne illness.

Whatever it was I hurt. And I hurt and I hurt and I hurt.

I’m not easily scared, but I was scared. It was the first time I had really thought about quitting, the first time I’d really asked myself why I was doing this.

But I was safe. After I hitchhiked to Toledo, a complete stranger had opened her home to me, allowing me to nurse myself back to health. If I’d attempted to cowboy on and stayed another night in the bush, I could very well be in the hospital, or worse.

Continue reading here.

Read Part Four of Four here.

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