We never fully appreciate the gift of life until we have to say goodbye.
For Tom Turcich, that realization came when his friend Anne Marie passed away at 17 years old. His world shattered. Thankfully, it also started to take a new shape.
“Her death destroyed my assumptions about life,” he wrote. “Knowing I could die at any moment, I needed to build a new philosophy.”
He was determined to make the most of his time on Earth, and he knew the best way to do so was to get out and see it! Over the next eight years, he worked and saved so he could take a “world walk.” Finally, in April 2015, he set out from his home in New Jersey.
He initially planned on traveling alone, but that was before he found a stray puppy in Austin, Texas. He decided to take her with him, although it wasn’t because of love at first sight.
“I was hoping she would provide some protection, but after crossing Mexico together, which was a whirlwind for me and basically where Savannah grew up, I realized how much she meant to me,” he said.
These days, Savannah is more than a travel buddy. She’s his closest companion!
The 31-year-old plans to walk a total of 25,000 miles across all seven continents, and he’s close to reaching that goal!
Over the past five years, he and Savannah have covered 16,500 miles and have visited 37 countries in six continents. While they take planes and ferries between continents, they go everywhere else on foot, walking between 18 and 24 miles every day. Then they camp at night.
The first year took the pair all over North America; in the second, they explored South America. Tom even headed to Antarctica, although Savannah couldn’t join him on that leg.
During the third and fourth years, Tom and Savannah walked 3,000 miles through Europe and Africa. Now all that remains is trekking around Mongolia and Australia and finally heading back home to the U.S.
Unfortunately, the novel coronavirus pandemic has halted their plans for the time being. They’re waiting in Azerbaijan until they can continue their travels.
In a way, it’s just another piece of the adventure. There are no guarantees in life — it’s full of surprises! That’s part of what makes it so beautiful.
Throughout each adventure, Tom has never forgotten Anne Marie. After her death, he set up a scholarship fund in her name, and the company Philadelphia Sign has promised to donate $1 to it for every mile he walks!
What a wonderful way to honor a dear friend’s memory. You can follow Tom and Savannah’s journey on Instagram.
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