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READY TO GO—Allen Norris with his sleeping bag, compass and pocketknife takes on his journey across country. (Photos supplied by Norris)

READY TO GO—Allen Norris, with his sleeping bag, compass and pocketknife, takes on his journey across country. (Photos supplied by Norris)

Allen Norris, a young African American man from Clairton with a desire to take a mind-blowing journey, decided to travel from Pennsylvania to California, by foot, to see what the rest of the country looked like and expand his mind. Last month, he finished that journey and gave a glimpse into the life-changing experience.

“I learned the importance of taking a leap of faith and following my dreams no matter how compelling or crazy it looks. Ever since I was younger, I always had this vision to be a superhero and save the world,” Norris said. “In high school I began thinking of ways I could fulfill that vision. So, I decided the first step was to travel across the country, spreading peace and the idea that you can create your own reality. Life is really what you make it.”

A few short years later, Norris up and left to pursue his journey, and he did so without the approval or consent of family and friends.

“I didn’t tell anyone, I just left and then everyone found out on Facebook; including my mother. My family was extremely worried and not the least bit supportive at first. My friends thought it was crazy but amazing. Eventually, my family came around and became my biggest cheerleaders and all the support from family, friends and strangers played a large role in keeping me going.”

The National Guard donated a military grade sleeping bag and pocketknife to Norris to take along with him during his travels.

“I would have to say my sleeping bag, compass and my pocket knife were my essentials,” he said. “The sleeping bag is water-proof, meant to trap body heat. And the pocket knife is great for survival, and self-defense.”

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