Kansas native passes through Swainsboro as part of cross-country trek

For the most part, Andrew Kivett went unnoticed as he passed through the downtown area of the Crossroads of the Great South last week, yet what he’s doing is worthy of attention. At just 21-years-old, the Wichita, Kansas native is trekking the entire U.S. from the east coast moving westward.

The Crossroads Chronicle received a phone call during the afternoon hours of Thursday, July 29. Reportedly, a local man had stopped Kivett literally in his tracks, found out his story, and offered him a bit of southern hospitality. A local man gave the walking man a much-needed break, taking Kivett back to his home, where Kivett showered, took a load off, enjoyed a freshly-made meal, and recharged his necessities, like his phone, solar panel, and extra storage, before hitting the road once more.

The Chronicle then set out to find Kivett to get the details of his journey. We found him pushing his stroller, which he has dubbed “Benay,” down 80 West toward Dublin just outside Norristown. On the side of that major U.S. highway in the blistering south Georgia, late summer heat, Kivett explained the undertaking in his own words.

“I’m originally from Wichita. Back in 2019, I met Mike Posner, who was in the process of walking across the country himself. I’ve been thinking about doing this myself ever since I met him. I just recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in film production. I worked for a little while as a social worker, but I’m mostly doing freelance film stuff now. If I was ever going to do a cross-country walk myself, I kind of figured it was now or never.”

Sure enough, he bought a one-way ticket to Savannah and flew there from Kansas on July 23. Kivett spent the night at a friend’s house on Tybee Island, and the following morning, he set out on the journey, taking Highway 80 off “Savannah’s Beach” with said friend by his side for the first mile.

Kivett has, for the most part, been on his own ever since—except for people like the local man who have helped him along the way, and there have been plenty of those folks already.

The Crossroads asked Kivett for permission to print a few excerpts from the Instagram account he’s using to chronicle his trek. These posts give an exclusive narrative of the people Kivett has met along the way and the unique experiences he has had to date.

Overall, Kivett says the goal of the walk has always been to prove to himself he is someone to be proud of because an endeavor like this requires sacrifice, hard work, dedication, and physical and mental endurance. Kivett adds that he didn’t start this journey with a cause in mind, but he has since gotten a small taste of the hardships the homeless face, namely inaccessibility of showers. He may at a later point in his walk partner with a Kansas-based company that provides portable showers for the homeless, but as of late, he hasn’t reached a decision.

If you’d like to follow along with Kivett’s journey, you can find him on Instagram at @andrewkivett. He plans to head straight west to Santa Monica, California.

From Kivett’s Instagram

Posted July 22 on Tybee Island: been wanting to do this for two years and it’s finally happening - this saturday i’m getting dropped off at Tybee Island Beach to begin my WALK ACROSS AMERICA. the past year i’ve been walking five to fifteen miles a day and intentionally putting on weight - time to put it to practice. i’ll be using this page to document everything, so feel free to stick around and watch, or mute if it gets too much! :)

Posted July 24 on North Beach, Tybee Island: a year ago, i was overwhelming myself speeding through college in an attempt to jumpstart a career, to appease people who’s opinions no longer hold any relevance in my life. i finished college, but i don’t think that means i have to immediately take up a nine to five in my area of study. today, i stood with both feet in the atlantic ocean, freshly unemployed and “homeless”, yet a lot happier. i’m doing what i want to do - i’m walking across america to show myself who i’ve become over the past year, and because i want to be someone that i’m actually proud of. i’m on my second break of the day - 16 miles down and 4 to go.

Posted July 26 from Bloomingdale: Day 2 - today the weight of what i’m doing really set in for the first time. yesterday, i was able to walk from the beach to my friend robbie’s house. from here on out for awhile, i’m on my own and help is far away. it was hard to try and keep my anxiety under control, but thankfully i’ve met a few people today already that really lifted my spirits. big shoutout to @evanfriedman802 , who i ran into while he was training for an iron man, and the older woman whose name i didn’t catch, but prayed for me and my travels. walking 6 more miles to Eden, GA today. let’s get it!

Posted July 27 from Brooklet: Day 3 - a self timed picture of me eating sunflower seeds. light and dense in calories. this morning was rough, starting with a 3:50am wake up, and a truck intentionally pulling all the way out onto the shoulder driving towards me until i had no choice but to jump off the road. two miles before hitting my first checkpoint, i ran out of water. i knocked on the door of the first house i could find and asked if i could fill up my bottle. to my surprise, the owner was a kind woman named Nancy, who not only got me a couple bottles of water, but also a bag of homemade cookies and had a conversation with me. i’m at a cafe she recommended, eating a burger, and staying out of the sun for the afternoon. i’ve done around 17 miles so far, planning to do a few more this evening!

Posted July 28 from Statesboro: Day 4 - i’d like you all to meet my cart, Benay. she has literally taken a giant weight off my back, and i’m already able to walk more miles. between that, a newly purchased solar charger, and the extra storage, i’m enjoying my walk through the deep south a whole lot more! met a few people today - the cashier at walmart asked to take a picture of me and said she’d be looking for me on the news. also, for the first day in awhile, no one made a forest gump joke. 23 miles today - keep going!

Posted July 30 from Adrian: Day 5/6 - PLEASE READ TO THE END. day five sucked. i woke up to an unexpected storm, and being unexpected my gear was not properly set up for rain. as my tent was flooding, i scrambled to find my phone and other electronics to seal in my waterproof bag. i left the tent and got a tarp draped over it, before curling back inside, trying to warm up despite the wet sleeping bag and pillow. i had some relief from the rain in the morning, but suddenly i had phone issues ten miles from the next town. it’s crazy how reliant we are on cell phones, the anxiety i felt being out there with no way to contact anyone was terrifying to me. i felt so beat down trying to find a phone just to call my family and let them know i was okay, getting rejected by the only gas station in the area. i got my phone issues sorted out in the next town, thanks to the city hall employee, who let me make some calls and got me some drinks for the road. a bad storm hit as i left town, and with little cover in the area, i trudged on. with little luck finding a place to stay, twenty seven miles later, i pitched my tent in the forest off the road and got some sleep. while that day sucked, today was much better! while picking up some food and gear at walmart this morning, brenda talked with me some and gave me some cash for the road. bob stopped me on the road to make sure i was okay, and ended up coming back to offer me his house to take a break in. he made me lunch, i took a shower, and washed my clothes. halei pulled off the road and interviewed me for the local newspaper! while i was taking a break outside of a cemetary, sandy pulled over to check on me, offered to do laundry for me, gave me some cash, and her contact info if i need anything. lastly, i showed up at camp adrian this evening, where i had previously asked to pitch my tent. instead, i was given a key to an air conditioned room with a shower and what at least feels like the most comfortable bed in the world lol. there’s going to be good days and bad days on this trip. the hat i have pictured is a collection of all those good moments and incredible people. i’m honestly amazed at how quickly it’s filling up.

Posted July 31 from Dublin: Day 7 - every day i’m out on the road it gets harder and harder to call this walk “unsupported.” today, after walking nineteen miles into dublin, ga, i heard someone call out my name from behind me. i couldn’t believe it - it was mike, a man whose property i had slept on a few nights prior. he drove an hour from his house down us80 to find me! he gave me cash for the road, we had lunch together (which he also payed for!), and finally, he helped me get set up in a motel for the night, which he payed for as well! mike is an absolutely incredible man. i very much enjoyed our time together this afternoon, and i’ll never forget his generosity! we’ll be staying in touch.

Posted August 1 from Danville: Day 9 - i’m honestly getting used to life on the road pretty quickly. while the fairly frequent stealth camping at night still has me on edge, the day to day routine of walking feels like second nature. this morning, a woman pulled over and handed me ice cold water bottles, as well as a breakfast sandwich that she went out of her way to pick up for me! fresh bacon was a real treat. while passing through a small town, a couple of men in a truck took interest in what i was doing and we talked for awhile. other than that, it was a pretty quiet day. i did get stopped by police a couple times, but there were no issues with that. crushed twenty seven miles no problem. KEEP GOING.

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