I am Ishkabibbel.
I aim to strive, and to struggle.
"Ishkabibbel," or "Ish" for short, is the trail name I was given by a 4 year old kid; the family had invited me in for breakfast, after I had camped in their yard.
I believe in the Kindness of strangers; I've seen it firsthand.
Originally from Brooklyn NY, my real name is Michael Nieves. I was an indoor kid, always kept to myself; I'd pass my time with video games and movies.
I had never hiked or camped before, in early 2017, I decided to walk across the US, from New York to California.
I had no idea how far I would get.
I believe the 1st step in overcoming a problem, is to laugh at it.
And I have had plenty of setbacks, & more obstacles than I can count. I've made stupid mistakes, and lost things that were important. I've gone through bad weather, thunderstorms, heatwaves, and nights below-freezing. I've been sore, hungry, frustrated and completely alone, and I had to find some way to keep going. Up & down steep mountains, over rough terrain, along dusty roads and busy highways; I have walked. I've been forced out of towns, and had to push late into the night, and there's no such thing as a comfortable night's sleep in a tent, let me tell you. I've also had to get off-trail due to injury, and again for a loss in the family.
Bad times, are necessary contrast to appreciate the good.
I have met some truly incredible people, who've helped me along the way, with food, cash, a place to stay, or even just a good conversation, always at the times when I needed it most. But more than anything else the best thing that happened, was finding a dog on the road. I named her Navi, and she's been with me for over a year now.
It's been the best experience of my life.
For over 200 days, I lived on the road.
I walked over 2300 miles, from Brooklyn, NY to Austin, TX.
And that's only half the journey.
From Texas I hitchhiked back home with Navi, and I've been working, saving up to go back and finish what I started. And after that, just keep traveling.