CHICAGO — Kirk Sells must stand out walking on the side of busy roads carrying a golf bag filled with his belongings mile after mile.
Sells, 30, started a 2,400-mile journey from Chicago to Compton, California this month. His first steps were in Lake Michigan before he headed directly west on North Avenue, golf bag filled with clothes and a pot for cooking in hand. He also has one golf club — a 7-iron — which is his primary mode of protection.
"I treat it like a backpack," said Sells, who also carries a pack in front that contains a tent and fleece blanket.
The Northwestern graduate and former Lakeview resident is doing the walk, which will take him through seven states, to raise money and awareness for afterschool music education and for Evans Scholars, a scholarship for golf course and country club caddies. Sells himself earned an Evans Scholarship to Northwestern, and since he moved to Compton in 2015, he has started introducing high school students to the caddie program.
Sells, who brought only $15 on the trip, just crossed the Mississippi River near St. Louis on his way west. Sells, who is walking along major roadways but not interstate highways, said he's routinely stopped during his walk by curious onlookers. Many offer him dinner, money or a place to stay.
On one occasion, Sells said, he was "stopped by two brothers who invited me to their 'Friendsgiving' for dinner, then was given a bed and a $200 donation."
"One hundred percent of my interactions have been positive and supportive," Sells said.
Sells wanted to average about 25 miles walking per day, but it's been closer to 18 because of all the time he's spent talking, dining and hanging out with the people he's met. He doesn't know when he'll reach California, but is hoping to get to Compton by February.
For more information on Sells' trip and fundraising, click here.
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