Walking across America and back again, in the pursuit of happiness and well-being for all.
In this time of apparent divisiveness, imagine a nationwide enterprise that identifies our common values—a hands-on research project that engages thousands of people across all political, ethnic, geographic, age, gender, and economic lines. Now imagine that this project takes place on foot: a walk of more than 8,000 miles circumnavigating the U.S. designed to promote both personal happiness and collective well-being while chronicling the real human stories of everyday citizens.
"We walk," says co-founder and vice-president of GNHUSA Paula Francis, "because the policies and practices of our systems, institutions and our government ought to support and uphold our basic right, and that of future generations: the right to pursue happiness."
This research project -- the Happiness Walk -- is the real deal. Sponsored by Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA; www.gnhusa.org), a national non-profit educational and advocacy organization, the Walk began in 2012 at Stowe, VT trekking to the Pacific Ocean, in multiple segments. After completing nearly 4,500 miles, the 8,000-mile walk resumes in Santa Monica, CA on October 7th, continuing up the west coast.
The first half of the Walk captured front-page headlines in local media and nationwide magazine coverage (see links to media coverage below). This ambitious, humanistic project reveals strong unity and shared values in an era of headlining hate and nationalism, through interviewing thousands of diverse people along the journey. By answering the question, "What matters most in life?", people share wisdom and confirm a growing disconnect between how we currently measure success and what makes us happy.