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Chapman: Pierce County attracts adventurers

By Staff | Jul 4, 2014

World traveler Andrew Siess (left) adds Third Street Station's Mike Corum to his list of many friends from a journey across the world that's spanned more than 20,000 miles. Submitted photo

“Ugh, not another visitor. Not right now,” I thought a few hours before writing this column.

It’s not that I dislike visitors. It was an inopportune time as we are putting the paper together a day earlier this week because of the holiday.

My anxiety was short-lived as I met the third ambitious adventurer coming through the geographical center in less than a month. This time it was Andrew Siess, a St. Paul 24-year-old who has spent more than two years walking 20,000 miles around the world. That figure is according to his Facebook page “Andrew’s Great Adventures.”

Siess’ journey began on a small boat across the Atlantic. He said the boat collided with a sperm whale and he and two others were rescued by a German cargo ship.

At this point, I’m growing rather skeptical, but his journey is fairly well documented on the Internet and I’m probably just swelling with jealousy. I don’t have any great reason to not believe him.

Before stopping through Rugby on Tuesday, he was unaware of the area’s famous designation. Fair enough. I honestly believe there is something gravitational about Rugby for people who long to see the state, country and world. I often joke with my friends back home that I feel very centered here.

Siess listed about 20 countries he’s walked through, beginning in Italy and taking him through eastern Europe and Asia before he flew to Alaska and worked his way through the Yukon and Canadian provinces and Rugby. He expects to return home July 20.

“Rugby’s nice,” Siess said. “I usually judge places on the people. Yesterday, at (Third Street Station) they gave me free food and someone invited me to stay the night if it rained. People helped out a ton.”

Siess said the journey is pretty inexpensive, as people as far as Kazakhstan welcomed him in and fed him. He said his folks are reluctantly supportive.

“They would probably prefer I’d have a normal job, but understand it’s a special opportunity,” Siess said. “I’ve learned a lot about the world and seen places I never would have.”

Heck, he has my support. Most of us can only dream within a dream to do something of that magnitude.

I’ll have to save sharing my recent experiences with a man from Rugby, Warwickshire, England, for another column. John Forster, 72, was going through North Dakota adding to his late father’s postmark collection of more than 100,000.

Before that, I met with the UND students who traveled from Grand Forks to Williston – one by foot, the other by bicycle. They spent one of their nights camped at a farm near Orrin.

This is one wild world and I feel like I’m missing out! Maybe, I’ll start small and walk across the county.

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