Man’s cross-country stroll brings him to Humboldt County

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

On Monday, Kyndal Ray Edwards aimed to walk 14 miles down Highway 101. He’s over 3,000 miles into this stretch of his journey walking the four corners of the United States that has spanned about two years.

Edwards is traversing the country to raise mental health awareness and addiction recovery; with a sign declaring “you matter” attached to his cart, he said he’s done his job if he inspires one person to turn away from suicide or using drugs.

“I know that there’s nothing I can do to change anybody’s lifestyle and mindset, just straight up. But if I could take my story of overcoming depression, addiction and a life of crime, and doing something as drastic as walking across America in hopes to inspire somebody enough to change their life for the better, then that’s my goal,” he said as cars whizzed by, some honking in support.

Edwards, born and raised in the outskirts of Jacksonville Florida, traced this journey back to reading a newspaper article in 2013 while in a county jail. The story stuck with him, a man who walked from Florida to California.

“I fell in love with the story,” he said. When he began walking years later, he ran into bikers traveling to the four corners of America, which inspired him to do this on foot. It’s one big walk, he said, in sections beginning in 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. The most he’s walked in a day is 36 miles. More recently he walked 55 miles over three days in Northern California, then took a day off to rest. He estimates the whole walk will be slightly over 10,000 miles.

When asked if he ever feels isolated doing the walk, he said it’s much the opposite, with wide support and regular visitors through outreach on his social media pages. He was live streaming his walk as we spoke. He said he has five social media accounts and is often helped by people who see his posts on local Facebook groups he joins ahead of crossing into areas he has never been before — now, he’s staying in an Airbnb a fan paid for four nights. This is part of his mission of awareness, he said it’s for not fame or money, and fundraises to keep the walk going to share his message.

He added any over socialization is not as bad as his five-year stretch in a prison dorm with 70 men, and said at the end of the day, you go in by yourself and you come out by yourself.

He shared this sentiment in his experience in addiction recovery.

Edward's tattoo reads #youmatter. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)
Edward’s tattoo reads #youmatter. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)

“I’m a firm believer that recovery and a support system is amazing. But you’re not going to get clean unless you want it for yourself,” he said. For him, he knew he wanted to walk for years before he began, with one start and relapse about a decade ago.

Sharing his story is a central part of his walk. In a FAQ on his Facebook, A Walking Testimony, he noted he has tried taking his life twice, has overdosed numerous times, been in county jail 11 times and prison twice, and noted he has 13 felony convictions on my record. He shared with the Idaho State Journal he served time for beating his father.

“I’m not proud of all the wrong stuff that I did. I’m not proud of it at all. I did a lot of bad stuff. I was a scumbag for a long time. But I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t go through all of the stuff that I went through,” he said. If he could go back in time, he said he’d change hurting his family; but said he’s blessed to have his family’s support.

Edwards will be spending the next few days in Eureka. He said started out nervous coming into California, the most populated state in the country. When he hit Brookings OR, people began reaching out in droves, and eventually in Crescent City was met with ladies bearing signs of support. So far so good in the golden state.

“Most people are directly if not indirectly affected by recovery. And I want to tell all of you that you matter, and we do recover, and that you are loved and cared about you have value and purpose and thank you for existing today,” he said.

His social media can be found by searching “A Walking Testimony”

Sage Alexander can be reached at 707-441-0504

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.