It's a trip of a lifetime for a Tallahassee man kayaking his way 4,000 miles from the northernmost to the southernmost parts of the contiguous United States.
Daniel Alvarez, 31, is a Florida outdoorsman who is not only on a personal adventure but also wants to bring awareness and protect the waters that he’s kayaking through.
One would probably never imagine that watching Alvarez paddle through the waters of Clam Bayou in Gulfport is like watching a man live a life that most of us can only dream about.
This former up-and-coming lawyer gave up his career in the corporate world and began a journey that can make or break practically anyone.
"Whatever adventure you want, go do it," said Alvarez, as he sat down one-on-one with Bay News 9.
It’s that adventurous attitude that has Alvarez on the water from sunrise until sunset and averaging about 30 miles a day.
But for Alvarez, this trip means a lot more than his experience on the water, especially since he often relies on the kindness of strangers.
"You want a warm place to sleep tonight?” Alverez said strangers ask him all the time. To which he replies, “And you're usually like, yeah, I could really use a warm place to sleep."
It is a 4,000 mile trip as well as a 4,000 mile lesson in humanity that began back in June in the northern tip of Minnesota that would continue down the mighty Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Alvarez likes to compare the foods of the three areas from the “wild game in Minnesota” to the “Memphis barbeque.. and then there’s like fresh fish in Florida.”
The journey was partially paid for by a grant from a magazine and the kayak was donated.
"It looks a little like a clown car when I start taking stuff out,” said Alvarez when talking about the kayak, “because you're like, where's this stuff coming from, just pulling out bags.
The kayak can fit 10 days worth of food, clothing, a tent, a first-aid kit, and a laptop that allows him to keep his blog up-to-date.
But the trip is more than just about Alvarez’s personal journey.
He also donates money and brings awareness to the waters he’s paddling through.
He recently stopped in Gulfport to visit family and shared his adventures at the Boca Ciega Yacht Club, reminding everyone they have choices in life, and that there could be an adventure like the one Alvarez is one waiting for them, too.
"There's always going to be a thousand excuses as to why I can't do it," said Alvarez. "Eventually you gotta decide whether you're just going to jump in and leap for it or you're just going to always wonder what if."
He wonders what if he hadn’t taken this adventure of a lifetime. Alvarez expects to reach Key West in about another month.
If you’d like to follow Alvarez on his blog and learn more about the four non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving the waters he’s kayaking through, visit predictablylost.