EdgeRunners: Matt is walking every street in NYC
“Edgerunners are those courageous people who by strength of will and nobility of spirit make life better for humanity. It’s a way of being. Reimagine the status quo and live for something bigger than yourself.” (Xtracycle Core Values)
I love a good story about regular folks doing incredible things. Here at Xtracycle, we call these people edgerunners and we love sharing their stories with other team mates when we hear them. Those turning soil in city settings to make urban oasis (like LA guerrilla gardener Ron Finley), kids speaking out when they see injustices (like 12 year old Julianne Speyer calling out a sexist parade announcer), indigenous woman reclaiming their ancestral lands (like Jolie Varela of Indigenous Women Hike thru hiking the Nüümü Poyo, known to settlers as the John Muir Trail), or folks simply looking to cut back on kitchen waste by composting their food scraps. Most of us are edgerunning somewhere in our lives and it’s always so inspiring to hear what others are doing out there to make this world a better place, even if it’s in some small, micro way.
My affinity for my fellow ordinary folks doing the extraordinary was piqued when listening to a segment on NPR that focused on the hyper-local adventures of Matt Green. Matt has been walking the 8000+ miles of every single street in all of New York City’s boroughs for the last 7 years. He’s 500 miles short of being finished and has a movie currently out about his adventure, The World Before Your Feet:
Gah! That trailer makes me want to hop on my bike and just ride around to see what exciting things there are to discover outside my front door!
I myself have been going on a personal cycling journey in my own city of Tallahassee, Florida to bike to all 140+ of our public parks. Matt’s story really spoke to be because I have found these same things to be true about just biking more in my own hometown. By slowing down and taking a route I might not normally take to a part of town I’ve never been to, I have discovered so much about where I live. History, communities, wildlife. And the most exciting thing is realizing that the possibilities for discovering new-ness where you already live are endless. Having lived where I do for 15 years now and once thinking I have discovered everything there was to discover, this realization was life altering for me. It’s so refreshing to see others are coming to the same realization but in different ways, like walking!
You can find a great article about Matt and the new movie from Curbed. This quote from that article really resonated with me:
And even though New York obviously provides an unprecedented amount of material to work with—8,000 miles of it!—Green believes that anyone can follow his example and understand their community, and the people who live there, a little better. “It’s not like, Look at what this guy’s doing,” Green says of the documentary. “It’s like, look at the world that’s out there in front of all of us.”
“We live in this Instagram era and what [Green is] doing is sort of anti that,” Workman says. “It’s sort of almost in stark opposition to that. It’s not about quickly snapping something cool and going to the next thing. It’s about slowing down and processing it.”
You can also follow Matt’s journey over on his blog: I’m Just Walkin’.
How are you edgerunning in your life? Do you have an edgerunner who inspires you to put in a little extra effort on being a kickass human?