Jimmy Wayne Finds Happiness on Cross-Country Walk
Fifteen days after Jimmy Wayne began his 'Meet Me Halfway' campaign to bring awareness to teens who age out of the foster home system, he hopped on a plane to Abilene, Texas, to headline the 2010 West Texas Rehab Telethon. The morning of his performance, Jimmy sat down for his first one-on-one interview with The Boot since beginning the walk on New Year's Day.
"I tell you, the experience has been kind of what I thought it would be, but it's better than I thought it would be," says the singer. "I thought that I would be more alone, but I'm not. The amount of people who have gotten involved and the amount of support [they are giving] -- from fans to strangers and people who don't even know me, to radio and media -- has been awesome."
Jimmy says that one of the greatest feelings is experiencing the impact the campaign is making on people he meets along the way. "I love seeing people's facial expressions change when they find out what I'm doing," he says with a smile. "Business people that I meet in restaurants who just change gears when they find out what I'm doing -- that I'm not homeless or I'm not a nobody -- that I'm trying to make a difference. It's cool to see that."
Later that evening, Jimmy shaved his 16-day-old beard and picked up his 'Kerosene Kid' guitar -- which he had not done since starting his trek from Nashville to Phoenix -- and shared via Twitter the emotions that were coming over him. "WOW, I'm holdN my guitar 4 the 1st time in 2 weeks," Jimmy tweeted. "I wanna kiss it hahaha."
Jimmy says that his guitar will accompany him on the remainder of his journey because being without it is hard on him. He's also concerned about getting "rusty" with the instrument.
Since beginning the 1,700-mile walk, Jimmy says he is the happiest he's been in 11 years. "The freedom you get when you are out there walking really puts things into perspective. There's no feeling like it."
Jimmy returned to Tennessee just a few miles outside of Memphis on Monday (Jan. 18) to pick up where he left off. He's continuing along Highway 70 until reaching Little Rock, Ark., where he'll "regroup" and determine the path he'll take through Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Log onto Jimmy's Ustream account for live, real-time updates from the road as his trek continues.