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I Am the Biggest Liar

MTM asked me a question. “What’s the biggest lie in To Live Forever, Andra?”


Other than that it’s a work of fiction?

All along the Natchez Trace Parkway, signs are posted at every entrance: NO COMMERCIAL VEHICLES. RECREATIONAL HAULING ONLY.

Meaning no Greyhound buses. No eighteen wheelers. (Although I saw plenty of commercial trucks around Tupelo. I guess sequestration has reduced ranger patrols to the point that truckers know they can get away with it.)

Novelists make honest mistakes with facts. I’m sure I’ve made a few. But sometimes, we need those intentional errors to move our characters through the story.

But now I know.

Merry and Em could’ve walked the Natchez Trace. For the first 75 miles or so (where they do most of their walking), I went hours without seeing a car. They filled the void with chatter. With laughter. Even with encouragement when I wavered.

They wouldn’t let me quit.

Especially not when I stopped in the middle of the road on Day 3 (around milepost 35) and shouted, “SHIT!!! I really have to walk 444 miles!!! Am I the stupidest person EVER???”

The echo I heard wasn’t the reverberation of my words.

The words were theirs.

We’ll always be with you, Andra.


Click here to see the best photos from Day 32 of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

You KNOW you’re a WINNER! Tweet, Facebook, type and review your way to Charleston, South Carolina in the To Live Forever Journey to Charleston Contest. The more you enter, the better your chance to WIN. Click here to find out more: Support My Aching Feet.

Some people read my novel in a day. Beat me to the finish line. To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these outlets: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

Here’s today’s Reader Question.


47 Comments Post a comment
  1. You would do it all over again!!?? You must be in some sort of foggy trance! LOL. Eres una mujer increible!! Felicidades!

    April 2, 2014
    • I hope I get to do something like this again someday, Maria. I’ve always wanted to do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Trace is just a little bit shorter, so I know I could do the Camino.

      April 2, 2014
  2. Mahermania #

    Andra –

    Emerging from the kudzu to provide some motivation for the final stretch of your impressive feat (feet?):

    April 2, 2014
    • My FEET are hardly impressive, unless you count ANOTHER new blood blister impressive. Sheesh. I’m just going to listen to this song and smile, smile, smile.

      April 2, 2014
  3. You are gonna miss it. You know you are. Next I will hear about you making plans to hike he Appalachian Trail. The real one. Not that fake one that leads to Argentina.

    April 2, 2014
  4. Mahermania #

    Andra –
    Coming out of the kudzu to celebrate the final leg of your impressive journey.

    Assuming this imbed works, I provide you with the following motivation:

    Earl Scruggs
    Nashville Skyline Rag

    April 2, 2014
  5. I can hear you now; “I know, I’ll walk the ENTIRE Lewis and Clark Expedition trail–St. Louis to Astoria!” Well, probably just in segments, but somehow, it would not surprise me! Rest up first though, and tell us more about Em. 🙂 Congratulations!

    April 2, 2014
    • I’ve hiked portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail, Karen. I’m not sure I could walk all 1,700 miles of it in one chunk.

      April 2, 2014
  6. Aren’t endorphins great? You should make plaster casts of your feet, paint them realistically (complete with the correct toenail color), and put them on display. They’d look good in the Natchez Trace Hall of Fame.

    April 2, 2014
    • Jim, I don’t ever want to see my feet in this shape again. I can’t stand to look at them, let alone make plaster casts of them.

      April 2, 2014
  7. If you find you’re missing the walking, you can join me on my trek to Machu Picchu! 🙂

    April 2, 2014
  8. tarakianwarrior #

    Sweet! 😀 Although I take umbrage with the word “lie.” No lies in this book…just beautiful imagination. 🙂

    April 2, 2014
  9. Good morning, Ms. Wakins!

    I completely agree with “Tarakiawarrior” the only takeaway I had whilst reading “To Live Forever” was the wicked sweet imagination of Ms. Andra Wakins who is inspiring her readers & her followers with the gumphsun to introduce us to Meriwether Lewis & the Natchez Trace in a transformative way we were not expecting whilst we originally set eyes and heart to read the book!

    You had more courage than you realised when you first started on the Trace & I think months after your off the Trace, murmurings of what you learnt as she walked or thoughts which percolated inside you will start to surface. If/when you write a sequel to To Live Forever I am certain your walk will have enhanced the story which emerges forward to mind.

    Take heart in knowing you achieved far more than you set out to do!

    April 2, 2014
    • Thank you, Jorie. I’m just glad the book is speaking to readers. I knew it would, if it could ever get out there. Thanks for helping it reach more people who want a good read.

      April 2, 2014
      • You’re quite welcome, Ms. Wakins!

        Each time I receive a comment via Twitter I am adding it to my book review for “To Live Forever”! 🙂 I have had a healthy number of people RT’ing & favouring the tweets I am sending out as well! It was a pure honour to be the book blogger who started the #ToLiveForeverTour! 🙂

        I am hopeful each new reader will continue to inspire another reader to pick up your book! I truly found it remarkable to read! And, your a motivating writer who undertakes challenges which encourage our spirits about what is possible & of what can be dreamt plausible! Thank you for being genuinely unique and creatively bold in creating a new thread of literature!

        April 2, 2014
  10. Creative license, ba-bee! 😀 God, I love be a fictional writer.

    April 2, 2014
  11. Almost “there” Andra. You are becoming a folk heroine.

    April 2, 2014
    • Glad I didn’t let everybody (and myself) down. Or my feet didn’t let me down.

      April 2, 2014
  12. Final DAYS! And this comes to mind: Lenny Kravitz-Are you gonna go my way? Your sound track today as you hoof it the final miles!! I can see Merry and Em dancing to this.

    April 2, 2014
    • “Are You Gonna Go My Way”

      I was born long ago
      I am the chosen I’m the one
      I have come to save the day
      And I won’t leave until I’m done
      So that’s why you’ve got to try
      You got to breath and have some fun
      Though I’m not paid I play this game
      And I won’t stop until I’m done

      April 2, 2014
    • Perfect song for them. 🙂

      April 2, 2014
  13. You so rock! This journey is going to live forever.

    April 2, 2014
  14. Lance #

    With this epic walk, what’s a few lies here and there? They make the story even better.

    April 2, 2014
    • Since I saw big trucks on the Trace (and what’s creepier…..right where I put them in the book), I guess that didn’t end up being a lie.

      April 2, 2014
  15. Yup, now that you’ve accomplished that Andra, I’m sure you’ll be looking for an 888-mile trek. At least, maybe until the adrenaline wears off. 🙂

    April 2, 2014
    • No new treks for me for a while…….unless it’s trekking through pages of words.

      April 2, 2014
  16. Fun reader question. Is she “putting you up” in Nashville for the next year or so while you work out the sequel?

    April 2, 2014
    • I wish she would. She might have to ask her dad, though.

      April 2, 2014
      • That’s okay, good music 🙂

        April 2, 2014
  17. Merry, Em and you sound more and more like a bunch of Hobbits…:)

    April 2, 2014
  18. They’ll be writing folk songs about you, Andra 🙂

    April 2, 2014
  19. And to think, there are folks out there who thought the was a BAD idea. Well, they’ve been learned a bit, I’d say..

    April 2, 2014
  20. You’re right there. And Emmaline and Merry are always going to be so close to you. Of that I am positive!

    April 2, 2014
  21. 4 miles seems intimidating in this weather. You are amazing.

    April 3, 2014

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